The American Red Cross estimates that 275,000 homes have been destroyed by Katrina and the flooding that followed in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. More than 1 million people have been displaced, their homes unlivable and likely to be demolished. Rebuilding these homes and helping these families represents a staggering challenge, especially when you attach names and faces to the evacuees.
As soon as I approached the entrance to this month's â€œRe-Emerging U.S. Stone Industryâ€ subject - Vangura Surfacing Products of North Huntingdon, PA - I knew this was not going to be a typical fabrication shop article. To begin with, the facilities of the company were quite imposing, with multiple large-scale buildings and its own private roadway leading from the highway. Driving past several loading bays and warehouse/manufacturing facilities, I ultimately reached the main lobby - an inviting, two-story space that showcases a broad range of finished stonework.
Over the years, companies in the stone industry have developed a reputation as a bunch of â€œgood old boys.â€ This has been particularly true of stone fabricators. Given this assessment, one might get the impression that the typical stone fabricator in North America sets about his daily business with a hammer and chisel - and perhaps a hat made of folded newspaper.