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LAS VEGAS, NV - Stone Fabricators Alliance (SFA) held its first ever awards ceremony this past October at StonExpo in Las Vegas, NV. The awards were divided up into three categories. These included “Educator of the Year,” “Innovator of the Year” and “Project of the Year.” All entries were nominated by members, machine manufactures and supply distributors. According to the SFA, the judging committee, made up of a panel of nine SFA members, had an extremely hard time judging the awards as there were so many highly qualified submissions.
Innovator of the Year award class was for a member or sponsor member who designed and implemented a product to help fabricators and installers raise the standard of quality in the natural stone industry. The nominee had to have the product on the market and prove its reliability and effectiveness in the fabrication and installation of natural stone.
This year’s award was presented to Kris Jorgensen of Natural Stone Interiors in Mukilteo, WA. Jorgenson has been an outstanding member of the SFA since its inception, and as a fabricator he realized the importance of a “seam” in the stone countertop. Not only will a seam make or break an install, but it is the fingerprint left behind that sets apart a good company from another. He developed a tool that is now being used in most high-quality shops across the country. This tool has become known as the “Seam Phantom” and is used to grind back the seam to a razor sharp edge. This allows the installer to achieve a superior seam without the aid of using CNC equipment. This type of development has now given the industry a higher quality standard in the end product.
This year’s award was given to Patrona Marble and Granite of Lake Worth, FL. The company shows how traditional old world craftsmanship fused with today’s technology can bring natural stone to the forefront of luxury. Nick Patrona demonstrates how high-end exotic stone can turn a simple kitchen into a work of art by using miter edges, raised islands and architectural flair.
Educator of the Year was given to the member who has gone above and beyond in the education and teachings of working with natural stone. The educator of the year had to promote and raise the bar for industry practice and professionalism. The SFA honored Cameron DeMille of Millestone Marble and Tile, Inc. in Palm Desert, CA. DeMille has shown outstanding leadership in teaching other fabricators how to not only better themselves by learning traditional and new age techniques in working with natural stone, but also better the industry by teaching others. He is a second generation fabricator and restorator. DeMille has traveled the country helping other fabricators learn how to repair, restore and fabricate natural stone. The SFA reports that he is an outstanding member of its organization and everything that the SFA stands for in educating and bettering the natural stone industry.