Masonry Preservation Group Inc.
Since 1985 Masonry Preservation Group Inc. (MPG) has been a trusted name in exterior masonry restoration. Located in Merchantville, New Jersey, MPG was founded by Brent Schopfel. Over the company’s 30 years in business, MPG has worked on projects involving masonry cleaning, repointing and recaulking, as well as replacing brick, stone and terra cotta. MPG also specializes in the preservation and restoration of unique buildings and monuments, including historic buildings, parking garages, religious structures and bridges.
Brent Schopfel, founder and president of MPG, has led the company to become recognized in the Delaware and Lehigh valleys as a leader in restoration and preservation. Through the work that MPG has performed, the company has won more than 35 historical restoration awards. In the early 2000s, MPG worked on a project that involved the Princeton Chapel in Princeton, New Jersey. The completion of this job earned MPG the Best Stone Restoration Award for the United States as well as numerous New Jersey awards. The company also won the International Masonry Union Award for Best Restoration Project for its work on Logan Hall, a stone building at the University of Pennsylvania.
Schopfel refers to Princeton Chapel project as one of his personal favorites. “We also did the stained-glass windows in addition to the stone work,” says Schopfel. “We had five studios working simultaneously in order to meet the schedule.” The project was completed in less than two years and was conducted while the building remained occupied.
In 2009 MPG completed a concrete restoration job on the Ocean City Music Pier in Ocean City, New Jersey. Dating back to 1928, this concert hall was constructed for a community that had recently lost a large portion of the boardwalk to a fire in 1927. Due to the fact that the support structure of the pier spends half of the day completely submerged in the Atlantic Ocean, the historic Ocean City Music Pier had experienced significant concrete deterioration. MPG performed partial and full-depth beam and column repairs while the four outmost columns were rebuilt due to the amount of deterioration.
A solid team
The skilled craftsmen at MPG are selected from the Local Craft Unions in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and the Delaware region. The entire crew is hand-picked workers, many with more than 20 years of experience in masonry restoration, preservation and maintenance. With a high employee retention rate at MPG, the company’s craftsmen have a combined average of 15 years with the company. All MPG team members are required to stay current with the latest application and restoration products, as well as receive recurring safety training courses, allowing MPG to ensure a superior level of quality craftsmanship.
While MPG performs a majority of its work in-house, the company will hire subcontractors for jobs such as pulling, cleaning and reinstalling stained glass windows. MPG maintains a solid network of subs on standby as needed. “There is a limited availability in that type of market,” Schopfel explains. “That’s why we had to use five different studios for the Princeton Chapel project. There was so much work that none of the studios could handle it alone and keep up with the schedule.”
MPG’s work is not limited to high profile Historic Preservation Projects. The company also works on many different types of private and public properties throughout the Delaware Valley. With the passage of the façade inspection bill in Philadelphia, many of the high-rise structures required extensive masonry repair and restoration. Working on tall building in a crowded Center City environment added many complexities to an already difficult job. With MPG’s commitment to excellence and safety and their problem-solving abilities, their conversion to the successful completion of these projects was accomplished with relative ease.
While the future of MPG is bright, Schopfel is considering retirement within the next year. “It definitely creates some anxiety because I’ve been wrapped up in this business my entire professional life,” says Schopfel. “The company will be sold internally. Within my core staff there are people who have been here 25-plus years.”
With a solid generation of ownership ready to step in, Masonry Preservation Group Inc. will continue to build upon the success built by founder Brent Schopfel.
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