Held for the first time under the direction of Hanley Wood, LLC, StonExpo 2005 proved to be a successful event for both exhibitors and attendees alike. The exhibition, which took place from October 20 to 22 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, experienced a sold-out show floor and a 55% increase in attendance over the previous year, according to the show organizer.

With a total of more than 5,000 fabricators, installers, quarriers, contractors, architects, designers, builders, distributors, kitchen and bath specialists and retailers from across the U.S. visiting this year's show - along with the staff of 255 exhibiting companies - total attendance at StonExpo 2005 reached 6,271. As a testament to the exhibition's success, each day the entrance of the convention center was filled with visitors eagerly waiting for the show floor to open.

The aisles were bustling with attendees who had the opportunity to view the latest developments in fabricating machinery, tools and accessories as well as stone installation and maintenance products. Additionally, stone suppliers displayed a broad range of tiles and slabs, and introduced their newest stone products.

According to Hanley Wood, the number of exhibiting companies jumped by 24% from 2004, and 35% of the companies that exhibited this year were new to the show. The size of the exhibition space also grew by 22% from last year, with the floor encompassing 82,000 net square feet.

A common sentiment shared among exhibitors was that those attending StonExpo 2005 came with the intention to buy. “At StonExpo, we were writing sales orders from the first hour to the last,” stated Steve Lefebvre of Monument Toolworks, Inc. in Assonet, MA. “In the first three hours, we had more sales than any previous show total, and orders continued until the show closed.”

Live demonstrations

One highlight of StonExpo 2005 was “Stone LIVE - Your Place for How-To Education,” featuring industry experts leading installation demonstrations on the show floor. These informative sessions allowed stone professionals to get the latest, most up-to-date information on how to deal with some of the more common installation challenges facing them today.

Each day, many visitors crowded around the one-hour Stone LIVE sessions to take advantage of the opportunity to learn proper installation techniques and how to avoid costly mistakes. The demonstrations covered topics such as countertop installations in kitchens and bathrooms, tile-lined shower receptors and wall flashing details.

“The use of live demonstrations is a great educational tool for stone industry personnel attending StonExpo,” stated Don Halvorson, CTA, CTC, CMRS, CRMI, Forensic Tile Consultants of Thousand Oaks, CA. “The lack of traditional training in the industry makes this a 'should not miss event' at the show.”

Another place for attendees and exhibitors to gather - providing an ideal networking opportunity - was at the Welcome Reception, which was held on Friday, October 21, on the show floor. The reception was sponsored by Bottero Inc., Calypso Waterjet Systems, Eurostone/Pyramid Supply, Hard Rock Tool, Komo Machine, Marble Institute of America (MIA), Park Industries, Regent Stone Products, Rock of Ages, Sommer & Maca, Stoneworld International and Water Treatment Technologies.

“It was great to see attendees walking down the aisles and spot our stand - they did a quick detour and stopped for a beer,” stated Dave Stevens, Advertising Manager of Sommer & Maca. “What a great way to unwind and celebrate a fantastic show.”

Official sponsors of StonExpo are the MIA and the Natural Stone Alliance, and VeronaFiere is an official endorser of the exhibition.

Educational program

In addition to Stone LIVE, the StonExpo 2005 Conference Program, which was sponsored by the MIA, continued to provide the top-quality education that stone professionals need to improve their businesses. The program ran throughout the three-day show as well as pre-show workshops, which were held on Wednesday, October 19.

This year's program featured 34 strategic sessions in six targeted tracks, including:

• Business Management
• Design / Market Trends
• Fabrication / Installation
• Sales / Marketing
• Technology / Machinery / Tools
• Care / Maintenance / Restoration

Hanley Wood reported that the StonExpo 2005 Conference Program was another enormous hit for this year's exhibition. A total of 3,442 conference sessions were attended at this year's event, which is a 66% increase over last year's show.

“The training and classes were well done,” stated Mark Lauzon of Stone Works in Hubbard, OR. “I give this show five diamonds. We will attend next year. This show will do nothing but grow.”

Sessions moderated by Stone World Magazine included “High-Volume Countertop Fabrication,” with speakers Duane Naquin of Stone Interiors and Jose Rodriguez of Total Design on Marble & Granite; “Countertop Fabrication Forum,” with speakers Kevin Padden of the Marble Institute of America, Mark Blanda of Stone Interiors and Robert Smith of Great Lakes Granite & Marble; “What Machinery To Buy & When,” with speakers Doug Mangus and John Bergman of Salem Stone/Bergman-Blair Machinery; and “Safety Pays,” with speaker Kevin Padden.

MIA activities

Always looking for new ways to promote and further create interest in the natural stone industry, the MIA announced the winner of its 2005 Migliore Natural Stone Education

Scholarship at its annual MIA awards luncheon, which took place on Friday, October 21, during the exhibition. The winner, Sarah Kelly, sales and marketing coordinator for Dakota Stone Design of Fargo, ND, received payment for her travel expenses to StonExpo 2005.

Kelly was selected based on a 500-word essay that she wrote explaining her commitment to the natural stone industry and why she desires a career in the industry. Additional consideration included a letter of recommendation from her employer.

The recipient has worked for Dakota Stone Design for 18 months, and was very excited about receiving the scholarship. “By sharing my knowledge and passion for natural stone with my customers, I know I can do my part in advancing the industry further within our market,” stated Kelly. “However, there is so much more I would like to learn. I was immediately drawn to the beauty of natural stone, and I am still in awe of all the technology developed specifically for stone quarrying and fabrication.”

Additionally, the MIA awarded Malcolm Cohen, a 65-year veteran of the natural stone industry, the Migliore Award for Lifetime Achievement - conceived by the MIA in 2003 in honor of Vincent Migliore, the organization's long-time technical director. The 92-year-old Cohen, who served as president of five trade associations, including the MIA in 1984-85, was present in Las Vegas to receive his award at the awards luncheon.

Cohen graduated from Yale University and then followed in his father's footsteps and expanded his father's business, which is now operating in its second century. His companies, Domestic Marble and Miller Druck Specialty Contracting, have been involved in such projects as The White House in Washington, DC, Grand Central Station and the Statue of Liberty in New York City and Canary Wharf in England.

The MIA also honored the winners of its First Annual MIA Rocky Advertising Awards Competition at this year's show. The competition, which drew more than 130 individual entries, was sponsored by Salem Stone of Winston-Salem, NC. “We wanted to partner up with the MIA,” stated Mike Willard, Vice President of Sales and Marketing of Salem Stone. “We have a lot of respect for the MIA and the things that they're doing within the trade industry.”

MIA Executive Vice President, Gary Distelhorst stated that the MIA is fortunate to have the support of a company such as Salem Stone to help the organization introduce this new awards program. “And, with over 130 entries, we have clearly found an area of interest with our membership,” he continued. “The program should only grow in future years.”

Serving as judges for the competition this year were Larry Nozik, Nozik Design; John Scavnicky, Design Direction; Denise Ziganti, Design Direction; Mary Gerity, Manheim Advertising, Inc.; and Sue Myers, Manheim Advertising, Inc.

Awards were made in various categories on the basis of company annual sales under $2 million or over $2 million. The winners were presented with either a Rocky certificate or Rocky plaque.

The following were recipients of the 2005 MIA Advertising Awards:

• Roma Tile, Syracuse, NY; Rocky certificate for print advertising, black and white, newspaper (over $2 million)

• Pokarna Ltd., Secunderabad, India, and Daltile, Dallas, TX; Rocky award for print advertising, color, magazine (over $2 million)

• Granite Tops LLC, Cold Springs, MN; Rocky certificate in print advertising, color, magazine (over $2 million)

• Akdo Pacific, LLC, Hayward, CA; Rocky award for print advertising, color, magazine (under $2 million)

• Renaissance Marble & Granite, Blackwood, NJ; Rocky award for collateral material, direct mail (over $2 million)

• Vetter Stone Co., Kasota, MN; Rocky award for collateral material, brochure (over $2 million)

• Rocky Mountain Stone, Albuquerque, NM; Rocky certificate for collateral material, brochure (over $2 million)

• Hartztone LLC, Bedford, NY; Rocky certificate for collateral material, brochure (under $2 million)

• Kepco+, Salt Lake City, UT; Rocky certificate for its Point of Sale trade show booth design

• Great Northern Stone of Exeter, Ontario, Canada; a Rocky for a 30-second radio spot (under $2 million)

• Colucci Fabrication, Pittsburgh, PA; Rocky for a 30-second TV spot (over $2 million)

Additionally, the MIA presented its annual Pinnacle Awards at its awards luncheon. A complete showcase of all the award winners is featured in a separate article in this issue of Stone World.

The MIA also elected Ken Krebs of OHM International in Nashville, TN, as its 2006 President during its annual meeting, which took place during StonExpo. Krebs has served on the MIA Board for several years and was Vice President in 2005.

“I look forward to serving in this important new role and working with MIA's Board and members to continue to build MIA's leadership in the areas of education, technical advice and promotion of the natural stone industry,” stated Krebs. “Under [MIA Immediate Past President] Scott Lardner's excellent leadership, MIA has grown into a much more visible and effective organization with over 1,400 members around the world, and I look forward to continuing the good work.”

Krebs is Vice President of OHM International, a large distributor of natural stone in the Eastern U.S. He has also owned a stone fabrication and installation company. During his one-year term as president, Krebs intends to focus on two areas that he believes are “absolutely required within our industry” - fabricator accreditation and industry promotion of the value of natural stone to various users.

“Promoting proper fabrication and installation practices through an accreditation program will do more for the long-term growth of both our association and the overall industry than any other program we might develop,” he stated. “In addition, the need to tell the story of natural stone in an environment where others are confusing users is overdue.”

The next edition of StonExpo is scheduled from Thursday, October 19 to Saturday, October 21, with pre-show workshops being held on Wednesday, October 18. The exhibition will once again be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV.

Stone World presents “Fabricator of the Year” Award

Since 1987, a committee of stone industry veterans has worked together to select the winners of the Stone World Magazine “Fabricator of the Year” Award (formerly the Technological Achievement Award). The award, which is given to a North American stone producer, is based on the following criteria:

• cooperativeness in sharing technology with the industry

• willingness to pioneer the use of new technology

• fostering educational programs for the training of stoneworkers in industry methods

• promoting technological progress through association work

This year's award was given to G.K. Naquin of Stone Interiors in Loxley, AL. Naquin was nominated by two different board members, who made the following comments: “G.K. has spent countless hours educating fabricators around the country. He has opened all of his facilities so that other fabricators can learn from his people. G.K. opened his doors to employ extra people when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.” The nominating board also pointed to his time and dedication as an educator at MIA seminars around the country, and he also serves on the education committee at StonExpo.

The current roster of winners of the Stone World Technological Achievement Award is as follows:

2005 - G.K. Naquin, Stone Interiors
2004 - Tim and Scott Buechel, Buechel Stone Corp.
2003 - Kip Cameron, Granite-Tops
2002 - George Fox, Luck Stone Corp.
2001 - Fred Becker, Becker & Becker Stone Co.
2000 - Connie and Brenda Edwards, TexaStone Quarries
1999 - Walter Dusenbery, Johnson-Atelier School, Sculpture
1998 - Harold Stobbe, Owen Sound Ledgerock
1996 - Willard Vetter, Vetter Stone Co.
1995 - Chuck Monson, Dakota Granite Co.
1994 - Linus Dingman, Cold Spring Granite Co.
1993 - David Teitelbaum, Cathedral Stoneworks
1991 - Wilbur Bybee, Bybee Stone Co.
1989 - Tony Ramos, New England Stone Industries
1988 - Jim Stengel, Dakota Granite Co.
1987 - David Elliott, Elliott Stone Co.

Touring the exhibition halls of StonExpo 2005

Stone Suppliers / Organizations

Architectural Granite and Marble - displayed natural stone and tile slabs, including the core color board of its exclusive Metro Mosaics line, which is available in style sizes such as mini, brick, linear, and 4 x 4, 12 x 12 and 16 x 16 inches

Cold Spring Granite Co. - introduced its new Granite Truncated Dome Pavers in a full range of custom colors and 12 x 12, 12 x 24, 24 x 24 and 24 x 36 inches; also announced the opening of its new Kasota Valley limestone quarry in southern Minnesota and displayed Mesabi Black granite - a consistent gray material - from its northern Minnesota quarry

Indiana limestone Co. - introduced new limestone veneers

Meshoppen Stone - showcased a variety of Pennsylvania Flagstone and Stackstone, which can be used in many applications such as patios and sidewalks, steps, retaining walls, fireplaces and driveways

Mirart, Inc. - custom-made granite switch plates for electrical outlets, created using a 28-step process to beautify the finish and add structure to the plate, minimizing chipping and breakage

Executive Stone Trading - offered a variety of stone from Israel, including Absolute Gray quartzite - a very hard, durable material - and Jerusalem Red limestone

Polycor - introduced a new antique finish available for all of its stone products; also displayed its collection of Canadian granite and Georgia marble

Rock of Ages - showcased a range of domestically quarried granite, including Bethel White, which was used for Bountiful Temple in Utah, which won a 2005 Pinnacle Award from the Marble Institute of America

VeronaFiere - promoted the 2006 edition of Marmomacc, which will take place from October 5 to 8, 2006

Walker Zanger - introduced its new Pietra Cucina collection, an aesthetically pleasing line made of 93% quartz and made to resemble stones such as slate and limestone; also showcased a variety of exotic stones from around the world

Fabricator Equipment and Supplies

AGM - the Intermac Master 33 and Master 43 (Plus) CNC stoneworking centers, featuring rotating tool change and a PC-based laser system; the units feature CAD modeling systems to simulate static and dynamic torque during machining operation

Abrasive Technology - introduced the high output All Diamond CNC Edging System for granite edges, which can produce 20% more than other conventional systems, helping decrease production costs by at least 10%, according to the company

Alpha Professional Tools - the AWS-125 Wet Stone Cutter, a portable unit designed for use in the stone, tile and glass industry; the unit is engineered to provide straight cuts for quality fabrication and installation

Amerisink - displayed new vanity Model #AS5246, measuring 50 x 21 x 36 inches and featuring hand-painted solid wood, with a marble countertop, porcelain sinks and faucets; introduced two new stainless steel sinks

Braxton-Bragg - offered Hercules graphite router bits; Ghines CNC tooling line; Weha angle suction cups

Breton - the Goldenedge CTX, a one-spindle, numerically controlled machine used to cut straight, flat or profiled edges and to perform the upper and lower chamfers on granite, marble and engineered stone

CMS North America/Brembana - announced that larger working areas are now available for two of its CNC stoneworking centers, including the Speed Y2350, which works on three or four axes and has a 142- x 78 3⁄4-inch working area; and the Maxima Y4000, which works on three or four axes and has a 142- x 126-inch working area

Calypso Waterjet - displayed its Stone Center, a waterjet configured to meet the demands of the stone industry

Carter Products - introduced a new integrated laser projection system with waterjet -compatible with systems from Northwood and Calypso

Cemar Electro - displayed the Cemarligne CL 830-B bridge saw laser especially designed for the stone-cutting industry, complete with two-year warranty and 48-hour repair service

Diamax Industries - displayed new products that were added to the Cyclone line, including hurricane turbo blades, titanium silent core blades, the V2 grinder and a dry polisher

Diamant Boart - Fury Turbo Max resin pads for stone polishing in the shop

Dongsin Diaflx Co., Ltd. - displayed a variety of stoneworking tools and accessories, including the Orion-Pro disc for a C-frame edge machine

ETemplate System - the new ETemplate Photoâ„¢ Integrator with BackPlot measures the job, automatically processes CAD DFX files and visually places the finished template back onto the cabinets to verify fit and design, all while on the jobsite

EuroStone Machine - displayed the Thibaut T 818 CNC machining center, which can be equipped with three or four axes

F. Barkow - introduced its 600 series of stone carriers: designed to carry on exterior of vans, all aluminum that never rust, shipped and easily installed by customers

Fabricator's Choice/PhotoTop -Version 2.7 of PhotoTop® digital templating software, which is designed to be as much as eight times faster than the original version and allows users to process a typical countertop on a laptop computer in the vehicle between templating jobs

Faro - the Digital Template FaroArm, an articulating measuring arm/portable coordinate measuring machine (CMM) that is used for electronic templating; an operator touches the stylus to the desired location and clicks a button on the handle, and critical areas such as corners and radii on a countertop can be represented with greater data density to ensure accuracy

GMM - the Rotex 39 bridge saw with a rotating head for fast kitchen countertop manufacturing; the unit includes a digital camera to photograph the slabs, and a “drag-and-drop” program is used to electronically merge the template with the actual slabs, so fabricators can assess the work before cutting

Global E-Sourcing, Inc. - introduced new Web-based version of its Global StoneProâ„¢ countertop fabrication software, which supports remote activities, including lead management, quoting, sales confirmation, scheduling, order status, etc.

Granite City Tool - offered the precision laser templater, which provides instant DXF in real time drawings; blue diamond tools, including the Patriot J126-18 gantry saw; new racking system

GranQuartz - displayed the Gorbel overhead crane system with 1,000-pound capacity, which is part of “The Total Solution” program by GranQuartz, offering an innovative approach to address the unique material handling needs of stone fabricators - covering every stage of stone handling from unloading to storing to production to transporting to even installing

Groves, Inc. - introduced an assortment of new stone storage systems, including a tilt table cart with an adjustable height of 36 to 42 inches, serves a dual purpose of a work bench and transport cart; a fabrication table, allows complete kitchens to be laid out by attaching the tables together lengthwise

Hard Rock Tool - the Mach 5 router - an easy-to-use edging system; portable routers for sink holes; AGM's CNC tooling - Indium for Intermac

IGE Solutions - the Prussiani Rabbit sinkhole machine, a small-footprint CNC machine specializing in cutting sinkholes as well as the holes for sink hardware; the unit features simple operation, with all operations processed with a touch screen; the software is preloaded with sink designs, and others can be added as needed

International Machine Corp. - offered its own private label Turbo 525 bridge saw with touch-screen computer, featuring a laser sighting system and movable remote control panel arm; introduced the new Octagon edge polishing machine with one or two heads

Italdiamant - displayed stone and ceramic processing tools, including drill bits, CNC candle bits, diamond segments, steel milling wheels, grinding cup wheels, CNC blades and various other stone tools and accessories

KB Diamond - offered a Tecnoimpianti Engineering Srl water filtration system and water suction cabin for filtering marble dust

Komo Machine Inc.- introduced the Summit Stone CNC machining center, which features table dimensions of 72 x 144 inches (1829 mm x 3658 mm), and it has a 29- position tool rack with the two end pockets designed for larger tools

LAP Laser LLC - the LAP CAD-Pro 2D, which can precisely project countertop outlines on the workpiece and allows fabricators to eliminate physical templates during slab layup

Löffler - the LBZ CNC machining center, which can feature two worktables to minimize downtime and run on three axes; the working area is approximately 12.5 x 4 feet, and the lineal tool holder offers automatic tool changing with two magazines holding 22 pieces each, for a total of 44 tools

Laser Products Industries - showcased the LT-55 Precision Laser Templator, a device that allows templators to move faster and have the ability to store thousands of countertops on a small memory card

Marmo Machinery - the HTO Garbi bridge saw, which has a 10-hp motor; also, an exclusive waterjet-cutting machine that can cut materials up to 120 mm thick, using a 50-hp motor

Matrix Stone Products -the Contour, a multi-function CNC stoneworking center with a smaller footprint that makes it ideal for use in fabrication shops of all sizes

Monument Toolworks - displayed the Gorilla Grip, a parallign seam clamp that utilizes an electric vacuum pump that provides for an extremely powerful and consistent attachment to the stone

Moraware - new reporting module where users can log changes to job activities by date, time and user, and allows for customized printable views of calendar

Northwood - offered the Northwood StoneJetâ„¢, an abrasive waterjet series to complement the Northwood CNC Stone Machining Centers

Omag - The Mill 4X CNC stoneworking center, which represents the company's latest and most economical model, and is suited for the typical American fabrication shop

Park Industries - the Prestige CNC stoneworking center, which is designed to produce curved edgework and complete sink cut-outs with the touch screen simplicity; this fast, easy-to-use workcenter utilizes Park's proven, easy-to-operate, CNC controls and is powered by Microsoft® Windows PC technology

Pearl Abrasive Co. - fusion dry shaper; Carreraâ„¢ turbo blades; Multi-EFXâ„¢ general-purpose blades; 3-wheeler universal grinder caddy; fusion reactor blade

Pellegrini - the Pentawire 2/5, a new series of diamond multiwire saws, which can cut from two to five slabs of stone at the same time and are available in two versions - stationary or gantry

Regent Stone Products - the Express 3200 bridge saw, designed specifically for the stone industry, with a heavy-duty cast iron bridge; a cast iron, fully synchronized and oil-filled rack and pinion gantry system that is sealed from the elements; and a direct-drive, 20-hp motor with hand-held remote control; the Z-axis tilts to plunge cut to 45 degrees, with a motorized hydraulic tilting table

Salem Stone - displayed the Esab Hydrocut PR waterjet; also offered the Gadia line of CNC machinery from Spain, which is heavier, more powerful and more accurate, allowing for faster production and superior finishes, according to the company

Sawing Systems - introduced the Marquee diamond gantry bridge saw which has a 15-hp primary motor and an 18-inch blade capacity - its ways and drive components are shielded from dust and water, and they are designed to stay clean and lubricated for long life

Sommer & Maca Industries, Inc. - introduced the Warrior Merlin CNC machine, a full multi-function 3 axis CNC featuring a 135- x 70-inch work surface with 3⁄4-inch-thick aluminum plate, complete with 12-month warranty; also offered the Tri-Axe Warrior II automatic computerized bridge saw with 12- to 20-inch diameter blade capacity and 136-inch rip cut length

Stone Boss - introduced the Panther Boss VB core bit with vacuum brazed side protection, the newest product recently added to the company's diamond line; also offered Aardwolf handling equipment

Stone Pro Equipment - introduced the Super Rail System for supporting of granite and other solid surfaces, which is 7 feet long and has 15 suction cups; the Beaver chisel, known as the very first Pneumatic Rock Pitch Machine

U.S. Granite Machinery - offered the TE Experience, an inline edge shaping and polishing machine designed to carry out all types of circular or straight operations on marble or granite between 2 and 10 cm

VIC International - the Slurry Clean, a new water clarification system

Vytek Industrial Laser Systems - displayed the MLT4896 laser etching machine and the FX/2 System

Water Treatment Technologies - continued to let fabricators aware of the benefits of its patented EnviroSystem filtration system, designed exclusively for the stone fabrication industry, including engineered stone; the system produces crystal clear water, filtered to less than 2 microns

W.F. Meyers Co., Inc.- Polycrystalline Diamond Tooling for fast-cutting and accurate results for surfacing, drilling or anchoring; also displayed diamond blades, quarry belt and diamond belt saw

Windy Ridge Corp. - the Jet Stik, a stoneworking flame tool that provides unsurpassed control when surfacing, edging, sculpting and carving stone

Wood's Powr Grip - promoted its MT8HV11 stone lifters, which comply with ANSI and ASME standards and are available with a variety of capacities and options to meet each individual's requirements

Z. Bavelloni S.p.A. - displayed Polistone, a new solution for polishing granite and engineered stone

Installation and Maintenance Products

Akemi North America - promoted its Darkener Super, a very deep coloring impregnator that takes care of the edges of stone and works on resins

Aqua Mix - offered a new DVD in collaboration with the Marble Institute of America, featuring comprehensive shop and consumer safety video programs in Spanish; also introduced Eff-Ex Efflorescence Remover, a non-toxic, non-flammable, heavy-duty cleaner designed as an alternative to conventional caustic acids for the removal of efflorescence

Bellinzoni - promoted Sand Plus, a product that turns polished marble into honed marble in approximately 10 minutes and is biodegradable

Diamond Products - displayed shine pads for granite polishing; sword disks for aggressively preparing stone

Dry Treat - offered Stain-Proof, a penetrating, invisible and breathable sealer that protects exposed porous natural stone, tile, paving and grout from damage caused by water, salts and oil-based stains

International Stoneworks - offered Fivextra D Cream, a non-wax, user-friendly cream for the polishing, hardening and protection of marble, travertine, limestone, onyx and terrazzo

Miracle Sealants - demonstrated 511 Seal and Enhance, a unique solvent-based formula designed to eliminate the need to use an impregnator before using a color enhancer

Tenax - new packaging of products under the “Lustro Italiano” line, designed for marketing to high-end homeowners; an updated design of the AirFlex brush, which is capable of creating a brushed finish on granite surfaces