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March 20, 2022

TCL Episode #211 – Italian Masonry Family – Live, Love, Laugh and Lay Bricks!

Show Notes

No one can deny the value of masonry in construction. The masons are the foundation artists that work hard to make your property durable. Episode 211 of “The Construction Life” has Italian Masonry Family. The clan bridges the past and present with their interesting stories, and experiences. The guests include the senior masons, Tony, Mario and the OG Ermete, and the young men meant to take over the empire they built, Danny and Mike from Construction Dosca Inc.

Tony started as a chef/baker and went into construction. Ermete arrived in Canada in 1967 and got the job in 4 days. Tony came in 70’s and Mario arrived in 80s, they worked really hard to get where they are today. They might retire in a few years, but they are leaving their business in good hands!

Here are few takeaways from this episode coming from decades of experience.

Learning = No Regrets

Tony explains when he came, he worked 6 months for free! However, he has no regrets because of the learning he got. However, when discussed it is seen that the younger generation is more interested in money than learning. No matter how many months or years you spend in school, the time you spend in field or the actual jobsite matters the most. There are examples of people who attended schools but don’t know how to walk on a scaffold. They are given target to do 100 bricks in three days, which is not practical.

The old masons tell us how they used to mix cement by hand, carried bricks on their shoulders in a box, and made very little money. They used to earn 350 bucks for 1000 bricks (35 cents). Now they earn around $2-$3 per brick.

A Real Team

You can sense from the coordination and chemistry of the guests, how they must be at the workplace. All of them share their experience working with each other, and you can sense how much they appreciate each other. Ermete appreciates Mike for his excellence in his work, while Mike appreciates Danny for making sure everyone who works with him is happy and loved. They have a very friendly work-environment despite the generation gap, they understand each other, and thus there are no differences among them.

You have to create a work environment at the jobsite, where everybody working thinks of the business as their own. They work together, earn together, face troubles together and make a real team

Passion & Perfection

The Dosca Family loves what they do. They work hard and despite the workload they are always happy. The experts explain why there is no error of margin when it comes to masonry. Ermete told how he never got hurt while working. A mason is building the foundation and everything needs to be perfect. To achieve perfection in any profession, you need to love your work, which is evident from their work and attitude and you can sense their passion while listening the podcast.


When asked about the Problems today as compared to the past.

  • Irresponsibility – How the new generation is irresponsible towards their work
  • Don’t want to learn – How they are reluctant to learn
  • Passion missing – How passion is missing in the new generation
  • Phone – Ermete told an interesting story where a boss used to take phone of all his workers, and gave them phone on lunch time so they can catch up. While it looked, they were eating their phones and not their lunch!

CCQ – Unrealistic expectations

The episode also highlighted issues relating to CCQ in Quebec, basically a legal construction mafia. How a contractor can get a ticket if he is seen carrying the bricks, you can’t cross other trades and scopes. A new worker asked for 4-hour wage, even though it was a rainy day and he has not worked even an hour. Even if they don’t know how to do it, starting off with a crew you have to pay the minimum 150 hours. The rules are not justified when you look at it from the contractor’s point of view.

Comfort vs Hardwork

The guests discussed with Manny how the younger generation is living in comfort and they are not worried for their survival as people in the old times. They have place to live, food to eat, parents to support, cars to drive, money to party and so on. Parents want to make lives of their children easier than theirs. They want to save them from the struggles they faced in the past. But they don’t realize their children don’t crave for hard work and learning, instead they just focus on money.