The Marble Institute of America andStone Worldcombined forces this year to deliver the best quality regional education program offered in the stone industry. The 2009 program, focused on cost effective, practical, business-building programs kicked off in Dallas in March. Over 50 industry professionals heard from industry experts Tony Malisani and Fred Jackson. The seminar concluded with an industry briefing and networking reception.

Leading the fabrication session, Tony Malisani of Malisani Inc (one of the industry's first accredited fabrication companies) focused heavily on making it in a tough economy. His session included analyzing the cost of doing business; exploring alternative product lines; showcasing techniques and tips for templating, fabrication and installation; and sharing management tips that drive successful stone companies. Given the current economic conditions, much of the discussion centered around revenue and cost cutting measures needed by stone companies.

Adjacent to the fabrication session, Fred Jackson of the Estudio Group LLC, led a discussion with sales and showroom professionals about how to balance the relationship with the customer and know the product they are selling. Well known for his expertise on the geology of stone, care and maintenance and the sales side of selling natural stone, the attendees took home information they can utilize immediately.

Tommy Schlitzberger of Schlitzberger Stone Designs, Inc summed up the value of the seminar when he said, "Thank you for a great seminar. I have many years of experience in the industry and yet the seminar still showcased many new ideas we can implement in our company. Both speakers were entertaining and informative -- good choices!" Others echoed the sentiment shared by Schlitzberger, and indicated that even during economic downturns, education and training must be in the front of mind.

The seminar in Dallas was just the start. The 2009 stone industry regional education program is scheduled for several cities in the upcoming months:

- April 30 - Atlanta, GA
- June 4 - Cleveland, OH
- June 10 & 11, 2009 - Seattle, WA
- June 25, 2009 - Cincinnati, OH / Northern Kentucky
- July 22 & 23, 2009 - Boston, MA
- August 5 & 6, 2009 – Chicago, IL
- September 9 & 10 - NJ/NYC

For a complete schedule, agendas, and registration go online to: