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Marble Institute of America (MIA)/Stone World seminars kick off in Charlotte

March 23, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC -- An extensive slate of Marble Institute of America (MIA)/Stone World seminars is in place for 2012, and they have been carefully planned to offer the stone industry valuable information that will help them in their day-to-day business.

The first session kicked off on March 22, and it was hosted by American Granite Co. LLC of Charlotte, NC. The session, "Business Success for Fabricators," includes several components:

  • Analyzing the Cost of Doing Business/Issues Impacting Fabricators in Today's Market -- Fabricator Perspectives
  • Safety: An Overview of New Resources Available to Fabricators & Distributors
  • Fabricator Forum: This open forum is designed for fabricators to get answers to questions or problems they may have with regard to being successful in today's business economy.

The speaker for the Charlotte session is G.K. Naquin, who has over 35 years of experience in the natural stone industry. He and his partners own Stone Interiors North America, a large fabrication company with four locations in the Southeast (two of which have received the coveted MIA "accreditation" credential). Naquin's accomplishments include a 2004 Pinnacle Award for special use of stone as well as the 2005 Stone World "Fabricator of the Year" Award, and he also serves as 2011 President of the MIA and Board of Directors.

Naquin often provides independent consulting services to fabrication facilities and travels the country providing educational seminars at various industry related events such as StonExpo, Coverings, KBIS and others.

The "Business Success for Fabricators" program will also take place on April 5, 2012, at American Granite Co.'s location in Elk Grove Village, IL, and the speaker will be Tony Malisani of Malisani Inc. in Great Falls, MT. Malisani, owner of a third-generation stone shop, has been working in the stone industry for 20 years. His business specializes in high-end custom work from -- fountains, monuments and custom furniture to countertops. Malisani has extensive knowledge about business management in the stone industry with the understanding of the growing-opportunities for a small business.

His firm is one of the first companies in the nation to receive the "Natural Stone Accredited Fabricator" credential from the MIA. In 2010, Tony was also elected to serve a five-year term on the MIA Board of Directors.

On May 3, 2012, Malisani will again be presenting the "Business Success for Fabricators" program at the Rocky Mountain Stone Summit in Denver, CO, which will be hosted by Arizona Tile.

On June 21, 2012, the Toronto Stone Summit will be hosted by MS International in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. The morning program includes the session "Making the Transition from Residential Countertops to Light Construction/Common Mistakes Made," and it will be led by Mike Picco of Picco Engineering.

Picco is a professional engineer with more than 20 years experience, and his firm focuses on two main areas of expertise -- natural stone cladding and other miscellaneous structural engineering.

In the natural stone sector, experience includes stone sourcing and selection, consulting, manufacturing, installation and testing, as well as the design and detailing of stone anchors and stone shop drawings. Picco is a frequent speaker on the subject of stone cladding and anchoring, and he has given seminars to various associations and events, including the Terrazzo Tile and Marble Association Trade School, the Saskatchewan Masonry Institute, StonExpo and Marmomacc in Verona, Italy.

The morning session will also include an open Fabricator Forum, and the afternoon program, "Marketing your Company in Today's Business Environment" will be presented by Marty Gould of Focalize Now. This session will showcase:

  • Positioning your company online so it dominates Google searches
  • Getting your advertising directly to consumers who are ready to buy
  • Streamlining your marketing and advertising efforts with proven solutions
  • Discussions about brand identity

Gould has been focalizing businesses and organizations for more than 20 years. His client list over the years includes some of America's most well-known brands, including AC Delco, Pepsi-Cola, Anheuser-Busch, Lennox Industries and the Professional Bowlers Tour. In the stone industry he has led seminars for StonExpo, Coverings and the Marble Institute of America.

Other MIA/Stone World education events include:

  • July 10, 2012 -- Portland Stone Summit, Portland, OR, hosted by Oregon Tile & Marble
  • September 18, 2012 -- "Business Success for Fabricators," New York/New Jersey region
  • October 25, 2012 -- "Business Success for Fabricators," Salt Lake City, UT
  • November 8, 2012 -- "Business Success for Fabricators," Farmers Branch, TX, hosted by MS International

The registration fee is $99 for installers and fabricators and $249 for suppliers and stone distributors. Each attendee will receive a $25 credit for items from the MIA bookstore. This credit will be awarded on site at the seminar. Additionally, non-MIA member companies who join prior to or during the seminar will be able to send two employees to a seminar for free.

For more information on the MIA/Stone World seminars, visit

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