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CLEVELAND, OH -- Terry O’Neill, Columbia Marble Company of Pittsburgh, PA, has been awarded the 2009 Migliore Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Marble Institute of America (MIA).
“Throughout the MIA’s 65-year history, there have been a handful of times when one could look back and say, there would be no MIA today if someone hadn’t committed critical time and energy to the association and the industry,” said MIA Executive Vice President, Gary Distelhorst. “During the mid-1990’s, the Marble Institute of America was struggling financially with a meager bank balance, and deeply in debt when Terry O’Neill stepped up to provide outstanding and brave leadership during some very trying times. His leadership was evident first and foremost in restoring the financial underpinning of the association.
"It is fortunate for the MIA that Terry was introduced to the stone industry," continued Distelhorst. "In 1975, his wife, Joanne, wanted to return to Pittsburgh. At the time, Terry was attempting to obtain employment at Westinghouse; but they had a hiring freeze. However, Westinghouse encouraged O’Neill to move back to Pittsburgh to be in place for when the hiring freeze ended. In the meantime, O’Neill went to work for his father-in-law who owned Columbia Marble Company in Pittsburgh. Two years later, Westinghouse called him, but it was too late; he was hooked on the stone business."
Described “as the right man at the right time” in the history of MIA, O’Neill served as vice president and president of the MIA during 1995-96. O’Neill became president six months earlier than anticipated because the incumbent president became ill and had to take an early retirement.
O’Neill helped negotiate a merger of MIA’s Annual Convention and StonExpo that called for a sharing of the profits. He admitted also that the recovery of the MIA was helped by what he called the “second stone revolution,” where natural stone became very popular and many newcomers joined the association.
The modest O’Neill credited his success on the fact that Columbia Marble Company was a “mom and pop” business where “hands-on” experience was vital in handling virtually any problems.
In a letter of recommendation Joe Kapcheck, past recipient of the Migliore Award for Lifetime Achievement, stated: “Terry led the MIA through its most perilous years and at a sacrifice to his own business spent countless hours in moving the MIA through major financial troubles and toward the future. Terry has continued to be deeply committed to the MIA and the industry by attending board meetings in an advisory capacity as well as being called upon for advice on technical inquiries.”
The Migliore Award for Lifetime Achievement is named for the late Vincent Migliore, long-time technical director and the first winner of the award. Terry O’Neill, long-time executive at Columbia Marble Company was presented the award at MIA’s Annual Awards Luncheon at StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas in Las Vegas on October 23, 2009. Previous winners of the Migliore Award for Lifetime Achievement are Vincent Migliore, Joe Kapcheck, Malcolm Cohen, Bernie Polak, Vic Green and Louie Carnevale.