For his dedication to the masonry industry and work on the Vision 2020 initiative, Masonry Construction has selected Tom Daniel, 56, as its Industry Leader of the Year.

Daniel bought GBC Concrete and Masonry Construction Inc. in Lake Elsinor, Calif., in 1993. “It was a small company,” he recalls. “We had a good customer base, and with my background with national contractors, it started growing.” Sales increased from $2 million when he bought it to $32 million just before the recent recession.

But while business grew and construction was strong, there was a worrisome undercurrent. Serving on the board of directors of the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA), Daniel and his colleagues talked about masons' challenges. These included a loss of market share and the lack of opportunities for mason contractors to showcase their products and building materials.

“We saw that our market share was dwindling,” he recalls. “A lot of it was from competitors telling designers that masons didn't have enough men to do the work, the quality of construction was not there, and that they could build faster and cheaper.”

So Daniel and others studied markets where masonry was strongest: the Midwest and Texas. “We looked at those areas to see what was different,” he says. “We found that folks had gone to the communities and their city council meetings to see why they were picking those products. A lot of it was based on durability, aesthetics, and life-cycle costs. Looking at this, we asked how we could get our market share back. That's how Vision 2020 was created.”

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