As the school year comes to a close, summer break is on the horizon, and many students begin the search for a summer job.
For Sixth Former Lucio Acchione, this search doesn’t have to go beyond his own home.
Acchione’s father, Mr. Ross Acchione, runs a stone masonry company, “Ross Construction Co.,” which renovates and restores historic buildings.
The roles of a stonemason range from an “apprentice” to a “master mason,” and the skills in “setting” and “pointing” grow as one moves up the ranks. Since the company’s staff is rather small—consisting of Mr. Acchione and two other masons, along with Lucio when he’s working—everyone does a little bit of everything. In general, an apprentice is responsible for mixing the cement and carrying the stones, but it often takes a trained eye to see where each stone goes and to make sure everything stays level. A Master Mason’s roles mainly revolve around pointing, matching colors, setting stone, and problem solving. There is quite a lot of talent, math, and creativity in a Master Mason’s job.
Pointing, for example, involves laying mortar between bricks at joints.
“Master Masons also do intricate pointing work using very specific tools,” Lucio Acchione said. “Regular pointing work is something like that out there [referring to a joint on the brick wall outside the library] but there’s a lot of artistic ways in which you can change that up.”
The next responsibility for a Master Mason is matching the colors, making sure the new work is seamless to the existing stone.
“When you’re redoing a house, you have to match its color—you have to make it look old, so we use dyes, and there’s actually quite a bit of chemistry involved,” Acchione said.
Lastly, setting the stone is the act of physically placing it onto cement, using a rubber mallet to hit them into place and make everything level. These all seem like daunting tasks when considering that many of the buildings being worked on have held their own for hundreds of years before needing repair.
Acchione admitted that he has set a few stones, but most of them end up getting redone.
Acchione says the company has worked on many properties nearby.
“The closest building that I personally have worked on is near here on Fishers Road, where we were creating a driveway out of these large pebbles called river rocks. We were setting hundreds of stones about the size of your hand into a cement bed. The company is heavily involved with the Main Line and Center City. We do a lot of work on Delancey Street also.”
For Accchione, working with his father has its pros and cons.
“For one I can basically take off whenever I want. That’s because I live with him. I’m comfortable telling him, unlike with a traditional boss where it’s pretty different. But he also expects a lot more from me compared to a traditional boss because he knows my capabilities better,” Acchione said. “He definitely doesn’t accept my laziness.”
In college, Acchione plans on studying civil engineering. He also has a sister, Giulia, who is in her final year of graduate school studying architecture. Giulia has also worked for the company as an architect. The founding name of the company “Joseph Acchione & Son” initially consisted of Mr. Acchione and his father. Lucio Acchione commented on a potential “Ross Acchione & Family.”
“My sister is really considering it. It would be a big change, since right now it’s a restoration company, and it would probably change into a construction company. I’m planning to go into engineering as well, so I think there’s a big possibility we will,” Acchione said.
“I’ve learned a lot about masonry,” Achione said, “but I’ve really learned more about my appreciation for nature and being able to work outside—and honestly my appreciation for the quality of life that I have.”
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