Skilled Trades Careers

Authentic Stonework: Drew Huey, Stone Mason (SkillHero Spotlight)

DateJune 26, 2024
Drew Huey Career Spotlight

From his early days welding in a Career and Technical Education (CTE) program in high school to becoming a stone mason, Drew Huey (@thedivinemason)’s journey is a tale of dedication, continuous learning, and authenticity.

Drew Huey

Drew’s career spans various roles and trades, from working in large construction crews to forming small partnerships with other trade professionals and eventually creating his own masonry business. He has tackled a variety of difficult projects, like building a stone mansion, laying intricate flagstone steps, and repointing historical buildings.

It's tough, but I fell in love with masonry. The most rewarding part is stepping back at the end of the day and seeing what I’ve accomplished. The work was exciting and different every day, and I love the physical and creative aspects of it.

In this skilled trade feature, SkillHero sits down with Drew to delve into how he found his passion in the trades, the challenges he faced, and the lessons he learned along the way. Check out our Instagram post spotlighting Drew. You can also view this Q&A on our LinkedIn account This dialogue aims to enlighten aspiring trade professionals on the opportunities and personal growth the skilled trades offer. Let’s dive in!

Q&A with Drew Huey, Stone Mason

SkillHero: Tell us about your journey in the skilled trades. How did you get started?

Drew Huey: The Warren County Career Center’s welding program was a game-changer for me. It not only provided a practical skill set and sparked my passion for the trades, but also gave me the extra credits I needed to graduate. I didn’t learn the best in a traditional classroom setting, so a hands-on learning environment was a perfect alternative. The skills I was taught opened up opportunities, and toward the end of high school, I began working part-time at a construction company applying the skills that I was learning in my welding program. Once I graduated, it evolved into a full-time welding role.

Drew Huey - Mason - Mansion

But for me, after a few years of welding, I was growing tired of it. I admired the mason crew, often seeing them and other tradespeople coming in and out of the yard while I was stuck somewhere working on a weld. My company allowed me to shadow the masons and soon they started taking me along on jobs. My first job with them was working on a huge stone house. It was tough, but through that project I fell in love with masonry.

SkillHero: What aspects of masonry do you find most rewarding?

Drew Huey - Completed Stonework - Mansion

Drew Huey: Overall, the work is exciting and different every day, and I love the physical and creative aspects of it. The most rewarding part is stepping back at the end of the day and seeing what I’ve accomplished. It’s amazing to see a structure you’ve built from the ground up. Masonry is also a valuable career path because there’s always work—chimneys, foundations, fireplaces. Plus, it’s physically engaging, keeping me fit while continuing to work on my trade.

SkillHero: How did you hone your craft in masonry?

Drew Huey: There was a steep learning curve, especially with measuring and ensuring everything fits perfectly the first time. I remember one of my bosses saying laying stone is easy, but there’s so much more to it—like measuring out so you don’t end up with a weird measurement in the middle, and making sure everything works right.

Stone Fireplace

There’s a lot of math and technique that goes into it, so learning from experienced masons was crucial. My first bosses were tough but taught me a lot about breaking bonds, doing corners, and estimating costs and materials. You can always watch YouTube tutorials, but hands-on experience and learning from seasoned professionals make a huge difference.

SkillHero: What advice would you give to someone interested in masonry?

Drew Huey: Get your hands on some basic tools like a trowel, slicker, and grinder, and start applying for any construction jobs to get your foot in the door. Skilled labor is in high demand. Joining a union as a trainee or apprentice is another great way to start. Getting involved, asking questions, and learning on the job are key.

Drew Huey - Stonework

When considering specialties, repointing (repairing masonry that’s already done) is a great place to start. It gives you a good idea of how something was created, and through fixing it, you’ll gain an understanding of what could’ve been done better in the first place to improve the quality of the stonework.

SkillHero: How has the industry changed since you started?

Drew Huey: Everything has gotten more expensive, and there’s a shift towards using cheaper materials like stick-on stone, which is like molded concrete made to look like stone. While it’s more affordable and in demand, I prefer working with real stone. It’s more authentic, rewarding and durable. Technology has also advanced, making some tasks easier, but the essence of masonry remains the same.

SkillHero: What’s it like running your own business versus working for someone else?

Drew Huey: There’s pros and cons. Running your own business gives you freedom and the potential for higher earnings, but it comes with a lot of responsibilities and stress. You have to manage materials, handle clients, and ensure everything runs smoothly. Working for someone else is more relaxed—you just show up and do your job without worrying about the logistics, but you earn less.

When I am working for myself, it is a huge mental load. You’re responsible for every step of the job, including financial responsibilities like creating estimates and calculating taxes. But working for someone else, all those things are taken care of.

SkillHero: What are your future plans in masonry?

Drew Huey: I aim to get back into running my own business but with a team. Working alone can be tough, and having a team makes the work more enjoyable and efficient. My brother is a carpenter, and we’re talking about starting a construction company, offering a range of services from masonry to carpentry to welding. My future is all about creating a relaxed, fun, and productive work environment.

Inspiring the Next Generation of Tradespeople

SkillHero: Mason

Drew Huey’s journey underscores the value of becoming familiar with the opportunities available in the skilled and craft trades. For aspiring tradespeople, Drew’s experiences offer valuable insights into the rewards and realities of a career like welding or masonry.

At SkillHero, we are dedicated to supporting skilled workers like Drew by providing access to career education, mentorship, and job opportunities. By connecting students and underemployed individuals with a community of experts and employers, SkillHero aims to build fulfilling, lifelong careers in the trades.

Join us in empowering the next generation of skilled professionals!