Founded in 2007, Artisan Groupis a network of independentcountertopprofessionals that spans across North America. With a total of 34 members, the group shares best practices, and it has worked to create a “brand name” for stone countertops. On April 4, the group held its annual meeting at AG&M’s stone distribution facility in Austin, TX, and the event also included an “industry showcase” of vendors.

Artisan Group fabricators process natural stone, quartz surfacing and other products. The Artisan Stone CollectionTM includes 34 varieties of exotic and classic granite and five varieties of marble. Additionally, the group markets three varieties of Saratoga SoapstoneTM, the Heritage Wood CollectionTM of wood surfacing, the Firstline collection of care products and Kohler® sinks and faucets. All Artisan Group members belong to the Marble Institute of America (MIA), and they must be MIA Accredited or in the process of achieving MIA Accreditation.

“Turning Professional”

Prior to the showcase, the Artisan Group hosted a guest speaker, Mac Richard, whose message focused on creating a professional environment in the workplace — considered to be a key principle of the overall group philosophy. “When I was a child, my goal was to be a professional athlete; to replace Roger Staubach on the Dallas Cowboys,” Richard said. “Obviously, that didn’t happen, but all of us are professionals at what we do, no matter what line of work we are in, and we need to remember that every day.”

The key points of Richard’s presentation included:

  • Consider leading people versus simply managing people.
  • A professional doesn’t take success or failure personally.
  • Embrace the responsibility of the results and the culture at your company.
  • Consider why you do what you do.
  • Maintain integrity.
  • Create other professionals within your workplace.
  • Cultivate results.
  • Push and challenge people.

“Anybody can be energetic at their job on Friday afternoon,” he said. “You want a culture where people are excited about their job on Monday morning. If you think about a teacher, a coach or a mentor that has influenced you in your life, most likely they pushed you. They saw that you could do more with yourself, and they pushed you to get there. That’s what you want in your workplace. If people are there just to collect a check, then they might not be in the best position for themselves.”

Industry showcase

In addition to viewing the full spectrum of stone in slab format at AG&M’s extensive facilities, the “industry showcase” portion of the event represented all sectors of the stone industry, including equipment, tooling and accessories, quartz surfacing, laser templating, industry-specific insurance, software and more.

Following the showcase, AG&M hosted a dinner with all of the members and sponsors. Entertainment was provided by folk legend Jerry Jeff Walker, singer and songwriter of the hit, “Mr. Bojangles,” and his son, Django Walker, who is also an accomplished musician.