Tina Hart’s career path changed dramatically over a four year period. First she discovered the one kind of work that most interested and motivated her – stone masonry. Then she pursued her new passion from apprenticeship training to Red Seal certification. And finally she established her own business – Galt Stone Masonry – and became her own boss – all in less than four years time!
In December 2007, Tina registered on www.apprenticesearch.com in the hopes of finding work. Her landscape design program at the University of Guelph had exposed her to stone cutting and stonework, and she wanted to learn more about this type of work as an apprentice. Within days, she was hired by Old World Stone in Burlington, and found very quickly that stone restoration and masonry was highly interesting and satisfying work. Tina completed the in-class portions of her apprenticeship at the Ontario Masonry Training Centre in Mississauga and went on to achieve Red Seal certification within three years.
“Apprenticesearch.com changed my life,” said Tina. “It still amazes me that one decision could so dramatically affect my career path. And it continues to be a wonderful career for me. I still feel like I am learning new things with every new project. I’ve been very fortunate.”
Recently Tina set off in a new direction, establishing her own business, Galt Stone Masonry (www.harttstone.com). Specializing in the use of natural stone to restore historical buildings or to install new masonry, her company prides itself on superior craftsmanship and high quality service at affordable prices. Projects of special note include the re-pointing of two 125 year-old Rubble Stone Granite homes in Cambridge and the creation of castable refractory pizza ovens able to withstand temperatures up to 2,300 degrees.
Tina has thrived in a trade generally dominated by males. “How I approach the people I work with is the key,” she said. “There definitely is a place for women in masonry. I approach my work in a professional manner and find that I am respected for what I can do on the job.”
Stonecutting and masonry continue to give Tina great satisfaction. “I recently cut and created six Roman arches and thought to myself – these arches will likely still be standing 400 years from now. Now that’s amazing!”
Hopefully the future success of Galt Stone Masonry will be equally amazing. If new projects and referrals bring enough business for Tina to expand, she hopes to hire an apprentice herself. “It will be good to give something back and let someone else experience some of the satisfaction and joy I have found in this work,” she said.