As I write this, it has been less than a month since we all lost our friend, Mike Reis. Many of you had just seen him in Las Vegas for StonExpo|Marmomacc Americas. I am sure he had a notebook in hand and was running around making sure that he made it to all the pertinent seminars or demos -- and certainly to stop by booths to see what the latest innovations were and to discuss how things were going as the stone industry headed into 2014.

StonExpo|Marmomacc Americas 2014

At StonExpo|Marmomacc Americas 2014, Mike Reis presented Blick Industries with an award for winning "Best of" in the New Product Marketplace, which was sponsored by Stone World as well as its sister BNP publications.

During the show, I was often by Mike's side. I knew how much he loved covering this industry and cared how everyone was doing.

In this edition of the Stone World Fabricator eNewsletter, we have the Fabricator Forum that Mike moderated during the exhibition. I remember when I saw him after it took place, he was so happy to tell me what a success it had been. I also remember that after taking a red-eye home on that Monday (of course he had to stay in Vegas for the Super Bowl), he went right to work to transcribe the forum so it was ready for the March issue.

Mike was passionate about everything he did. Working with him for nearly 18 years, I like to think some of his enthusiasm has worn off on me.

Since Mike's passing, we at Stone World have received an outpouring of sympathy from the industry. Everyone's care, concern and pain illustrate how many industry members he had touched. It makes me believe the industry truly is a family.

So I will do my best to report on the state of the industry and events in the spirit of Mike. The SFA has been kind enough to extend an invitation to me to join them at the end of this month on their trip to Italy. I will be sure to provide a full report on everything I learned and saw when I return.

I will also be at some of the educational workshops that Stone World will be holding with the MIA this year. I look forward to meeting more industry members there.

And please don't hesitate to contact me with any article ideas at jennifer@stoneworld.comor stop by the Stone World booth at Coverings to say hello.