MC&MCA Annual Report

To:      Brian Grant

            Region “E” Vice President

            Mason Contractors Association of America


From:   David Joslin, MCAA State Chair

            Gary Botzek, Executive Director

Date:   December 27, 2017

Re:       MINNESOTA CHAPTER UPDATE FOR 2017-18        


Workforce Development Activities

According to Doug Schroder, President of the Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers Local Union 1 MN/ND the total bricklayer hours worked in 2017 totaled 2,377,421.  That is a decrease of 0.97%.  

Jody Paulson. Director of Recruiting and Administration for the Bricklayers Local 1 MN/ND, oversees organizing and managing the apprenticeship training center in a western suburb of Minneapolis. The facility offers Apprentice and Journeymen level classes, as well as, hosts workshops for architects, engineers, high school and college students, and community non-profit groups.  The BAC Outreach Programs serve high school youth including general student population and at-risk youth.

Journey level and Outreach Classes total 293 apprentices.  188 apprentices are actively participating at the New Hope Training Center.  The remaining 57 are working towards completing their apprenticeship hours out of greater Minnesota sites in Rochester and Duluth.

Economic Conditions/Forecasts

Based on bricklayer hours reported, masonry construction continued strong in 2017.  Business opportunities look to continue strong through 2018 as the architects indicate there is still work in the pipeline.

The MC&MCA and the Bricklayers Local # of MN/ND agreed to include a mandatory five cents per hour bricklayer hours worked in the 11 metro counties of the state to be collected from the contractor using union bricklayers. Since May 1 these funds are being collected, along with fringe funds by a hired third party, with a monthly electronic transfer to the MC&MCA bank.

Major remodeling of the State Capitol was completed in time to open for the 2017 Legislative session. A new state office building next to the Capitol, a new St. Paul Saints baseball stadium opened in May, and the new US Bank Vikings stadium in downtown Minneapolis is open for football and other events. This year’s Super Bowl will be played in the US Bank Viking stadium drawing thousands of fans to the area and millions of dollars to our local economy. These four projects fueled hundreds of jobs for bricklayers, cement masons, and laborers.  MC&MCA contractor members, both generals and specialty contractor conducted work on all four major projects!  We have one more stadium to build!  This one—for soccer—will be managed by Mortenson.  The $120 million stadium will seat 20,000 people and be located on a 10-acre site in St. Paul.  It is expected to be ready in 2018.

The Legislature passed a large bonding bill in 2017 providing additional dollars for schools, public buildings, roads, bridges, and light rail transit lines.  In 2018 a Republican House and Senate will have to work with Democrat Governor Mark Dayton to address bonding, budget, and policy issues—all leading up to the November 2018 election.

Residential construction in Minnesota for 2018 remains strong with significant activity in the two downtown areas and along light rail lines.  New and remodeled residential construction in downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul are fueling urban growth and vitality!

Masonry Marketing Activities

The MC&MCA continued its strong marketing efforts in 2017.  Marketing Director Elena Peltsman, an architect by training and experience, made over 60 presentations to architectural firms, owners, developers, and general contractors promoting masonry products and workmanship.  Our 2017 topic was entitled: “What architects need to know about Masonry Preservation and Restoration.”  Peltsman contacts architectural firms statewide, sets up the lunch seminars, brings lunch for attendees, does the presentation, and offers AIA continuing education credits.  Additional presentations are also being made to owners, developers, general contractors, schools, and other public owners to promote masonry construction industry in Minnesota.  These efforts are paid for by member dues and marketing contributions. The 2018 presentation will be entitled: “Inspirational Masonry: Back to the Future.”

The MC&MCA hosted a “Masonry Street” project at the Minnesota AIA convention held in mid-November in Minneapolis. MC&MCA sponsored two booths and organized 14 MC&MCA contractor and supplier companies to locate their booths on Masonry Street in the exhibit hall. Over three days’ hundreds of architects and other attendees were treated to masonry magic including hand-on presentations lead by the Bricklayers Local #1 of MN and ND.

The MC&MCA remains active in the structural masonry promotional effort working with the BAC bricklayer’s union, the IMI, Laborers, and LECET.  This effort targets structural masonry engineers and engineering firms.  MC&MCA Marketing Director Elena Peltsman and Mark Swanson of IMI work together and retain the services of IMI structural consultant Sam Rubenzer. All four of the union representatives serve on the MC&MCA Marketing Committee.

The MC&MCA once again (over 35 years in a row now) sponsored the Excellence in Concrete & Masonry Design and Construction Awards contest. MC&MCA contractor members entered over 40 projects in nine categories.  On site judging took place in September and was done by invited architects.  They enjoyed the experience of seeing first hand some of the best masonry buildings in the state.  The nine winners have been notified and are encouraged to invite owners, architects, and company leaders to the awards banquet to be held in February 2018.  Our award dinner social features a guest speaker, leadership awards, and a silent auction.

MC&MCA and other industry organizations feel strongly that the marketing and promotional efforts need to occur during both a strong building market and during slow economic times.

Recruitment Efforts

The MC&MCA, working with our union friends, are active in worker recruitment efforts including Construct Tomorrow and other forums and opportunities.


Our main competition continues to be precast wall systems. The battle ground continues around big box stores and commercial buildings.  Our masonry promotional efforts in Minnesota of working with architects, engineers, developers, and owners is to educate and inform decision makers as to the long-term benefits of masonry products and quality workmanship.