The commercial masonry industry is a $31 billion market according to IBISWorld, a leading market research company. Currently there are more than 225,000 people employed in commercial masonry across the United States but women only represent approximately 1.1% of the workforce.
Women in Construction Week is March 6 – 11 and a good time to bring the spotlight on an industry that is traditionally male dominated but has great opportunities for women. Texas-based Dee Brown Inc. would like to see more women enter the field as it offers many types of jobs in the field as well as in their offices.
“Our greatest challenge is finding individuals who want to work as an artisan in a centuries-old craft,” said Robert V. “Rob” Barnes, III, President & CEO of Dee Brown Inc., a 67-year-old stone and masonry company with offices in Dallas, Garland and Houston. “We are looking for men and women who are eager to learn and take pride in their work. We provide on the job training and continue to train our employees for success as they continue to grow.”
With a shortage of labor in the masonry industry, there are great opportunities for women. 23-year-old Lucia Trujillo moved to Dallas with her family from Guanajuato, Mexico when she was 12 years old. The Duncanville resident graduated in 2017 from Justin F. Kimball High School in Oak Cliff and tried several different jobs.
After working at a restaurant the past three years, Lucia was ready for a change. Her four older brothers all worked for DBI and they enjoyed their work.
“I told Lucia we could teach her anything she needed to know if she was willing to work hard,” said DBI superintendent Santos Gorrostieta. “And she has proven herself the past six months. She’s done everything we’ve asked of her. And she’s a quick learner.”
Trujillo has recently worked on the restoration of the Dallas Records Building and the AT&T Whitacre Tower in downtown Dallas.
“There is no typical day,” explained Trujillo. “Some days I’m cleaning or patching. Every day I’m learning something new. I never get bored.”
Trujillo plans to return to school to study architecture.
“Women are not weak,” said Trujillo. “We can do whatever we propose to do.”
Dee Brown Inc. (DBI), a third generation, family-owned stone and masonry business, has shaped the Dallas-Fort Worth landscape over the past seven decades, building many iconic projects locally and nationally. DBI continues to recruit and train the next generation of brick and stone masons.
DBI is looking for experienced mason tenders, stone masons and bricklayers, as well as skilled and unskilled laborers, to work with one of the oldest, most progressive companies in the industry. All that is required is a willingness to work hard and proper documentation.
“We are flexible on interview times if someone has a high interest,” explained Barnes. “Qualified workers can make an appointment to apply at our offices in Garland, South Dallas, and our headquarters in Richardson. We have bilingual staff in our Garland and South Dallas locations.”
Barnes began his career in 1986 working in the field at the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, where he started as a non-skilled laborer and later trained to become a stonemason’s helper. He received a Bachelor’s in Business Management from John Brown University in 1992, and his M.B.A. from Southern Methodist University in 2007.
DBI recently won an international Pinnacle Award for Excellence by the Natural Stone Institute for restoration work on the Hall of State at Fair Park. The company also recently completed work on Restoration Hardware and Weir’s Plaza in the Knox-Henderson area of Dallas.
Founded in Dallas circa 1955, Dee Brown, Inc. is responsible for the masonry and stonework on iconic projects, including the American Airlines Center; Nasher Sculpture Center; George W. Bush Presidential Center; Old Red Courthouse; The Getty Center in Los Angeles; Meyerson Symphony Center; Houston Museum of Natural Science; Dallas Country Club; Hunt Oil Headquarters; Trammel Crow Center; AT&T Stadium and many others. More information about the company can be found at deebrowncompanies.com.