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October 5, 2005 9:37 AM CDT

Florida Masonry Apprentice & Educational Foundation News & Events


The Florida Masonry Apprentice & Educational Foundation, Inc., has had a very busy year!

On Oct. 1, 2004, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush appointed Al Herndon, executive director of the Foundation, to a four-year term on the State Apprenticeship Council. The Apprenticeship Council provides input to the Department of Education on matters relating to apprenticeship. The Council is made up of 10 members, five from union-sponsored apprenticeship programs and five representing open shop apprenticeship programs. The Council will meet quarterly to present recommendations on apprenticeship to the commissioner of education and the governor.

In February 2005, Mason Superintendent Melvin Dawson with the help of the Foundation, Jerry Painter (representing the Masonry Association of Florida) and area contractors started a new apprenticeship program in the Panama City area. The first night of classes welcomed 14 apprentices from four area contractors Surber Brothers, Beamer's Masonry, Roger Wood Masonry and Sur-Pig Masonry. Dawson not only took the initiative in creating this new source of masonry training, but is also the class instructor.

In March 2005, the Florida Concrete & Products Association, Inc. generously donated the proceeds from their 2005 Clay Shoot to the Dozier School for Boys masonry pre-apprenticeship program. Also in March, the first annual Florida Masonry Apprentice and Educational Foundation and the Department of Education Region II Masonry Showcase was held at the Bradford/Union County Vo Tech in Starke. The Suwannee Country team and instructor Derwin Bass were presented the trophy in this very close competition.

At the SkillsUSA championship held in Kansas City on June 24, Findencio Suarez from the Tampa chapter finished second in the post-secondary division. Florida has had at least one winner finish in the top three places over the last five years of this contest.

In July, the masonry industry in north Florida donated a 60' x 40' practice slab for masonry students of Ridgeview High School and apprentices of the northeast chapter of the Masonry Association of Florida. The practice slab will allow these budding members of the industry to have a premier training area for building projects and learning the trade.

Last, but certainly not least, the Foundation welcomes Tom Mendez as the new Southeast Coast territory representative. Mendez has worked in the industry for over 17 years and is well known in the area.

For more information on the Foundation, visit

About the Author

The Florida Masonry Apprentice and Education Foundation, Inc. was created in 2002 to add new and expand existing apprenticeship programs and offer education to the masonry industry. Learn more at


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