Once again, Stone World and the Natural Stone Institute will offer 10 workshops marketed towards fabricators as part of the Stone Industry Education series. Each seminar will be hosted by a sponsor company in various parts of the U.S. The one-day event will take place in a “Town Hall” environment that is tailored to the attendee and the topics most important to fabricators. The target audience includes: business owners, marketing professionals and other employees interested in growing their business, networking with suppliers and/or learning “best practices” about running a successful fabrication business.

The speakers

There are several industry-leading professionals that are lined up as speakers for the 2019 series, who will rotate throughout the year. They include: Tony Malisani of Malisani Inc. in Great Falls, MT; Duane Naquin of Stone Interiors with locations in Mobile, AL, and Columbia, SC; GK Naquin, also of Stone Interiors and the recipient of the 2005 Stone World Fabricator of the Year Award; and Eric Tryon of Premier Surfaces in Atlanta, GA, who was honored as the Stone World Fabricator of the Year in 2015.

Malisani, owner of a third generation stone shop, has been working in stone industry for 20 years. His business specializes in high-end custom work from fountains, monuments, custom furniture to countertops. Malisani has extensive knowledge about business management in the stone industry with the understanding of the growing opportunities for a small business.

His firm is one of the first companies in the nation to receive the "Natural Stone Accredited Fabricator" credential. In 2010, he was also elected to serve a five-year term on the Marble Institute of America Board of Directors.

Malisani will be speaking at the Stone Summits in Modesto, CA; Salt Lake City, UT; and Seattle, WA. In his sessions, Malisani will review the 12 business axioms of the stone industry, learn what resources are available to stone professionals when building and training their team and discuss what makes a company stand out in the marketplace.

Duane Naquin is one of the founding partners, and CEO, of Stone Interiors North America, a management company operating Natural Stone Institute accredited fabrication facilities in both Mobile, AL, and Columbia, SC. In addition to direct management of these facilities, Stone Interiors also offers consulting services to other fabricators throughout the country. Naquin also serves as chairman of the Natural Stone Institute Education Committee. This role provides him with the opportunity to travel throughout the country presenting seminars and training classes for the Natural Stone Institute on the natural stone business.

Naquin will be presenting at the Stone Summits being held in Cleveland, OH, and Virginia Beach, VA. Points he will cover include: learning what metrics to follow as you develop your business plan, discuss how to maximize shop efficiency while creating the best product for your customer and create a plan to position your company in the marketplace.

GK Naquin has over 35 years of experience in the natural stone industry. He and his partners own Stone Interiors North America, a large fabrication company with four locations in the Southeast (two of which have received the Natural Stone Institute “accreditation” credential). Naquin, who has served as the 2011 president of the MIA and Board of Directors, often provides independent consulting services to fabrication facilities and travels the country providing educational seminars at various industry-related events such as StonExpo, Coverings, the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show and others.

Naquin will be presenting the sessions in Bridgeport, CT, St. Louis, MO; and Tampa Bay, FL.

In 2002, Tryon started Premier Surfaces in Atlanta, GA. This venture was completely different than his previous life in a coat and tie “white collar” world. However, his business philosophy remains the same as day one of his career. Relationships, relationships, relationships. Frequently he tells his 135 employees over four locations (Atlanta, Birmingham, Huntsville and Chattanooga) that “we are a relationship company.” Stone fabrication is just the product they represent.

Premier Surfaces has received many awards over the years. A few highlights are “Consumers Choice Award” in Atlanta each consecutive year from 2007 to 2015: “Top 20 Best Places to Work” in Atlanta. Tryon was also named one of the Top 20 Entrepreneurs in Atlanta in 2012 and 2015. Premier Surfaces operates in four state-of-the-art facilities in the Southeast and was one of the first accredited members for the Marble Institute of America.

Look for Tryon at the Stone Summits in Dallas, TX, and Detroit, MI. He will teach what metrics to follow as you develop your business plan, discuss how to create a team that will optimize efficiency and build customer satisfaction, and create a plan to help your company maximize profits.

Through the years, the Stone Education Series has received positive feedback from fabricators who have attended them. “The choice of fabricators was helpful as each specialized in a different customer phase,” said Danny Salinas of Texas Tile Service. And Jordan Taylor of Schlitzberger Stone Designs said, “I loved hearing advice from the panel. GK is a wonderful moderator.”

Dates and locations

The following is the schedule for the 2019 Stone Education Series, including host companies.

February 28 – Arizona Tile, Dallas, TX

March 21 – Pacific Shore Stones, Modesto, CA

May 2 – Arizona Tile, Salt Lake City, UT

May 23 – Boston Granite Exchange, East Haven, CT

June 13 – MSI, Cleveland, OH

July 11 – Universal Granite and Marble, St. Louis, MO

July 25 – MSI, Virginia Beach, VA

September 19 – Universal Granite and Marble, Detroit, MI

October 10 – MSI, Tampa Bay, FL

November 7 – Daltile, Seattle, WA