Another Gold Hill contest
Furr new champion and winner of the David R. Sigmon Award
By Lynn Nash
Eighteen-year-old Daniel Furr, sponsored by Koontz Masonry in Lexington, NC, has won the “David R. Sigmon” Award and is the Champion of the 2014 NCMCA Masonry Apprentice Skills Contest. Furr finished first in a field of twenty-six apprentices from six NCMCA member firms at the May 17th contest hosted by Johnson Concrete Company at sister-company Carolina Stalite’s Ben Ketchie Park in Gold Hill.
Rounding out the top-ten respectively: Brennan Huntley, Huntley Brothers Company; Reid Hallman, McGee Brothers Company; Juis Marquez, Huntley Brothers Company; Blake Hodge, sponsored by Gates Construction Company; Fernando Olade, Brodie Contractors; Travin Munn, McGee Brothers; Kelton McGee, McGee Brothers; Noah Baucom, McGee Bothers; and Lane Mullis, McGee Brothers.
Top-ten scores ranged from 163 to 152 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 Daniel Furr is having a successful year in masonry competitions. He won the NC SkillsUSA Post-Secondary State Masonry Contest at Greensboro in April and will represent North Carolina in the National Competition at Kansas City this summer. As the winner of the Gold Hill Contest, he has earned the right to represent North Carolina at the 2015 Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) International Apprentice Skills Competition in Las Vegas.
Furr is from Mt. Pleasant and is a graduate of Mount Pleasant High School, where he learned masonry from instructor Ryan Shaver, himself a national SkillUSA masonry champion (1993.) His parents are Roger and Margaret Furr and he has a sister that is a Junior at Mt. Pleasant High School. Daniel, entering his sophomore year at North Carolina State University, is studying engineering. He has competed in various masonry contests. His previous wins: the 2011 NC SkillsUSA Masonry One contest, the 2012 NC Department of Labor pre-apprentice contest, the 2012 Cabarrus County Building Industry Contest, and he placed second in the 2013 NC SkillsUSA Secondary Masonry Contest.
Instructor Shaver says of Furr, “Daniel is an extraordinary young man. He has worked for Johnson Concrete Company the last two summers and has earned an internship with Carolina Stalite this summer. Daniel’s ability to lay brick, coupled with his academic talent, has provided a career pathway, which without taking masonry in high school, he would have never found. Daniel’s plans are to graduate from N.C. State and enter the Materials Science Engineering field. Daniel is a highly focused student and, when he sets his mind to it, watch out. It has been a pleasure to teach Daniel and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for this young man.”
As the contest winner, Daniel Furr was presented the “David R. Sigmon Award” for top score, $600 in cash and a wheelbarrow full of tools.
Contestants, volunteers and spectators enjoyed perfect weather and lots of great food by the lake at Carolina Stalite’s Ben Ketchie community park. Families and other spectators were entertained with live music by NCMCA member Donnie Howard+, children’s games, a fishing tournament and tours of the world’s largest lightweight aggregate plant.
Contest Chairman Bob Gates commended all the contestants for their hard work and for a collective set of scores somewhat higher than average. He thanked Head Judge Kent Huntley and the contest committee for their diligence in making the 2014 contest one of the best ever. On behalf of the committee and the Association membership, Gates expressed appreciation to host Johnson Concrete Company and all the firms that contributed to the event.
NCMCA members provided approximately $9,000 worth of tools and cash, which was divided among all the contestants. Members also donated equipment, labor and materials.
The 2015 contest is set for May 16th at Custom Brick & Supply Company in Raleigh.
About the Author
Lynn Nash is the Executive Vice President for the North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association.