North Stanly High School masonry student Austin Shue (left) along with his tender Nathaniel Myers (right) won the 2019 Junior SPEC MIX Bricklayer 500 in November. Their instructor is Matt Almond. Ten teams competed is the Junior event held in mid-November at Stalite’s Ben Ketchie Park in Gold Hill. The West Rowan High School team of Michael Bostian and tender Damian Hernandez finished in second followed by the West Stanly High School team of Jakob Eudy and tender Caleb Feree in third place. Some five hundred students from twenty-seven high schools across the state participated in the Fourth Annual North Carolina Masonry Education Day and enjoyed hands-on masonry industry demonstrations, a hot dog lunch, and competitions including the Carolina Qualifier for the SPEC MIX Bricklayer 500. Each school group was assigned a NCMCA masonry contractor member as their host for the day, answering questions and encouraging students to consider careers in construction and masonry. Photo by Carl Moser  

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The team of (left to right) Brian Nelson, Tracy Townsend, Larry Kirby and Ron Sanders are the winners of the 2019 NCMCA Metrolina Chapter Annual Golf Tournament played at the Mooresville Municipal Golf Club in November. Chapter President Brandon Hartsell reports the team of Ricky Taylor, Scott Wilson, Mike Carlisto and Alex Hunter finished in second place followed by the team of Chris Liner, Todd Greer, Chris Wood and Ken Burns in third place. Alex Kiser had “the longest drive” and Jeremy Eudy was “closest to the pin.” President Brandon expressed the Chapter’s appreciation to the event sponsors: ADAMS, GATES, JOHNSON, BARBARA JONES; CAROLINAS FIRESTOP, THAD SKINNER; EZG, GREG BREEZE; P&D PRECAST, JJ DIXON; BLUE DOT, GENERAL SHALE, FAY BLOCK, BILL MARSH; HYDRORENTS, CAROLINA MASONRY UNLIMITED, EDDIE CAIN; WET O WASH, JIM YOST; GIANT, MARK NELSON; ACT, METROLINA CHAPTER, MIKE DOANE - CAROLINA MASONRY & CONCRETE, PALMETTO BRICK, PHIL FRANCHINO - HOHMANN & BARNARD, TED ECHOLS; CSS, TAYLOR CLAY, TERRY WARD; TUCKER KIRBY, SOUTHEASTERN CONTRACTING, TIM GABOSCH;BRIXMENT, ARGOS, L&D KIRBY INVESTMENTS, NEW SOUTH, BRAND SAFWAY, and RAM TOOL.

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NCMCA Past President (1989-1991) Danny Batten passed away November 2, 2019 after a battle with cancer. He was 72. In 2001, he became the sixth person to receive the NCMCA Eleanor Upton Award for outstanding and ongoing service to the Association and to the masonry industry by an associate member of NCMCA. He was a life member of the Southeast Concrete Masonry Association. When Danny was a boy, his father, Avery, was a partner in the firm of Batten & Elrod Masonry. Danny said he started laying brick at age eight, adding, “I didn’t have a lot of choice in the matter.” By the time Danny graduated from Glendale High School in Johnston County, his father was “the head masonry guy” for Davidson-Jones Construction of Raleigh and Danny had been running his father’s masonry firm “on the side” for a number of years while a high school student. At age nineteen, he took over his father’s business, managing the firm as his own until he became partners with his uncle, Donald Braswell in 1988 to form Consolidated Masonry, Inc. In addition to Consolidated Masonry, Batten also owned and operated Masonry Systems, Inc. a general contracting firm specializing in light commercial and residential construction. Danny was recruited by Blue Circle Cement as Eastern North Carolina Masonry Sales and Technical Service representative and after several mergers and acquisitions, retired from Argos Cement. Danny’s main hobby was cooking and operating his very sophisticated mobile kitchen, a skill he utilized extensively to feed contractors, masons, masonry students and apprentices at masonry and building industry functions around both Carolinas. “As I’ve always said,” Batten explained, “we started the Association to improve the professionalism of masonry contractors. (NCMCA) has done more to bring the masonry contractors together than anything I’ve seen or experienced since I’ve been in the trade... and we’ve never lost sight of the little guy. All (of our members) were little guys at one time. One of the reasons we’ve been successful is because everyone in the Association is like family, big and small alike.” Batten was born in Johnston County but lived in Wake County ever since he was eighteen. He was married to Beverly and they have two children, Kelli and Collin. Danny is pictured competing in NCMCA’s 1988 Raleigh Journeyman Contest. Photograph by Burnie Batchelor Studio.   READ DANNY'S OBITUARY, CLICK HERE

The NCMCA Metrolina Chapter celebrated its “Annual Recognition Night” at the end of October. Students, apprentices, and instructors from the Charlotte area who have achieved masonry competition success in the past year, along with their guests, were hosted for dinner and awards. Pictured top, left to right, Rodney Harrington, instructor at West Rowan High School, the school that received the Douglas Drye Overall Best Program Award for the 2019 NC SkillsUSA State Masonry Competitions and instructor for two 2019 National Champions; Drew Huntley, Huntley Brothers Company, second place at both the 2019 Sam McGee Memorial and the Annual State Fair Contests; Jace Huntley, Huntley Brother Company, First Place/David R. Sigmon Award, Sam McGee Contest; Wade Taylor, Huntley Brothers Company, First Place 66th Annual NC State Fair Masonry Apprentice Contest; Grant Helms, Helms Masonry/West Rowan High School, 2019 National High School SkillsUSA Masonry Champion and Second Place at the Las Vegas MCAA International Skills Challenge; Justice Isenhour, Helms Masonry, Fifth Place in both the Sam McGee Memorial and the Annual State Fair Contests; Todd Hartsell, Central Cabarrus High School and USA Team WorldSkills Masonry Expert; NCMCA President Kent Huntley who accepted the “David R. Sigmon” traveling plaque on behalf of Huntley Brothers Company for the fourth consecutive year for having the winning apprentice at the Sam McGee Memorial Contest; and Metrolina Chapter President Brandon Hartsell. Bottom, left to right, Reese Hallman, Third Place, Sam McGee Memorial Contest and Zachary Smith, Fourth Place, Annual NC State Fair Contest, both of McGee Brothers Company; the new Southeast Concrete Masonry Association (SCMA) NC SkillsUSA traveling Championship Trophy, presented to West Rowan High School for 2019; Ashton White, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2019 National Post-Secondary SkillsUSA Masonry Champion (for the second consecutive year;) JK Huntley, Huntley Brothers Company, Winner Third Year Division, MCAA International Masonry Skills Competition, Las Vegas; Kelby Thornton, USA Team/Masonry, 2019 Russia WorldSkills Competition; and NCMCA Workforce Development & Training Coordinator, Ryan Shaver.

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The team of, left to right, Drew Tiedman, Maggie Holroyd, Hope Bray, and Ben Coleman have won the NC State University College of Design Sigmon Memorial Scholarship Award for 2019. The winning team shares a semester’s tuition as their prize. The competition required the team to design and model a hypothetical masonry office building. The competition is part of Professor J. Patrick Rand’s “Architectural Construction Systems” class at NC State University’s College of Design and is a graded class assignment. Twelve teams participated. Finishing in second place was the team of Carmine Ferreras, Rotimi Osiberu, Mark Storch, and Caroline Mikulski. Third place was Alexia Bazinet-Dallaire, Marissa Mondin, Courtney Cox, and Jen Hocke, and fourth place went to the team of Lin Whipkey, Caila Bridges, Michael Yaffe, and Abigail Uhrich. NCMCA Past President Doug Burton and Appalachian State University Associate Professor D. Jason Miller, who, as a student at NC State, was a member of the team that placed “second” in the design competition in 2001, served as judges for the October event. The scholarship is named in memory of David, Randy, and Dwayne Sigmon. 2019 marks the 19th year for the NC State/NCMCA Sigmon design competition. 

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NCMCA members and friends contributed over $9,000 in cash for tools and expenses, plus materials and equipment for October’s 66th Annual North Carolina State Fair Masonry Apprentice Skills Contest sponsored by ApprenticeshipNC. Thirty apprentices from ten NCMCA member companies participated, along with two high school masonry student alternates. Volunteers spent a Sunday afternoon and all day Monday setting up the contest, tending the contest, judging and scoring the contest, and cleaning up the contest. 

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Wade Taylor, an apprentice with Huntley Brothers Company, is the Champion of the 66th Annual North Carolina State Fair Masonry Apprentice Skills Contest held in October at the state fairgrounds in Raleigh. Pictured, top, left to right, Contest Head Judge Doug Burton; Contest Chairman Calvin Brodie; Second Place finisher Drew Huntley of Huntley Brothers Company; Wade Taylor; Third Place finisher Esequiel Gayton of Brodie Contractors; Kathryn Castelloes, Director of Apprenticeship, NC Community Colleges; and David Smith, Senior Deputy Commissioner of the NC Department of Agriculture. Bottom, left to right, Ryan Shaver, NCMCA Workforce Development & Training Coordinator; Fourth Place finisher Zachary Smith of McGee Brothers Company; and Justice Isenhour, Fifth Place, Helms Masonry. Thirty-two contestants and ten NCMCA companies participated.

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