Benjamin Franklin once said, "Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn." There have been lots of lessons for masons in 2014 and we've tried to absorb them all. Here's a look at some of the things the year has taught us.

1. Safety is still most important. While, compare with 2013, U.S. Bureau of Labor data shows a decrease in the overall incidence rate of nonfatal occupational injury and illness cases requiring days away from work to recuperate (per 10,000 full-time worker), falls remain the No. 1 danger.

2. Great will always impress. Here's a look at some of the project highlights from this year.

3. When it comes to seismic retrofitting, there's still work to be done. The Aug. 24 earthquake that hit Napa, Calif. did significant damage to unreinforced masonry structures.

4. Expect new opportunities in the future.  Several sources, including Metrostudy Chief Economist Brad Hunter, give a positive economic outlook for 2015. According to a new report from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based market research firm, "Through 2018, demand [for brick] is projected to rise 11 percent annually to $2.6 billion."

5. Sometimes the old ways may be the best ways. One example is in this Daily Commercial News article, in which longtime industry writer Korky Koroluk shared his take on a project using 3D printing techniques to resurrect ancient practices that may better withstand earthquake damage. Here's one unique way that you can get more hands-on experience with some of the world's oldest masonry techniques.