The joint StonExpo exhibition and Marble Institute of America (MIA) Convention, featured 201 exhibiting companies and an attendance total of 4,065, including 2,789 visitors and 1,276 people from exhibiting firms.

The ribbon cutting ceremony on the opening day was led by StonExpo Federation President Jim Owens of the Indiana Limestone Institute and MIA President Monica Gawet of the Tennessee Marble Co.
The 2001 edition of the StonExpo exhibition and Marble Institute of America (MIA) Convention, held from November 15 to 17 in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, faced difficult circumstances prior to its opening. Not only were potential visitors troubled by the tragic events of September 11, but they were further shaken by a major plane crash in New York only a few days before the event. But even in the face of these crises, the event was a success, with an active exhibition floor and strong attendance at the seminars.

Attendance for the event totaled 4,065, including 2,789 visitors and 1,276 people from exhibiting firms. A total of 201 companies exhibited at the show, which spanned across an area of 150,000 square feet.

Exhibitors displayed the full spectrum of natural stone products as well as fabricating equipment and accessories, and installation and maintenance products. Of particular interest to the fabricators who attended, many of the machinery producers offered demonstrations of large-scale equipment, allowing them to see the products in operation. Additionally, many of the hand tools were also in use on the show floor, allowing visitors a hands-on feel for the equipment. Interactive demon-strations could also be found at the booths of many installation and maintenance material suppliers.

Once again, StonExpo served as a platform for firms to make on-the-spot sales, a fact evidenced by the many "Sold To…" signs that were proudly posted on fabricating machines over the course of the three-day event.

A patriotic theme was evident throughout the exhibition hall.

Cornerstone Forum Seminars

The MIA’s Cornerstone Forum Seminars also served as an enticement for visitors to Ft. Lauderdale. These sessions included the following topics:

* Designing a Stone Fabrication Shop

* Waterproof Installations with Natural Stone

* Put a Touch of Science in Your Business: Understanding Stone from Formation to Facade and Beyond

* Buyers Bill of Rights for Purchasing Capital Equipment in the Stone Industry

* Sealers, Impregnators and Consolidants

* Understanding Setting Mortars and Substrates

* Natural Stone Characteristics --Protection, Maintenance & Restoration

* Technology and Equipment for Stone Processing

* Interior Stone Restoration Forum

* Specifying Stone - What Can and Will Go Wrong

* Stone Fabrication - Techniques and Tips

* The Art and Science of Estimating - Stone Fabrication

* Stone Cladding Principles

* Historic Stone Restoration

* Stone Countertop Fabrication Forum

A total of 591 people attended one or more seminars, and the most popular sessions were the "Stone Countertop Fabrication Forum" (206 attendees), " Stone Fabrication -Techniques and Tips" (202 attendees) and "Put a Touch of Science in Your Business" (151 attendees).

Stone World Editor Michael Reis (left) presented the Technological Achievement Award to Fred Becker of Becker & Becker Stone Co.

MIA officers

As always, the MIA Convention served as a forum for a new set of officers. Monica Gawet of Tennessee Marble Co. in Friendsville, TN, stepped down as president, making way for Robert Stasswender of Southwest Marble & Granite Works in Austin, TX. Additional officers are Vice President, Richard Booms of Booms Stone Co. in Redford, MI; Secretary, Paul Vigna of Artisan Tile & Marble Co. in Somerset, NJ; and Treasurer, Scott Lardner of Rocky Mountain Stone Co. in Albuquerque, NM.

The current MIA Board of Directors includes: Stefano Delmedico of Gem Campbell Terrazzo & Tile in North York, Ontario, Canada; Nancy Dunn of Clervi Marble Co. in San Francisco, CA; Vic Green of Vic International Corp. in Knoxville, TN; Jorge Gonzalez of Marble World SA de CV in Garza Garcia, NL, Mexico; Kenny Krebs of Tennessee Tile & Marble Co., Inc. in Hermitage, TN; Abraham Mekuria of Mitin Pvt. Ltd. Mining Co. in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Mark Shedrofsky of Stone Source in New York, NY; Mario Venezia of Pisani Brothers S.p.A. in Carrara, Italy; and Larry Young of Georgia Marble Co. in Tate, GA.

The MIA convention also saw the departure of Pennie Sabel, who has stepped down as executive vice president, effective this year. Sabel was recalled warmly by Terry O’Neill, who was MIA president when she took on the position in 1995. O’Neill cited Sabel’s efforts in "turning around" the organization, which has flourished over the past several years.

In appreciation for her efforts, Sabel was presented with a commemorative plaque as well as camera equipment from the past MIA presidents who served during her tenure. "It’s time for the MIA to have it’s own dedicated staff, so it can progress and grow like it has the potential to do," Sabel said. In addition to her executive post at the MIA, Sabel is the executive director of the StonExpo Federation and the American Monument Association, which will remain unchanged. Her firm, Summer Stone Management, will continue to manage the StonExpo trade show and the American Monument Association, with Mary Scott handling day-to-day administration.

A search for a new MIA executive vice president is ongoing.

The next edition of the joint StonExpo/MIA Convention will take place in Baltimore, MD, from December 5 to 7.

Stone World presents Technological Achievement Award

Since 1987, a committee of stone industry veterans has worked together to select the winners of the Stone World Magazine Technological Achievement Award. The award, which is given to a North American stone quarrier or fabricator, 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 Fred Becker, who has been running Becker & Becker Stone Co. of Dubuque, IA, since 1976. Becker operates three limestone quarries producing Native Dubuque lime-stone and Mo’Keta limestone. In his 47,100-square-foot plant, the company operates a gantry diamond belt saw for slabbing, three 76-inch diamond surfacing machines, a 90-inch blade gantry saw, two 72-inch blade gantry saws, two 48-inch blade gantry saws, two 36-inch blade gantry saws, two 18-inch blade gantry saws, a diamond wire saw and several specialty routers, honing machines and drillers. Becker was cited for his willingness to invest in new technology and innovative equipment. He has been willing to share this technology with his peers, and his plant is open to the trade. Becker belongs to the Indiana Limestone Institute and the Allied Stone Industries.

The current roster of winners of the Stone World

Technological Achievement Award is as follows:

2001 — Fred Becker of Becker & Becker Stone Co.

2000 — Connie and Brenda Edwards of TexaStone Quarries

1999 — Walter Dusenbery of Johnson-Atelier School of


1998 — Harold Stobbe of Owen Sound Ledgerock

1996 — Willard Vetter of Vetter Stone Co.

1995 — Chuck Monson of Dakota Granite Co.

1994 — Linus Dingman of Cold Spring Granite Co.

1993 — David Teitelbaum of Cathedral Stoneworks

1991 — Wilbur Bybee of Bybee Stone Co.

1989 — Tony Ramos of New England Stone Industries

1988 — Jim Stengel of Dakota Granite Co.

1987 — David Elliott of Elliott Stone Co.