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February 6, 2009 8:55 AM CST

From Forestry to Masonry


Lanc Schmitt competed in the 2008 SkillsUSA National Leadership Conference and National Masonry Contest.
Lanc Schmitt competed in the 2008 SkillsUSA National Leadership Conference and National Masonry Contest.
Have you ever changed career paths? It's not always an easy thing to do. It not only takes guts, but also talent in the new area you want to explore. Tapping into that talent takes a lot of confidence and plain ole guts, but that's just what former forestry major Lanc Schmitt did.

"For more than four years, I worked as a part-time laborer and truck driver for Al Slattery Masonry Inc. to earn money so I could attend college," says Lanc Schmitt. "I was studying forestry at Oklahoma State. But by my senior year, the masonry business had started to appeal to me."

"Lanc is an amazing young man," says Luke Slattery, Schmitt's masonry instructor at the Mid-Del Technology Center in Midwest City, Okla. "After completing his undergraduate degree at OSU in December 2007, Lanc enrolled in my course as a full-time student for the spring semester. He was my only adult student, yet he relished the opportunity and utilized his maturity to quickly become my best student, despite a completely different learning environment.

"I saw Lanc's potential, and I challenged him to become a national champion, Slattery continues. "He has very high aptitude and exceptional patience."

Following his win in the Oklahoma contest, Schmitt competed in the SkillsUSA national masonry contest held in Kansas City's Bartle Hall in June 2008.

"Even though Lanc didn't win the national contest, I fully expect him to exceed every expectation of him as he goes through life," says Slattery.

His employer, Al Slattery, agrees. "Lanc joined us full-time right after graduation. He has adapted well to the learning process of a new employee and has already taken the responsibility of safety manager, along with basic mason duties and some field supervision. He's a fine young man, a quick learner and a dedicated employee who definitely has a future with our company."

Not satisfied with a college degree and technical training in masonry, Schmitt is taking business courses to make himself "a better employee."

Schmitt is the son of a fourth-generation carpenter who enjoys hunting, fishing and playing soccer. He is involved at his church with the Methodist men's group and serves on the church's trustees committee. He credits his parents for his success.

"My parents influenced me by supporting all my ambitions in life," Schmitt says.

About the Author

Masonry, the official publication of the Mason Contractors Association of America, covers every aspect of the mason contractor profession - equipment and techniques, building codes and standards, business planning, promoting your business, legal issues and more. Read or subscribe to Masonry magazine at


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