March 2023



Honoring Women in Masonry

Did you know that women represent only 11 percent of the U.S. construction workforce? And the number is even smaller in masonry, with women masonry contractors representing just seven percent of the industry workforce. With the current labor shortage affecting all industries including masonry, creating more opportunities for women in masonry is a smart business decision.

In fact, many organizations are making efforts to encourage women to enter our field, and women working in the industry are inspiring younger generations to follow in their footsteps. A report by McKinsey & Co. reveals that the most gender-diverse companies are 25 percent more likely to achieve above-average profitability than companies with less diversity.

Among those companies promoting women in masonry are several MIM members. To honor Women in Construction Week earlier this month, the MIM spotlighted a few women and their companies. They include Kali Twork, project manager for Dixon Incorporated; Rachel Albaugh, co-founder, and Alyssa Albaugh, project estimator for Albaugh Stone & Tile; and Nicole Miller, safety manager for Davenport Masonry & Restoration. These women are passionate about their work and serve as mentors to share their passion and strengthen the masonry community. Their tips for women considering a career in masonry? Ask questions, build relationships, embrace the mud and just do it! 

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From the Desk of Phil Ledent 

In anticipated partnership with masonry industry organizations across North America, the MIM has launched the Masonry Technical Initiative for research testing conducted in several phases referred to as Research Projects. The main goal of this initiative is to help move our industry forward and to better compete with other wall systems that have gained ground over recent decades.

One of these projects is focused on improving grouting techniques and increasing low lift grouting height. The goal will be to increase grout lift height to allow contractors to grout higher without more restrictions. The MIM, along with partners Davenport Masonry, MASONPRO, St. Marys Cement, and Grand Blanc Cement Products built 10'-8" grout panels and used ground penetrating radar (GPR) and destructive evaluation and found promising results relating to grout consolidation.

Grout testing continues to be an issue in Michigan. To address this, the MIM, along with partners St. Marys Cement and Somat Engineering, recently conducted proof-of-concept testing where grout samples were made using the three most common techniques: “pinwheels” constructed using CMUs in accordance with ASTM C1019; cardboard box molds; and cylinder molds. The grout was tested at the time of placement for temperature, slump and air content. After 28 days, these samples will be tested for compressive strength to demonstrate the strength differences between the approaches.

To reach our goal to move our industry forward, we are working to secure partners—those who wish to be part of this multi-phase initiative that we believe will help move the masonry industry forward. To learn more, please reach out.

Kicking off 2023

A great kickoff to a promising year! Our annual meeting was a huge hit with attendees, plenty of food, fellowship and fun, and exciting news about the MIM’s business plan, its priorities and events for 2023. Member Todd Dailey of Dailey Engineering was "down-right" inspired. He shares, "The content was right on target and you got the audience involved." Thank you to all our members who attended. Together we are building an exciting future for masonry.

On the Road Again

Phil hit the ground running at the start of 2023 with a series of workshops, trainings, demonstrations, lunch and learns and more.

In January and February the MIM hosted lunch and learn presentations with architects including INFORM Studio, Hooker DeJung and Three Rivers Corporation focused on masonry specifications and energy code requirements.

During the month of February, the MIM conducted a new four-hour workshop for Spartan Construction in Monclova, OH. The workshop provides contractors with the “why” behind masonry wall assemblies and construction and included discussions on masonry material properties, flashing, connection details, movement control and more. In addition, the MIM facilitated a tour of VanderWall Brothers block plant in Spring Lake, MI, where attendees from for member GMB had the opportunity to spread mortar and lay units with Burggrabe Masonry.

MIM workshops are intended to build collaboration between the field and the design

office so that masonry becomes more than lines on a piece of paper. If you would like

Phil to present a workshop, a lunch and learn or provide training for your team, please reach out

Building Better Communities

Long-time MIM member Fishbeck is considered one of the premier professional consulting firms in the nation. Engineering, environmental sciences, architecture, and construction management are the cornerstones of Fishbeck’s services and integrated project approach. With the technical capabilities and understanding to take even the largest projects from initial concept to completion, the company remains a hands-on, design-oriented practice at heart. Their team takes pride in its commitment to reliability in design, connection to clients and creativity at its core and appreciates the MIM’s ability to bring architects/designers and tradespersons together.

The Fishbeck team believes that collaboration with engineers, environmental scientists, architects and construction professionals encourages innovative methods and exceptional results. Today, as throughout its decades of practice, Fishbeck remains committed to helping clients realize their vision while benefiting society.

In Case You Missed It

Construction spending during January 2023 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,825.7 billion, 0.1 percent below the revised December estimate. The January figure is 5.7 percent above the January 2022 estimate of $1,726.6 billion. Read more here.

The construction industry reported 248,000 job openings in January, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. Industry job openings fell sharply last month, down 240,000 on a monthly basis and 148,000 from the same time last year.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment of masonry workers is projected to decline two percent from 2021 to 2031. Despite the decline, about 23,300 openings for masonry workers are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

The Dodge Momentum Index advanced 1.9 percent

in February from the revised January reading of 199.3.

"The continued elevation in the DMI should provide hope

that construction activity will grow in 2024" said Sarah Martin, associate director of forecasting for Dodge Construction Network.

Calendar of Events


16 Michigan Mason Contractors Association News and Brews (Brighton)

28 West Michigan Construction Institute Workshop (Spring Lake)

30 MIM Board Meeting (Brighton)

31 Deadline for AIAMI Building

& MIM M-Award

submissions via website. Register here.


6 Generic Wall Design Committee Meeting (Brighton)

From the A/E/C Community

"Phil, thank you so much for the informative talk yesterday

with Three Rivers, you have a great passion and so much knowledge, thank you again and we will be scheduling

more presentations soon. - Dennis Hoffman, Belden Brick and Supply

Professional Development

Tools & Resources

Membership Directory

Tip of the Month

Hollow 8-inch CMU walls can typically achieve a 2 hour fire resistance rating, while hollow, lightweight 12-inch CMU walls can meet a 4 hour fire resistance rating. The MIM developed a fire rating guide that shows the most economical way to achieve specified ratings here.

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