The official blog of the Marble Institute


Entries for month: February 2012

MIA Introduces New CEU Course on Natural Stone Thin Veneer

February 28, 2012 · 5 Comments

Following nine months of extensive work, a MIA CEU subcommittee (chaired by MIA Past President Scott Lardner, Rocky Mountain Stone) introduced a new CEU course on Natural Stone Thin Veneer. This one-hour class is designed to provide you with a basic understanding of a relatively new application (thin veneer) of a product (natural stone). Explore natural stone's beauty and durability on structures from around the world. Learn the history and best uses for different types of stone veneer, how thin stone is produced, and common application techniques and opportunities. This course is part one of a two-part natural stone thin veneer series.

Learning Objectives include:
1. Explore the history and best uses for different types of veneer.
2. Learn how natural stone thin veneer is made and what product variations are available.
3. Discover the advantages over anchored veneer and manufactured stone.
4. Learn about application techniques and opportunities.

This course is approved by AIA, ASID, IDC, IDCEC, IIDA, and ASLA.

Lardner commented, "it was a great collaberative effort with nine prominent companies involved. This CEU is the sixth class introduced by the MIA to expand the educational opportunities available to the design community about natural stone." 

In 2011 the MIA provided over 140 CEU classes across the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia. To learn more, go online to:

5 CommentsTags: ceu

Texture & Color Mark Top Surfacing Choices

February 23, 2012 · 4 Comments

When it comes to countertops, creativity is back in vogue. While just a few years back, the trend seemed to favor safe options chosen with resale in mind, today's hottest countertops are showing more colors, textures and patterns, as well as some creative mixing and matching of materials to create more personalized designs. Eco-conscious materials remain hot, as do nature-inspired palettes, and value remains another key trend.

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4 CommentsTags: design

MIA Safety Committee Meets at StonExpo - Establishes 2012 Priority List

February 22, 2012 · 6 Comments

The MIA's Safety Committee (comprised of leading safety experts from 15 companies from the US and Canada) met at StonExpo to review recent accomplishments and set their 2012 priority list. The 2011 committee accomplishments included:

  1. Distributed hundreds of Safe Slab Handling II videos.
  2. Introduced two new Spanish training resources.
  3. Established a monthly safety toolbox talk (meeting outlines) subscription service.
  4. Prepared competency exams for employee safety testing.
  5. Offered face-to-face training in three cities.

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6 CommentsTags: stonexpo · safety · mia

1-for-1 Membership Recruitment Campaign Welcomes New MIA Members

February 15, 2012 · 4 Comments

It has started!  President Michael Twiss asked members to connect with their peers, recruit a new member, and help build the MIA. 

February 15, 2012

The 2012 Grande Pinnacle Award winner Nick Blantern, Britishstoneworks LLC (Lakewood, OH), did not have to look far to secure his 1-for-1 member.  He turned to fellow stone carver Nathan Hunt of Hunt Studios (San Francisco, CA) to join the MIA. Both were involved in the 2012 Grande Pinnacle Award winning project.  Thanks Nick for expanding the number of stone carvers involved with the MIA.  Welcome Nathan! Learn more about both firms at: and

Two MIA members - MIA Board Member Brenda Edwards, TexaStone Quarries (Garden City, TX) and Joe Dellacroce, Connecticut Stone Supplies, Inc. (Milford, CT) used an opportunity at StonExpo to meet with Joe Rice, Crystal Ricevuto, and Gigi Fontane, WBE Surfaces (New York, NY) to talk about sourcing stone.  The conversation evolved into the value of belonging to the MIA and now they are members!  Thanks Brenda and Joe for asking a customer (and potential customer) to join!  Welcome Joe, Crystal, & Gigi (who is also exploring the MIA's CEU Program).  Learn more about these firms:,, and

Kevin Camarata, Camarata Masonry Systems (Houston, TX), supported the membership of Jim Campbell, Mustang Metal & Supply (Houston, TX).  Kevin, as well as a number of other MIA members, utilizes Jim as a custom metal fabricator specializing in non-standard masonry and stone, specifically granite anchors and marble anchors.  Thanks Kevin for asking one of your suppliers to get involved.  Welcome Jim! Learn more about both firms at: and

MIA Board Member Claus Larsen, DANSK Marble & Granite Works Srl (Carrara, Italy), supplies stone to John Donatelli, American Architectural Stone (North Plainfield, NJ).  Thanks Claus for asking one of your customers to get more involved.   This truly speaks to the global connections that are made by MIA members. Welcome John!  Learn more:

Learn more about the MIA's 1-for-1 program.

4 CommentsTags: good news · membership · 1-for-1

NAHB - Builder Confidence Increases for Fifth Consecutive Month in February

February 15, 2012 · 1 Comment

February 15, 2012 - Home builder confidence in the market for new single-family homes increased for the fifth consecutive month in February, rising from 25 to 29 on the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today. It is the highest level the index has reached in more than four years.

“Builder confidence has doubled since September as measured by the HMI,” said NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg, a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. “Given the recent improvements in new home starts and the increasing number of markets included in the NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index, this consistency suggests that the housing market is moving toward more sustainable growth.”

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1 CommentTags: nahb · good news

Join the MIA 1-for-1 Membership Campaign

February 14, 2012 · 3 Comments

In January 2012, MIA President Michael Twiss introduced the 1-for-1 membership campaign.  He shared, "I believe each and every one of us knows at least one other company in your area that would benefit by being a member; so here is my challenge:  the new 1-for-1 plan. I encourage each MIA member company to find one non-member company and then encourage them to become a member of the MIA.

The premise of this challenge is that 1600 companies worldwide rely on the MIA to help strengthen skills, build business, and advance careers.  In most cases, the services provided are only available from the MIA - image the impact this organization could have on the stone industry if the membership doubled in size.

You might be asking, where do I find a complete listing of membership benefits?  That work is already completed!  For example, if you have an industry colleague who is a contracting installer (see list on the right), review those benefits before you approach them to make sure you haven't forgotten something.  However, the best statement of value will be you sharing your passion for what the MIA does to bring value to your company on a daily basis.  The 1-for-1 campaign is a peer-to-peer recruitment program - it does work and will have long-term benefits. So join the challenge today and help build a better industry!

How to Accept the 1-for-1 Challenge:

Each 1-for-1 participant will receive a customized membership recruitment packet and all the resources needed to introduce the MIA to an industry colleague.

"I ask you to join me...........Let's make this a priority and come out of this recession stronger and more determined to use natural stone in every way possible." - Michael Twiss, 2012 MIA President, Columbia Stone, Tualatin, OR

3 CommentsTags: membership · mia

MIA's StonExpo Skid Arrives Back in Cleveland

February 10, 2012 · 2 Comments

MIA staffers Jim Hieb and Garen Distelhorst are ready to unload the skid.

Thanks to MIA Member US Marble & Granite for receiving the skid for us!

2 CommentsTags: stonexpo · images · mia

Washington Post: Granite - Why Everyone Wants a Piece of the Rock

February 09, 2012 · 2 Comments

In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth, including a form of igneous rock called granite, a mass composed mostly of silica and aluminum that makes up a large part of the continental crust, and comes in all the colors of the rainbow and signifies majesty and serenity. On the kajillionth day, or thereabouts, we mined that granite and we made countertops.

We laid those countertops in kitchens all across the land, in condos and co-ops, in Pittsburgh and Portland. Now that the entire United States has been good and covered, from slab to shining slab, we can take a step back and analyze the age of the granite countertop. Think about what it’s all meant.

Click Here to Read the Rest of the Article

2 CommentsTags:

Time Lapse Carving of MIA Member, Nathan Hunt, Working on the MIA 2011 Grande Pinnacle Award Winner - The Spirit of the Ocean in Santa Barbara, California

February 08, 2012 · 5 Comments


5 CommentsTags: awards · carving · video

Eddie Mendoza Awarded with 2011 MIA Natural Stone Scholarship Award

February 06, 2012 · 3 Comments

Eddie Mendoza, a service technician with All American Stone and Tile Care in Victorville, CA, has been awarded the 2011 MIA Natural Stone Scholarship Award. The selection was made by a panel of 5 judges, consisting of MIA board directors and past presidents.

Mendoza submitted a 500 word essay explaining his commitment to the natural stone industry. In his introductory paragraph, Mendoza wrote, "the lyrics from the classic Queen Song, ‘We Will, We Will, Rock You’, now have a new meaning in my life. I had no idea coming into the stone industry the unlimited design and installation possibilities natural stone provides. After just one year in the industry, my intent is to be a valuable craftsman. One of the greatest things about working with stone are the challenges I face everyday, which require patience and intuition." He continued "Attending StonExpo would give me an opportunity to excel to the next level of my career. The potential knowledge I could receive from an event like this would maximize my skill and value to my employer. It would be my honor to be the first person to receive this award, representing the renovation/restoration segment of this industry. I am very grateful to have been given this opportunity."

In a letter of recommendation from the president of his company, David B. Walton said, "Eddie has shown a good mechanical aptitude and is self-motivated. He has been a steady learner and enjoys the craft he is developing. He is entering the phase of his development where he understands what the project at hand should look like in the end and has a good feel for varying techniques to achieve that result. We look forward to him continuing his development into the craftsman he has the ability to become."

MIA Executive Vice President, Garis Distelhorst, agreed with Walton, "Eddie is a fantastic representative of the younger workers in the natural stone industry. It was inspiring watching him soak up every piece of information he could find at StonExpo. Eddie was at education seminars first thing in the morning…he took full advantage of this opportunity and I sincerely hope the knowledge he gained at StonExpo helps him in his career."

This scholarship was established in 2004 to provide educational opportunities for aspiring fabricators, installers, or administrative apprentices interested in furthering their careers within the natural stone industry. Funds are made available through the generous donations of MIA members worldwide.

3 CommentsTags: awards · mia