On Thursday, March 22, the Natural Stone Institute (NSI) and Stone World magazine held the second in a series of 10 stone industry education seminars tailored to the attendee and the topics most important to fabricators. The all-day event was sponsored by M S International, Inc. (MSI) at its facility in Deerfield Beach, FL. With 33 fabricators from 25 companies and a total of 60 attendees, the workshop -- with its “Town Hall” environment -- was deemed a success.

The morning session was led by industry leader and the 2015 Stone World Fabricator of the Year winner Eric Tryon who started Premier Surfaces in Atlanta, GA, in 2002, and today is the chief executive officer of Clio Holdings, the parent company for a constellation of brands that includes leading countertop and specialty surface suppliers and fabricators in the U.S. The following were the objectives covered by Tryon during his discussion:

  • Learn what metrics to follow as you develop your business plan.
  • Discuss how to create a team that will optimize efficiency and build customer satisfaction.
  • Create a plan to help your company maximize profits.

“I started with a white-collar mentality in a blue-collar industry,” Tryon told the audience. “I started in the industry with zero knowledge about the business. I grew Premier Surfaces to about 170 employees and $30 million.”

Tryon went on to tell participants that communication and working together provide a formula for success. “This is the ultimate team sport,” he said. “People don’t leave jobs and companies, they leave their managers. Showing appreciation to your employees is important. You can’t allow people inside your team that can’t deliver for you. The people who you allow to wear your uniform everyday make a huge difference in the success of your business.”

Throughout the morning session, other topics discussed included: organization, future planning, how to keep communication, how to get quality up to par without making employees work more and how to maintain employees.

Before breaking for lunch, attendees had the opportunity to tour MSI’s extensive collection of slabs in its warehouse. There were also several times during the event where they could speak with sponsors and learn about their newest products. Fabricator partners of the Stone Industry Education series include: Baca Systems, Bonstone, Braxton-Bragg, Breton USA, GranQuartz, Integra, Laser Products, Moraware, Park Industries, Prussiani and Water Treatment Solutions. Sponsors exclusively for the Florida Stone Summit were Intermac and Poseiden.  

In the afternoon, the group was broken into three focus groups, coverings the topics of business management, technical issues and marketing. This format allowed for more interaction between participants on subject matter that most interested them. Before the workshop concluded, the attendees gathered together to share what each of their groups had discussed.

The next Stone Industry Education event is scheduled for Thursday, April 26th at MSI’s facility in San Diego, CA. To learn more about it, visit: www.stoneindustryeducation.com.