As the year begins to wind down, I reflect on everywhere I have been and conversations I have had over the past 11 months. The common denominator that surfaces throughout is that people are positive because the industry seems to be thriving. It seems that 2015 has been a good year for many fabricators, as well as manufacturers of machinery, tooling and accessories, and stone suppliers.

As you know, every edition of Stone Worldincludes at least one fabricator case study, and it seemed that many of the companies we covered this year talked about new equipment purchases and an increase in production. Also, others we had contacted asked us to wait on an article because they were in the process of expanding — whether increasing the size of their facility or investing in new machinery.

On the supplier side, many companies have told us about new projects they have recently completed or are currently working on. Additionally, myself and other staff members have visited quarries all over the world, and in most cases, growth was also evident. These are all reassuring signs that business is back on the right track.

Trade shows have also been another indicator of how the stone industry is flourishing again. From Las Vegas to Orlando to international exhibitions in Brazil, China and Italy, show floors have been buzzing with activity.

Most recently, I returned from Marmomacc in Verona, Italy, where a high volume of traffic was apparent throughout the exhibition halls. For me, a good gauge is when I try to visit a company’s booth and they are busy talking to a customer. This happened on many occasions throughout the four-day event — further supporting the fact that the stone industry is on the upswing. Look for a full report on Marmomacc, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, in the next issue of Stone World.

Soon the holidays will be here, which is usually a busy time for fabricators. Homeowners want to have their new kitchens ready for the start of festivities they share with friends and family. Around this time is also when Stone World sends out its Purchasing Plan Survey to industry members. If you receive our survey, please take the time to complete it. This serves as another indicator of how the industry is fairing. I look forward to reading the results and reporting how things are shaping up for 2016 in the January issue of Stone World.

I recently celebrated my 19th anniversary with Stone World. Through the years, many of you have become more than just readers or supporters, but friends. It is one of the many things I love about this industry. The relationships I have built mean a great deal. I am always looking forward to meeting more industry members — whether a veteran or someone who is just starting out. If you have a story to share, please don’t hesitate to let me know. I am always ready to listen.