For the second consecutive year, voting for the  2017 Stone World Fabricator of the Year was opened to an online audience – and the turnout was impressive. Close to 4,000 readers casted a vote in favor of the person they believed was deserving of the award.

As in years past, nominations came from leading machinery and tooling and accessories manufacturers, as well as industry associations. Nominees were then listed on Stone World’s website where readers had the opportunity to vote.

Criteria for the award includes:

  • Cooperation in sharing technology with the industry.
  • Willingness to pioneer in the use of new technology.
  • Fostering educational programs for the training of stoneworkers in industry methods.
  • Promoting technological progress through association work.

This year also marked the largest number of nominations that were received in the 29-year history of the award. The roster of nominees included:

  • Dustin Braudway of Blue Water Surfaces
  • Geoffrey Gran of The Countertop Factory Midwest
  • Laura Grandlienard of ROCKin’teriors
  • Gil Rangel of Marble Palace, Inc.
  • Karen Roe of NSMotif
  • Jon Ryan of Inspiration Design Center

Each of the nominees are well-established in the stone industry, and have exemplified the qualities of the Stone World Fabricator of the Year. In some cases, it was a tight race between the nominees, but the final result revealed Dave Scott of Slabworks of Montana in Bozeman, MT, as this year’s honoree.

The award was presented at StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas 2018 — part of The International Surface Event (TISE) — which was held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV, from January 30 to February 1. The awards presentation kicked off in front of a crowd at the start of the “block party” sponsored by Stone World, along with the Natural Stone Institute (NSI) and Natural Stone Council (NSC).

The following is Scott’s nomination statement:

"It is my pleasure to recommend Dave Scott, owner of Slabworks Montana, for the “Fabricator of the Year”. Dave Scott has done an outstanding job collaborating with fellow fabricators to share information that will help advance the industry. I am honored to nominate a fabricator that strives to continually improve himself and his peers through educational programs and technology advances.

Slabworks of Montana began as a two-employee tile installation business in 1992. In 1993, they fabricated their first slab countertop at the request of a contractor—using a worm-drive skill saw fitted with a diamond blade and a garden hose. As the demand for slab stone countertops continued to rise, they discontinued tile installation and focused solely on slab fabrication.

Dave navigated Slabworks of Montana through a journey from manual fabrication, to opening a small, dedicated shop, and finally to converting the shop into a greatly expanded, fully-digital operation. Along the journey additional employees were hired and Dave fought a two-year battle with cancer. The company currently employs 20 people in a 10,000-square-foot showroom. The digitally-automated shop produces 1,000 to 1,200 square feet of finished product weekly, including: custom countertops, stone sinks, slab showers, Roman soaking tubs, as well as interior and exterior wall cladding.

Dave seeks to continually improve and implement new technologies. Slabworks of Montana began operating an abrasive waterjet in 2003 and moved into digital templating in 2004 when they added CNC milling and polishing. Dave’s shop was the first fabricator in Montana to recycle 100% of the water used in its operations, 100% of the stone and stone waste from operations, and 100% of its corrugated materials waste.

Slabworks of Montana continues to be an industry pioneer. In July 2017, Slabworks of Montana became the first, and only, Accredited Marble Institute of America Fabricator in Southwest Montana. Dave Scott has a particular focus on natural stone, and his shop was the first in their market to offer engineered stone (quartz) and sintered materials (Lapitec, Dekton, and Geoluxe).

Dave Scott has been an active member of the Stone Fabricators Alliance since 2014. Dave has hosted a Park Industries’ Digital Stoneworking Expo at Slabworks of Montana, and has been a presenter a couple times as well. In addition, Dave has participated and hosted Park Industries Business Group Meetings. At these meetings members come together to discuss best business practices and strategies for shop improvements. In 2018, Slabworks of Montana will host a Stone Fabricators Alliance Workshop for industry members to share and learn about new techniques and products in the stone fabrication industry.

Dave Scott was interviewed by Moraware on Stone Talk, the podcast for countertop fabricators, in 2015. The interview discussion focused on taking full advantage of new technology and strategies for growing business in the stone fabrication industry. Slabworks of Montana has been a member of the US Green Building Council since 2008 and works with architects and designers on the green utilization of products in their projects.

Dave Scott has emerged as a true leader of the stone industry over the 25 plus years he has been in the stone business. Dave is dedicated to continuous improvement and utilizing new technology to provide his customers with the best possible experience. Slabworks of Montana exceeds customer expectations which is evident by the numerous customer testimonials on their website.

Thank you for the opportunity to submit this nomination for the 2017 Fabricator of the Year Award. Dave Scott is an exemplary fabricator who demonstrates a strong initiative to instill open communication between fabricators and encourages discussions of new technology and innovative business strategies."

To learn more about Scott’s story, look for a complete article on Slabworks of Montana in an upcoming issue of Stone World.

The Stone World Fabricator of the Year Award Winners Roster:

2017- Dave Scott, Slabworks of Montana

2016- Scott Hanes, Majestic Marble & Granite

2015- Eric Tryon, Premier Surfaces

2014- Marco Duran, Atlas Marble & Granite

2013-  Jon Lancto, Surface Products

2012- Mike Yates, Counter Solutions

2011- Stuart Young, The Granite Shop

2010- Matt Lansing, Stone Innovations

2009- Scott McGourley, Kasco Stone

2008- Paul Menninger, Capitol Granite & Marble

2007- Ron Hannah, Cadenza Granite & Marble

2006- Dick Laliberte, Ripano Stoneworks

2005- G.K. Naquin, Stone Interiors

2004- Tim and Scott Buechel, Buechel Stone Corp.

2003- Kip Cameron, Granite-Tops

2002- George Fox, Luck Stone Corp.

2001- Fred Becker, Becker & Becker Stone Co.

2000- Connie and Brenda Edwards, TexaStone Quarries

1999- Walter Dusenbery, Johnson-Atelier School, Sculpture

See more from The International Surfaces Event, TISE 2018!