I recently returned from TISE West in Las Vegas, and I have to say I think everyone there was excited with the results. From the moment the doors opened on the first day of the show, there was significant activity throughout every aisle of the exhibition floor. An indicator for me of the exhibition’s positive showing was almost every time I went to visit someone at a booth, they were busy. I don’t think I spoke with one person who didn’t tell me that business was steady and good throughout the three-day event.

Starting the year off with so much enthusiasm and positive vibes is definitely encouraging. I think it is safe to say 2016 will be a solid year for the stone industry. With that said, it is important to take time to invest in your business and employees. While out in Las Vegas, I attended the Fabricator Forum: Real Talk, Real Solutions, and the majority of the session was focused on the importance of hiring good employees that will remain loyal and fit into the company’s culture. “We hire on values, not on what they know,” said Eric Tryon, CEO of Premier Surfaces in Alpharetta, GA, who moderated the Forum. “We can teach them what they need to know. Culture fit is important.”

Tryon and those on the panel also emphasized the importance of taking time to research a potential employee’s background and to be sure to explain the job fully to them so there are no surprises. “The worst thing you could do is set someone up for failure,” said Tryon. “Be clear. Letting them know what it is going to be like is really important.”

While these things might seem time consuming, in the end, it is important to the overall success of your business. And with the economy back on the rise, having an efficiently running shop with happy workers is essential. Your invested time will pay off in the long run. To read more about what was discussed at the Forum, turn to page 42 of this issue of Stone World.

As I write this, I am also preparing and packing to leave for Brazil tonight to attend the Vitoria Stone Fair. Hopefully the high spirit of the industry will continue at this show. The Marble Institute of America (MIA) will be there — offering several educational sessions — and I plan to visit at least one factory, if not more, while I am there. You can look forward to a full report when I return.