I write this stone column on the heels of TISE and a few weeks before I leave for the Xiamen Stone Fair. Trade show season is in full spring, and judging by the positive turnout in Las Vegas, 2018 kicks off with a positive vibe for the stone industry.

Throughout the three-day event, I had many conversations with industry members who on the whole seem optimistic. Business seems to be good for most, and I heard from many that the show had quality attendees who were serious about making investments.

In addition to the exhibition itself, TISE also had an extensive educational program. I sat in on a few sessions, including the Fabricator Forum, which you can read about beginning on page 38. I came away from the seminars with a few article ideas, and I also had quite a few conversations with industry members who shared ideas with me about potential features. As I often say, having the opportunity to talk with people and hear suggestions for future articles is one of the favorite parts of my job as editor of Stone World.

While at TISE, we also presented Dave Scott as Stone World’s 2017 Fabricator of the Year. Opening the voting up to our readers online has been very exciting for myself and our staff to watch. I would like to personally thank all of you who voted. We had a huge turnout at the online polls, and we hope to have even more votes next year. All seven candidates were deserving of the award, and I know there are even more qualified fabricators out there who should be nominated. Dave’s involvement in the industry and investments in technology have been outstanding and we were proud to present him with this award. To read more about Dave’s story and the Stone World Fabricator of the Year award, turn to page 42.

By the time you are reading this, I will be on my way back from Xiamen. I went for the first time last year, and was impressed by the size of the show. The Natural Stone Institute (NSI) has a large presence there as well, with a sizeable delegation and presenting a series of seminars throughout the duration of the exhibition.

I will once again have the opportunity to join the NSI on a factory tour while I am in Xiamen. Last year, it was eye-opening to see the expansive size of some of these stone-processing plants and their seemingly endless supply of material. As always, I welcome the chance to see new areas of the stone industry and report on their developments.

Within the last year, I started an Instagram account, jennifer_of_stone_world. Some of you have found me, and I hope more of you will start following me. I have been mostly updating my page when I travel, but I plan to start posting more regularly throughout the year. If you have an innovative product or project you would like me to share, reach out and let me know.