INDUCTED INTO THE MCAA MASONRY HALL OF FAME
SPEC MIX Vice President, Brian Carney, pulled no punches on his way to the MCAA Masonry Hall of Fame. His journey is highlighted in passion and purpose, encompassed by an infectious desire to lift up those around him.
While the typical inductee in the MHOF might have cracked hands attributed to countless hours of hard labor lifting block or laying brick, Carney’s journey started physical but quickly transitioned.
Brian Carney got his introduction to the masonry trade, working for local Rochester, MN mason contractor Trent Keller Masonry during the summers while attending college at Winona St. pursuing a marketing degree. Over three summers, Brian humped block into basements, mixed mortar and developed a love for the camaraderie and teamwork that is required to work on a masonry crew as well as a respect for the skill of the craftsman and love of the masonry industry that would carry Brian throughout his professional career.
Brian applied for his first job out of college to an upstart masonry product licensing business, SPEC MIX Inc. His summer mason tending job gave him a leg up on the interview and a career was launched. At SPEC MIX, Brian initially spent his time convincing privately owned packaged concrete producers to shift some production over to new SPEC MIX mortar and grout products to service the masonry industry, which at that time were literally “stuck on the shovel”. Brian worked mostly in North America, training SPEC MIX sales representatives (Mudslingers) and educating countless contractors on the effects of “sand bulking” and “running the numbers” on field mixed mortar versus SPEC MIX mortars. Brian pioneered the development of pre-blended masonry products and silo delivery systems for the masonry industry.
When you think of Brian Carney, what comes to mind first is promotion, masonry promotion. Brian’s passion for elevating the craftsman started with the Fastest Trowel on the Block competitions in the 1990’s. SPEC MIX was the primary sponsor of the event and continued to be for many years, supplying mortar, manpower and prizes for the event at the Masonry Showcase.
As the World of Concrete continued to grow and expand, thoughts of how to promote masonry and our skilled craftsmen spun through Brian’s head and the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 was born. The first competition was held at the World of Concrete in 2003 with only three open entrants from around America and a handful of local Las Vegas masons who were begged and bribed to show up. With only a couple of sponsors the first year and emceed by the infamous Jim O’Connor, masonry history was born. As the competition began, more and more World of Concrete attendees kept coming to the competition and stayed, something special was happening.
After the first year, regional qualifying competitions began to take the excitement to local markets and feed stronger competitors into the championship event. As of 2020 there are 24 regional SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 events promoting masonry construction in the US and Canada that are followed by local, national and social medial; drawing great interest and publicity to our industry year round.
The SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 by itself wasn’t enough industry promotion for Carney. Add in a competition for the mason tender, The Toughest Tender, create an area to promote the feature masonry innovations, the Innovation Zone, combine it all with the MCAA’s Fastest Trowel on the Block and Skills Competition as well as the Jr. SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500, and you are finally getting a sense of Carney’s passion and commitment to masonry.
Brian was awarded the 2018 C. DeWitt Brown Leadman for his continual support and leadership to the masonry industry. It’s not just Carney’s commitment and passion for all things masonry that makes him great, but it’s his genuine compassion and concern for everyone he touches that makes him a great man.