On June 4, 2015, the Marble Institute of America (MIA) and Stone World Magazine joined forces to present the Edmonton Stone Summit. The event was held at Mondial Granite & Marble (owned by the Caruso Group) and offered attendees a variety of opportunities for education and networking.

The event brought together more than 50 natural stone fabricators, installers, suppliers and distributors. Morning education sessions, led by Tony Malisani of Malisani, Inc., covered important topics about stone shop management, including:

  • The importance of using metrics to help with planning and creating an atmosphere of efficiency
  • How to understand operational costs and accurately report them
  • Tips for how to best serve different customer bases, including residential, commercial and distributor
  • Dealing with customer complaints through educating them prior to installation and predicting issues that may commonly arise post-installation
  • Effective strategies for shop safety

Afternoon events included a facility tour of Mondial Granite & Marble and a Fabricator's Forum, which gave attendees the opportunity for an open discussion. Topics discussed during the Forum included:

  • Industry trends in pricing (staying competitive in the marketplace vs. keeping prices stable)
  • Effect of the economy on business and how to proactively weather economic downturns
  • Benefits of manual vs. automated/laser templating

Learning from each other

Local professionals appreciated the opportunity to network and learn. "Events like this are great because they help us to integrate and communicate with others in the field," said Enrique Giglioli of Mondial Granite & Marble. "It gives us the chance to make sure we are all on the same page and up-to-date on the latest industry regulations."

Cam Tang of StoneWorks Granite and Marble agreed. "It was validating to talk to other fabricators about problems they've encountered and see that we're not alone in dealing with certain things," he said. "Often we deal with issues as they come up, but getting together like this helps us learn from the mistakes and successes of others." According to Tony Malisani, "This event gave companies the chance to strengthen bonds and build camaraderie among competitors."

Giglioli explained that he can see the effect on his company as time passes. "We're really seeing a response now, a few weeks after the Summit," he said. "People have had time to digest the information and are putting it to use."

Tang appreciated the chance to learn about MIA standards (Dimension Stone Design Manual). "It is very helpful to have a specific set of industry standards to refer to when educating customers," he said. "It adds legitimacy to what we're saying and helps them understand the process."

Malisani found the event to be extremely well received. "The partnership between MIA/Stone World and Mondial Granite & Marble is a strong one, and the teamwork and professionalism of all involved helped the event run smoothly," he said.

This was the first MIA/Stone World education event held in Edmonton. For more information about stone industry education go online to www.stoneindustryeducation.com.