There is no better representation for masonry than a beautiful job on public display, with the owner singing praises all over town about the exceptional quality of the work and how well the contractor cooperated with the other trades. Striving for the highest quality workmanship and professionalism is not only appreciated, but is a huge peacock feather in the contractor's cap. Every bricklayer has a responsibility to the masonry industry to do his very best to ensure the highest quality job, no matter how large or small. Quality always promotes work for our industry.

Paraphrasing a famous John F. Kennedy quote, “Don't ask what masonry can do for me,” but rather, “What can I do to promote masonry?” The Residential Masonry Contractors Association is doing just that.

Through its certification program, the association is working to establish a “gold standard” for mason contractors. By certifying contractors, RMCA is telling the world that this individual or company is willing to devote precious time to improve so that they can better serve the customer.

RMCA is taking on a huge responsibility by stepping forward and saying “We, as an industry leader, certify that ‘Joe Blow Masonry' has met all the required criteria set forth, and to the best of our knowledge, can perform its work to industry standards in a professional manner.” Architects and builders are asking for this type of program from our industry.

It does no one any good to have a paper-certified mason that is incapable of producing a quality project, hence the huge and daunting responsibility undertaken by the RMCA. It will be nearly impossible to state that each mason who becomes certified can do a great job to everyone's liking. However, the association can say that a company or individual has shown the willingness to take the time to improve through continuing education, which is a monumental step.

Education is the only way to assure any growth in the masonry industry. Educate architects and engineers that using masonry in their design can be a cost-effective and a beautiful alternative to other building products. We need to show them, through quality workmanship, that their decision to use structural masonry in lieu of concrete or brick versus vinyl siding was a wise and profitable choice.

Educate the youth of today that masonry is a very rewarding and fulfilling career. Educate apprentices in their training programs of the necessity for “quality” and not just “quantity” of work performed. Educate the contractors by certification that it is their responsibility to promote masonry and perform their work in the most professional manner and at the highest quality they can muster.

If the industry continues to put its best foot forward, mason contractors can stay one step ahead and be closer to a brighter future.

To find out more about RMCA, visit

James Frisch is a third-generation mason contractor. He is president of Western Masonry Inc. which he established in 1989. Frisch is a member of the MCAA, MIW, WSCMC, and secretary of the Residential Masonry Contractors Association.