OBERLIN, OH -- On November 21, 2014, MIA President Tony Malisani accepted the coveted "Institution Award" at the 28thedition of the Macael Awards in Macael, Spain. This award was one of nine awards given by the Asociación de Empresarios del Mármol de Andalucía (AEMA), the leading natural stone association in the Almeria region of Spain.

"It is my honor and great privilege to receive this award on behalf of the members of the MIA," said Malisani. "The Marble Institute of America (MIA) has 1,700 members that are located in 56 counties around the world. It is our belief that one way to strengthen the stone industry in the U.S. is to strengthen our ties with international natural stone community. The marble industry here is one of the oldest, and is also one of the most innovative. Certainly, there is much we can learn. We are hoping to continue our outreach and increase cooperation, communication and education with the Asociación de Empresarios del Mármol de Andalucía."

Tony Malisani and David Castellucci
Tony Malisani and David Castellucci of the MIA. 

During the event, AEMA President, Antonio Martinez highlighted that a strong global stone market demands that collaboration occur between stone associations. He acknowledged that the MIA's standing in the natural stone industry for developing technical standards, safety initiatives, current development of an international import/export handbook and innovation were factors that caused the AEMA to recognize the MIA with the "Institution Award", a special award for stone trade associations.

The event drew 500 attendees from several countries and was an impressive presentation and recognition of outstanding stonework. "With over 10% of the MIA membership residing outside of North America, it is rewarding for the MIA to be recognized for outstanding programs that benefit the entire global stone industry," said Malisani.

AEMA's first Vice-President and MIA member Eduardo Cosentino hosted the MIA delegation which included Malisani, MIA Secretary David Castellucci and MIA Executive Vice-President Jim Hieb. The MIA also had the opportunity to meet with AEMA officials to present several key industry initiatives, including the newly adopted ANSI approved sustainability standard championed by the Natural Stone Council (NSC). In the upcoming months, the MIA and AEMA will also be collaborating on a translation of the MIA's Dimension Stone Design Manual (DSDM) into Spanish to further expand the use and understanding of technical standards.

"We also had a very good conversation about safety, quality standards and education for architects, as well as stone professionals," said Castellucci. "It was also great to tour their technology center (Fundación Centro Tecnológico Andaluz de la Piedra) and discuss advances in stone testing and other technology."