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BAC Craft Awards

Founded in 1986, the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Craft Awards program recognizes the “Best of the Best” of BAC craftsmanship and service. This March, a total of 19 Craft Awards were presented at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, FL. These awards honored exemplary union and community service, and recognized outstanding masonry projects across the country, performed by skilled BAC craftworkers and signatory contractors.

“These awards are an important BAC tradition, and we feel privileged to serve as their stewards,” BAC President Tim Driscoll said in his opening remarks at the award ceremony. “It’s an honor to review all the outstanding projects submitted from across the union. They embody BAC’s proud craft traditions, along with the indispensable contributions of our signatory contractors, Local and ADC leaders, and—most importantly—our members.”

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OUTSTANDING BAC CRAFTMANSHIP

Randy Oliveira—Local 3 California

Brother Oliveira is a highly regarded, 37-year member of Local 3 California. He is known as one of the very best master marble masons/stone masons for the Northern California area.

Brother Oliveira worked as project superintendent for many BAC contractors, overseeing prominent projects like the Harry Reid International Airport; the 21st Century Library & Community Learning Center in Hayward, California (the largest rain screen project in the country), as well as a Sufi temple in Lafayette, CA.

Throughout his years as a foreman and superintendent, Brother Oliveira showed outstanding leadership, teaching ability and mentorship. He presents the very finest of BAC with his well-roundedness, positive attitude, and expertise.

Randy Oliveira

Brother Oliveira on the job site

BEST BRICK PROJECT

New Billerica Memorial High School — Local 3 Massachusetts/Maine/ New Hampshire/Rhode Island Signatory Contractor: Acranom Masonry Inc.

The 176-million-dollar Billerica Memorial High School includes two wings, a four-story academic wing, and a wing housing athletic, public, and assembly areas — including a 700-seat auditorium, and a 17,000-square-foot gymnasium.

Members of BAC Local 3 Massachusetts/Maine/New Hampshire/Rhode Island worked for a year to build the 325,000square-foot building, which serves more than 1,600 students in grades 8–12, as well as a 200 student Pre-K program.

Acranom Masonry Inc., in collaboration with the Massachusetts School Building Authority, the town of Billerica, the design firm Perkins and Will, and project manager Leftfield, designed a modern academic center to educate its students in an innovative, healthy, and flexible environment.

This impressive facility will be enjoyed by tens of thousands of students to come and will help Billerica become a top-tier destination for education, all thanks to the outstanding craftsmanship of the members of BAC Local 3 Massachusetts/Maine/New Hampshire/ Rhode Island.

BEST STONE PROJECT

The Villanova Commons Project — Local 1 Pennsylvania/Delaware Signatory Contractor: D.M. Sabia & Co. Inc.

BAC members constructed six buildings to house 1,135 students at Villanova University. They also built a campus restaurant, espresso & coffee bar, fitness center, six community rooms and four courtyards. A variety of materials were used on this project, including precast plank decking, over 5,000 tons of New England schist and Avondale field stone, brick, and colored mortar.

This project was considered “an old school quality job.” Stone masons were constantly rotated so that a mason’s unique style would be blended on the buildings. Over 150 stone masons and bricklayers from three different states constructed the buildings.

A massive job, this project necessitated five forklifts operating on a daily basis, and five different size cranes ranging from 4-ton to 70-ton capacity to set cast stone and move materials.

The project was started in March 2017, and masons worked yearround until February 2019, when the project was completed. The masonry cost for the project was $28 million, of a total project cost of $225 million.

BEST MARBLE PROJECT

Palms Villa Sky Suites — Mountain West Administrative District Council Signatory Contractor: Superior Tile & Marble

Designed by the Klai Juba Wald firm and installed by members of the Mountain West ADC, this was a complex project requiring infinite skill and talent. The project called for sourcing, fabricating and installing large format natural stone in six impressive suites, each with its own indoor swimming pool. Each suite utilized a different type of stone — sourced from Italy, Greece and Turkey — for a total of about 1,200 book-matched slabs.

Setting each piece of stone for the floors and walls required three–four BAC craftworkers. To meet the timeline, this meant over 60 BAC members working 60-hour weeks for six months.

One of the suites called for the installation of over 100 custom stone butterflies inlaid into large format stone units, pool tiles, and bar tops — all with no visible seams.

The final product is breathtaking and a beautiful testament to the hard work and dedication of the team who brought this vision to life.

BEST TERRAZZO PROJECT

Transbay Salesforce Transit Center — Local 3 California Signatory Contractor: Associated Terrazzo Co. Inc.

Artist Julie Chang’s design called for the transformation of the terminal’s 24,000 square foot Grand Hall floor into a stunning “secret garden.” The design is intricate and complex, demanding the master skills of BAC Local 3 California members to make it a reality.

Over ten years in the making, this project uses 16 colors and 375 waterjet-cut elements of brass and zinc to form the collection of hummingbirds, poppies, brass insects, and abstract shapes that make up the secret garden.

Unique requirements meant terrazzo was being installed on a concrete slab that contained a radiant floor heating system over several inches of rigid foam insulation.

In addition to the Grand Hall installation, 6,000 square-feet of single-color epoxy terrazzo flooring was installed in multiple sites in the building, including five staircases of precast terrazzo and eleven elevator cab floors.

The superior skill required to complete this magical terrazzo installation is a testament to the master craftmanship of the BAC Local 3 California members. Their talent ensures commuters will be dazzled by the beautiful design for years to come.

For more on this project, go to the “Members at Work” section of BAC Journal Issue #2, 2020.

BEST RESTORATION/REHABILITATION/MAINTENANCE PROJECT

Montgomery Ward Building — Ohio-Kentucky Administrative District Council Signatory Contractor: WR Restoration

Originally constructed in the 1920s as a department store, and featuring a terra cotta facade crowned by "the Patroness of Commerce," Ashland, KY's Montgomery Ward Building lost its luster over the years. In the 1950s, the original terra cotta was covered with an aluminum screen façade.

In 2016, the prominent East Main Street building was bought by Scott Donley of Good Deed Entertainment. A native to the area, Mr. Donley set out to return the building to its original grandeur — restoring the terra cotta façade and the Patroness of Commerce figurine.

Over a five-month timeframe, BAC craftworkers of the Ohio-Kentucky Administrative District Council rebuilt and restored the façade on this historic building.

To achieve such a dramatic change to the building, workers had to remove, salvage, repair, re-glaze, and re-set existing terra cotta elements. They had to replace three I-beam lintels, in addition to designing, fabricating, supplying and installing new decorative terra cotta elements, and re-glazing 150 square feet of spalled terra cotta surface to match.

Upon completion, the Montgomery Ward Building’s original beauty was restored. A “new” Main Street in Ashland, Ohio provides economic benefits to every building owner. It is a downtown that will always be grateful for the talent of the OH-KY ADC members.

BEST RECONSTRUCTION PROJECT

Sperry Chalet, Glacier National Park — Local 1 Oregon/Washington/Idaho/Montana Signatory Contractor: Anderson Masonry Inc.

Sperry Chalet was originally opened in 1914 by the Great Northern Railway. It is a National Historic Landmark and is used as a hotel for hikers and horseback tours. This striking building was devastated by the Sprague fire on August 31, 2017, leaving only the original stonework.

Due to the talented members of BAC Local 1 Oregon/Washington/ Idaho/Montana, the Sperry Chalet was reconstructed to return to its former glory.

Phase one started in 2018 with Dick Anderson Construction securing the stone walls to prepare for the heavy snow load that would soon settle over northwest Montana. Phase two started in June 2019 and was awarded to Anderson Masonry. Anderson Masonry began with the mammoth task of getting all the materials and men up to the 6,560 ft elevation. This was a task only a helicopter could accomplish. The project required masons to live on-site all summer, since a hike out of the wilderness took six hours.

After many trips transporting materials and members of BAC Local 1 OR/WA/ID/MT, the thermal shock from the fire had to be addressed. To ensure a safe interior environment free of falling debris, the Anderson Masonry crew used hand tools to remove “spalled” surfaces of stones which were damaged and loosened from superheating. Many surfaces had melted tar from the shingles cooked onto the faces of the gorgeous rock. Using hot pressurized water, BAC Local 1 OR/WA/ ID/MT members were able to effectively remove the stains and return the stone to the unique shades of reds, browns, greens, and grays. Lastly, masons repointed the mortar joints on the entire structure, as the original mortar was failing at the exterior joints.

As with the Sperry Chalet construction over 100 years ago, each stone was hand-selected from the nearby rockslide “quarry” and moved to the site. In 2019, the stones were transported 1,500 pounds at a time by helicopter to the construction scaffolding surrounding the walls.

Despite the difficulties, BAC Local 1 OR/WA/ID/MT members persevered. Their work on this once in a lifetime project delivered a national landmark that will stand the test of time as a testament to BAC expertise.

BEST TILE PROJECT

Tribune Tower — Administrative District Council 1 of Illinois Signatory Contractor: Contract Flooring Service

Built in 1925, The Tribune Tower is a Neo-Gothic skyscraper and an iconic Chicago landmark located on the Northeast corner of Michigan Avenue. In 2016, it was announced that a major renovation would be taking place to convert the 36 floors of the Tribune tower into 162 residences with worldclass amenities.

The renovation called for BAC members of Administrative District Council 1 of Illinois to spend over 43,000 hours completing the 50 unique bathroom layouts. The tile selected for the project would test their skills, as it covered the gamut of materials and sizes available in the industry.

The marble tile in the master bathrooms cover the walls from floor to ceiling. All the floor and wall joints are consistent and align with each other to create an aesthetic appeal that is pleasing to all who see it. The secondary bathroom floors all have stunning mosaic inlays and strict layout guidelines. Sheet mounted mosaic tile was installed in each shower, requiring BAC tile layers to float shower pans throughout each residence with sand and cement with precise and consistent pitch to linear drains. Waterproofing was then performed according to the manufacturers recommendations to ensure a watertight installation.

Quality control was very strict throughout the project. The tolerance on variation between one tile to the next was only 1/32 inch and to complicate matters, each room had either a heated floor system or a rubber soundproofing underlayment installed under the tile. Multiple amenity areas featured porcelain and marble tile selections, including a large lap pool with a sun deck, multiple kitchens, public restrooms, a fitness center, lobbies, a resident lounge and stairways.

The BAC members of the ADC 1 of Illinois delivered a quality product that proves their eye for detail is second to none.

BEST TILE/MOSAIC PROJECT

SLS Sahara Entry Lobby — Mountain West Administrative District Council Signatory Contractor: Western Tile & Marble

The beautiful entryway floor design by Innovativo Design called for precision and skill, which members of Mountain West ADC delivered in abundance. 15,000 square feet of large format porcelain tile was installed, complete with an intricate glass mosaic inlay pattern. The three inch wide brass inlay added another striking element to this installation. The registration, concierge, bell and valet counters were also treated to the talent of BAC Local 13 Nevada members.

Thanks to BAC members’ craftmanship, the exquisite mosaics that grace the entrance to the Sahara Hotel are sure to welcome all the lucky guests who visit.

BEST RAINSCREEN PROJECT

21st Century Library & Community Learning Center — Local 3 California Signatory Contractor: Cleveland Marble

The three-story, 58,000-square-foot building, designed by Noll + Tam Architects of Berkeley, is setting the new standard in environmental sustainability. In addition to being 100 percent energy self-sufficient and carbon-free, it will conserve drinking water by capturing, filtering, and storing rainwater for non-potable uses such as flushing toilets and irrigation.

This $60 million project suffered a series of construction delays for nearly two years. Cleveland Marble was asked to assist in getting the project back on track, and BAC Local 3 California members stepped up to the challenge.

They installed 30,000 square feet of terra cotta on the exterior and numerous columns on the interior with 1/16 inch joints. A difficult backup system did not faze them. The horizontally and vertically installed aluminum channels shimmed precisely to the backup material, as well as beams attached to the substrate to match dissimilar materials.

BEST PLASTER PROJECT

Springhill Suites Hotel — Administrative District Council 1 of Illinois Signatory Contractor: PBS Plastering, Inc.

Chicago’s Chinatown neighborhood is on a continuous rise. The growing businesses, tourist attractions and its proximity to Chicago’s downtown created a strong need for a new hotel in the area — and not just any hotel, but a hotel that truly resonated with the hearts and minds of its demographic, and accommodated every need of the 21st century traveler.

With the scarcity of space in Chicago’s Chinatown, The Springhill Hotel was designed as a four-story addition to an existing structure. To accomplish a seamless transition from the old building to the new one, BAC members from ADC 1 of Illinois installed EIFS cladding and EIFS simulated brick to mimic the original design.

In addition to the traditional challenges of a complex project, BAC members worked safely near high voltage electric lines and next to the Kennedy Expressway.

Despite being put to these tests, BAC members employed by PBS Plastering Inc. finished the project with the professionalism people have come to expect of skilled, union craftworkers. The new Springhill Hotel blends beautifully into the Chinatown neighborhood, showcasing the talent of BAC members in a blooming hospitality industry.

BEST REFRACTORY PROJECT

No. 4 and 5 Walking Beam Furnaces — Local 4 Indiana/Kentucky Signatory Contractor: Barton Malow Company

Northwest Indiana is the country’s top steel producing region, with US Steel and ArcelorMittal leading the way in 2020. As part of its Action 2020 Plan, ArcelorMittal invested $140 million into building two of the world’s largest walking beam reheat furnaces — the facility’s No. 4 and No. 5 furnaces located at its 80 inch Hot Strip Mill.

The scope of this project was immense. BAC signatory contractor Barton Malow and Local 4 Indiana/Kentucky members were responsible for the refractory installation of the two furnaces (each 210 feet in length), the waste gas duct and heat recuperators, and the dual 217-foot-tall refractory lined stacks.

The refractories included 308 tons of insulating and hard fire brick, 602 tons of castables, 544 fiber blanket modules and insulating boards, 2,800 pre-manufactured pipe shapes, and 260 tons of gunite.

Another element of the installation process was the welding of refractory anchors. The bricklayers were awarded all the anchor welding inside the furnace, gas-ducts, recuperators, and stacks. The number of refractory anchors were in the thousands, amounting to hundreds of craftworker hours.

Along with the scope and scale of this project, another challenge BAC members faced was segmentation of construction. Everything checkerboarded into small segments with firebreaks built into them to allow for better expansion and contraction of the materials to make them last longer. Nothing was continuous from floor to walls and roof; for example, one stack had more than 3,000 segments in it.

These furnaces can improve surface quality and production, producing up to 500 tons each per hour, a 40 percent increase in productivity. In building two of the world’s largest walking beam reheat furnaces, BAC members created the first of its kind for steel, and jobs, made here in North America.

BEST PRECAST PROJECT

Glenstar O’Hare — Administrative District Council 1 of Illinois Signatory Contractor: Waubonsee Development

The combined five-story office building and a four-level parking garage, Glenstar O’Hare, is an all-precast structure utilizing precast "double Ts," beams, columns, elevator and stair towers, stairs and landings, and architectural spandrels.

Maintaining the design intent of Wright Heerema Architects and detailing the project to be precast friendly was not an easy accomplishment. However, BAC members of ADC 1 Illinois met the challenge and delivered a striking, high-end building for the developer.

This total-precast structure was selected over other options due to cost and speed of erection. The architectural panels consisted of white cement, limestone screenings, and a light abrasive blast to achieve an intense white color to compliment the extensive glass areas around the building.

BAC Administrative District Council 1 of Illinois members spent 3,365 hours erecting the building, and 1,723 hours detailing the project. Their efficiency onsite allowed Waubonsee Development to maintain the aggressive schedule and deliver a stunning final project indicative of BAC quality and expertise.

OUTSTANDING PUBLIC SERVICE BY A LOCAL/ADC

Three Sons of Ispheming Monument — Local 2 Michigan

Ishpeming, Michigan has a unique claim to fame. Three historically prominent Americans were born and spent part of their lives growing up there: aeronautical engineer Clarence “Kelley” Johnson, chemist Dr. Glenn L. Seaborg, and John D. Voelker—a lawyer, Michigan Supreme Court Justice and bestselling author.

It had been a long-standing dream of retired Parks and Recreation Director Bob Mariette to honor their lasting and historical significance to America with a monument erected at the Ishpeming Heritage Plaza. BAC Local 2 Michigan was brought in to fulfill the promise of ideas.

The first order of business was to remove the old and broken up Heritage Bike Trail and reroute it slightly to accommodate the monument. Local artist Mike Leppinen began work on the clay models of the individuals to be placed on the monument.

BAC member Alex Sovoy and Bob Mariette worked on the design. Two apprentices and one journeyworker joined Sovoy to start, but many other union brothers pitched in as they could. Finally, the lettering was installed, and the bronze casting was mounted.

The monument was dedicated on July 4, 2021, with family members of the honorees at the event. During the ceremony, all the BAC Local 2 Michigan members who volunteered on the project were recognized.

OUTSTANDING PUBLIC SERVICE BY AN INDIVIDUAL

Jason ReQua — Local 3 New York

Jason ReQua, a 29-year tile setter with BAC Local 3 New York, helped bring the dream of four boy scouts to life in Kendall, New York. These four boys, Ryan Barrett, Jayden Pieniaszek, Noah Rath and Brian Shaw, members of Kendall Troop 94, designed a stunning War Memorial for their four-phase Eagle Project.

The Memorial, honoring the armed forces of the United States of America, has a 39-foot-long red brick wall, with black granite plaques highlighting the American Revolution, the Civil War, World War 1, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, and the War on Terror.

Between the granite plaques are concrete medal lions representing the five branches of the military. Black granite engraved bricks border the memorial sidewalk in honor of veterans who died serving their country, who served, and those currently serving. Additional bricks can continue to be added for veterans in future generations.

This stunning Memorial took time and talent. In total Brother ReQua and his team donated over 1,762 hours to complete it.

OUTSTANDING LOCAL/ADC OFFICER

James Allen — Administrative District Council 1 of Illinois

Jim Allen is a third generation bricklayer who has dedicated his career to strengthening BAC. From the day that he entered his apprenticeship in 1974, Brother Allen took a keen interest in his union, and became a Field Representative of Local 21 Chicago in 1988.

In 1993, he became a Business Agent. A few years later, he was elected Vice President of Local 21 Illinois, all while serving as a Trustee for the Bricklayers Local 21 Health and Welfare Pension and Annuity Fund.

Brother Allen then became the President of Local 21 IL and District Council 1 of Illinois in 2004. During his 17-year presidency, Brother Allen facilitated numerous contract negotiations and invested in several crucial mergers. He moved Chicago Local 21 IL and District Council 1of Illinois to a new location, saving over $1.5 million annually on administration fees.

Brother Allen's consensus-building skills were the catalyst for the creation of the world-class District Council Training Center in Addison, IL. By bringing together trustees from disparate tile, brick, and PCC training funds, Brother Allen was able to unify training for multiple BAC crafts at one of North America's premier training venues.

JOHN B. SCOLA OUTSTANDING INSTRUCTOR

Gavin Collier — Administrative District Council 1 of Illinois

Brother Collier is a 43-year BAC member, with eight years as a tile finisher and 35 as a tile setter. For 20 of those years, he worked as a foreman for Trostrud Mosaic & Tile, one of the top tile shops in the Chicago area.

In 2013, Brother Collier accepted the position of instructor at the ADC 1 of Illinois Training Center. Brother Collier re-established the program and grew it from a handful of apprentices to the current roster of 95 finishers and 87 tile layers, a total of 182 apprentices. Since Brother Collier took over the program, a total of 63 tile finishers and 70 tile setters have become journey-level members.

When the Advanced Certification for Tile Installers program started in 2013, Brother Collier became one of the first people in the nation to be A.C.T.-certified. He then put in the hard work necessary to make the ADC 1 of Illinois Training Center one of the A.C.T. testing centers.

Brother Collier expanded recruitment and outreach to women and minorities to add diversity to our workforce. He also led the planning and execution of many charity jobs in the Chicago area to foster good relations with the community and give the apprenticeship program real world experience.

Brother Collier is an outstanding instructor, apprentice coordinator, and trade unionist.

OUTSTANDING UNION SERVICE BY AN INDIVIDUAL

Edward Tiedt — Administrative District Council 1 of Illinois

Brother Tiedt recently retired after 45 years of membership in ADC 1 Illinois. During his career, he worked for some of the largest restoration contractors in the city of Chicago, and restored some of the most prestigious landmarks in the Chicago area.

Brother Tiedt started his career in 1976. He developed a reputation as a hard worker who could be depended on. In 1997, he became an apprentice instructor and union organizer. During his time in those roles, Brother Tiedt mentored hundreds of apprentices and organized hundreds of members. He also persuaded many non-signatory contractors to do the right thing and sign with BAC.

In 2000, a respirator program was started by Local 52 President Bill Meyers in collaboration with Brother Tiedt and other union leadership. This program provided fit testing, lung function tests, physicals and respirators to all its PCC members. The program was a great success and protected its 1,200 members from the harmful effects of silica dust. Brother Tiedt spearheaded the respirator program and was in charge of it until he retired in 2021.

Brother Tiedt has always been a great advocate for the union men and women in Chicago and the state of Illinois. He is a class act.

JOHN B. SCOLA OUTSTANDING INSTRUCTOR IN MEMORIAM

Derek Neikes — Local 1 Oregon/Washington/Idaho/Montana

Brother Neikes was a second-generation bricklayer who became a member of BAC Local 1 Oregon in 1989. His keen hand and eye coordination quickly had him working his way through his apprenticeship and into the panel shop. At each company Brother Neikes worked for during his career, he became a foreman and excelled at challenging and technical projects.

In 2014, Derek began teaching part-time for Local 1 OR/WA/ID/MT. It was clear that he had a knack for teaching brick apprentices. His passion for masonry was noticed by everyone around him. In October of 2017, he was hired to teach full-time.

Brother Neikes established strong connections with his apprentices. He was firm, but maintained the respect required to build relationships. He worked endless hours to make sure his students had the proper training to be successful. He volunteered after work and on the weekends to help apprentices sharpen their skills for the annual apprenticeship competition, leading to wins at the regional and national competitions.

In September 2019, he was diagnosed with esophageal/thyroid cancer. Throughout his ensuing battle, he still taught classes and was there for his local and his apprentices.

Brother Neikes was an exemplary role model for our apprentices, and was among our union's finest teachers. He used his experience, knowledge, and love for the craft to pass his lessons of life forward to the next generation. //

We know how broken the economy is for working people. That’s why we fight together to take back the power from big corporations, both in the workplace and in the halls of government. And we’ve won key victories. Just in the past two years, we’ve:

Saved essential public services.

We prevented drastic cuts to essential public services by securing $350 billion in the American Rescue Plan that saved jobs for America’s front-line workers.

Protected pensions.

Union members fought to rescue the pensions of more than 1 million workers who were at risk of losing their hard-earned retirement. We made sure the pension fix made it into the American Rescue Plan.

Invested in critical infrastructure.

We led the push for infrastructure funding to create hundreds of thousands of good-paying union jobs and repair our roads and bridges, improve internet access, and upgrade our water and sewer systems.

We’ve seen some real improvements. But we can’t stop when there’s so much more to do. From groceries to gas, higher prices are taking a toll on working families.

Disrupted supply chains.

The pandemic disrupted our supply chains that were focused on squeezing out more corporate profits instead of being resilient.

Overseas manufacturing.

With much of our manufacturing overseas, supply disruptions are even more painful and vulnerable to international events.

Corporate greed.

Corporate profits are at record highs and billionaires added $2 trillion to their wealth during the pandemic. Even as oil prices come down, gas prices have stayed high. Big corporations are squeezing working families so Wall Street gets richer.

How do we fix this?

Upgraded infrastructure.

We need to complete repairs and construction to our bridges, roads and ports to make our supply chains stronger and prevent disruptions.

American manufacturing.

We need to bring manufacturing jobs back home to create good union jobs and shorten our supply chains.

Higher wages.

We also need to raise wages so that working people can a ord everyday necessities. Workers organizing can check corporate greed and help build a more fair economy.

What else matters to you? Take the survey.

Use the QR code or the link below to fill out the Union Member Issue Survey and tell us what issues matter to YOU!