MIT Newsletter - October 2013

The Masonry Column

 In July, the Masonry Institute of Tennessee was presented with an Award of Excellence from the TNSAE for the annual Excellence in Masonry Awards program. This program has been on hold for two years, but will be starting again in 2014. More information on this program is coming soon. 


Interview: Dustin Love, Masonry Instructor at Claiborne Co. HS

Tell us a little about yourself:

I have lived in Claiborne County, TN all my life except for 4 years when my wife and I moved to Knoxville so she could attend college. I first became interested in Masonry on 8th grade night when I first visited the high school. We walked around the school and toured the vocational wing and I immediately noticed the masonry projects the high school students had built and thought to myself that it would be useful to know how to build things like that once I got older in working around my own home. Of course not knowing at the time I would make a career out of it. I took my first Masonry class in 9th grade and really enjoyed it and grew even more of an interest. I continued to take Masonry every year of high school and my senior year began to compete in competitions with Skills USA.

I first competed in regionals where I placed first, then competed in the TN state competition where I also placed first and was awarded $500 from MIT and a full-paid scholarship to Tennessee Tech. I completed the full Masonry program at Tennessee Tech in Morristown, TN and began working for Odom Construction as an apprentice in July 2002. Within the first year of working there I was promoted to a brick mason. I continued working for them until October 2009 when I was offered a better job with another company, WASCO Inc., that specialized in Masonry. Within a couple months of working there I was promoted to Masonry Foreman. In the summer of 2013 I was informed that John Hatfield, the current high school masonry teacher, was entering retirement and I was asked to apply. I did and began working in August 2013 as a Masonry teacher at Claiborne High School. 

How has the Masonry Institute of TN impacted your career/life?

MIT supported my school's Masonry program all throughout my high school years. Thanks to MIT and Bob Melton I was able to attend Masonry competitions where I gained confidence and became a better mason. MIT was a great foundation for my masonry career.

How has the experience of taking over for John Hatfield at Claiborne Co. HS been so far?

So far things are going very well. It's been a big adjustment from supervising adults who are already trained to teaching young adults who have no training, the foundations of Masonry. It definitely take me back to when I was introduced to Masonry. It's very rewarding seeing young minds take interest in something that has been so important to me for so many years.

What would be your advice to young people wanting to peruse careers in masonry?

My advice to young people would be to take Masonry seriously in high school if it's something that they're interested in. It's a lengthier process trying to learn to become a mason in the field vs. in the classroom. Learning Masonry in high school gives you hands on experience that it takes much longer to gain if you're working for an employer. For example, even though you may be interested in becoming a mason, you may have to work a long time being a brick tendor/laborer before you even have a chance to train to be a mason. Another piece of advice would be to encourage young people to attend post- secondary schooling for Masonry once they complete high school. I would not be qualified to teach Masonry had I not completed the Masonry program at Tennessee Tech. Furthering your education gives you an edge for many career opportunities that you otherwise may not qualify for. 

Thank you, Dustin! MIT is looking forward to your continued success in our industry!


Congratulations to MIT member WASCO, Inc. on placing first, and fellow MIT member Jenkins Masonry on placing second at the 2013 Bricklayer 500!

Pictured: Winner Zach Guire of WASCO, Inc.


What Do MIT Membership Dues Support?

MIT membership dues go toward support of the following programs:

  • High school masonry programs across the state of Tennessee
  • SkillsUSA masonry competition support locally and nationally
  •  Promotion of masonry in new construction
  • The Excellence in Masonry Awards
  •  Emerging Professionals (Young Architects) Design Competition 
  • Masonry Certification Program
  •  Lobbying on behalf of the masonry industry at the state level
  •  “Friend of Masonry” awards presented annually to architects in Memphis, Chattanooga, Nashville, Knoxville, and Tri-Cities