The board of directors for the Marble Institute of America (MIA) and the Building Stone Institute (BSI) has unanimously voted at their respective July board meetings to ask the memberships of each organization to approve a two-year joint venture to consolidate operations. The membership vote for each organization is expected to be in late November or early December.
The recommendation to enter into a two-year joint venture came from a task force including representations from both organizations, and was followed by 12 months of discussions about the similarity of missions, focus and duplication of efforts to serve the stone industry.
"The threats we face each day and into the future are not from the natural stone industry, or its many associations," said Dan Rea of Coldspring, also the 2015 MIA president. "It is from well-organized alternative materials with huge marketing campaigns focused on our markets. It's time to create a unified effort to not only defend, but actively promote natural stone."
The new association created by the joint venture will serve as a two-year engagement, after which both memberships can decide to fully integrate or remain independent. The combined group will be called, 'MIA + BSI -- the natural stone institute.' The name preserves connection to both organizations' history and brand equity and allows for transfer of goodwill.
"Most importantly, we need to become pre-emptive as it relates to competing products and our own threats in not taking action," said 2015 BSI President Rob Barnes of the Dee Brown Co.
Both the MIA and BSI organization leadership believe that regardless of the markets where their member companies reside, uniting resources is a first step toward accomplishing the core responsibility of a relevant association. "Uniting resources creates enormous leverage that, simply put, gets things done," stated Rea.
Barnes added, "We believe this consolidation is additive, and strongly feel the combined equity will provide additional value to the industry and our members with continued relevance as the world's premiere natural stone association."
Informational web pages have been established by both organizations to inform their respective memberships of the reasons for this proposed consolidation. Updates on organizational data, new combined initiatives and opportunities for networking forums on the topic are posted. For more information, visit www.marble-institute.com/mia-bsi or www.buildingstoneinstitute.org/join-bsi/joint-venture-proposal/.
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