BAC Journal > BAC Craft Awards

BAC Craft Awards

2017 Issue 4
BAC Craft Awards

Since 1986, the BAC Craft Awards program has recognized the 'Best of the Best' examples of BAC craftsmaship and service. This October, a total of twenty-one Craft Awards were presented at the National Building Museum. These awards honored exemplary Union and community service, and recognized the outstanding masonry projects across the country performed by skilled BAC craftworkers and signatory contractors. 

BAC President James Boland said in his opening remarks at the BAC Crafts Awards ceremony, "It really is a privilege reviewing the great projects and submissions that, together, embody BAC's proud craft traditions along with the indispensable contributions of our signatory contractors, Local and ADC officers and staff, and most importantly, our members."


Best Stone Project

Local 1 New York


Signatory Contractor: 
Acranom Masonry Inc.
Middlefield, Connecticut 

Clark Nexsen
Virginia Beach, Virginia 

This new six-story building features over 200,000 square feet of granite stone and 3,000 pieces of cast stone material including sills, lintels, jambs, panels and arches. Overseen by Acranom Masonry, this work took place over the course of 18 months. 

The granite stone was built using the New World Stone System by Cold Spring Granite Company. This unique system of installation was controlled as each individual stone was pre-numbered and located on drawings for its own position in the finished wall. In addition, the stone was prepared in pallets stacked in sequence from top to bottom for the most efficient productivity on installation. 

The new Cadet Barracks will be named after General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., one of the U.S. Military Academy's first African American graduates and a brilliant military pioneer who overcame segregation.

This beautiful and historical building reflects the highest levels of craftsmanship by members of our great Union.


Best Marble Project

Local 3 California 


Signatory Contractor: 
The Cleveland Marble Mosaic Company 
Orange, California 

Philip Johnson/Alan Ritchie Architects 
New York, New York 

Designed by the renowned architectural firm of Philip Johnson/Alan Ritchie, and built by members of BAC Local 3 California, this sacred design features marble-clad domes surrounded by contemplative gardens.

Smaller domes surround a 78-foot diameter central dome that is bathed in light from a 20-foot diameter oculus. The design's circularity creates a continuously flowing structure. The exterior cladding consists of white Carrera marble, with more than 3,000 pieces up to 3 inches thick curved front and back, weighing 180 pounds each. It also encases three garden alcoves. The pieces were installed with stainless steel anchors with pins inserted into the edge of the stone.

The centerpiece of the entrance is a circular infinity fountain constructed with raven black granite stone with a gold mosaic inlay surrounding the perimeter. The top stones had to be perfectly level for the water to flow evenly over the edge.

The entrance of the Sanctuary leads to the Prayer Hall directly below the center dome. The dome directs light onto the marble flooring inlayed with brass medallions, creating an uplifting space. The grand staircase to the Prayer Hall surrounds a 39 foot sculpture, whose base is accented with raven black granite.

The sanctuary is not only a spectacular sight; it creates a sense of clarity, peace and harmony. Construction was performed with quality materials, exquisite design, and master BAC craftsmanship to create a project with a stunning 700 year lifespan.


Best Brick and Stone Project 

Local 1 Connecticut 


Signatory Contractor: 
Grande Masonry 
Providence, Rhode Island 
Joe Capasso Mason Enterprises Inc.
Middletown, Connecticut 

Robert A.M. Stern Architects LLP 
New York, New York 

Members of BAC Local 1 Connecticut working for the joint venture of Grande Masonry and Joe Capasso Mason Enterprises completed this project on the north side of the University's campus over a two year period, working nearly 100 masons at its peak.

The project design featured 1.4 million Glen Gery – Yale Residential Blend bricks laid in a Flemish Garden Wall Bond, and a concrete masonry unit back up of over 230,000 CMUs.  Additionally more than 49,000 pieces of lime stone, 45,000 pieces of cast stone, and 21,000 square feet of granite were set as window and door trim, tracery and accent pieces throughout this masonry masterpiece.

The project, designed by the renowned firm of Robert A.M. Stern Architects, honors Yale's architectural character with its use of timeless and beautiful materials. Stern opted for Collegiate Gothic at Yale in, as he calls it, full-blown "stylistic recall," using brick to save money.  "I wanted to add to the tissue of the town, to connect the rest of the campus to Science Hill." 

The colleges opened in the fall of 2017 and added 904 beds. As residential colleges, hybrid living-learning environments, they have rooms for faculty and teaching, and are faithful to the University's design and mission.


Outstanding Local/ADC Officer Award 

Don Brown



Brother Brown is known for his leadership, his craftmanship at laying brick, and his ability to lay out opponents in the boxing ring. In the 1980s, he won a series of Golden Glove titles. Ultimately, he was ranked number seven in the nation.

But at Local 1 MO, he was always ranked number one. He rose from sergeant-at-arms to trustee to business representative.  

After Local 1 MO merged with Local 23 MO, the International formed an Administrative District Council for Eastern Missouri, and President Boland appointed him Director, where he served until his retirement in March 2017.

Brother Brown's impressive achievements include guiding Local 1 MO through strikes in 2006, 2011, and 2015 without sacrificing member benefits. He also led the negotiating team that stopped an attack by the Mason Contractors Association on the Defined Benefit Plan. 

Brother Brown also served on the Executive Board of the Missouri AFL-CIO and was Vice President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of St. Louis. Brother Brown mentored and gave back to the boxing community. In 2004, he was inducted into the Gateway Classic Boxing Hall of Fame in St. Louis. And today, he receives an equally well-deserved honor by the Union he served so well.


Best Brick Project 

Local 4 Indiana/Kentucky


Signatory Contractor: 
Ziolkowski Construction, Inc.
South Bend, Indiana 

HBRA Architects Inc.
Chicago, Illinois 

Built by members of BAC Local 4 Indiana/Kentucky working for Ziolkowski Construction this 14 month-project employed 40 Bricklayers and Apprentices at its peak. 

The last project to be constructed on the University's DeBartolo Quad, Jenkins Hall will be among the first buildings to greet visitors when entering the campus. The project's exterior, featuring half a million Notre Dame brick and a concrete masonry unit back up of over 102,000 CMUs, pleasingly blends with the surrounding collegiate gothic architecture.   

Building highlights include two turrets constructed of Mankato limestone, a masonry veneer that features herringbone accent panels, 7,000 pieces of cast stone, and nearly 15,000 pieces of Mankato stone used for trim, arches and accent pieces.

While rivaling old world craftsmanship at its best BAC members were also responsible for ensuring that the installation of all air barriers, insulation and flashing systems were seamlessly and expertly integrated into the masonry wall construction. 

Named in honor of the late University President Reverend John I. Jenkins, this grand building is now the home of Notre Dame's new Keough School of Global Affairs and a host of affiliated Institutes.


Best Tile Project

Local 3 Massachusetts/Maine/New Hampshire/Rhode Island


Signatory Contractor: 
Port Morris Tile and Marble Corporation 
Boston, Massachusetts 

Context Architecture 
Boston, Massachusetts 

The cathedral, which was originally built from 1819 to 1820, required the replacement of 11,300 square feet of stone tiles. The tiles were installed by members of BAC Local 3 Massachusetts/Maine/New Hampshire/Rhode Island using Laticrete Hydroban as an anti-fracture membrane and Laticrete #254 platinum thin set adhesive. 

The largest feature is the 31-foot diameter water-jet cut Labyrinth, which was installed in the Nave area. In addition, 244 sandblasted tiles, with the names of all past and present parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, were installed throughout the Nave. And 14 tiles inset with brass Roman numerals were positioned along the Stations of the Cross. 

There is also a stair with flamed stone tiles, a footwashing area, and a small chapel behind the Nave with waterjet cut tiles, and a stone and glass mosaic fountain. Thanks to BAC members' craftmanship, visitors can now experience the Cathedral Church of Saint Paul in all its historic and spiritual wonder. 


Best Restoration/Rehabilitation/Maintenance Project (Canada)

Local 7 Canada


Signatory Contractor: 
RJW-Gem Campbell Stonemasons, Inc.
Ottawa, Ontario 

Arcop Architecture Inc.
Toronto, Ontario
EVOQ Archtecture 
Toronto, Ontario 

The craftworks of BAC Local 7 Canada employed by RJW Stonemason's Ltd. worked for several years to complete the West Block rehabilitation in time for the iconic building's 150th anniversary. The structure is built entirely of masonry elements, with load bearing masonry walls clad in various types of natural stone. This building also displays a large number of sculptural stone elements including colonnades, vaults, grotesques and friezes.

At the peak of restoration activities more than 200 masons from Local 7 Canada, including 62 apprentices and 18 women were employed on the project. Nearly half of the 150,000-square-foot structure was dismantled and rebuilt anew, including one tower, two spires and 28 chimneys.  The restoration work included rubble and carved stone replacement, approximately 1,500 dutchmen repairs, thousands of mortar/crack repairs, installation of 10,000 anchors, and a complete laser cleaning of the facade.

The West Block's painstaking rehabilitation, undertaken by the members of BAC Local 7 Canada working at the peak of their craft, ensures that the current and future needs of Parliamentarians will be met, while respecting the building's heritage and architectural character – as befits a structure of such historic significance and national stature.


Best Restoration/Rehabilitation/Maintenance Project (U.S.)

Administrative District Council 1 of Illinois


Signatory Contractor: 
Restore Masonry LLC 
Des Plaines, Illinois

Bauer Latoza Studio 
Chicago Illinois 

Lane Tech High School is the largest college prep school in Chicago, home to 4,800 students, faculty and staff. Built in 1934, the exterior masonry on the 607,500-square-foot building had deteriorated from years of weather exposure.

The renovation work was done over a 16-month period by members of the BAC Administrative District Council 1 of Illinois working for Restore Masonry LLC., all while the building was fully occupied. Classes and extracurricular activities continued uninterrupted.

The project entailed rebuilding over 6,000 linear feet of brick parapet walls to accommodate a new roofing system. Additionally, over 34,000 square feet of masonry buttresses were demolished to expose structural steel and affect any necessary repairs. Led by an iPad-equipped foreman, a small dedicated team of bricklayers worked with the structural engineer to document, catalogue and address all needed structural repairs, followed by reconstruction of the masonry buttresses.

The restoration and repair of more than 15,000 pieces of the school's terra cotta facade required careful coordination. Terra cotta units were removed from the façade, inspected, photographed, and inventoried for reinstallation, and where necessary replaced. Prior to reinstallation, BAC members applied custom, multi-colored coatings to all terra cotta pieces to match the building's original look and finish.  

In addition to the 163,000 sf of grinding and tuckpointing, the project, required the repair and replacement of 5,400 linear feet of steel lintels, and 18,700 linear feet of flashing.  In total, more than 1.1 million new brick were laid to complete this extraordinary restoration project. 

Remarkably, over the full 16 months, there were no lost-time incidents. The faculty, students and staff were given a high school restored to its former glory by the craftsmanship only BAC members provide.


John B. Scola Outstanding Instructor Award

Kenneth Bader



With 67 years of experience, Brother Bader was among the first class of instructors certified by the International Masonry Institute. He spent over four decades teaching the craft through BAC's apprenticeship programs and IMI's Job Corps Program.

Throughout this time, he led by being the finest possible example of a true professional. He has been an extraordinary role model and an inspiration to apprentices and new staff alike. Many of those whose lives he touched chose a career in masonry thanks to his encouragement and support.

Notably, Brother Bader never limited himself to just one trade — he learned and taught stone, brick, marble, tile, and terrazzo alike. He was also instrumental in the widespread growth of masonry. He helped numerous apprenticeship programs improve their curriculum, program and recruitment goals.

Brother Bader has recruited and nurtured hundreds of talented instructors, coordinators and union staff, shaping many of today's BAC leaders.


Best Refractory Award

Local 5 Oklahoma/Arkansas/Texas


Signatory Contractor: 
Southwest Refractory, LP 
Alvin, Texas

Ninety-seven members of BAC Local 5 OK/AR/TX were employed for 7 months on the project installing 545,000 brick, an assortment of special refractory shapes, board insulation, ceramic fiber and castable to complete this refractory lining. 

The work was extremely intricate and complex. Within each of the reactors, there were four main areas of different types of brick construction: Gravity Barrel, Support Arches, Catalyst Support Bed, and Overhead Suspended Area. 

The gravity area was composed of Insulation backup and SD Fire Brick Hot Face. The Arch Supports Structures were composed of SD Fire Brick. The Catalyst Support Bed consisted of multiple layers of Special SD Fire Brick. And the Suspended Area was constructed of insulation backup and suspended SD Fire Brick.

Utilizing the best-trained refractory bricklayers in the business Southwest Refractory and the members of BAC Local 5 OK/AR/TX completed the project on-time and on-budget, with a successul start up and operation of all the chemical plant's reactors.


Most Innovative Use of Masonry 

Local 1 Pennyslvinia/Delaware 


Signatory Contractor: 
Dan Lepore & Sons Company
Conshohocken, Pennsylvania 

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

Built by members of BAC Local 1 Pennsylvania/Delaware, New College House is the first new student residence to be constructed on campus since 1972. 

Designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson in collaboration with the University, the New College House uses masonry in creative ways to match the look of the campus, both complementing other buildings and adding its own distinctive architectural mark.

Opened last year, the 198,000-square-foot, 350-bed building provides housing for undergraduate and graduate students, and for faculty and staff, in a shared suite-style community. The designer described it as "both inviting and secure, open and private, embodying the comfort of home, and the power to form a campus gateway worthy of this place." It is indeed a living embodiment of the craftsmanship of BAC masons.


Outstanding BAC Craftsmanship 

Anthony Iacona



Brother Anthony Iacona has been a highly regarded member of his Local for 24 years. His skill level as a Stone Mason is that of a master craftsman. His work ethic is outstanding. He is extremely professional on all job sites, and has worked on many stone projects throughout his career at the Local.

Brother Iacona's beautiful, precise, and impeccable work speaks for itself. He is among the greatest examples of the kind of craftsworkers that Local 4 New Jersey has to offer. He has dedicated himself to his craft as well as his Union.

Equally important, he is a great mentor to BAC apprentices. He has passed along his unparalleled expertise and wisdom to many Union brothers and sisters. His knowledge of the trade and his skillset is a great asset to future Journeyworkers. Brother Anthony Iacona represents the very finest of BAC.


Best Plaster Project 

Local 1 New York 


Signatory Contractor: 
Ernest Neuman Studios
Brooklyn, New York 

Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects 
New York, New York 

Members of BAC Local 1 New York played a central role in the renovation of this 138-year-old historic icon on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.They repaired, replicated and replaced plaster on the interior of the Cathedral over a three-year period under a $1.8 million contract. 

The interior was originally intended to be carved stone, but when the Civil War interrupted construction, the architect decided to use plaster painted to look like stone.  In recent years, it had become dark and dingy because of candle soot and pollution.

The work was done in sections starting front to back. The plaster ceiling was inspected both below and above in the crawl space. Repairs were conducted 10 stories above the pews, using synthetic resin squeeze out with acrylic and rekeyed from above. Areas damaged by water or age required new wood lath and scratch coat. Mold-making for different parts of the vault were done on site. Plaster was then painted to match.

The outstanding craftsmanship of BAC members was not just appreciated by parishioners. It was witnessed globally when Pope Francis led services at the just-restored, gleaming St. Patrick's Cathedral during his New York City visit in September 2015.


Best Terrazzo Project

Administrative District Council 1 of Illinois 


Signatory Contractor: 
John Caretti & Co.
Morton Grove, Illinois 

Thalden Boyd Emery Architects, LLC
St. Louis, Missouri 

Members of the BAC Administrative District Council 1 of Illinois worked on the project to lay 10,700 square feet of terrazzo flooring.

The beautiful nine-color pattern replaced an existing damaged and dull slate tile floor. New epoxy terrazzo was an obvious choice for the project's designers because its endless color creations and pattern flexibility were able to create the desired Las Vegas-style bold look with low maintenance costs and a long useful life. Each of the nine colors had its own custom mix of marble and glass aggregate that was blended onsite. All of the metal divider strips bordering each color and creating patterns were hand-bent.

The epoxy terrazzo was installed using a color map and then polished up to an 800 diamond grit pad. Despite the difficulty and complexity of the project, the casino stayed open around the clock while the work was ongoing. Furthermore, BAC craftworkers were challenged to complete the installation one month ahead of schedule. With the challenges of an extensive pattern, phases, public traffic, and long work hours, BAC's skilled tradesworkers proved their worth and created magnificent art on the floor of the Grand Casino. 


The BAC Code of Conduct Award

Edward Wehrle 



After working for 30 years as a bricklayer, marble mason and stone mason, following in the footsteps of his father, Brother Wehrle became a Field Representative of Local 15 MO/KS/NE in 2004. He has put the same hard work and dedication into serving his brothers and sisters, showing up at 7:00 A.M. and not leaving until he feels satisfied that he has done all he can do for Local 15 MO/KS/NE members that day.

Over the past 13 years, Brother Wehrle has regularly traveled to worksites and met with as many members as possible from all branches of the trowel trades. He has also educated members about political action, and provided a host of other vital services.

Brother Wehrle's greatest achievement may well be Local 15's Market Recovery Program, which he helped launch and run. This remarkable union initiative helped re-establish successful relationships with contractors, increased hours by 10%, and put millions of dollars into the pension and health and welfare funds.

His responsibilities have extended far and wide to all areas of the union and its affiliated organizations and funds. His brothers and sisters note that no matter what is thrown at him, his integrity and work ethic shine through and he always goes above and beyond the call.

As Brother Wehrle approaches retirement, Local 15 MO/KS/NE members know and are grateful for how much they have benefited from his adherence to the BAC Code of Conduct, and his unsurpassed dedication and solidarity.


Best CMU Project

Local 1 Minnesota/North Dakota


Signatory Contractor: 
B&D Associates, Inc.
St. Paul, Minnesota 

Architects Rego + Youngquist, Inc.
Minneapolis, Minnesota 

Members of BAC Local 1 Minnesota/North Dakota built this addition to the north side of the school. A centerpiece of the project was a major expansion of the auditorium, more than doubling its size from 300 seats to 750. It also included new office space, and new practice rooms for the band and choir.

The project utilized a wide range of masonry materials, unit sizes, and patterns in expanding the auditorium and connecting hallway. The design used more than 30,000 face brick, and 50,000 concrete blocks arranged in stack bond, and ashlar pattern. The CMUs were mixed natural gray, burnished, glazed, rock-faced, and sound blocks. BAC members covered the auditorium walls in burnished block laid in ashlar pattern. The corridor walls were wrapped in a pattern of running bond with an accent grid of 16 by16 rock-face block.

The fine craftsmanship displayed on this project will greatly benefit the students and faculty of Simley High School for decades to come.


Best Precast Project

Administrative District Council 1 of Illinois


Signatory Contractor: 
Creative Erectors, LLC 
Rockford, Illinois 

Studio Gang Architects 
Chicago, Illinois 

Over the course of 26 months, members of BAC Administrative District Council 1 of Illinois built this 400,000-square-foot residence hall, housing 800 undergraduate students. Plazas, gardens, walkways, and courtyards connect four separate buildings that range from one to fifteen floors high. A single-story dining hall, equipped with floor-to-ceiling windows, overlooks a central quad. Each house has a three-story common area where students can gather, study, and relax. Also included are classrooms, music practice rooms, and 10,000 square feet of ground-level retail space. A reading room on the top floor offers views of the city and Lake Michigan.

The enclosure required the installation of approximately 1,050 white, custom-shaped precast panels to form three-story window "recessed" openings. Metal panels filled in the space between precast to conceal concrete stair and elevator shafts. There were many challenges to overcome on the project. Exposed ceilings and low deck heights required many systems to be cast into concrete decks. Two layers of radiant electrical runs and much of the plumbing waste lines were modeled, coordinated and cast into the nine-inch concrete floors. There were also nearly 10,000 embeds cast into the perimeter of the structure to attach the enclosure systems.

Because the precast panels were designed to overlap in order to hide joints from panel to panel on the horizontal bands, the pieces had to be "jig sawed" up the face of the building. The right panels needed to be delivered in the right sequence, and even stacked on the trucks precisely.

Adding to the challenges, the precast panels were custom shaped, with a "wave" pattern up the building.  There were more than 70 unique shapes. Due to the unbalanced geometry of the panels, a custom lifting device had to be designed, built and tested to erect the top-heavy panels. The result is some of the finest architectural precast Chicago has ever seen and a groundbreaking residence hall built with the idea of community in mind.


Best Hardscape Project

Mountain West Administrative District Council 


Signatory Contractor: 
Superior Tile and Marble
Las Vegas, Nevada 

Marnell Companies 
Las Vegas, Nevada
New York, New York 
Cooper Robertson & Partners 
New York, New York 

Located between the Monte Carlo and New York-New York hotel-casinos, The Park is an immersive outdoor dining and entertainment space offering diverse restaurants, engaging public art, and dramatic desert landscaping. It was built by members of BAC Local 13 Nevada, working for the subcontractor, Superior Tile & Marble, Inc.

The project included Thinset installed marble and granite pavers, Sandset installed marble and granite pavers, and anchored large cubic stone for planters, steps and water features. The 4.6 million pieces were installed by hand in an architectural free-form pattern and the work was completed within six months.

The project was challenging, because it had to be done while Las Vegas tourists continued to move throughout the park. Logistics were also difficult due to tight spaces and the need to work around all other construction build-outs.  

Today, the area is a lush promenade, featuring sculptures, meta-quartzite stone from a local quarry, trees, native plantings, monumental shade structures fitted with theatrical LED lighting, 100 feet of dynamic cascading water walls, and patio dining.

Thanks to the brilliant craftsmanship of BAC members, The Park achieves MGM's vision of being a central gathering place and an oasis from the hustle and bustle of The Strip.


Best Rainscreen Project

Local 1 Connecticut 


Signatory Contractor: 
Joe Capasso Mason Enterprises Inc.
Middletown, Connecticut 

S-L-A-M Collaborative 
Glastonbury, Connecticut 

Built by members of BAC Local 1 Connecticut, the rainscreen was designed to fit an area the size of a football field on a very steep site, while preserving existing wetlands and other natural features. The result is a facility with a distinctive silhouette against the Waterbury skyline. The building takes advantage of beautiful panoramas of the city to the west and rolling hills to the east. 

The rainscreen highlights the many contrasts of the site as well as the school's embrace of both trades and academics. The site design also provides separate circulation routes and destinations for bus traffic, parent drop-off and pick-up, and visitor and preschool parking. 

The school was designed in accordance with Connecticut's High Performance Building standards, a LEED Gold equivalent.


Outstanding Union Service by an Individual 

Richard Forcione 



After completing his apprenticeship and working 20 years as a journeyworker and bricklayer foreman, brother Forcione was appointed administrator of the Apprenticeship and Training Fund in 1987. He served for 29 years until his recent retirement, empowering hundreds of apprentices to gain lifetime careers in all branches of our craft.

With the consolidation of six Local Unions and the four-state merger, Brother Forcione was elected Executive Vice President of Local 3 MA/ME/NH/RI, and became Boston area Field Representative. While overseeing a wider training operation, he was also elected Region 1 Vice President, serving on the International Union's Executive Council. He was a leader in organizing, signing up new members and contractors, setting up picket lines, and leafletting non-union sites. 

A 52-year BAC member, Brother Forcione gave back to his community, spearheading many charitable projects. He was active politically, working to elect BAC-endorsed candidates from president to local office and encouraging participation in phone banks and labor walks. He dedicated his entire career to the betterment of BAC members and their families. 


Best Comprehensive Restoration Project 

Local 8 Illinois 


Signatory Contractor: 
Otto Baum Company, Inc. 
Morton, Illinois
RG Construction Services, Inc.
East Peoria, Illinois
Missouri Terrazzo Company, Inc. 
St. Louis, Missouri 
TSI Commercial Floor Covering 
Champaign, Illinois 
Murphy Marble Company 
Chicago, Illinois

LCM Architects 
Chicago, Illinois 

Built in 1892 and housing the Departments of Botany, Zoology and Geology, this High Victorian Gothic building is one of the oldest on the University of Illinois' campus and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The renovation work was performed by members of BAC Local 8 Illinois, and involved the full range of BAC crafts, including masonry/PCC, plaster, terrazzo, ceramic tile, and marble.

The project was launched in November 2014 and completed in May 2017. It generated approximately 40,000 hours for 70 BAC members. Thanks to their hard work, the building has state-of-the-art labs and classrooms, while also maintaining the integrity of the original building design. The Natural History Building Renovation is a true testament to the training, skills, and professionalism of all the BAC trades.