The official blog of the Marble Institute


MIA Releases Two New Radon/Radiation Studies

March 28, 2014 · By Garen Distelhorst · No Comments

Building on the library research they have already commissioned, the Marble Institute of America has announced the completion of two new granite and radon/radiation studies focusing on the occupational safety of quarry and fabrication workers. Previous research had been centered on consumer safety. The results of the new occupational studies, conducted by Environmental Health & Engineering of Cambridge, MA, overwhelmingly prove that the risk granite fabrication and quarry workers face is insignificant with respect to radon and radiation. Additionally, the study focusing on fabrication workers has been peer reviewed and published in the Journal of Radiological Protection.

The MIA sought to look into these safety concerns due to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) presenting an abstract that included some exploratory research pertaining to certain occupational exposure scenarios related to granite, namely quarry workers and fabricators. MIA Executive Vice President and CEO, Jim Hieb, said, "When we learned that the EPA would be looking into these issues and that there was a lack of reliable information on the topic, the MIA decided to take a leadership role and facilitate the necessary studies to confirm employee safety."

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No CommentsTags: press release · radon

Sam Arcot Awarded 2013 MIA Natural Stone Scholarship Award

March 26, 2014 · By Garen Distelhorst · 1 Comment

Sam Arcot, Manager - Residential & Special Projects at Rugo Stone in Lorton, Virginia, has been awarded the 2013 MIA Natural Stone Scholarship Award. The selection was made by a panel of 5 judges, consisting of MIA board directors and past presidents.

Arcot's selection was based on a 500 word essay explaining his commitment to the natural stone industry. Arcot writes in his opening paragraph that his passion towards natural stone stems back to a brief exposure to the natural stone industry through his paternal uncle who was in the business. Arcot said, "I was fascinated by the fact that naturally occurring materials can be made into beautiful forms and be used by human beings. I am astonished by the beauty and uniqueness of each type of species of natural stone. My goal is to help Rugo Stone become the number one stone supplier and fabricator in the Northern Virginia, DC and Maryland residential market. I'm committed to improving material and fabrication quality standards, enhance customer experience and also to create a benchmark in customer service."

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1 CommentTags: awards · press release

Jesús González III Receives 2013 MIA Migliore Award for Lifetime Achievement

March 13, 2014 · By Garen Distelhorst · No Comments

Jesús González III of Marble World in San Pedro Garza Garcia, Mexico has been awarded the 2013 Migliore Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Marble Institute of America (MIA). González, who has been an active MIA member for over 50 years, accepted the award at the annual MIA Awards Luncheon held during StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas 2014 in Las Vegas, NV.

Jesús González III (right) of Marble World receives his Migliore Award for Lifetime Achievement from Jonathan Zanger of Walker Zanger, the 2013 MIA President.

When Jesús' father became ill and passed away many years ago, he took over management of what then was a modest stone business in Northern Mexico. The firm had limited financial resources and its future at the time was uncertain. But, with his passion for stone, imagination and drive, and a dream to build Marble World into the best stone company in Mexico, Jesús III far exceeded his own ambitions.

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No CommentsTags: awards · press release

Samy Beshara of Marmi Natural Stone is MIA Natural Stone Craftsman of the Year

March 12, 2014 · By Garen Distelhorst · No Comments

Samy Beshara of Marmi Natural Stone in Norcross, GA been awarded the 2013 Natural Stone Craftsman of the Year Award by the Marble Institute of America (MIA). Beshara, a native of Alexandria, Egypt accepted the award at the annual MIA Awards Luncheon held during StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas 2014 in Las Vegas, NV.

Beshara's first stop in the stone business was at the age of 21 as an apprentice to a family friend in the marble business in Alexandria, Egypt. Because of an inherent drive to understand the intricacies of marble stone fabrication, he sought work in Italy, the epicenter of the stone industry. Armed with his apprenticeship and broad training in Italy, Samy became interested in all areas of the stone trade: he bought blades, sold blades, designed and built his own equipment and fabricated a plethora of stone objects including columns, fireplace surrounds, fountains, corbels, and even complete building facades.

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No CommentsTags: awards · press release

MIA Releases 2013 Fabricator Benchmarking Survey

March 11, 2014 · By Garen Distelhorst · No Comments

The Marble Institute of America (MIA) has released its 2013 Fabricator Benchmarking Survey, which was sponsored by Cosentino NA and KOHLER Co. The 2013 survey had a record number of participants due largely to wide spread industry support. Participation in the survey was available for free to all fabricators in North America and the resulting report allows fabrication companies to compare their firm with firms of similar size. The MIA is using the data derived from the survey to create a one-of-a-kind web portal that contains statistical data, design trends, housing information, and more.

While the survey questions were posed to fabricators, the report offers relevant information for suppliers and international companies seeking information about the North American market. The report also highlights key differences between fabricators operating manual versus automated production facilities.

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No CommentsTags: business · fabricator · management · press release

Human Resources Toolkit Now Free to MIA Members on Website

February 25, 2014 · By Garen Distelhorst · No Comments

The Marble Institute of America (MIA) announced that its Human Resources toolkit has been added to the "Members' Area" of its website. The Human Resources Toolkit is the 4th of 6 toolkits from the MIA Management Toolkit series that has been added to the website over the past several months. The remaining 2 will be posted in the next 6 months. The Management Toolkit Series provides customizable documents that assist business owners in improving and streamlining business operations.

"Human resources is an area that is often overlooked in smaller businesses. This customizable collection of documents will help stone businesses streamline and professionalize their human resources," said Helen Distelhorst, MIA Human Resources Director.

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No CommentsTags: business · management · press release

Marble Institute Elects New Officers and Directors for 2014

February 21, 2014 · By Garen Distelhorst · No Comments

Tony Malisani of MIA Accredited Natural Stone Fabricator, Malisani, Inc., located in Great Falls, MT, has been elected president of the Marble Institute of America, the 1600-member global organization representing the natural stone industry.
Tony Malisani is an owner of a third generation, family-owned specialty contracting company and natural stone fabrication shop. He has been working in the natural stone industry for over 25 years and his company, Malisani Inc., completes ceramic tile, terrazzo, and dimension stone projects of all sizes and types. Tony previously served on the MIA Accreditation Development Committee. His firm is one of the first companies in the nation to receive the coveted "Accredited Natural Stone Fabricator" credential. Malisani Inc. was named the 2009 Montana General Contractors Association Specialty Contractor of the Year. Tony has experience in every facet of the stone business and has a passion for natural stone and all of its beautiful applications.

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No CommentsTags: press release

MIA Announces 2013 Pinnacle Award Winners

February 19, 2014 · By Garen Distelhorst · No Comments

The Marble Institute of America announced the winners of the 2013 Pinnacle Awards competition during its annual Awards Luncheon held during StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas 2014. The Pinnacle Awards recognize excellence in commercial, residential, and renovation/restoration of natural stone projects worldwide. Projects selected as winners must demonstrate exceptional beauty, creativity, ingenuity and craftsmanship in the use of granite, marble, travertine, limestone, and other natural stones. The sponsors of the Pinnacle Awards are Custom Building Products and Aqua Mix for the Pinnacle Commercial Awards, BLANCO for the Pinnacle Residential Awards and Coldspring for the Pinnacle Renovation/Restoration Awards. The competition is open to MIA members around the world.

During the Awards Luncheon, the MIA also presented the 6th annual Grande Pinnacle Award, sponsored by Marmomacc. A Grande Pinnacle Award was also presented to the architect involved with the winning project. The 2013 Grande Pinnacle Award winner is:

North Carolina Granite Corporation of Mount Airy, NC for the amazing Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on Welfare Island, New York, NY.

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No CommentsTags: awards · press release

MIA Introduces Natural Stone Sustainability CEU Program - Program Certified by AIA, IDCEC, LACES, GBCI

January 21, 2014 · By Garen Distelhorst · No Comments

The MIA has introduced a new CEU presentation entitled Natural Stone & Green Design. Developed by the MIA’s Sustainability Presentation Committee, this one hour class is ready for presentation to architects and designers seeking continuing education credits. The presentation covers how natural stone fits into the green movement, including information about LEED credits and other building standards. It has been approved by the AIA (architects), IDCEC (interior designers), LACES (landscape architects), and GBCI (United States Green Building Council's Green Building Certification Institute) as a certified continuing education course. Natural Stone & Green Design is the first MIA CEU presentation certified by GBCI.

The Sustainability Presentation Committee was chaired by Robert Bacon of daltile. Other members include: Mark Shama (Cosmos Surface Distribution), Fred Jackson (Estudio Group), Vincent Moiso (Quarry Collections), Fred Hueston (Stone Forensics), and Scott Lardner (Rocky Mountain Stone).

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No CommentsTags: ceu · newsletter · sustainability

A Note from Jim - January/February 2014

January 20, 2014 · By Garen Distelhorst · No Comments

The MIA closed the year with several positive items to report:

  • Two new radon/radiation studies focusing on occupational safety of granite quarry and fabricator workers have been completed.
  • 2013 Benchmarking Survey for Fabricators had a record number of participants. The results are being tabulated and will be added to the industry statistics available to members.
  • 2014 Board of Directors Elections had a record number of votes cast.
  • MIA’s Legal Counsel secured a correction from a TV show that issued false statements about the safety of granite.
  • MIA’s safety committee is debuting a new safety guide specific to Canada.
  • MIA’s technical committee is releasing an updated “wet areas” technical module and is continuing work on a new restoration/maintenance handbook.
  • A new international newsletter is being used to keep members outside of North America informed and further connected to the MIA.

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No CommentsTags: ceo's desk · newsletter