Archive | August, 2014

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Coverings 2015 to Return to Orlando

Posted on 28 August 2014 by cradmin

Coverings, the tile & stone exhibition, has announced it will return to Orlando, Fla., in 2015. The show will once again include an array of products, conference programming and many show floor features — all for free — April 14 to 17, 2015 at the Orange County Convention Center. With more than a dozen successful shows in the Orlando area, next year is anticipated to be the largest show since 2009, with an overall increase in both square footage and number of exhibitors. In total, the 2015 show is projected to have 23,000 attendees and 1,000 exhibitors across 400,000 net sq. ft. of exhibit space.

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M S International Opens New Distribution Center in Charlotte

Posted on 27 August 2014 by cradmin

M S International, Inc., opened a new distribution center in Charlotte, North Carolina. The new facility will stock a full offering of MSI product lines including natural stone, quartz, porcelain, ceramic and glass tile. The facility features a state-of-the-art showroom with an interactive Kitchen Visualizer, as well as an indoor crane that serves the natural stone and quartz slab center. The slab selection center will showcase more than 250 colors of materials imported from 36 different countries. The Charlotte distribution center has more than 50,000 sq. ft. of space. According to Raj Shah, co-president of the company, “The large investment in a distribution center in Charlotte shows MSI’s commitment to one of the fastest growing regions in the United States. By being local, MSI will better serve customers in the Carolina market.”

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Cambria Introduces 6 New Quartz Surfacing Designs

Posted on 26 August 2014 by cradmin

Cambria Nevern quartzCambria released six new designs in its Marble, Desert and Waterstone collections of quartz surfacing. Following this year’s earlier release of the Galloway design from the Coastal Collection, these additions bring the company’s palette to 109 designs. According to a release by the company, they plan to release more than two dozen additional colors before the end of 2014.

From the Marble Collection, Fairbourne and Ramsey are inspired by the look of marble. Like all Desert Collection designs, Manchester, Dunmore and Kirkstead provide monochrome foundations with subtle sophistication and adaptability. Nevern (pictured here) is part of Cambria’s Waterstone Collection whose designs echo the relationship between sand and rocky shores.

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Fabricator Profile: Schneider Stone

Posted on 25 August 2014 by cradmin

Swing-1Schneider Stone, located in Asheboro, N.C., is a fabricator of custom natural stone and quartz. The company had been operating for six years when Paul Boger and his brother Brian, both employees, purchased the business. About 85 percent of Schneider Stone’s business comes from the residential sector, and the other 15 percent is commercial.

When Brian Boger started working for Schneider Stone, the company had only six to eight employees, but today, Paul Boger says there are more than 40. In addition, Schneider Stone now has four additional locations, all of which are in North Carolina: Chapel Hill, Greensboro, Wilmington and Winston-Salem.

When the Boger brothers first bought the company, they were using an out-of-date software system that was made for glasscutters, and it couldn’t keep up with the amount of business they were bringing in.

When it was apparent that new software was needed, the Bogers looked for a developer that put the same emphasis on customer support that they do. Now, Schneider Stone is able to service all of its customers in a timely manner with a minimal risk for mistakes and misinterpreting design plans.

Schneider Stone supports its local communities and strives to share its success by sponsoring benefits, food drives and more.

Read more of this Fabricator Profile here: Schneider Stone

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Post Tensioned GFRC For Longer Concrete Countertop Spans

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Post Tensioned GFRC For Longer Concrete Countertop Spans

Posted on 22 August 2014 by cradmin

Once again, Mark Celebuski of Trinic, has developed another useful video covering how to avoid sagging with long spans of glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) countertops. The video demonstrates the possibilities of post tensioning using the company’s GFRC Admix, but the theory behind it could certainly work with other admixes with similar properties. Basically, it is done just using some rods purchased at a hardware store. According to the video, very large loads, long spans and extreme cantilevers with GFRC are all possible using these simple tools and techniques.

Here are a couple of other concrete videos put forth by Celebuski and Trinic that we have featured in the past that you may also find of interest.


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MIA Women in Stone Conference to be Held alongside StonExpo East

Posted on 21 August 2014 by cradmin

The Marble Institute of America (MIA) has announced plans for a Women in Stone Connection Conference to be held in conjunction with StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas East in Miami on Oct. 19, 2014. The program features dynamic speakers including Lisbeth Calandrino, Toby Morrison, Dave Mitchell and a panel discussion of key women in the stone industry.

This conference will discuss the process of building relationships with customers, colleagues and co-workers. Each item on the agenda will focus on the opportunities and challenges that exist for women. This leadership summit will focus on the following learning objectives:

  • Learning how to take advantage of assets to make your way in the business world;
  • Reviewing today’s building industry statistics and how key demographic factors affect customers’ decisions to buy;
  • Discussing factors that affect women in the stone industry, including working with family members and managing men; and
  • Assessing personal leadership styles and finding out how to present information about ideas, products and/or services in a manner that is most engaging to those with a different interactive style than your own.

“The Connection Conference is the first education event held by Women In Stone,” said Sarah B Kelly, administrator of the MIA initiative, “This event will help serve our primary goals to recruit, retain and advance women in the stone industry.”

Women in Stone member, Jacqueline Tabbah of International Stoneworks in Houston added, “The Women In Stone Connection Conference is an excellent opportunity for professional women in this industry to learn and network with one another. I am thrilled to be part of the panel discussion and share my point of view with this prestigious group of ladies.”

For a complete schedule of events and to register for the Women In Stone Connection Conference event, visit

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Federal Brace Adds Satin Silver to Countertop Support Options

Posted on 20 August 2014 by cradmin

Federal Brace satin silver supportsFederal Brace now offers a variety of its countertop supports in a new Satin Silver color. The new Satin Silver color is applied through a durable powder coat finishing process. Numerous support style options are available in the new color, including post supports, corbels and floating supports, are available.

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Domain Offers New Crestwood Fireclay Sinks

Posted on 19 August 2014 by cradmin

domain crestwood fireclay sinksDomain Industries is now offering artisan-crafted Crestwood Fireclay sinks. Fireclay is a unique type of ceramic that requires a specialized high-temperature firing process to fuse the glaze to the clay, improving the strength and integrity of the material to resist staining, chipping and fading. The result is a very hard and durable sink with an appearance that is suitable in both traditional and modern kitchens. The sinks are currently available in five styles, with three apron farmhouse varieties and two undermount styles.

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Time Management

Posted on 18 August 2014 by cradmin

By Dr. Tony Alessandra

Time is nature’s greatest force. Nothing can stop it; nothing can alter it. Unlike the wind, it cannot be felt. Unlike the sun, it cannot be seen. Yet, of all nature’s forces, time has the most profound effect on us.

Time remains constant, but our perception of it changes. When we focus on it, it slows down. When we turn our backs on it, it speeds up. Our illusion makes us think it is something tangible. We arrange it, divide it up, give some to our friends. Sometimes we feel it is precious; at other times we waste it. We give it the power to heal when we say, “Time heals all wounds.” It can also kill, as when we live stressful lives because we never seem to have enough time. On a day-to-day basis, nothing is defined and redefined in our minds as much as time. It’s a wonder we can still recognize it!

Herein lies our power: Because things are as we perceive them, we can choose to see time as a manageable commodity and live our lives according to that assumption. This is one of the secrets of successful people – they work at shaping those things that others think are uncontrollable.

Efficient Vs. Effective

In discussing time management, some people argue, “What we need is to be more efficient with our time!” Other people claim, “Let’s not worry so much about efficiency; let’s be more effective!”

Efficiency means doing things right. Effectiveness means doing the right things. Working efficiently is doing things with the least amount of wasted effort. Efficiency gets you from point A to point B via a straight line. Inefficiency goes in circles. Effectiveness means doing the things that yield results.

Many people, when learning about time management, ask the question, “Which should I work on first, efficiency or effectiveness?” In theory and practice, the best answer is to improve your effectiveness first. It’s much better to aim your sights at the result than to worry about the process. Too often, we get bogged down in the means and lose sight of the end.

Eliminating Time Wasters

Time wasters come from the people around you as well as from within yourself. Some time wasters are unavoidable but reducible nonetheless. Identify the most frequent sources of time wasters in your day. As a means of comparison, we’ve included a list of them here. Many researchers find the same handful at the top of their lists, which indicates that they are problems common to all of us:

  1. Scheduling less important work before more important work
  2. Starting a job before thinking it through
  3. Leaving jobs before they are completed
  4. Doing things that can be delegated to another person
  5. Doing things that can be delegated to modern equipment
  6. Doing things that actually aren’t a part of your real job
  7. Keeping too many, too complicated or overlapping records
  8. Handling too wide a variety of duties
  9. Failing to build barriers against interruptions
  10. Allowing conferences and discussions to wander
  11. Conducting unnecessary meetings, visits and phone calls
  12. Chasing trivial data after the main facts are in
  13. Socializing at great length between tasks

Setting Priorities

When setting your priorities, there are two famous laws to remember. The first is Parkinson’s Law. It states that work tends to expand to fill the time allotted for its completion. Parkinson’s Law makes setting priorities twice as important. If you don’t know what your priorities are, your other work will expand to fill in the extra time. It will take longer for you to accomplish less.

The second law of note is Pareto’s Principle. Pareto’s Principle, in this situation, states that 80 percent of your results come from 20 percent of your efforts. Another way to look at it is that 80 percent of your business comes from 20 percent of your clients.

Using a To-Do List

A list of things to do for each day and week is a valuable aid to managing your time. A to-do list organizes your thinking and planning onto one form in the least amount of time with the maximum amount of efficiency. Such a list is especially helpful if it coincides with the record keeping you already do for your company. After a short time, you will find yourself handling a greater volume of work without increasing your stress. You’ll simply become more efficient.

As we mentioned before, Parkinson’s Law states that work expands to fill the time allotted for it. Your to-do list should, therefore, define a specific amount of time, if possible, for each activity. This will keep work from expanding.

Your activities should be listed in order of priority. Work on high priorities first. In listing the activities, it is helpful to spell out the result as well as the process. Stating when, where and what you’re going to do increases your chances of doing it successfully.

As the day goes by, check off completed activities and make any notes that seem relevant. In the evening, make out a new to-do list for the next day and include any activities you couldn’t complete the day before. Always save your to-do lists for future reference and evaluation.

Keeping Records of Time Use

The experts in time management all agree that the more records you keep, the more you will be aware of the opportunities for improving your use of time.

Through systematic record keeping, you will learn, among other things, which tasks you’re having trouble completing. You can actually chart your performance to get a graphic illustration of your strengths and weaknesses.


“Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today,” my mother has said ever since I can remember.

Procrastination is like a virus. It creeps up on you slowly, drains you of energy and is difficult to get rid of if your resistance is low. Procrastination is a close relative of incompetence and a first cousin to inefficiency, which is why their marriage is taboo. These suggestions will help you conquer the virus:

  • Give yourself deadlines. In moderation, pressure motivates. Extreme pressure debilitates. Set appointments, make commitments, write out your goals and otherwise develop the determination to succeed.
  • Don’t duck the difficult problems. Every day we are faced with both difficult and easy tasks. Tackle the difficult ones first so that you can look forward to the easy ones. If you work on the easy ones first, you might expand the time that they take in order to avoid the difficult ones waiting for you.

Many people put off difficult or large tasks because they appear too huge to tackle in a reasonable timeframe. They feel that if they start and complete the large task at one sitting, it will prevent them from accomplishing any of the other tasks they have to do on that day. The answer to this problem is to break all large or difficult tasks into their smaller subparts. Then, you can do each of the subparts of the larger project over a series of days, if appropriate.

  • Don’t let perfectionism paralyze you. This is a problem that many salespeople have when writing proposals. They sit with pad and pen in hand waiting for the right words to come out. What they are doing is avoiding the process of writing. Be prolific in your activities. You can always go back later and polish those things you’re unhappy with. Better yet, you can delegate the polishing to someone else.

Because humans are so susceptible to procrastination, you must work at building up your immunity to it. Effective action is the best medicine.

Handling Paperwork

Try to answer any correspondence immediately. After you’ve read the letter, write your reply on the back and give it to your office administrator to type. An even more efficient method is to record your correspondence and leave the rest to your administrator, if you have one.

The other mail you receive should be dealt with in the same way. Act immediately on whatever you can. If you receive a magazine, peruse it and clip out articles you intend to read. Try categorizing your reading material into three groups: articles you must read soon, articles you should read and articles that would be nice to read. Clipping the article makes it more accessible.

Naturally, there will be more than mail accumulating on your desk. Adopt a policy of picking up paperwork only once. This means you should not look at something and put it back down where you found it. It’s much wiser to take some form of action on the item. Decide what to do with it and move it along to the next step toward completion.

Telephone Calls

The telephone is, of course, one of life’s greatest time savers. It saves time over writing letters, making trips and meeting with people. It can also be a great time waster. To avoid spending more time than necessary in calling people back, follow these suggestions:

  • Determine the best time of day for you to return calls.
  • Prepare information in advance when you call back. You can pull files and gather documents you’ll need to answer questions. This is obviously a time saver to you.
  • Curtail the length of your calls when and where appropriate.
  • Be organized. List the questions or topics you wish to discuss and have them in front of you.

Relaxation and Stress Reduction

In our goal-oriented, hyper-motivated, moneymaking workday, we often deny ourselves much-needed periods of relaxation. Like a high-powered sports car, we can be very impressive at high speeds but sacrifice distance, efficiency and physical integrity in the process. Our bodies and minds are designed to work well if they are not overtaxed. Frequent periods of relaxation and stress reduction are important to the longevity of our bodies and minds.

“The person who doesn’t take time for relaxation will be obliged sooner or later to make time for illness,” said John Wanamaker.

All too often, the sacred coffee break is abused rather than maximized. People become focused on the process rather than the desired result of the break. A coffee or lunch break should be used as a time to relax so that you are more effective when you return to work. The relaxation you seek during a break should achieve three things:

  1. It should provide distraction and get your mind off the job.
  2. It should alleviate tension.
  3. It should be short enough not to severely interfere with your workday but long enough to provide you with some benefits.

There is no denying the importance of relaxation despite it appearing unproductive.

Change Your Bad Habits

“Habit, my friend, is practice long pursued that at the last becomes the man himself,” said Evenus in the 5th century B.C.

Managing your time efficiently and effectively will require some changes in your behavior and thinking. Those changes require practice.

Giant strides, when looked at closely, are made up of many small steps. In overhauling your management of time, you, too, need to take small steps. Start today doing those things that will make you a better manager of your time. After you’ve improved in one area, choose another and so on.

How about taking a moment, right now, to list the ideas you’d like to implement? Review this article and circle or highlight the items of most immediate value to you. Then put them on tomorrow’s to-do list for action. Remember this: If it is not affecting your actions, it is doubtful you believe it.


About the Author

Dr. Tony Alessandra, CSP, CPAE has authored 13 books, recorded over 50 audio and video programs and delivered over 2,000 keynote speeches since 1976.  Dr. Alessandra is recognized by Meetings and Conventions Magazine as “one of America’s most electrifying speakers.”

Copyright©  Tony Alessandra. All right reserved. For information, contact FrogPond at email [email protected].

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Additional Options Available for Neolith Sintered Compact Surface

Posted on 15 August 2014 by cradmin

Neolith Timber sintered compact surfaceNeolith Sintered Compact Surface, manufactured by Spanish company TheSize, is available in 14 full-body Colors in addition to 20 digital designs, as well as new sizes. The 14 full-body colors carry the color and pattern through the entire thickness of the slab. These colors range from bright yellow, green and blue, to deep browns and stone-inspired greys. Full-body colors allow for thin countertops with no need for mitering. For professionals looking for ornate detail, slabs created with digital designs uses technology that prints intricate designs onto the Neolith product, with design options ranging from the industrial shine of the Iron collection to the detailed wood-grain design of Timber 9pictured here). This technology was also used for the newly released Classtone collection, which has a realistic look of marble.

In addition to the color options, the material has a new format size of 125 in. by 59 in. and a thickness of 1/2 in. The new sizes are in addition to the original sizes of 144 in. by 48 in. and thicknesses of 1/8 in. and 3/16 in. The new format and thickness is created through TheSize’s proprietary Sinterization technology that exposes minerals and other raw materials to extremely high pressure and temperature (more 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit), resembling the way natural stones are created over thousands of years, in just hours. The process gives the product outstanding physical and mechanical properties in terms of compaction, resistance and durability. The upgraded Sinterization technology is made possible through a recent expansion of the company’s production facilities. A second line allows for segmentation of specific formats and thicknesses, improving efficiencies and tripling the yearly production capacity, resulting in increased productivity shorter lead times.

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