When Bruce Dexter attended Harvard H. Ellis Regional Vocational Technical School back in the 1980s, one of his teachers advised him against pursuing a career in masonry. "The teacher told me to get into computers or electronics" and "that masonry was a dying trade. But I liked what I was doing and didn't feel he was right," said Dexter.

Dexter believed in his own view of the industry's future and went on to earn his diploma in masonry studies. In 1987 at the age of 19 he recruited one other bricklayer and a laborer and formed his own contracting business. Today, annual sales exceed $35 million and B.W. Dexter II Inc. is the largest masonry contractor in New England and ranks 14th in the nation, according to ENR magazine.