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USDA Rural Development, Meadows Bank and Las Vegas Rock entrepreneurs will be on hand to celebrate the achievement of the new facility, which used a $1.5 million business and industry loan by Meadows Bank -- guaranteed by USDA Rural Development -- to help finance new equipment for its production facility. As a result of this investment, Las Vegas Rock has been able to purchase a state-of-the-art, high-speed stone-cutting machine, which has allowed the company to enhance stone quality and amplify production ten-fold. The machine will be shown in production during the facility tour, and is the only one like it in the U.S., according to Las Vegas Rock. An additional 15 people will be employed as a result of the expansion.
Steve Wickman, one of the company principals, feels the "Buy America" idea is working -- at least for this business. "Government funding is providing construction dollars to public entities, and we are seeing project requests for everything from courthouses to military installations," he said. "In addition, we are embracing new technology that is available nowhere else in the world."
And in spite of a difficult market, business for Las Vegas Rock has been good. According to Wickman, an estimated $24 million in projects is projected for the next three years -- ranging from a Veteran's Affairs Hospital in Fort Bliss, TX, to a defense installation in Honolulu, HI, to stone work at Kuwait University.
"It is truly exciting to have been a partner in this business expansion," said Sarah Adler, State Director for USDA Rural Development. "What we have here is an entrepreneur who wanted to maximize his growth potential, and a lender, Meadows Bank, willing to enable that when given just a slim layer of support through a federal loan guarantee. That's what we are here for, and we look forward to assisting other businesses with our Business and Industry program."
Las Vegas Rockis the only stone company in the world that has achieved Cradle to Cradle Silver certification by McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC), a global sustainability consulting and product certification firm founded in 1995 by world-renowned architect William McDonough and chemist Dr. Michael Braungart. MBDC consults clients on leaving a 'positive footprint' on the planet (instead of reducing a negative footprint) by implementing the Cradle to Cradle® Framework. Cradle to Cradle Framework means that the manufacturing processes include conservation practices at each level of production. One example of this, Las Vegas Rock recycles the waste from its meta-quartzite mining operations to a company that makes windshields, and because water is so scarce, the company recycles water through swimming pool filters to re-use it. As a result, the company's raw materials, when included in project designs, provide enhanced Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design(LEED®) credits under the Green Building Rating System developed by the Green Building Design Council.
The Marble Institute of America honored the Aria Hotel at MGM City Center, and the Cosmopolitan, with a Pinnacle Award of Merit for the quality stonework and craftsmanship in both 2010 and 2011.