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Q&A: Inside the Mind of a Young Craft Professional

Workforce Development
Did you know that this week in Abu Dhabi, UAE, young people from countries all over the world are competing in a massive skills competition? The WorldSkills Competition is held once every two years and is the largest technical education event in the world. It showcases the value of skills and raises the recognition of skilled professionals worldwide.

This year Luke Dutton is representing the United States of America in the Bricklaying competition. We were curious what drives a student like Luke to become one of the best up-and-coming young craft professionals.

Why did you choose masonry and what do you enjoy about it?

I thought initially it would be an easy class, but I enjoyed it so much that I decided to make it my career. When we complete a project whether it is a home or an apartment building, I can go back and show others what I helped build. I get a lot of satisfaction when I go to past jobs and show my friends and family.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself:

I was actually on my way to moving into college at UNCC to major in mechanical engineering, when I changed my mind and decided to go straight to work in the masonry field. It was the best decision I ever made.

Who inspired you to enter a construction program?

I remember Sam McGee the most in past competitions at the local and state level. He had so much enthusiasm for the masonry industry and young people. My current supervisor, Nick Cardillo has helped me so much in my early career. I also really appreciate the support from Cliff McGee and Greg Huntley who encouraged me as I prepared for this once in a lifetime experience. Also, my training expert, Todd Hartsell, who has helped me so much as I prepared for the WorldSkills Competition.

Would you suggest other students pursue a career in construction and what advice do you have for them?

Yes, definitely. It is a very rewarding career, especially looking back on the work you completed and the skill it takes to build structures as a team of workers.

My advice is to stay determined and work hard in an industry that is very satisfying and gives back financially.

What types of training have you been through?

SkillsUSA Leadership through high school and competing at the State/National SkillsUSA Competitions. On-the-job training I am receiving through McGee Brothers Masonry as I continue advancing in my early career. Training with the US Bricklaying Expert, Todd Hartsell for the past 5 months in preparation to represent the United States at the WorldSkills Competition in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

What has helped you be successful in your program?

The great support of the North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association and how they encourage young people to set goals for their future to become successful.

How do you define craftsmanship?

Excellence in the trade. Taking pride in your work and the final product that stands the test of time.

And finally, what is your dream job?

I hope one day to run my own masonry business, but right now I enjoy what I’m currently doing. I’m learning so much about the masonry industry and I love it!

To learn more about the WorldSkills organization and competition, visit their website at

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