BAC Journal > 2015 BAC Craft Awards

2015 BAC Craft Awards

2015 Issue 4
BAC Awards

Since 1986, the BAC Craft Awards program has recognized the ‘Best of the Best’ examples of BAC craftsmaship and service. This year, a total of 19 Awards were presented at the BAC Convention at which a milestone anniversary was also commemorated. 

Was it any more difficult, compared to past years, to single out the projects, members and affiliates that today, best reflect the breadth and depth of BAC’s craft and Union traditions over the course of the IU’s 150-year history?’ The Journal posed that question to BAC Secretary-Treasurer Henry Kramer, who oversees the Craft Awards program. “No pressure,”  replied Kramer, tongue in cheek, but added more seriously, “The selection process is never easy. We approach each Award cycle with fresh eyes. Selecting the ‘best’ in any category from all the terrific entries is challenging each and every time, even regardless of this milestone anniversary. But will the 2015 Best Projects and all our honorees withstand the test of time and the high standards of our members? Absolutely!”

See the 2015 Craft Awards Video and additional photos at (go to “news room,” select “BAC Awards,” and click on “Craft Awards.”)

Outstanding BAC Craftsmanship

Emidio de Matteis


There is no higher tribute for a BAC craftworker than receiving the Outstanding Craftsmanship Award, and no one is more deserving of that honor than Local 5 OK/AR/TX bricklayer Dave Holman.

Spectacular examples of Brother Holman's fine craftwork, ranging from special brick shapes and patterns, brick sculptures, dimensional stone, structural CMU to large precast panels, are plentiful throughout Oklahoma, where he has worked in the trade for more than 39 years  His contributions to numerous award-winning projects include the Gaillardia Country Club, Wagner Hall on the campus of the University of Oklahoma (see inset) and the Oklahoma State Capitol dome, the signature work of his longtime employer, Advanced Masonry. Brother Holman's skills allowed them to lay out an 80-foot diameter with 16 segments and the pie shape that created the dome. All of this was accomplished with such precision that none of the pieces had to be cut or relayed.

Local 5 President Raymond Palacios, says that Holman is the most knowledgeable bricklayer he knows. This is because Brother Holman is constantly studying and researching whatever is needed for each project.

Best Use of Masonry Materials

Local 3 California


Signatory Contractor: 
Bratton Masonry, Inc. 
Fresno, California

Della Maggiore Stone Inc. 
San Jose, California

Della Maggiore Tile Inc.
San Jose, California

American Terrazzo Co. 
San Francisco, California

F.D. Thomas, Inc.
Sacramento, California

European Paving Designs Inc.
San Jose, California


The 2015 BAC Award for Best Use of Masonry Materials was presented to Local 3 California for the unparallel range and quality of members’ contributions to the construction of the new home of the San Francisco 49ers, Levi’s® NFL Stadium in Santa Clara.

The 1.8 million square-foot stadium consists of 700,000 CMUs and 92,500 square feet of tile, Cambria stone, ice stone, granite, terrazzo, and brick pavers. Featuring a “hard hat wall of fame” as a tribute to the many construction workers who made it all possible, the $1.27 billion project incorporates almost every BAC trade.

There is much more to the design than meets the eye. The work of Local 3 California members was extremely significant in both the unseen structural systems and visible finish details of stadium’s construction and completion: 

  • 65 masons employed by Bratton Masonry installed more than 700,000 CMUs;
  • Della Maggiore Tile and Local 3 craftworkers laid 270,000 square feet of tile;
  • Della Maggiore Stone was also on the jobsite; members set 20,000 square feet of Cambria stone; 4,500 square feet of Ice Stone; and 3,000 square feet of granite;
  • More than 26,000 square feet of terrazzo, installed by Local 3 members working for American Terrazzo;
  • F.D. Thomas and Local 3 California craftworkers were responsible for countless linear feet of caulking; and
  • Members working for European Pavers laid 12,000 square feet of pavers.

The entire project was completed on time with the exclusive use of union workers. The stadium is now on target to host the Super Bowl in February of 2016. But we don’t have to wait until then – from a BAC perspective, Local 3 members and contractors are already champions in our book. 

Most Innovative Use of Masonry

Local 3 Massachusetts/Maine/New Hampshire/Rhode Island


Signatory Contractor: 
Grande Masonry 
Providence, Rhode Island

The 2015 BAC Craft Award for Most Innovative Use of Masonry was presented to Local 3 Massachusetts/Maine/New Hampshire/Rhode Island for members’ brilliant masonry installation on the Bolling Municipal Building in Roxbury, Massachusetts.

The new structure is located on Dudley Square, the cornerstone of which had always been a six-story Baroque and Renaissance Revival furniture store built in the 1880s. Rather that replace it, the Municipal Building preserves and incorporates the rounded wedge-shaped frame of the original store. The existing facades of three existing structures have been comprehensively restored and stitched together into a bright new building, which according to its architects, “challenges what an office building is.”

Referencing these original buildings, this new neighborhood hub also embodies a time-honored approach to craft in construction. As a Bostonian building with a Dutch touch – one of the center’s two architectural firms is in the Netherlands – its contemporary interpretation of classical layering manifests itself in the brick work by encompassing a number of masonry techniques from running bond, to stack bond, to soldier bond.

Elements in relief cast intricate shadows across one another in a playful, ‘jazzy’ rhythm. The glass-like properties of the brick reflect light in different ways depending on weather conditions.


Best Marble Project

Local 1 Maryland/Virginia/DC


Signatory Contractor: 
Lorton Stone, LLC
Springfield, Virginia

Strategically located next to the Washington, D.C. Convention Center, the Marriott Marquis represents one of the best appointed hotels in a city known for quality hospitality establishments.  Helping to ensure superlatives like “best” in a globally competitive environment are 101,000 square feet of granite, limestone, and marble, consisting of 12 different natural varieties, which were expertly installed by members of Local 1 Maryland/Virginia/DC. 

The scope of BAC work on the project extended to walls, steps, planters, and a fountain although the most eye catching element is the interior floor with its decorative tree branch inlay pattern. White marble from Macedonia serves as the canvas for the branches made of dark brown marble from China.

Signatory contractor Lorton Stone inspected each of the 1,000 pavers during several trips to Greece for color, fabrication, and branch piece alignment.

Despite the constraints of a tight work schedule, members nevertheless produced a design that beautifully balances the masculine with feminine and light with dark. 


Best Brick Project

Local 2 Michigan


Signatory Contractor: 
Leidal & Hart Mason Contractors
Livonia, Michigan

Baker Construction Company
Whitmore Lake, Michigan

Edgar Boettcher Mason Contractor, Inc. 
Bay City, Michigan

Local 2 Michigan received the coveted Best Brick award for Local 2 members’ exceptional work on the University of Michigan football stadium.

The masonry design, which comprised $15 million of the overall $226 million project, showcases brick and Indiana limestone and utilized 2.4 million brick, 6,900 square feet of granite, more than147,800 CMUs, and 90,000 Ground Face CMUs, and 2,000 square feet of limestone. The project also features more than 91,000 special shape brick in an array of 52 unique architectural shapes in a range of colors.

Work space and sequence were severely limited as construction was ongoing during the football season. During the week of a home game, for example, Local 2 bricklayers could only work until noon the Thursday before a game, when clean-up would begin. All debris had to be cleared out, and construction zones had to be boarded up with Michigan blue plywood within three hours for the Fire Marshall’s safety inspection.

Now completed, the University of Michigan Stadium – with its soaring incised arches and dramatically projecting brick corbels – gives “The Big House” 107,501 official seats for Wolverine fans. 


Best Rain Screen Project

Administrative District Council 1 of Illinois


Signatory Contractor: 
W.R. Weis Company, Inc. 
Chicago, Illinois

Best Rain Screen Project was presented to the Administrative District Council 1 of Illinois for members’ work on the Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago.

The 175,000 square foot steel structure is dressed in Limra limestone, quarried in Turkey, and given a honed finish. The cladding complements other campus buildings while providing high flexural and compressive strength to the large-sized panels.

The Luna Pearl granite base is designed to withstand impact and salt. The stone was installed with the ESW carrier system manufactured by E-Clad, providing a weather tight structure months before the stone units were installed.

With a Gold LEED certification and façade that glows invitingly at night, the building puts the entire spectrum of theatre education on stage for the world to see.

Best Restoration Project

Local 3 Massachusetts/Maine/New Hampshire/Rhode Island


Signatory Contractor: 
Grande Masonry
Providence, Rhode Island

Photo Courtesey of McGinley Kalsow & Associates Inc.

The first of two Craft Awards for Best Restoration Project went to Local 3 Massachusetts/Maine/New Hampshire/Rhode Island for the wealth of skill and attention to detail brought by Local 3 members to St. Mary’s Hall at Boston College.

Built in 1917, the 92,000 square-foot building is a flawless example of Gothic architecture, with bold window tracery and close to 50 pieces of life-like cast stone sculptures.

The restoration involved replacing over 15,000 pieces of exterior cast stone, each weighing anywhere from 30 to 4,000 pounds.

Great care was taken to assure that new elements, such as a grand entrance to the academic wing, look as though they have always been there.


Best Restoration Project

Local 15 Missouri/Kansas/Nebraska


Signatory Contractor: 
C&M Restoration Co., Inc.
Kansas City, Missouri

The other award for Best Restoration Project was presented to Local 15 Missouri/Kansas/Nebraska for Local 15’s members’ artistry in returning the Country Club Christian Church to its former glory as a preeminent landmark on Kansas City’s Ward Parkway.

Decades of harsh Midwest freeze cycles since its construction in 1922 had rendered the church’s ornate precast elements dangerously unstable.

Local 15 members not only replaced all damaged stone and sculptures, but also strengthened the support system, applied water repellant coating to stones, and improved the roof water drainage system.

The restoration budget of $3.2 million generated 14,000 BAC work hours with no injuries or accidents.


Best Cement Masonry Project

Local 2 Michigan


Signatory Contractor: 
Barton Malow Company 
Southfield, Michigan

Local 2 Michigan members were recognized with the Best Cement Masonry award for their exemplary work on a private residence in Birmingham, Michigan.

The concept for this custom built private residence flowed from the client’s passion for art; the building provides a simple and sleek canvas to direct attention to the homeowner’s one-of-a-kind collection.

The exterior wall is completely smooth with no imperfections, accomplished by back-screwing finished plywood to the form system. The reveals from the inner tie rods are placed at equal intervals, adding interest to the otherwise uniform surface. An urban courtyard located at the rear of the home serves as an outdoor display for some of the owner’s collected works.

The building is strategically placed on the lot to allow the two-story foyer and dining room to be washed in natural sunlight, while other areas are shielded for privacy – a study in contrasts that delivered precisely what the client wanted.


Best Tile/Mosaic Project

Administrative District Council 1 of Illinois


Signatory Contractor: 
Trostrud Mosaic & Tile Co., Inc. 
Wood Dale, Illinois

Administrative District Council 1 of Illinois was the proud recipient of the Best Tile/Mosaic award for two intricate cityscape murals created for the Latham and Watkins office in Chicago.

Members laid more than 1.6 million tiles to create the two custom murals. Each mural is 56 feet long and 16 feet high. Each individual square glass tile in the mosaic measures 10 millimeters wide.  

A special grout for the mosaic, made by mixing clear glass beads into a clear epoxy resin, reflects the color of the surrounding tiles, thus minimizing the transition between tiles.

Four different colors of caulk were used for the wall expansion joints to further blend the spaces together. Members went above and beyond the assignment by researching the methodology and pricing of various mural manufacturers to ensure that their methods were professionally unimpeachable.  They were.

Best Terrazzo Project

Local 3 Massachusetts/Maine/New Hampshire/Rhode Island


Signatory Contractor: 
DePaoli Mosaic Company
Randolph, Massachusetts

Local 3 Massachusetts/Maine/New Hampshire/Rhode Island received the second of three Craft Awards for the skill and creativity of Local 3 members’ terrazzo floor installation at the Francis T. Bresnahan Elementary School.

Located in Newburyport, Massachusetts, where the Merrimack River joins the Atlantic Ocean, the school’s terrazzo floor takes inspiration from the town’s history of fishing and shipbuilding. Waves ripple down hallways, and schools of fish swarm around the cafeteria looking for dropped food. A grand clipper ship, reminiscent of the vessels responsible for Newburyport’s nickname, the “Clipper City,” welcomes students, faculty and visitors. Colors were customized to match the wall tiles and paint, continuing the nautical theme.

The design incorporated pieces of glass, mother of pearl, and three different sizes of marble aggregate to add texture and variation to the design.

Best Plaster Project

Administrative District Council 1 of Illinois


Signatory Contractor: 
RG Construction Services, Inc.
Elmhurst, Illinois

Best Plaster Project was presented to Administrative District Council 1 of Illinois for members’ work in restoring and re-purposing a historic Venetian-Gothic treasure, the Chicago Athletic Association building.

The project involved restoring and converting the original gym and offices, built in 1893, into a grand hotel.

BAC plasterers had the daunting task of repairing and in some cases entirely reproducing the plaster “stalactites” dipping down from the ceiling. Rubber molds were used onsite to make 155 new stalactite pieces, while other pieces such as strap work and light fixtures were also installed. The project was completed on time and on budget.

Best Stone Project

Local 2 Michigan


Signatory Contractor: 
Leidal & Hart Mason Contractors 
Livonia, Michigan

Members of Local 2 Michigan were acknowledged for their elite craftsmanship in the construction of Gold LEED certified South Hall at the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor.

The 100,000 square-foot academic building was thoughtfully designed to match the surrounding 80- and 90-year-old buildings in scale, proportion, and materials. Harsh and unpredictable winter conditions added to the project’s logistical challenges. Due to limited space, all stone materials had to be delivered to the project site twice a day. Over the course of 15 months, members installed more than 88,000 CMUs, 17,000 pieces of dimensional stone, and 27,000 square feet of granite. Forty-four percent of the materials used were regionally sourced. 

Best Tile Project

Local 1 Connecticut


Signatory Contractor: 
Atlantic Masonry Products Inc.
North Haven, Connecticut

Local 1 Connecticut was awarded Best Tile Project for members’ outstanding work on the Connecticut River Academy in East Hartford.

The 104,000 square foot building on Goodwin College’s campus serves as a magnet high school for environmental studies. The school’s close proximity to the Connecticut River has informed and inspired both its physical design and curriculum. Classrooms and science labs all have a direct view of the river. Colors of green, brown, and sand easily bring to mind thoughts of nature. To further the aquatic theme, members added a stone pebble mosaic along the sides of the hallway to form a “river bed” and helping to strike a perfect balance between function and beauty.

Best Precast Project

Administrative District Council 1 of Illinois


Signatory Contractor: 
Creative Erectors, LLC 
Rockford, Illinois

Best Precast Project was presented to Administrative District Council 1 of Illinois for their work on the Salvation Army Freedom Center in Chicago.

The 187,500 square-foot center houses a rehab facility, halfway house, and a community center all under one roof.

Development of the five-acre site involved removing warehouse structures, landscaping, and installing wrought iron fencing. The exterior, with its combination of masonry and cast stone, gives the building a clean, attractive appearance while maintaining the scale and aesthetics of the surrounding residential area. Members accumulated a total of 8,200 hours on this project. 

Best Brick & Stone Project

Local 15 Missouri/Kansas/Nebraska


Signatory Contractor: 
Kehm Contractors, Inc. 
Omaha, Nebraska

Another multi-Craft Award winner, Local 15 Missouri/Kansas/Nebraska took home the Best Brick & Stone award for the contributions of its members to the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The 30,000 square-foot house of worship is a classic example of the inspiring-yet-welcoming style that is common to many Midwest churches.

Local 15 helped secure this project by utilizing their market recovery program, which returned $7.60 back to the membership for every dollar invested in this impressive endeavor.

Features such as arched windows and doorways, an octagonal crossing tower above the sanctuary, and a bell tower soaring over 100 feet in the air provide a timeless appearance.

But where two or three generations of craftworkers would have been needed to complete such an undertaking centuries ago, the members of Local 15 completed this challenging project in less than seven months and within a limited work space.


Outstanding Public Service

Administrative District Council 1 of Illinois


The Administrative District Council 1 of Illinois was honored for its multi-faceted contributions in bringing to fruition a dramatic masonry addition to the LaGrange Park Veteran’s Memorial.

When area businesses succeeded in raising enough funds to add a bas-relief sculpture to the brick wall of the project, high school art students were invited to submit their designs.  The District Council Training Center (DCTC) and its trustees donated the necessary materials and equipment.  DCTC instructors and retired members of ADC 1 of IL Locals donated their time and craft skills to the build.

The ADC’s commitment to ensuring that veterans are remembered and honored for their service was acknowledged earlier this year in connection with the national “Crews that Rock” contest at the 2015 World of Concrete in Las Vegas (see Issue 1, 2015 Journal, page 15).


John B. Scola Outstanding Instructor

John Zellner, Local 3 Wisconsin


The 2015 John B. Scola Award for Outstanding Instructor honored John Zellner, retired Masonry Apprenticeship Instructor at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay.

A 37-year BAC member and current President of Local 3 Wisconsin, Brother Zellner dedicated 16 years of his achievement-filled career to the Technical College. It is estimated that he trained more than 500 apprentices from masonry-related trades during his tenure. His passion for the trade and teaching led to his pivotal role in expanding the Construction Technology A.A.S. degree and curriculum offerings at the college.

A true professional, John always made every effort to keep his knowledge and skill set up-to-date. At last count he held nearly 40 OSHA and IMI certifications. People who know him describe him as being at home in any environment where he’s sharing his craft. More than simply teaching the trade, Zellner has taught hundreds what it means to be an expert craftworker and masonry professional.  


Outstanding Local Union/ADC Officer

Jeffrey Leckwee


Retired Director of the Wisconsin District Council Jeff Leckwee was honored with the Outstanding Local Union/ADC Officer Craft Award.

A 38-year member of Local 13 Wisconsin, Brother Leckwee’s formal union service spanned a remarkable 22 years. He was Vice President, then President, of Local 13 as well as Vice President of the Building Trades of South Central Wisconsin. He became Director of the District Council in 2006. He also served as Regional Vice President on the BAC Executive Council for eight years.

During the last economic recession, Leckwee was instrumental in expanding  a target Fund to help members find jobs and compete in a market with slim profits. He was also a fearless and respected combatant in battling Governor Scott Walker’s efforts to devalue workers and strip them of their fundamental collective bargaining rights.

Since his retirement in 2014, Brother Leckwee remains active in Union affairs. He is a trustee on the Wisconsin Masons Health and Pension Funds, serves as Co-Chair of the Madison Area Bricklaying JAC and as President of the Madison Labor Temple Association. He and his wife, Cindy, regularly join their church group in donating time and labor to help children in Mexico once a year.

A leader of quiet determination and great strength, Brother Leckwee’s career encompasses much more than the words “union service” and will serve for many years as a powerful example to the BAC leaders of today and tomorrow.