It’s been a busy first quarter and start to 2017. Showing no signs of a holiday hangover, the stone industry charged out of the gate in January with a tremendous showing at The International Surface Event (TISE) in Las Vegas, NV. New product innovations were on full display, and we all witnessed crowded aisles and packed schedules morning, noon and night. The excitement and positive vibes were obvious. The Natural Stone Council’s (NSC) block party was a huge success. Thank you to the NSC team for allowing Stone World to be part of this great event with the announcement of our Fabricator of the Year Award. And the record turnout at the MIA+BSI happy hour was energizing for everyone as the merger steam rolls ahead and continues to show how collaboration is a key to success for everyone.

Also obvious were the time, investment and effort that went into all the exhibits. It amazes me that the show is transformed overnight from construction chaos to a free-flowing sea of company representation that is easy on the eyes. The final exhibits flawlessly showed off their finest and most advanced stone industry technology available to visitors. Attendees were not disappointed.

Innovation was around every corner. Braxton-Bragg was giving demos of the Rock Jockey by Stone Pro Equipment — a new device that allows a forklift operator to safely move material without the assistance of a handler on the ground; Park Industries introduced its new Optimus Robotic SawJet, which won StonExpo’s “Best Technology” award this year; and Northwood, which won StonExpo’s “Best Booth,” also prominently displayed its new line of 6-axis Robotic SawJets, the RSJ-400L. With the popularity of materials such as Dekton, Neolith and Lapitec on the rise, several companies were promoting new diamond blades specifically designed to cut these types of slabs. Stone Boss offered the new Panther D Ultra-Compact Porcelain Blades, while Terminator introduced the newly redesigned Generation II Nanocut.DK2 bridge saw blade. Both are designed to cut ultra-compact sintered porcelain material efficiently with minimum chipping.

As I walked out of the show with a client at the end of the second day, we were caught up in a ground swell of people. My client stated, “Wow. I have not seen it like this in about 10 years.” Thinking about it, the timing mentioned here puts us back in 2007, right before the market downturn in 2008/2009. And since then, it’s been a slow but steady climb. And there is still more climbing to go. With a full complement of colleagues, our Stone World content team worked tirelessly all week to embrace this climb and positive vibe with reporting, interviews and product reviews that seemingly could go on forever.

And our tireless work continues long after the show floor closes. We will climb with the stone market every step of the way. From our e-newsletter, mobile app and website to video and monthly print magazine, the Stone World team is here to cover it all. We are the number one trusted resource for fabricators, architects, designers and contactors — and we won’t let you down. Thanks for reading and trusting Stone World to be your source for information each day.