The Marble Institute of America (MIA) announced that its annual Leadership Workshop will take place from October 18 to 19, 2010 in Dallas, TX. “In just 10 hours, attendees will learn a year’s worth of proven strategies and ideas from the stone industry’s leading experts,” MIA stated.

The MIA Leadership Workshop offers at least 15 practical, proven ideas to generate new business, improve efficiency and prepare for the future. It also offers knowledge on critical topics to connect with members of the architecture and design community.

“This gathering for senior-level stone industry executives is timely as stone companies look to rebound and thrive in today’s economy,” said Gary Distelhorst, Executive Vice President of the 1,700-member worldwide organization. “This year’s topics are timely for any stone company leadership team.”

The event will kick-off with an evening reception on October 18, hosted by Walker Zanger.

Topics for the October 19 workshop include:

• Positioning Natural Stone as an Environmentally Preferred Building Material

• Natural Stone and the Economic Recovery

• Perspectives Roundtable Discussion

• Leading the Design, Development and Launch of a Unique Style Minder Brand in the Highly Traditional Stone Industry

• Branding Your Business Locally: What works, what doesn’t and why

The morning program will feature the following speakers:

• Stephanie Vierra, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, President of Vierra Design & Education Services, LLC, will share a close look at how the industry is working to prove that natural stone is sustainable, and therefore environmentally preferred. Vierra will draw upon her own body of research and study and also report on the current status of the industry’s work through the Natural Stone Council on the development of standards and certification.

• Frank Anton, CEO of Hanley Wood LLC, will address natural stone and the economic recovery. Hanley Wood is one of the country’s leading companies serving the construction industry in a wide variety of media, including trade and professional magazines, trade shows (including StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas and AIA), economic and trend research, and the firm provides an excellent vantage point from which to gauge the near future.

• Mark Fernandes, Chief Leadership Officer at Luck Stone, will share perspectives about leading the design, development and launch of a unique style-minded brand in the highly traditional stone industry. He will address how to differentiate a company from others in the industry by seeking inspiration from best in class brands from the art, fashion, retailing, hospitality and design industries. Fernandes describes the journey and the process.

The luncheon program will feature an industry panel, which will recap the highlights of the three morning sessions.

The afternoon session will focus on “Branding Your Business Locally: What works, what doesn’t and why.” Marty Gould, President of Focalize Now, will share that branding isn’t just for major national companies. “Every local business has the chance to build itself into a trusted brand,” he said “But there’s a lot more to branding than logos and slogans. Learn the secrets top global and national companies use to build their brand identity and reputation and how to adapt those ideas to your local market.”

“This workshop is a great venue to discuss strategic and visionary planning for the stone industry,” said Brett Rugo, 2010 MIA President and Owner of Rugo Stone.

The MIA Board of Directors, volunteer committee chairs and other industry leaders will be attending this outstanding leadership event. The event will be held at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, TX.

A full agenda and registration information can be found online at

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