At just twenty-four years of age, Austin Rising is already known by many people in Central Kansas as both a fine young man and a fine young mason. A graduate of North Central Kansas Technical College in Beloit, Kans., Rising was called to our attention by Brad Wise of Salina Concrete Products, Salina, Kans.

Rising was the first-place winner in the post secondary division of the 2006 National Masonry Contest. Held in conjunction with the National SkillsUSA Leadership Conference, the contest is conducted each June in Kansas City, Mo. He was co-sponsored in the contest by the Kansas Masonry Industries Council (KMIC) and his new employer at the time, Conco Construction, Wichita, Kans.

In high school, Rising was well-known as one of the state's best wrestlers, twice placing second in his weight class in the state championship competitions. When not in studying or practicing, he was fishing or breaking horses.

His future definitely includes masonry. "I really like the company I work for (Conco Construction). They've been very good to me. It's been a good first-year experience, especially because the other guys on the crews have been helpful in teaching me more about what I need to know on the job."

"I like what I do. I like the company. So I guess I'll keep layin' brick and keep gettin' better," Rising concludes.

His employer seems pleased to learn that. Conco supervisor Chris Goevert says this about Rising: "It's refreshing to find young people enthusiastic about the construction industry, and Austin is an example of that."

"It is obvious that his training at North Central Kansas Technical College has given him a great foundation to be an excellent mason, and his desire is outstanding," says Goevert.