Page 7 - 2018 SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 World Championship Magazine
P. 7
Teamwork is the Key to Our Success…
And Future!

How do you know when the work you put forth is making progress? In most cases the answer is simple: If the people
around you get excited about your project, and pitch in to help make the venture a success, odds are you’re on the right
track! It’s much like constructing a masonry building; once the owner, designer and mason contractor all share the same
vision; everyone is motivated to roll up their sleeves and work together to complete the job.
This is the story of the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500®. When we started the program in 2003 the primary objective was getting
all the key players in the masonry industry to jump on the bandwagon. Well, that was easy! Everyone saw the need for a great
marketing vehicle that would unite masonry’s supporters and promote the craft. Over the years, as the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER
500 (SMBL500) extended into a 12-month campaign including regional qualifying competitions that attracted greater media at-
tention, it has been leveraged as a promotional tool to help tackle the industry’s challenges.
Today masonry’s highest hurdle is arguably the shortage of labor and workforce development. Mason contractors throughout
North America are looking for skilled talent to meet market demands. Serving as the industry’s rescue squad, masonry instructors
as well as the directors of training programs and trade associations play off the fun, energy and excitement of the SMBL500 as a
means to connect with the younger generation and infuse new blood into the profession. Guess what…It’s working!
Case in point: Of the 28 competitors battling in the 2018 SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 World Championship, 37.8 is the average
age. It will be the first time in the event’s 16-year history that over 70% of the roster is under the age of 35, with the youngest being
23. That said, an optimistic person could draw the conclusion that the SMBL500 [movement] is motivating younger masons to
excel at their craft, while inspiring the younger individuals to join the trade. Although the positive results of this recruiting tactic
will take time, it’s a key component of the masonry industry’s strategic plan.
When we asked the Las Vegas bound bricklayers how the SMBL500 benefits the masonry industry, all their answers centered
on three main topics: It showcases a mason’s skill & craftsmanship, it creates pride in the trade, and it brings people together to
promote masonry construction. What’s interesting about their answers is these are the same three objectives that 16 years ago led
to the creation and framework for the SMBL500 campaign.
With the help and partnership of the masonry industry, many significant improvements continue to unite and encourage its
members to take action. Parlaying the SMBL500 and Toughest Tender competitions with the MCAA’s Fastest Trowel on the Block
and Masonry Skills Challenge is paying huge dividends. It established the “Masonry Madness Day” arena where on Wednesday,
January 24 in the WOC Bronze Lot an estimated 4,000 masonry enthusiasts will pack a 125,000 square foot stadium to watch four
consecutive competitions that collectively offer approximately $150,000 in cash and prizes.
The success and strength of the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 is a testament to the pride, passion and TEAMWORK of the
masonry industry. Working together there’s no question that the masonry TEAM will continue to overcome the challenges facing
our industry. However, creating change and making progresses is not a spectator sport. The key to our TEAM’s success is every-
one taking an active role in supporting masonry training programs, join and participate in your mason contractor association, or
simply mentor an aspiring young mason to the best they can be.
To quote 11-time NBA Champion head coach Phil Jackson, “The strength of the TEAM is each individual member. The strength
of each member is the TEAM.” Every day the masonry industry continues to rally and act as a TEAM, we continue to get stronger
and our future gets brighter. So jump on the bandwagon…we have plenty of room! 7
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