Jennifer Freiland (left), Clem Hellmann’s daughter, and Mike Gray, at the Arizona Masonry Council 2023 annual meeting in Flagstaff.

PHOENIX, ARIZ. (August 22, 2023) – The Arizona Masonry Council honored longtime industry icon Mike Gray with the Clem Hellmann Leadership Award at its 2023 annual meeting in Flagstaff.

The Clem Hellmann Leadership Award recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to the masonry community through leadership and involvement in initiatives that have resulted in industry-wide impact and is representative of the highest level of leadership and involvement.

Gray recently retired as Safety Director for Sutter Masonry and Levake Concrete.

“Mike has dedicated his Saturdays for many years to the apprentices and the apprenticeship program, about 40 Saturdays every year,” said Arizona Masonry Council Executive Director Dawn Rogers. “The knowledge of the trade, work ethic, and skills that Mike brings every week has been priceless to our apprentices. His easy-going personality and love for his craft are a big part of his success with young people.

“Whether it’s the fastest trowel or a high school regional competition you’ll find Mike. He’s there the day before helping with the floor coverings, stocking block, brick. The day of you’ll find him making mortar, running mud, cleaning constantly, judging, helping with tear down and clean up until the last broom sweep,” Rogers added.

Gray’s family moved to Arizona in 1953. At an early age he learned the trade from his father, worked for his father at William Gray Masonry, alongside his three brothers. In 2002, he became involved with the apprenticeship program and eventually became an AMC Apprenticeship Instructor.

The award is named after Clem Hellmann, who had a successful 30-year career in the masonry industry. He and his wife Mary Jo entered the masonry industry in September 1987 with the purchase of Quality Block Company in Phoenix.

As a member of the Arizona Masonry Contractors Association (AMCA), he not only supported AMCA financially but also gave of himself. He volunteered many hours to the masonry industry serving as a long-standing AMCA Board Member and Arizona Masonry Guild (AMG). He also served as State Chair for the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA).

He is credited with helping producers and contractors understand that non-masonry products/systems are the true “competition” and was the unifying force that brought members together to work for the good of the industry. Hellmann was a strong supporter of our industry’s workforce development efforts.

While serving on the AMCA Apprenticeship Committee, he was involved with the move of the AMCA’s apprenticeship program to the East Valley Institute of Technology, where it is still in place today. He also served as the Chairman of the Advisory Board for the Construction Tech Class at EVIT. In 2007 he was presented with AMCA’s Leader of the Year Award. In turn, AMCA established the Clem Hellmann Leadership Award in his memory and to honor his contributions to the industry.

About the Arizona Masonry Council

The mission of the Arizona Masonry Council is to create significant and lasting positive change for the Arizona masonry industry and to reinforce that our systems provide the premier building envelope solution in the minds of public and private owners, developers, architects, engineers, general contractors, and the general public. The Council and its members have played a significant role in economic development, new product and construction standards, enhanced safety policies and increased energy efficiency of masonry products. It has also been on the forefront of developing and implementing statewide education programs for the professional community as well as students from college to the high school level. The Arizona Masonry Council can be reached at (602) 265-5999 or visit