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International Surface Fabricators Association Announces New Board of Directors

Posted on 18 December 2020 by cradmin

The International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA) announced the results of its election for the association’s 2021 Board of Directors.

Fabricator Member Directors are chosen by association members for a term of three years, with the option to renew for a second consecutive three-year term.

Associate Member Directors are elected by association members for a term of two years, with the option to renew for a second consecutive two-year term.

Board officers are elected by members of the full board of directors.Steve Mast of Precision Countertops in Wilsonville, Ore., was elected by the full board to serve as ISFA President. The position of Immediate Past President will be served by Augie Chavez of GECKO Solid Surface Solutions in San Antonio, Texas. Joe Duszka,of Carolina Custom Surfaces in Greensboro, N.C. will serve as Vice President; Mike Langenderfer, of The Countertop Shop in Monclova, Ohio,will serve as Treasurer; and, rounding out the Executive Committee, Austin Maxwell, of Maxwell Countertops in Farmer City, Ill., will continue to hold the position of Secretary.

Returning to the board, after having served previously more than 5 years ago is Ted Sherritt, of FLOFORM, based in Saskatoon, SK, Canada.

New to the board is Kimberley Homs, of Great in Counters in Providence, R.I. Both of them will serve as Directors moving forward into 2021.

“We are confident that the new board members bring great perspectives, knowledge and enthusiasm to the association,” said ISFA President Steve Mast.

Retaining their positions as Directors are Kelley Montana, of Humbolt Countertops in Eureka, Calif.; Paul “Max” Le Pera,of Global Surfacing Alliance in Cranbury, N.J.; Eric Tryon, founding member of Rockheads Group of Alpharetta, Ga., Laura Grandlienard, of ROCKin’teriors in Raleigh, N.C.; and Rodrigo Valezquez, of INDEKO in Zapopan, Mexico. Also continuing their positions as Associate Member Representatives on the board are Jim Callaghan, of GranQuartz in Norcross, Ga., and Joe Connolly of SASSO USA in Palatine, Ill.

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MIA+BSI Announces 2016 Pinnacle Award Winners

Posted on 03 February 2017 by cradmin

MIA+BSI Pinnacle Awards 2016

Representatives from Polycor, Twin City Tile and Marble, Italmarble Pocai, Tennessee Marble Company, Cutting Edge Stone, and Bonstone with Janina Mathiasz (Veronafiere), 2016 MIA President David Castellucci, and 2016 BSI President Aaron Hicken.

MIA+BSI Natural Stone Institute announced the winners of the 2016 Pinnacle Awards at the MIA+BSI Awards Luncheon at TISE 2017 in Las Vegas. For the 9th year, a Grande Pinnacle Award was presented to the best overall project. The 2016 Grande Pinnacle Award was presented to the six companies responsible for the Minnesota State Capitol renovation: Polycor, Twin City Tile and Marble, Italmarble Pocai, Tennessee Marble Company, Cutting Edge Stone and Bonstone. This marks the first time in the program’s history that multiple companies have been honored with this award.

The Minnesota State Capitol restoration is one of the largest and most complex restoration projects in the United States. The project architects used the same White Georgia marble selected by the building’s first architect, Cass Gilbert, 115 years ago. Success in communication between all stone team members resulted in less than a 1 percent fabrication error rate and kept the stone schedule on time and within budget.

MIA+BSI expressed its thanks to the contributors of the 2016 Pinnacle Awards: MAPEI (Commercial Awards), GranQuartz (Residential Awards), Coldspring (Renovation/Restoration Awards), Vitoria Stone Fair-Marmomac Latin America (Kitchen and Bath of the Year Awards), and Marmomac (Grande Pinnacle Award). The 2016 Pinnacle Awards are as follows:

Pinnacle Awards of Excellence
Renovation/Restoration: Polycor, Twin City Tile and Marble, Italmarble Pocai, Tennessee Marble Company, Cutting Edge Stone and Bonstone for the Minnesota State Capitol Restoration.
Renovation/Restoration: Rugo Stone of Lorton, VA for the UVA Rotunda Renovation in Charlottesville, VA.
Commercial Interior: Camarata Masonry Systems of Houston for Energy Center III of Houston.
Commercial Exterior: JMS Jura Marble Suppliers of Eichstaett, Germany for Talan Towers of Astana, Kazakhstan
Bath of the Year: Ceramic Harmony International, Inc. in Huntsville, Ala. for Mitchell Master Bath in Huntsville, Ala.
Kitchen of the Year: United Marble Fabricators in Watertown, Mass. for Private Residence in Weston, Mass.

Pinnacle Awards of Merit
Renovation/Restoration: Coldspring in Cold Spring, Minn. for St. Francis of Assisi Church inStaunton, Va.
Renovation/Restoration: Ford Marble and Tile in New Athens, Ill. for The Arcade in St. Louis, Mo.
Renovation/Restoration: Vermont Stone Art in Barre, Vt. for 9 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, Mass.
Residential Interior/Exterior: Stonrich Pte Ltd. In Singapore for Peirce Hill Residence in Singapore.
Residential Interior/Exterior: Marmi Natural Stone in Norcross, Ga for Monumental Staircase in Washington, DC.
Commercial Interior: ASI Stone Imports in Chelsea, Ala. for Inspiration Slope/Green Hills Memorial Park in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.
Commercial Interior: Rugo Stone in Lorton, Va. For Hungarian Chapel in Washington, Dc.
Commercial Exterior: Coldspring in Cold Spring, Minn. for National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.
Commercial Exterior: PICCO Engineering in Concord, Ontario, Canada for Aga Khan Park in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Commercial Exterior: KEPCO+ in Salt Lake City, for Indianapolis Temple in Carmel, Ind.
Commercial Exterior: Red Leaf Stone in Vancouver, BC for The Vermeer in Vancouver, BC.

You may also be interested in this article on the recent ISFA Annual Awards.

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NTCA Holds Executive Elections at Recent Annual Meeting

Posted on 03 November 2016 by cradmin

The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) elected new members of the executive board and several new regional directors at its recent annual meeting.

Martin Howard of David Allen Company was elected President. Chris Walker, also of David Allen Company, was named 1st Vice President. Martin Brookes of Heritage Tile and Marble was elected 2nd Vice President. Outgoing President James Woelfel was elected Chairman of the Board, and Dan Welch was named Executive Committee advisor.

The newly elected Regional Directors include Robert Showers (Region 2), Paige Smith (Region 3), Mike Weaver (Region 4), Dirk Sullivan (Region 9), Stan Platt (Region 10) and Sam Bruce (Region 12).

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U.S. Tile Use up, Says Spanish Tile Producers, Cersaie App Released

Posted on 22 September 2016 by cradmin

According to information released from the Tile of Spain group, tile sales are on the rise for Spanish producers. The organization, which is the Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturer’s Association (ASCER) representing 125 manufacturers made the following information available:

“During the first six months of 2016, Spanish Tile producers have exported 1,349 million Euros to 183 countries. Sales have grown by 6.8 percent in comparison with the same period in 2015,” stated the release. “The United States is the fastest growing market this year, whereas sales in the Russian Federation and the Middle East North Africa region have ceased to grow or, in some countries, decreased. The growth of the sales to the United States in the last years has been remarkable. From January to June (2016), the sales grew by 36.6 percent. The United States is the second most important market for the Spanish Ceramic Tile producers (6.9 percent of total sales) behind Europe.”

This information reaffirms what fabricators around the United States have been saying – business is booming. And while most research, such as that conducted by Freedonia or Catalina show tile usage as a countertop surface slowing down in America, plenty is still being used in backsplash applications, as well as bathrooms and flooring.

tos-appIn related news, Tile of Spain launched the Cersaie ’16 App in advance of this month’s show that runs Sept. 26 through Sept. 30 in Bologna, Italy. Once again, the group of Spanish ceramic companies is the largest foreign delegation at the show. The free Cersaie ’16 App, which is available for iOS and Android devices, allows access to all Spanish ceramic tile companies at the event. Participants can search through exhibitors, filter by sector and add their favorite companies to a “must visit” list, which can be shared with colleagues via email.

The Tile of Spain Cersaie ’16 App can be downloaded by clicking here, or at the Google Play or App Store.

We’d love to hear your take on the tile market in the United States or elsewhere. Post a response or email us at [email protected].

You may also be interested in this article on countertop and kitchen trends in 2016.


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ISFA Announces 2016 Annual Award Nominees – Voting Open for Members Only

Posted on 19 September 2016 by cradmin

The International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA) has announced that the nominations for its 2016 Annual ISFA Awards are in and voting for ISFA members in good standing is now open. The nominees this year are as follows:

For the Hall of Fame Award, which is given to the individual who has, in the course of his/her career, made significant contributions to the decorative surfacing industry, and has demonstrated leadership and commitment to the ideals of ISFA, the nominees are: Jon Olson for contributing significantly to the knowledge base, understanding and awareness of surfacing materials such as solid surface and quartz; Charles “Chuck” Sawyer for his years of service to the surfacing industry including as a past executive director of ISFA; and John Lancto for his years of assisting with the growth and advancement of the surfacing industry and standing as a pillar of the surfacing arena on the East Coast and an example for all.

For the Associate of the Year Award, given to an associate member company that in the past year has best exemplified the role of servicing the needs of fabricator member companies, and who has best supported ISFA in all activities, the nominees are: Moraware for going out of its way to expand the amount of solid information available to fabricators through its innovative newsletter, blog, podcast (StoneTalk) and its approach to marketing that works to improve industry standards and quality; and Cosentino for its ongoing support of ISFA events and programming and for supporting the fabrication community.

For the Innovator Award, given to the fabricator member firm or individual who goes outside the box and creates a product or system that enhances the life of the surface fabricator, ArtCor was the only nomination for using its experience and innovative solid surface design and fabrication techniques in Russia to advance the scope and possibilities for the use of solid surface material around the world.

For the Envision Award, given to the manufacturer member that excels in creating something imaginative and special for the surfacing industry, Cosentino was the only nomination for developing Dekton Flooring, which allows traditional countertop fabricators to expand into flooring with a durable, high-quality product that can be used in both interior and exterior applications.

And for the prestigious Fabricator of the Year Award, that is earned by an individual of a fabricator member company that in the past year has best exemplified the ISFA ideals of quality, innovation, character and exemplary service to ISFA and/or the decorative surfacing industry, with overall excellence, the nominees are: Augie Chavez of GECKO SSS for building a successful commercial fabrication business from the ground up, while maintaining a commitment to social standards, such as environmentally friendly practices & training, educating and respecting the company’s staff; Mitch & Sonny Hires Construction Resources (Atlanta Kitchens) for pushing the envelop, developing partnerships and setting the standard in the Southeast for excellence; and ArtCor for using advanced systems and methods to fabricate numerous outstanding solid surface projects making it one of the most innovative solid surface fabricators in Russia and the world.

All ISFA members are encouraged to vote for the 2016 ISFA Awards HERE.

Voting must be done on or before September 29. The winners will be revealed at ISFA’s Annual Conference & Meeting in November.

You may also be interested in this additional information on ISFA’s Annual Conference & Meeting.

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Still Time to Sign up for ISFA/IWF Countertop Symposium Sponsored by SolidSurface.com

Posted on 18 August 2016 by cradmin

There is still time to register for the full-day Countertop Symposium on Tuesday, August 23, at IWF. The event is put on by ISFA and sponsored by SolidSurface.com, and takes place the day before the show floor opens for IWF. The seminar is designed to provide a wealth of information to both established countertop fabricators and those exploring their options in the countertop industry.

Industry experts will share information and insights to help you learn about the products and business of the decorative surfacing industry.

Topics will include:

• Solid Surface Thermoforming
• Profiting from Diversification of your Countertop Shop
• Solid Surface Casework: Why it Makes Sense
• Countertop Industry Outlook: A Forecast of Factors Affecting the Industry
• Q & A opportunities with a distinguished panel of industry experts
The presenters include the owners of successful surfacing companies and others who are well versed in the technology, techniques and business requirements of countertop operations.

The session covers both residential and commercial operations, and encompasses information on solid surface, quartz surfacing, stone, laminate and a variety of other countertop options.

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ISFA Hires New Membership Director

Posted on 27 July 2016 by cradmin

Bryan Stannard, new ISFA Membership DirectorThe International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA) hired industry veteran Bryan Stannard  as its new Membership Director. In this new position, Stannard will take charge of all membership-related activities, including member recruitment and retention, program and meeting development and handling member educational and networking opportunities.

Stannard has been in the surfacing industry since the mid-90s. He previously was surfacing manager for ITW Polymers Sealants North America, commercial manager for DuPont, and strategic account manager for IPS. He has also served three years as an Associate Board Member with ISFA and has been a member of ISFA since its beginning. He has a bachelor’s of business administration degree from The University of Texas San Antonio.

“Bryan has a strong understanding of the surfacing industry and is very familiar with the workings of ISFA,” said ISFA President Adam Albee. “The unique perspective he brings having served on the board of directors and being a long-term member should make him an effective trailblazer for our organization. We are very confident in his ability to provide excellent service to our members and improve the benefits we offer the industry.”

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‘Operation Finally Home’ Celebrates 100th Home Built for Veterans

Posted on 01 June 2016 by cradmin

Operation Finally HomeOperation Finally Home reached a major milestone, having built 100 homes for families in honor of their sacrifices made for the United States. The 100th home was completed in late April for Marine Corps Cpl. Jonathan Dowdell, his wife Rebecca and his daughter, in League City, Texas, right where the non-profit organization’s story began more than 10 years ago. The project would not have been made
possible without the help of local builder Harbour Classic
Builders, the League City community and all of the individual
donors involved in the build. “It is a blessing from above for us to see our 100th family walk through the doors of their new home,” said Dan Wallrath, founder and president of Operation Finally Home. “This
moment reaffirms that with the help of supporters across America, we have the power to impact the lives of veterans by providing them with a means to care for their family and help them through their healing process. We look forward to helping the next hundred men and women.”

Dowdell was injured by an IED explosion in June 2010, while on deployment in Afghanistan. Following the explosion, Dowdell was left with severe injuries, including above-knee amputation of both legs, amputation of his left index finger and right arm deformity as a result of a forearm contracture. He received a Purple Heart for his courageous fight while in combat. Six years later a crowd of supporters, family and friends stood facing Dowdell waiting to witness the moment he cut the ribbon and turned the knob to his family’s brand new home.

To find out how you can help assist the not-for-profit with its mission forward, visit operationfinallyhome.org.

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MIA 2015 Natural Stone Craftsman of the Year Announced

Posted on 04 April 2016 by cradmin

craftsman of the yearRegis Studeny was recently named the MIA 2015 Natural Stone Craftsman of the Year. Studeny began his career as an apprentice at Georgia Marble and Atlas Tile and Marble. Some of his very first projects were on the Library of Congress and the National Gallery of Art. Since joining Rugo Stone in 1993, Studeny’s work has been honored with awards from organizations such as the International Masonry Institute, the Washington Building Congress, the Baltimore Building Congress and the American Institute of Architects.

You may also be interested in this article on the Tile of Spain Award winners.

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OSHA Finalizes New Silica Rule Amid Concern

Posted on 25 March 2016 by cradmin

On March 24, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) finalized the revised federal rule for limiting the exposure of workers to crystalline silica, which is known to cause an array of medical conditions, including silicosis, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

OSHA believes the new rule will save more than 600 lives, prevent 900 cases of silicosis each year and provide a net annual savings of $7.7 billion. However, many individuals and organizations in the construction and building industries say putting more effort into enforcing the old rule would have gone further to protect the health of workers without increasing the cost of construction/renovation.

Provisions of the New Silica Standards

According to the OSHA Silica Web portal and the OSHA Fact Sheet Workers’ Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica: Final Rule Overview, the new rule is comprised of two separate standards: one for the construction industry and one for maritime and general industry. The four key provisions:

  1. The permissible exposure limit (PEL) for crystalline silica has been reduced from 250 micrograms per cubic meter to 50 micrograms per cubic meter in an eight-hour period.
  1. Employers are required to limit worker exposure to silica through engineering controls, personal protective equipment (PPE) and controlled access to areas with high concentrations. In addition, employers must develop a written exposure-control program, and train employees on the hazards of silica and how to limit exposure.
  1. Employers are required to monitor the health of workers with high exposure potential by providing regular medical examinations and information on lung health.
  1. The rule has some flexibility for OSHA to help employers, especially small businesses, comply with the rule and protect workers from silica exposure.

The new rule goes into effect on June 23 of this year (2016), but staggered schedules have been set with various industries to comply with the requirements.

  • Construction: One year – June 23, 2017
  • Maritime and General Industry: Two years – June 23, 2018
  • Hydraulic fracturing (fracking): Five years for engineering controls, two years for all other provisions

OSHA Defends New Rule

OSHA defends the new federal rule for silica exposure limits by stating that approximately 2.3 million workers in the United States are exposed to crystalline silica on the job and that the current PEL is more than 40 years old. According to OSHA, the old limit is based on research from the 1960s, and new evidence has emerged since that time to indicate the old limit does not adequately protect workers. In addition, the administration claims the technology to comply with the rule is readily available and affordable.

“We’ve known for over 40 years that it needed to be strengthened, and it has taken 40 years to strengthen it,” said Secretary of Labor Tom Perez. “Many people who are going to work right now and breathing unacceptable levels of silica dust are in for a brighter future. The science says we need to be at 50, so that’s what the final rule will say.”

“Silica is a killer, and employers need to take the necessary steps so that they can reduce exposure,” continued Perez. “And the good news is that those necessary steps are not going to break the bank. It’s real simple stuff. Get a vacuum. Get water. Those are the key elements of pretty simple compliance.”

Industries Respond

Several industry groups have opposed the new silica ruling since it was first proposed back in 2013, and the largest opponent is a partnership of 25 trade associations called the Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC), which includes the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the Marble Institute of America (MIA) and the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO of the AGC, has expressed his dismay over the new rule speaking on behalf of his entire organization. “Instead of crafting new and innovative ways to get more firms to comply with the current silica standard, which we know would save even more workers each year, administration officials appear to have instead opted to set a new standard that is well beyond the capabilities of current air filtration and dust removal technologies,” stated Sandherr. “Wishing firms could meet this new but unattainable standard will undoubtedly deliver many positive headlines for the administration, but it will be all but impossible for most construction firms to comply with this new rule.”

“We will continue our exhaustive review of this new regulation, consult with our members and decide on a future course of action that will best serve the health and safety of millions of construction workers across the country,” Sandherr concluded.

The NAHB held back its resentment but echoed the sentiments of the AGC. “NAHB has long advocated the importance of the rule being both technologically and economically feasible,” said Ed Brady, chair of the NAHB. “While we’re still reviewing the final rule, we’re concerned that it may not adequately address these issues and take into consideration real-world application.”

Jeff Buczkiewicz, president of the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA), is also concerned about the feasibility of the new OSHA rule. “At first glance, we have observed that a number of provisions that concerned us in the proposed rule have been left in the final rule. This makes us continue to question the final rule’s technological and economic feasibility for the construction industry,” said Buczkiewicz. “In addition, OSHA has added several new provisions not in the proposed rule that we have not had a chance to thoroughly review and consider the impacts. Once we complete our review, we will be able to be more specific about what was released today.”

The exception to the negative response to the new rule among the industry comes from the trade unions. The North America Building Trades Union (NABTU) issued the following response: “North America’s Building Trades Union is pleased OSHA has issued the final silica standard. Put simply, the OSHA silica standard will protect construction workers from getting sick or dying due to silica dust exposure.”

The AFL-CIO is also onboard with the new rule. “We applaud the Obama administration for issuing these lifesaving measures and commend Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels for their tremendous leadership and dedication to bring the silica rules to completion,” read the official AFL-CIO statement. “The labor movement has fought for these standards for decades. We will continue to fight to defend these rules from the certain industry attacks that will come so that workers are finally protected from this deadly dust.”

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