StonExpo returns to Las Vegas

October 12, 2006
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StonExpo 2006 will be held from November 9 to 11 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV.

StonExpo 2006 is slated to take place from November 9 to 11 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. And according to Handley-Wood, the show's owner, this year's event is expecting overwhelming attendance, including 6,000 fabricators, installers, quarriers, contractors, architects, designers, builders, distributors, retailers and kitchen & bath specialists. The show will present attendees with the opportunity to view hundreds of new stone products, experience live installation demonstrations on the show floor, receive proven education and network with thousands of stone professionals.

Over 250 exhibiting companies will be at StonExpo 2006 with all the latest stone products, machinery, tools and accessories. To receive the most up-to-date exhibitor list and floor plan, attendees can visit the show's Web site at

In addition to the numerous products on display, the exhibition floor will also offer live how-to demonstrations at Stone LIVE! These one-hour sessions, which take place at scheduled times throughout the three-day event, provide critical stone installation information to fabricators, installers, designers and architects. The demonstrations are free to all StonExpo attendees.

Attendees will also be able to participate in the StonExpo 2006 Conference Program, which offers education from the industry's best instructors. With 36 courses in five targeted tracks, including Business Management, Design/Marketing Trends, Fabrication/Installation, Sales/Marketing and Care/Maintenance/Restoration, stone professionals will receive the most up-to-date information they need to stay ahead of the competition and grow their businesses.

After two busy days of visiting with exhibiting companies and taking advantage of the educational seminars, show attendees can relax and network with other stone professionals and industry legends at the 2006 Welcome Reception. The Welcome Reception, which is free to all StonExpo attendees, will take place on the show floor Friday, November 10 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

MIA events

The Marble Institute of America (MIA) will once again host two notable events at StonExpo: its Member Gala Reception and Awards Luncheon. The Gala takes place Thursday, November 9 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and the Awards Luncheon takes place on Friday, November 10 from 12:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. Details and pricing on these events can be found on the StonExpo Web site.

Among the honors presented at StonExpo 2006 will be the MIA Pinnacle Awards, which are given to natural stone projects whose beauty, creativity, ingenuity and craftsmanship exemplify professional mastery in the use of natural stone in commercial and residential environments.

Official sponsorship

StonExpo's Official Sponsors are the Marble Institute of America (MIA) and Natural Stone Council. The Natural Stone Council is a leader in the stone industry that represents the major associations who are committed to promotion and education of the industry and general public of the value and benefits of natural stone. Additional sponsors include: American Monument Association, Canadian Stone Association, Elberton Granite Association, National Building Granite Quarries Association and Northwest Granite Manufacturers Association.

Official Endorsers of the show include Veronafiere/Marmomacc, Milanez & Milaneze/Vitoria Stone Fair and Allied Stone Industries.

Registration is now live on the StonExpo Web site. Attendees can quickly and easily sign up for exhibits admission and conference courses. Those who register by October 20, 2006 will receive free exhibits admission and discounted pricing on conference packages. Attendees and exhibitors can also find discounted airfare for their travel to the show by visiting the show's Web site. Those interested in attending StonExpo 2006 can also call (866) 550-6808.

The following is a look at the 2006 StonExpo seminar schedule:

The StonExpo 2006 Conference Program offers another year of education from the industry's best instructors, including 36 courses in five targeted tracks such as Business Management, Design/Marketing Trends, Fabrication/Installation, Sales/Marketing and Care/Maintenance/Restoration.

Wednesday, November 8, 2005

9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Track: Design Market Trends
Title: Introduction to Natural Stone

This course will explain the basic differences with various stone classifications, with an emphasis on the capabilities and limitations of each stone type. The discussion includes the stone makeup, the processing from quarry through finished product and a variety of quality-control procedures found in the industry. This is an invaluable course for commercial and residential designers, architects, builders, specifiers and construction managers.

Speaker: Chuck Muehlbauer

9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m
Track: Business Management
Title: Recruiting & Maintaining a Valuable Workforce

This in-depth workshop covers a number of topics essential for small to mid-size businesses seeking to recruit and maintain a valuable workforce. You will review writing job descriptions, employee training tools, incentive programs, non-compete contracts, employee conflict resolutions and performance reviews. Take away numerous ideas to build your employees' loyalty and improve their performance.

Speakers: Jim Hieb, Chuck Gorres

9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m
Track: Sales/Marketing
Title: Selling & Profiting with Natural Stone

Are you knowledgeable enough about recommending the right stone for different applications? This workshop will provide you with easy-to-remember facts about stone, plus ways to accurately answer any misconceptions. You will leave with the tools necessary to achieve your ultimate goal of being a profitable sales professional.

Speaker: Kevin Murphy

1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Track: Design Market Trends
Title: New Stone Trends & Design

Explore emerging design and color trends using stone for interior room designs, exterior space and ideas for commercial use. The presentation will cover area by area a host of creative and inspiring ideas for your next project. You will review the origination of certain trends, finishes, applications and so much more. This is an ideal session for designers, architects, installers, builders or anyone with a passion for working with stone.

Speaker: Nicolas Guillaume

1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Track: Sales/Marketing
Title: Stealth Marketing Strategies

Marketing isn't hard, it's easy! Learn to use strategic tools to turn your showroom into a moneymaking tool. What is your customer's perception of your company, product and service? In this workshop you will learn strategies to create customer awareness and “buzz marketing” to turn clients into your best promotional partners.

Speakers: Georganne Bender, Rich Kizer

1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Track: Fabrication/Installation
Title: A Complete Guide to Shop Layout & Material Handling

This in-depth workshop will cover the finer points of laying out the “perfect shop.” Whether you are new or a veteran professional in the stone business, you can take away information to help you make the right decision for shop layout and material handling. You will learn “flow through” processing, job flow and control, layouts that will allow for future expansion and additional related topics. This is a highly interactive session, come prepared with questions.

Speaker: Kevin Padden

Thursday, November 9, 2006

7:45 a.m to 9:00 a.m.
Track: Sales/Marketing
Title: Price is Not an Option

In highly competitive markets, businesses often find themselves competing solely on price. This seminar will offer specific strategies and tactics to use in attracting and retaining customers who are not searching for the lowest-price supplier. Ultimately, this approach will allow your business to position itself in the less-crowded, higher-margin, value-added market place.

Speaker: Mark Fernandes

7:45 a.m to 9:00 a.m.
Track: Design Market Trends
Title: Mixing Stone with Other Materials

Looking for design and installation ideas when working with mixed media? Review spectacular designs in multi-textured sufaces such as hardwood, metals, glass and multi-stone projects. See also what unexpected installation challenges can arise when mixing stone with other materials. You will also discuss care and maintenance of mixed media surfaces.

Speakers: Steve Seabaugh, Tom McNall

7:45 a.m to 9:00 a.m.
Track: Business Management
Title: Natural Stone & the Homeowner

With the increased interest in natural stone, are you positioning yourself as the natural stone resource center for your customers? Do you take the time to educate your customers on the inherent beauty of natural stone, warranty issues, etc.? In this session, you will cover a variety of topics that will help you showcase all the positive attributes of natural stone to the homeowner.

Speaker: Linda Steele

7:45a.m to 9:00 a.m.
Track: Fabrication/Installation (HEAVY COMMERCIAL)
Title: Exterior Stone Cladding

This seminar will cover details of several different methods of exterior stone installation as well as the advantages/disadvantages to each method. Installation methods to be discussed include: stone handset to concrete shear wall, stone handset to metal studs, steel truss panel systems with mechanically anchored stone, steel truss with metal decking and stone adhered with silicone.

Speakers: John Kunz, Steven G. Judd, S.E

7:45 a.m to 9:00 a.m.
Track: Fabrication/Installation
Title: Engineered & Natural Stone Countertops

This seminar will cover one of the industry's hot topics, fabricating with engineered and natural stone. Review the similarities and differences with both materials; maintenance, repair, environmental impact, stains, durability and finishes. This is an ideal seminar if you are new to the stone industry or as a refresher course.

Speakers: Jessica Rose, Duane Naquin

9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Track: Care/Maintenance/Restoration
Title: Flooring Restoration

An in-depth look at how to price a restoration flooring contract. What to look for to protect yourself and the client. How to be competitive and yet still be in business next year. Learn the tools to use and how you can increase the amount you take home at the end of the day. Also, get a summary of how to be certain you are not leaving money on the table.

Speaker: Tom McNall

9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Track: Design Market Trends
Title: Collaboration with Designers & Fabricators

Designers work with numerous materials and may not necessarily be versed in all things stone. This can lead to incompatible material selections, which leads to a frustrating relationship between designers and fabricators. By simply taking the time to develop a better working relationship, designers and fabricators can share a very profitable business.

Speakers: Adriana Pretorius, Fred Jackson

9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Track: Fabrication/Installation
Title: OSHA is Not Just a Four-Letter Word - Safety in the Workplace

Review OSHA's protocol in the event a compliance officer visits your jobsite for an inspection. Are you prepared with the required written programs and other documentation? Review the fundamentals of a detailed safety and health program and how your company can benefit financially.

Speaker: Julie Weis

9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Track: Business Management
Title: CNC Machines - Research Before You Buy

The decision to own a CNC machine is one of the most significant investments you will make for your company. However, conducting in-depth research is just as important as your decision to buy. Examine a list of the features and benefits before making your final purchase. A review of additional costs that are often overlooked, i.e. tools, software, training and transportation will also be discussed.

Speaker: Mark Lauzon
Moderator: Mike Reis

9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Track: Fabrication/Installation
Title: Using Different Types of Templating Methods

Different types of templating methods have allowed fabricators to increase their overall efficiency as well as the quality of their work. Accurate measurement is not only important for reducing errors and increased productivity, but also leads to greater customer satisfaction. In this seminar you will review the advantages and limitations of using different templating methods for various projects.

Speaker: Brett Gowans

This year's event will also feature live how-to demonstrations on the exhibition floor at Stone LIVE! These one-hour sessions, which take place at scheduled times throughout the show, provide critical stone installation information to fabricators, installers, designers and architects.

Friday, November 10, 2006

7:45 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Track: Design Market Trends
Title: Stone Industry and the Green Movement

This presentation will introduce participants to the green movement, provide an update on current sustainable building efforts and how the stone industry is supporting these efforts. Review highlights of notable green program initiatives and achievements, a look at the impact of sustainable building on the construction material industry and describe key partnership and educational opportunities for the stone industry.

Speakers: Dan Ouellette, Bill Eubank

7:45 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Track: Design Market Trends
Title: Specifying Engineered & Natural Stone

This seminar is aimed at specifiers of both engineered and natural stone. You will leave this seminar with a better understanding of both products when used in horizontal and vertical surfaces throughout the home. Learn about the advantages and disadvantages of using both types of stone and how it relates to functionality, affordability, the customer's lifestyle and more.

Speaker: John Ganster Sr.

7:45 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Track: Business Management
Title: Top 10 Reasons for Stone Business Failure

Find a business that is closing, and you will likely find that a sizeable competitor is to blame. Unfortunately, most businesses that fail do so because they are reactive and not proactive. In this presentation, review the top 10 reasons for business failure. You will receive a list of things to do to ensure a profitable future.

Speaker: Tom Shay

7:45 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Track: Sales/Marketing
Title: Marketplace Trends

Explore the future of the countertop industry. Review forecasts, trends and market intelligence, which will help you determine the next steps in growing your business.

Speaker: Craig Kurvers

7:45 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Track: Fabrication/Installation
Title: High-Volume Production (200 countertops/month)

High-volume fabrication varies from one shop to the next. In this seminar you will learn what's required to produce 200 countertops per month. What kind of changes will you make to your facility and equipment prior to expansion? Leave knowing how to calculate additional cost prior to moving into a high-volume production.

Speaker: Gasper (GK) Naquin

9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Track: Fabrication/Installation
Title: Understanding Shower Installation Basics

It is a fact, a leaking shower results in structural damage and mold issues. A complete review of the shower environment, characteristics of water, capillary action, critical design issues and resulting damage will be discussed. This seminar will give architects, specifiers, contractors, inspectors and consultants a true overview of shower assembly and the importance of proper design and construction.

Speaker: Don Halvorson

9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Track: Fabrication/Installation (HEAVY COMMERCIAL)
Title: Classification & Disclosure of Building Stone Products

Tried lately to ascertain the quarry location or geological classification of a particular stone without success? Natural stones are the oldest building material known and the least controlled materials in supplier-provided data and consumer protection. Find out what controls have been enacted in Europe to mandate proper identification, including quarry location, petrography and uniform industry-recognized trade names. Similar data disclosure will undoubtedly become mandatory in the U.S. in the near future. Here is your opportunity to get a head start on understanding this system.

Speaker: Peter Harrison

9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Track: Fabrication/Installation
Title: Fabricators Forum

In this open forum, as a fabricator you will have an opportunity to discuss a variety of topics relating to your daily experiences. Discuss ways to improve workplace efficiencies, marketing efforts, employee-related issues and other topics offered by the audience. Present your problems, share your ideas and offer solutions with fellow fabricators.

Speakers: Brian Briggs, Scott Lardner, Duane Naquinbr /> Moderator: Jim Hieb

9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Track: Business Management
Title: Secrets the IRS Does Not Want You to Know

This seminar is for the prudent business owner looking to benefit from smart tax planning. Learn strategies to reduce your chances of an IRS audit, red flags and ways to pay less income tax. Find out which benefit plan allows for tax-free deductions before retirement. Discuss ways to reduce healthcare costs and other tax-related topics in this highly interactive, can't miss seminar.

Speaker: Lance Wallach

9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Track: Design Market Trends
Title: Texture & Finish of Countertops

Is there a best choice for countertop finishes? As stone processing technology evolves, the availability of new textures in natural stone continues to grow. Each surface design has unique characteristics that must be considered when specifying. Review the processes involved in creating various natural stone textures, finishes and edge selections for today's discriminating homeowner.

Speaker: Jessica Rose
Moderator: Trudy McGinnis

Saturday, November 11, 2006

7:45 a.m to 9:00 a.m.
Track: Sales/Marketing
Title: Selling Effectively

Selling effectively in today's crowded marketplace is not just about having the lowest prices. Review marketing and sales models to determine what works best for your target market i.e. big boxes, design centers, builders, etc. Learn how to think differently about your current business practices for increased profitability.

Speaker: Allan D. Gowans

9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Track: Care/Maintenance/Restoration
Title: Countertop Repair

This seminar will cover techniques for repairing engineered and natural stone, with multiple finishes, new and old installations. You will review the products and equipment needed for stain removal, scratches, color enhancement, seams and damaged edges. Ideal session if you are looking to expand into restoration and maintenance.

Speaker: Keith Graves

9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Track: Fabrication/Installation
Title: Distributors & Fabricators Forum - Warranty & Quality Control

How can distributors and fabricators benefit best from working together? A panel of veteran distributors and fabricators will help lead this open forum to discuss one of the most relevant topics in the industry today. Learn about effective cross-promotion in the same marketplace, financial-related issues, referral programs, quality control, warranty issues and much more.

Track Speakers: Ken Krebs, Paul McCabe
Track Moderator: Dave Corey

9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Track: Business Management
Title: Top 10 Strategies to Save Your Stone Company Money

The financial control you maintain over your company will make the difference between being successful and the dreaded alternative. Learn the 10 most common money-losing mistakes made by fabricators, along with pricing strategies, inventory control, budgeting, tax strategies and simple reports for maintaining financial control of your business.

Speaker: Scott Lardner

9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Track: Fabrication/Installation
Title: Proper Installation Methods for Large-Format Stone Tile

While it appears simple, the installation of natural stone flooring using a thin-set process requires careful planning, surface preparation and precision craftmanship. This session will address the importance of the installer “owning” the substrate, which involves careful preparation of the surface to avoid cracked and buckling tiles or, worse, post-installation problems.

Speaker: Ralph Williamson

9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Track: Business Management
Title: Starting a Natural Stone Fabrication Shop

Learn critical elements in the planning and executing of a natural stone fabrication shop. If you are new to natural stone fabrication, you need to be aware of numerous “rookie” mistakes commonly made by fabricators. This seminar will cover machine purchasing, how much expansion you should undertake, water recycling systems and a host of other topics.

Speaker: Kevin M. Padden

9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Track: Care/Maintenance/Restoration
Title: Stone Care Forum - Care & Maintenance for Natural Stone

In this interactive forum you will discuss issues that relate solely to care, maintenance and restoration of natural stone. Discussion will include crystallization, sealers, service estimates and guarantees. Industry experts will address and offer solutions to some of the industry's debatable topics. In this session, active audience participation is encouraged.

Track Speakers: Tom McNall, David Bonasera
Track Moderator: Rod Sigman

9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Track: Fabrication/Installation
Title: Installers Forum - Installation & Contract Issues

As installers, you face daily challenges in your work environment. Use this open forum to discuss a variety of topics relating to your daily experiences. Discussion topics include well-written contracts to protect you post-installation, homeowners on the jobsite, seam placements and any other topics offered by the audience. Present your problems, share your ideas and offer solutions with fellow installers.

Track Speakers: Mark Lauzon, Anthony Malisani
Track Moderator: GK Naquin

9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Track: Design Market Trends
Title: Design Elements that Complement Stone

Color and light are two of the most important elements in the success of every project, but most designers and retailers have little or no clue as to how to turn this into their advantage. In this interactive session, learn how to use the interconnection of color and light in your design efforts to set your work apart.

Speaker: Deborah Burnett, ASID

9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Track: Fabrication/Installation
Title: Are You Ready To Go Off-Shore? - International Investment

When is it a prudent business plan to go offshore for cut-to-size and countertop fabrication? In this seminar, examine the risks and rewards prior to investing overseas. Review your decision to go offshore, securing an international loan, business references for overseas partners, labor & transportation costs. If you are considering going offshore for fabrication you do not want to miss this seminar.

Speaker: Terry Isaminger
Track Moderator: Chuck Muehlbauer

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