Oberlin, OH, and Chestertown, NY -- With a vote of 565 to 25, the memberships of Marble Institute of America (MIA) and Building Stone Institute (BSI) have overwhelmingly decided to authorize a historic merger of North America's two most prominent stone associations. Effective January 1, 2018, the combined association will formally be known as the Natural Stone Institute, a name widely used during their two-year joint venture.

Jim Hieb, CAE CEO of the Natural Stone Institute and Jane Bennett, EVP of the Natural Stone Institute thank all those members who voted and everyone who has participated in the dialogue about the merger. "Your trust, support and guidance have helped make this possible," they stated in a letter to their members. "Together, we will continue our resolve to provide the best technical, educational and promotional support for our growing membership and the natural stone industry, as well as expand our outreach to the design community. We now have the combined assets to become the largest and most influential natural stone association in the world."

In 2018, David Carnevale of Carnevale & Lohr will serve as the first president of this merged organization. Greg Osterhout of Northern Stone Supply will serve as vice president, Robert Zavagno of Cleveland Marble Mosaic Co. will serve as secretary and Kathy Spanier of Coldspring will serve as treasurer.

"I look forward to serving as first president of the Natural Stone Institute," said Carnevale. "I want to thank the many current and past industry leaders from BSI and MIA who had the foresight to see what was possible with a merger. The Natural Stone Institute is well positioned to further advance the combined association's role as a technical and educational leader. We will continue to offer a wide array of opportunities for networking with both industry and design professionals."

The membership of the combined association will exceed 2,000 members. Its leadership will focus on technical and education initiatives intended to further advance the use of natural stone. A new association logo will officially debut at TISE 2018 in January.