Beneath the Hard Hat
C.D. Smith Company Blog

2023 SPEC MIX Bricklayer 500 and the Future of Masonry Construction

Date: Feb 16, 2024 9:11:17 AM | Author: Molly Haack

The future is looking bright for the skilled trades, with a focus on masonry to kick off the new year at the World of Concrete trade show in Las Vegas on January 24th, 2024. On Wednesday, September 13, the best masons in Wisconsin came together to test their skill, speed and stamina at the annual SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® Wisconsin Regional Series, with the winner advancing to Vegas.CD Smith Construction Team Member working with JR Bricklayer Student on masonry at Wisconsin Regional CompetitionC.D. Smith Construction actively engaged in the event hosted at Fond du Lac Stone. This competition served as a stepping stone for Mason Jasen Barnes, Mason Eric Digman, and Mason Richardo Rodriguez, all vying for the coveted title of "World's Best Bricklayer." CD Smith Construction Skilled Trades Masonry Team competing at Wisconsin Regional CompetitionThese accomplished masons expertly carried out their tasks, aided by the capable assistance of Chris Robertson, Keaton Kotex, and Gilberto Martinez Puente, respectively.CD Smith Construction Skilled Trades Masonry Team Member competing at Wisconsin Regional CompetitionIn addition to the journeyman competition, tradespeople Joe Ryan, Jesse Steger and Jed Ermer offered their leadership mentoring to high school students as they refined their bricklaying skills. Local television, Channel 26 interviewed Dave Supple and Aaron Westhuis, both Directors of Field Operations at C.D. Smith for a feature story titled: The 'Super Bowl of Masonry': masons compete to be 'Wisconsin's Best Bricklayer.'CD Smith Construction Skilled Trades Masonry Team competing at Wisconsin Regional CompetitionChannel 26's Local News feature highlighted how the competition promotes young people getting involved in the trades. More than 300 students participated in the JR. BL500 competition to showcase the future of masonry and promote the next generation of masons. JR Bricklayer competing students at Wisconsin Regional Masonry competition with CD Smith ConstructionDuring his interview, Dave Supple mentioned the strong need for masons and skilled tradespeople. Channel 26 helped promote potential career opportunities, reporting:

» U.S. News and World Report ranked masonry as the 9th highest-paying job without a degree.

» The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development predicted a 6% increase in bricklaying jobs through 2026.CD Smith Construction Field Operations Directors interviewed by Channel 26 at Spec Mix Bricklayer 500 Wisconsin Regional Masonry CompetitionMasons call it the "Super Bowl of Masonry," and a Wisconsin native did Wisconsin proud by winning the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® World Championship to kick off 2023. Jake Brock won this year's Wisconsin regional competition with a wall made from 498 bricks and will advance to Las Vegas at the World of Concrete trade show on January 24th, 2024 with a chance to win the title of "World's Best Bricklayer." He'll be joined by Michael Schlund of Wausau, who's automatically re-entered to defend his title after winning the world competition last year.CD Smith Construction Masonry Team Members offering mentorship at Wisconsin Regional masonry competitionWhether going to Vegas or not, the future is looking bright for skilled trades professionals in masonry. GREAT JOB EVERYONE. THANKS TO ALL WHO PARTICIPATED!


Date: December 28, 2023 | Author: Molly Haack


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Future Builders Dive into Skilled Trades with Masonry Construction Mentorship at Bricklayer 500 | Beneath the Hard Hat® 02.2024

The future of construction isn't just bricks and mortar; it's the passionate hands that lay them. Take a look at this unearthed video from last year's Bricklayer 500. More than just competition, it showcases our core mission: inspiring the next generation of skilled trades professionals.

👷‍♂️👷‍♀️ Fond du Lac High School's Architecture • Construction • Engineering (ACE) Academy students were in attendance at the event. They weren't just cheering on the pros; they were actively learning, laying the foundation for their own rewarding careers in construction. This is the power of hands-on experiences for actively building the future.

TAKING ACTION: How do we ensure enough talent to keep building that future? ACE Academy introduces students to 16 different skilled trades, thanks to the support of 58 incredible program partners. Here's what we're doing to help:

📚 Classroom Connections: We partner with schools like the ACE Academy, providing hands-on learning experiences that introduce students to the diverse world of construction trades.

🤝 Apprenticeship Guidance: Our mentorship programs pair experienced professionals with young apprentices, offering invaluable guidance and practical skills.

💵 Construction Grants: We're excited to announce TWO NEW GRANTS! The Skilled Trades Construction Grant helps high school seniors kickstart their careers with essential tools and gear. The Construction Management Grant supports students pursuing technical or undergraduate degrees in construction management. Both offer up to $1,000, and applications are open NOW!

THRIVING COMMUNITIES, BOOMING DEMAND AND FULFILLING WORK: This dedication to the next generation of builders is at the heart of a mission to bring awareness to opportunities in our industry. Construction careers offer incredible possibilities.

This is about more than money. We believe that investing in construction and our youth benefits everyone. It's a collective effort involving businesses, schools, and the community, encouraging and supporting young people interested in construction careers. Become part of building the future!

Visit the link below to learn more about our 2024 Construction Grants, and encourage young people to explore the exciting world of skilled trades and construction management.

2024 Skilled Trades and Construction Management Grants:

#construction #education #skilledtrades #projectmanagement #constructionmanagement #apprenticeship #careers #constructionlife #Wisconsin

Kiel Students Learn About Construction Skilled Trades at Concrete Pour | Beneath the Hard Hat® 12.27.2023

Kiel High School Tech Ed Class observes concrete pour onsite in school with CD Smith Construction superintendent and laborer


Fond du Lac ACE Academy Ice Shanty : 2023-24 Construction Education Project | Beneath the Hard Hat® 12.18.2023

C.D. Smith Construction Building School Partnerships Fond du Lac High School Teacher with rep working on ACE Shanty Project for Construction and Skilled Trades Career and Technical Education


National Apprenticeship Week 2023 (Nov 13-19)

Celebrating the Future of the Construction Trades | C.D. Smith Construction 11.13.2023

C.D. Smith Construction values the efforts of all its employees, and during National Apprentice Week (November 13-19), we place special emphasis on recognizing those actively involved in learning and working within the construction industry. With over 40 apprentice workers collaborating with our seasoned professionals, we wholeheartedly applaud their dedication and strong work ethic. We are proud to highlight our 2023 youth apprentices and their commitment to the trades at a young age!

Caleb Krug, currently working on the NFDL School District project enjoys learning to read blue prints, tying rebar, pouring and puddling concrete. “I want to be an operator and getting the most experience I can will help me on that journey.”

Youth Apprentice Caleb Krug working with CD Smith Construction on North Fond du Lac School District project

Austin Loehr, is serving at Moraine Park constructing the AIR extension. “I appreciate the skilled tradesmen that I get to work alongside.”  Loehr gives credit to his father Sr. Superintendent, Dan Loehr as a mentor along with Superintendent Joe Kraus.  

Youth apprentice Austin Loehr with CD Smith Construction at Moraine Park AIR Center project with jobsite superintendents

Ayden Keuler, is working on the Hilbert High School addition and renovation. “I enjoy the people that I work with and I plan to continue in the trades after graduation.”

Youth apprentice Ayden Keuler working at Hilbert High School addition and renovation project with CD Smith Construction

In addition to our Youth Apprentice Program, we currently have 38 active trades apprentices in training in the field: 19 carpenters, 3 cement finishers, 3 ironworkers, 2 laborers, 8 masons and 3 operator apprentices!

C.D. Smith Apprentice Appreciation – Building a future in the Trades!

#NationalApprenticeshipWeek #apprenticeships #construction #skilledtrades #YouthApprenticeships #Wisconsin

Building the Future: Architecture & Construction Skilled Trades Youth Apprenticeships | Beneath the Hard Hat® Press & Blog 06.16.2023

 Youth Apprentice Caleb Building the Future in Construction Skilled Trades with CD Smith

Students Explore Building Careers and Construction Apprenticeships | Beneath the Hard Hat® 05.02.2023

Advanced construction class of high school students received mentorship and hands-on experiences in the skilled trades from C.D. Smith & industry experts.

Tiny house, big progress: West Bend, Kewaskum students' work advances on Habitat for Humanity tiny house | Washington County Daily News 02.16.2023

Article about Wisconsin students building tiny house in Advanced Construction Class

Externship Day with Wisconsin Operating Engineers |OE 139 Training Center

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