Coverings 2015 will offer 70-plus educational seminars, taking place April 13 to April 17 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. Many stone specific presentations will be included, covering everything from fabrication, installation and distribution to specific marketing techniques for natural stone. Below is a list of key stone-related sessions being offered.

Monday, April 13

1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

OSHA Onsite Consultation

Moderator: G.K. Naquin, Stone Interiors

Speakers: David Castellucci, Kenneth Castellucci & Associates, Inc.; Jonathan Mitnick, CCS Stone; Jim Nikolopoulos, Walker Zanger; William Tomlin, OSHA - Department of Labor

Attend this session to hear about the benefits of inviting OSHA into your facility from companies that took that challenge. Learn from their experience about the best way to prepare for the inspection. This session will help you create guidelines for employees to ensure a safe, OSHA-friendly atmosphere at your facility.


Monday, April 13

2:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Fabricators Forum

Moderator: Eric Tryon, Premier Surfaces

Speakers: Marco Duran, Atlas Marble & Granite LCC; Mariangela Muia, Majestic Marble Import Ltd.

This open forum for residential countertop fabricators is an excellent opportunity to discuss with your fabricator colleagues many of the challenges involved in the residential countertop market. All attendees are encouraged to participate by presenting a problem or sharing a solution.


Tuesday, April 14

8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

Anchoring and Backup
Systems for Interior Light Commercial Projects

Speakers: Rodney Harvey, Curtain Wall Design and Consulting, Inc.; Marcella Prado, Laticrete

When the decision is made to use a stone veneer that is mechanically anchored, there are still many design decisions left to resolve. This session will provide you with the basics of how to select and specify an anchorage system that is appropriate for your particular project.


Tuesday, April 14

9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Understanding How Natural
Stone Fits Into the Green Movement - A Forum

Moderator: Duke Pointer, NSC

Speakers: Robert Bacon, Dal-Tile; Amber Dzikowicz, NSF;  Brenda Edwards,

TexaStone Quarries; Josh Levinson, Artistic Tile

Hear the steps that an actual company took to certify to NSC/ANSI 373 Sustainability Assessment for natural dimension stone. Included are actions, steps and changes necessary to meet the challenges of certification: developing programs and policies, setting up ongoing data collection systems and establishing goals, metrics, and steps involved in Chain of Custody certification. Finally, a discussion of what is being done to spread awareness and demand for more sustainable stone products.


Tuesday, April 14

1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Stone Trends

Speaker: Vince Marazita, Marazita & Associates

From countertops to skyscrapers, the use of natural stone is a well-accepted building material in the U.S. Especially in these lean construction years, it is crucial to understand the direction of the market for dimensional stone. Get an overall view of the market and market trends by attending this 17th Annual “State of the Industry” presentation on the dimensional stone market in the U.S. This session covers information, sourcing, marketing and application trends in the stone industry over the last year, with examples of award-winning projects that have been recognized for their use of natural stone.


Wednesday, April 15

8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

State of the Stone Industry

Moderator: Jim Hieb, Marble Institute of America

Speakers: David Castellucci, Kenneth Castellucci & Associates, Inc.; John Lancto, Surface Products; Tony Malisani, Malisani, Inc.; Dan Rae, Coldspring

What is the current state of the natural stone industry? Learn first-hand how industry leaders and peers are addressing matters ranging from government regulation, competing product challenges and forecasting market growth. Don’t arrive expecting a PowerPoint presentation as this session is entirely focused on great discussion and responding to your questions.


Wednesday, April 15

10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Selecting and Installing the Appropriate Membrane

Speaker: Steve Taylor, Custom Building Products

This session will help you to identify the different types of membranes for ceramic and natural stone installation and review the physical properties of all types of membranes. Plus, discuss the ANSI and TCNA standards for various membranes and the areas of use and any limitations to the use of a type of membrane.


Wednesday, April 15

10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m

Survivor’s Guide to Eco-Technical for Ceramic and Stone

Speakers: Josh Levinson, Artistic Tile; Dan Marvin, Mapei Americas

Confused by where ceramic and stone fit into your green project? This survivor’s guide will provide an introduction to tile and stone and their applications within LEED v4 as well as new green initiatives including NSC 373 and the Green Squared certification. Attendees will leave the session with a toolkit for tackling tile and stone on your next green project. 


Wednesday, April 15

10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m

Women in Stone
Discussion Panel

Moderator: Brie Pfannebecker, Connecticut Stone

Speakers: Laura Grandlienard, Rockin’ Teriors; Rachel Homen, M S International, Inc.; Cindy Ramage, CRG Stone, LLC

A discussion primarily focused on building relationships with customers, colleagues, and co-workers. Discuss common struggles of a family business; how do age, gender and other factors affect the relationship dynamic? Also, discuss management styles and employees’ interpretations of them, and the differences between men and women in business. In addition, learn how to be assertive without wearing your combat boots.


Wednesday, April 15

1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Distributors Forum

Moderator: Jonathan Zanger, Walker Zanger

Speakers: Evan Cohen, Quality Marble; Vinny Tavares, Aria Stone Gallery;
Roy Viana, Dal-Tile

This forum will feature an in-depth discussion of strategic issues critical to running successful wholesale/slab distribution companies. Topics will include a host of operational issues, including building strong fabricator relationships, networking with the design community, freight issues and much more. In addition, discuss problems and solutions to common operational issues.


Thursday, April 16

10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m

Practical Application of Stone Standards & Tests

Speakers: Robert Bacon, Dal-Tile; Chuck Muehlbauer, Marble Institute of America

Stone testing is an important aspect of the stone and tile industry. The difficult part is knowing which test is appropriate for which application. During this fun, interactive session, learn about the relevance of the most widely used test procedures and when they should be used. Learn tips on how to explain the technical aspects of stone testing in every day common language.

Thursday, April 16

12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Fabricator Roundtable: Providing CEUs to Architects & Interior Designers about Natural Stone

Speakers: Robert Bacon, Dal-Tile; Sarah Kelly, Marble Institute of America

Do you want to expand your outreach to architects and interior designers? Consider providing CEUs (continuing education units) to the design community. This session will showcase how the CEU program works, how to position your company as the leading expert on natural stone in your marketplace, and how to get started giving presentations.


Thursday, April 16

12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Fabricator Roundtable: How to Handle Wastewater in a Fabrication Setting

Speakers: Jim Callaghan, GranQuartz; John Traczuk, Moscone Tile and Marble

The session will discuss the acceptable methods of recycling used water in a fabrication setting. There will be a review of the current acceptable methods to both reuse and recycle water and the current PH requirements of the OEM’s. Learn about the current regulatory issues affecting the stone industry and reviewing general compliances the local municipalities are requiring.


Thursday, April 16

12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Fabricator Benchmarking - Perspectives in Benchmarking

Speakers: Peter de Kok, Granite Mountain Enterprises; Duane Naquin, Stone Interiors East, LLC

One of the most important aspects to running a successful business is understanding what metrics are important to measure and how to measure your company against competition. This session will define business benchmarking and discuss what metrics should be measured to insure a company’s success and also discuss resources for finding industry benchmarks so a company can better measure their metrics against others in the industry.


Thursday, April 16

1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Social Media in the Stone Industry Forum

Moderator: Sarah Kelly, Marble Institute of America

Speakers: Elizabeth Irving, Architectural Granite & Marble, Ltd.; Pat McIntosh, Walker Zanger; Christine Whittemore, Simple Marketing Now LLC

Join the conversation. Find out how other stone companies are using Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest platforms. Discuss how to organize and post social media content efficiently. Be prepared to get involved in the discussion and bring your own questions to be answered.

Thursday, April 16

1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Defining Countertop Materials Available in Today’s Market

Moderator: G.K. Naquin, Stone Interiors

Speakers: Robert Barnes, Dee Brown, Inc.; Patrick Fisher, Renaissance Granite and Marble; Cindy Mahaffey, Pentel Granite & Marble

What countertop materials are fabricators using today? Learn how fabricators are adapting their tooling and material handling practices to adjust to the changing countertop market. Whether the products are natural stone, quartz, or other man made materials, learn what current and future products customers demand.


Thursday, April 16

2:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Care & Maintenance Forum

Moderator: Rod Sigman, Custom Building Products

Speakers: David Bonasera, Better Bio Solutions; Keith Graves, Arc; Brian Kornet, Fabra-Cleen; Rawi Tabbah, International Stoneworks, Inc.

Gain an understanding of the products to use for maintenance of tile and stone installations and why. Learn the difference between alkalines, acids and solvents and where each should be used and learn why common grocery store and many janitorial cleaners are not good for maintaining tile and stone installations. Attendees will learn how to prolong the life of sealers, remove stains, and prevent damage to grout, tile and stone by understanding the role of proper maintenance.


Thursday, April 16

3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Installation Design Showcase Deconstructed

Meet with the designers and NTCA Five Star Contractors of the Installation Design Showcase and learn what it takes to pull together these annual vignettes in just five days. During this one-hour interactive session, you will tour the four bathroom spaces of the showcase-and discover every detail.


Friday, April 17

9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m

Managing a Successful Family Business Forum

Moderator: Tony Malisani, Malisani, Inc.

Speakers: Nancy Epstein, Artistic Tile, Inc.; Joey Ganassa, Washington Marble & Granite Co.; Jacqueline Tabbah, International Stoneworks, Inc.

Working in a family business can be a challenge. Why are some businesses successful, while others struggle? What are the best practices? Join a panel of stone professionals from three different family businesses as they share their experiences. Plan to join this robust Q&A session.