NEWS

Stefano Follega 2014 MIA Natural Stone Craftsman of the Year

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Marble Institute of America
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Stefano Follega (Center) accepts the 2014 Craftsman of the Year Award from MIA President Tony Malisani and program sponsor Brenda Edwards of TexaStone Quarries. Not pictured is program sponsor Patrick Perus of Polycor.

OBERLIN, OH, February 24, 2015 — Stefano Follega of Grazzini Brothers & Co. in Egan, MN. was recently named the 2014 Natural Stone Craftsman of the Year. The Marble Institute of America (MIA) award honors excellence in craftsmanship. Follega received the award at the MIA's annual awards luncheon at StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas in Las Vegas.

Follega, a native of Rome, Italy, learned the craft from his father and uncle. He also worked with top architects and designers in historic Rome, home to some of the world's most beautiful architecture. He credits his first teachers — his father, uncle and prominent architects — for his work ethic and simple philosophy: ask questions, be respectful and always be ready to do the job. He also admits he's a perfectionist with a fervent passion for stone. "I like seeing a piece of stone, a rock or something change," he said. "I always envision the finished product before I start."

When he and his wife, Cara, moved to her native Minnesota to raise their family, Follega brought his old-world, artisan craftsmanship with him. In two weeks time Follega was working at Grazzini Brothers, one of America's leading stone companies. "Stefano walked into our office and spoke about 10 words of English," recalls Guido Gliori, Chief Operations Officer at Grazzini Brothers. "He showed up with his interpreter, who happened to be his wife. You knew immediately that he was a good man. He had the credentials...The rest is history."

His work with the Lakewood Mausoleum Project in Minneapolis earned the Grazzini Brothers the 2012 MIA Grande Pinnacle Award. "No project is beyond Stefano's ability," said Eugene Grazzini, Jr., Chairman of the Board at Grazzini Brothers. "His layout, his attention to detail and his creativity are superb. We are proud to have him as part of our team."

About the MIA
The Marble Institute of America (MIA) has served as the authoritative source of information on standards of natural stone workmanship and practice and the application of natural stone products for 70 years. Membership in the association is worldwide and includes over 1,700 natural stone producers, exporters/importers, distributors/wholesalers, fabricators, finishers, installers, and industry suppliers in 55 countries committed to the highest standards of workmanship and ethics. MIA offers an industry accreditation program for fabricators and installers, markets a range of technical publications and consumer pamphlets on natural stone, sponsors business and technical meetings and seminars on industry-related topics, provides educational programming for architects and construction specification professionals, and conducts the annual Pinnacle Awards competitions recognizing outstanding natural stone projects worldwide. More information can be found on the association's website: http://www.marble-institute.com.

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