More than 100 apprentices with the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers' (BAC) gathered in September to inaugurate the new $30 million training campus of BAC and the International Masonry Institute, and to compete in the 2007 International Apprentice Contest.
Named in honor of BAC President John J. Flynn, the new BAC/IMI International Training Center officially opened for business by hosting the contest. Festivities included a center dedication ceremony attended by Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, and a contest awards ceremony attended by Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), who thanked the contestants for their skilled craftsmanship.
At the dedication, BAC President and IMI Co-Chair John J. Flynn said the campus is a reality “because of the hard work, energy, and talent of hundreds of people,” both within BAC and the union contractor community. “The facility clearly demonstrates our union's and our contractors' commitment to the future,” he said, while the Apprentice Contest “shows how promising that future is.”
The contest featured all the masonry crafts represented by BAC: brick and block, stone, tile, marble, terrazzo, pointing/cleaning/caulking, cement, and plaster. Prizes were awarded for first, second, and third place, based on overall points scored.
Contestants were evaluated in a number of areas, including workmanship, production value, following proper safety procedures, and integrity of construction, as well as a written test. Judges were not affiliated with BAC or IMI, and were selected for their industry stature and knowledge.
For the brick contest, judges considered factors such as proper dimensioning and layout of the walls, sizes of cavity walls, wall heights, and number of units completed. “The specifications and the tasks very much mimic what a young journeyman would be doing on a jobsite,” said IMI National Director of Apprenticeship & Training Steve Martini.
Masonry professionals who came to observe the contest were impressed by the scope of the contest, and the talent on display. “When I see something like this,” said Kevin Ryan, Masonry Developers Inc., Rochester, Mich., “it gives me hope for our industry's future.”
First place winners were Matt Beck, BAC Local 1 MVD (Brick); Ignacio Sanchez, BAC Local 18 CA (Tile); Gregery Lasley, Local 4 IN/KY (Terrazzo); Steve Hasek, BAC Local 13 NV (Marble); Randal Leigh, BAC Local 8 WI (Stone); Jonathan Sprachmann, BAC Local 5 OH (PCC); Juan Alcala, BAC Local 56 IL (Plaster); and Jason McMahon, BAC Local 9 MI (Cement).