Hallman Wins 2009 NCMCA Skills Contest
North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association Annual Apprentice Masonry Skills Contest results announced
By Lynn Nash
Rounding out the top-ten: Robbie Watson, 2nd Place, McGee Brothers; Marcus Hefner, 3rd Place, McGee Brothers; Juan Mejia, 4th Place, Gates Construction Company; Juan O. Garcia, 5th Place, Gates Construction Company; David Gantt, 6th Place, Beam Construction Company; Joseph Wainwright, McGee Brothers, 7th Place; Josh Dellinger 8th Place, Masonry Unlimited of Cherryville; Tyler McGee, 9th Place, McGee Brothers Company; and Pedro Ramirez, 10th Place, Fred’s Masonry & Grading.
Top-ten scores ranged from 146 to 161 points out of a possible 180.
Contestants were given two hours to complete a predetermined project later scored for “plumb,” “level,” “square & range,” “measurement,” “correct design,” “manipulation,” “tooling and neatness,” “full joints,” and “production.”
New Champion Rhett Hallman is seventeen-years-old, home schooled and graduated high school before he was sixteen. He attended the Shiloh Vocational School, where his masonry instructor was his grandfather, Sam McGee. He is the son of Bruce and Renée Hallman, and has two bothers and a sister. The family lives in Fairview where they attend Shiloh True Light Church of Christ. Besides masonry, Rhett says his hobbies are sports, including baseball, basketball and football.
Hallman is in the apprentice program at McGee Brothers Company, where his supervisor is Jody Little. McGee Bothers Company President Sam McGee says Rhett is “a conscientious kid who takes things pretty serious, especially his work. He leans toward shy, but is pretty ordinary in most respects. I was pleasantly surprised he could win this contest at his age. It was great that Rhett, Robbie and Marcus could claim the first three spots for McGee Brothers.” Sam went on to say these young men and others like them make him feel good about the future of the company, “Rhett is my oldest grandson, which lends itself well to the idea of future generations keeping the company going.”
Rhett says, “Winning this contest has always been a goal of mine. I put in a lot of practice and it paid off. My advice to other masons would be to practice as much as possible and give it your best.” As for future plans, Hallman hopes to eventually become a foreman at McGee Brothers Company.
Founded in the early seventies with brothers and brothers-in-law, the McGee Brothers Company currently operates out of six offices in the Charlotte area and Greensboro, and in Greenville, Columbia, and Charleston, South Carolina. McGee Brothers Company is listed as the largest masonry contractor in the country according to Masonry Construction magazine’s annual listing of masonry contractors in the United States.
As the contest winner, Hallman was presented the “David R. Sigmon Award” for top score, $600 in cash (traditionally matched by the employer,) a United Rentals/Stihl masonry saw, and a wheelbarrow full of tools.
NCMCA members provided approximately $12,000 worth of tools and cash, which was divided among all the contestants. Members also donated equipment, labor and materials.
Contest Chairman Larry Kirby of Kirby Construction Services in Conover expressed appreciation to host Adams Products Company, the NCMCA Sandhills (Greater Fayetteville) Chapter, the NCMCA Raleigh Chapter and to all of the sponsors of the contest for helping to make the event a success.
The North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association promotes masonry as the building material of choice and a great career opportunity, and has membership of some 200 companies affiliated with eight local chapters around the state.
For more information, visit the Association website, NCMCA.com.
About the Author
Lynn Nash is the Executive Vice President for the North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association.