Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric turned inspirational speaker on leadership, has probably never met Damian Lang. Yet Welch's observation of what makes a leader describes Lang perfectly. Lang's many demonstrated leadership efforts on growing the masonry industry and his fellow contractors who comprise it serve as the linchpin behind his selection as the 2008 MASONRY CONSTRUCTION Industry Leader of the Year.

Lang stands out from the pack due to the success of his contracting business – Lang Masonry. But this honor recognizes the thousands of hours Lang has given back to the industry as a whole. When you see the tall Ohioan at an industry outing, he's surrounded by friends and acquaintances developed over the he last 15 years.

In recent years, Lang has embarked on a personal mission to help revitalize the professionalism of mason contracting. He developed a seminar series that incorporates examples of success and difficulties experienced in the operation of his own company. Thousands of contractors have taken advantage of this sharing and educational opportunity.

In addition, Lang is a popular speaker on the local, state, and national levels, constantly hammering away at the extremely important subjects of productivity and profitability for the masonry contractor. Thanks to Lang's continual commitment toward the idea of improvement, many masonry contractors have been empowered to be better prepared for the tough economic times our industry is currently facing. Contractors who have attended his seminars have come away with not only a better sense of business, but also left with a feeling of pride in the industry.

When you get a chance to visit with Damian Lang in his hometown of Waterford, Ohio, you learn that his commitment to friends and fellow contractors is genuine. And you discover that Lang's success has been attained by seeking support, rather than demanding action.

In a period in which far too many mason contractors are turning inward and afraid to share best practices or roads to success for fear of losing business in a declining market, Lang is sharing his strategy and ideas. His goal is the success of every masonry contractor who wants to perform work in a safe and quality method.

Lang demonstrates this passion for masonry by his involvement in numerous associations and activities. He is an active participant in the Mason Contractors Association of America, and a vital contributor to the Skills USA Masonry Committee.

But maybe Lang's greatest attribute is that he hasn't forgotten the importance of the individual mason. Lang has adopted and incorporated this respect into the development of innovative tools and mason contracting equipment that are focused on allowing work to be conducted safer and quicker.