Mastic asphalt is one of the few construction professions still highly regarded as a ‘craft trade’ and there are many time-served mastic asphalt applicators working across the industry. Indeed, the board of the Mastic Asphalt Council (MAC) is a perfect example of the vast experience acquired in the industry and several of the board members started off their career with a mastic asphalt apprenticeship.

MAC is the trade association for the mastic asphalt industry in the UK. Representing more than 70 companies operating in the sector, MAC members include mastic asphalt manufacturers, specialist application contractors and associated suppliers of equipment and services.

Such is the experience acquired within the MAC board that eight board members have accumulated a grand total of 278 years’ mastic asphalt experience between them. With an average of almost 35 years’ experience each, there are even three MAC board members who have totted up over 50 years’ service in the mastic asphalt sector – Malcolm Grinstead, Keith Collins and Terry Grandi.

Malcolm Grinstead took up the position as MAC Director in 2017, replacing the council’s long-serving Director and Secretary, John Blowers, who formed the backbone of the Mastic Asphalt Council for more than two decades before he sadly passed away in 2016.

Malcolm brought a wealth of technical expertise and experience to his role as head of MAC, having worked in the mastic asphalt sector for 47 years. He amassed 26 years’ service with BriggsAmasco covering all aspects of contracting, in various roles as Estimator, Contracts Supervisor and Contracts Manager. When Malcolm first joined, he was employed by Amasco and not long after the company became BriggsAmasco.

Malcolm said: “The ethos with Amasco was that if you were going to work with the company’s products you went out on site for six months to learn the basics of installing the products. This was a great learning curve, and I became fascinated with mastic asphalt. I wanted to learn more about how to lay and work with the product and to communicate to others just how good the material is.”

Malcolm transferred to Permanite Asphalt (now IKO PLC) who were all part of the same organisation, to work on design and specification for mastic asphalt and ended his career with them in January 2017 as Product Manager for Mastic Asphalt, having been employed by the same organisation for 47 years. He subsequently joined MAC.

The present Chairman of MAC is Keith Collins of Bell Asphalte who also has the most experience in the industry. Keith has worked in the sector for 53 years, having started off his career as an apprentice spreader back in 1967. He finished his City and Guilds apprenticeship with first class and started up Bell Asphalte in 1971 following his apprenticeship. Keith is Managing Director of Bell Asphalt and joined MAC almost 25 years ago in 1996.

Fellow MAC board member Terry Grandi has almost as much experience as Keith, having had a 52 year mastic asphalt career so far. Terry is Director of Oxford Asphalt, a company originally founded by his grandfather in 1937. Terry’s father Jack left school at 14 and followed in his own dad’s footsteps working for the family business until the grand age of 78! Terry first went to the Brixton School of Building in 1968 and Terry’s son Richard even completed a mastic asphalt apprenticeship to NVQ Level 3. Terry gradually came off-site and went full time in the office in 1995. He is still working part-time for Oxford Asphalt.

Also on the MAC board is John Chapman who has accumulated over 40 years’ experience in the mastic asphalt sector. John started work as a labourer for Abbey Wood Roofing at the age of 21 before being promoted to the position of potman the following year.

John quickly started picking up the tools on the roof before he began an apprenticeship. He moved onto Natural Rock until the company’s collapse before joining Fraden Limited. John spent 12 years at Fraden until he became a mastic asphalt spreader at Infallible Systems. He was quickly promoted to Supervisor and occupied a number of management roles across various fields including contracts, operations and business development. In 2015 Infallible Systems was subject to a buyout offer which was accepted and John is now Director and Owner of Infallible Systems.

Another MAC board member who started his career with a mastic asphalt apprenticeship is Julian Coulter of Sussex Asphalte. Julian started at Sussex Asphalte as an apprentice and he now owns the business, having acquired 38 years’ experience. Dave Maginnis, Managing Director of BriggsAmasco, is another MAC board member. Dave has almost 40 years’ experience in the industry and occupied a number of positions at BriggsAmasco before being made Managing Director. He was first Contracts Administrator before being made Contracts Supervisor, Project Manager, Assistant Managing Director and then his current role heading up the company.

Marcus Lee, Sales Director of IKO PLC, is also on the MAC board. Marcus has worked in the flat roofing manufacturing industry for the past 17 years. He was appointed Area Sales Manager for Permanite Mastic Asphalt in 2003, eventually becoming Commercial Manager in 2014 with responsibility for mastic asphalt. The following year he became the Sales Director responsible for mastic asphalt.

MAC board member Jason Shields of Premier Mastic Asphalt started off his career at the age of 18 when he joined Ladock Mastic Asphalt as an apprentice attending Vauxhall College in London.

After that company folded, he went to work for the only other mastic asphalt company in Cornwall before deciding to go it alone as J. W Shields undertaking all types of property maintenance and roofing.

Jason said: “At the end of the day roofing was my passion and this led me to start up Premier Mastic Asphalt in 2000 undertaking both managerial and manual roles and employing teams of spreaders and labourers. One of our apprentices attended Hackney College and in 2013 was awarded Cornwall Construction Apprentice of the Year.  The first mastic asphalt apprentice to come out of Cornwall in over 20 years which is something I am very proud of.”

Jason was already a member of MAC when he was approached by the late John Blowers in 2015 to join the board knowing how passionate he is about the trade and his approach to its continued future in the construction industry. Other long-serving members of the MAC board include Ian Deacon of Rio Asphalt and Steve Taylor of Guaranteed Asphalt.

MAC Director Malcolm Grinstead said: “It’s remarkable how much experience the MAC board has in the mastic asphalt sector. With so many board members starting off their careers as apprentices, it really does display the importance of attracting young people into the sector. We need to communicate that it offers a career for life and can be a very rewarding profession. We urgently need more apprentices to carry on the craft of mastic asphalt and at MAC we’re heavily involved in creating a new Trailblazer apprenticeship framework.”

Photograph (Pictured from left to right): Members of the MAC board – Malcolm Grinstead, Julian Coulter, Marcus Lee, Keith Collins, Ian Deacon, Dave Maginnis and Terry Grandi

This article featured within the July edition of RCi Magazine – click here to take a look.