With 59% of the votes, Joey Marcella of Mario & Son in Liberty Lake, WA, was our readers’ favorite for the 2018 Stone World Fabricator of the Year. Marcella was one of four deserving candidates who were nominated.

The Stone World Fabricator of the Year Award is a long-time tradition which began when Jim Stengel of Dakota Granite Co. was honored in 1988. Forward 30 years later, and Stone World has a lineup of outstanding industry members who have been recognized each year for their leadership, dedication and innovation.

Those who have received the award, as well as the other worthy candidates who were nominated, have all set an example by having a willingness to either educate by sitting on educational panels at various trade shows and other events or have opened their shops up to their peers to share ideas and experiences – all for the better of our industry.

As in years past, nominations were received 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.

In addition to Marcella, the roster of nominees included:

  • David Barnes of Dee Brown, Dallas, TX
  • Geoffrey Gran of The Countertop Factory Midwest, Addison, IL
  • Augustin Bustamante of Jaba Pro Stone Corp., Hollywood, FL

The award was presented on Thursday, January 24th at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV, during StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas 2019, which is part of The International Surface Event (TISE). The awards presentation kicked off in front of a crowd at the start of the “block party” sponsored by the Natural Stone Council (NSC), as well as Stone World and the Natural Stone Institute.                                                

Nomination for Joey Marcella

Over the course of a 30-year career, Joey Marcella has worked his way up through the ranks to be a true master of fabrication, designer, artist, successful business owner and beacon of the industry. His company, Mario and Son, has dominated the local market since its inception, and has always been on the leading edge of technology. They purchased their first CNC machine in 1997, which was among the first in the western U.S. at the time. Since then, they have pioneered the use of state-of-the-art material handling systems (a Breton automated warehouse system was one of only three in the world when it was installed for example), and promoted expanded use of multi-axis machinery and software to create complex and challenging stonework.
As an individual craftsman, Joey has contributed his stoneworking and leadership skills to countless building projects throughout the Pacific Northwest — from small residential countertops to large commercial hotels, and everything in between. In addition to dimensional work, he also promotes craftsmanship in stone through other avenues like fine art sculpture and unique marketing ventures. His eye for detail and technical ability have allowed the company to compete at the highest level in their market, handling the most demanding of projects with professionalism, ease, and most importantly, uncompromising quality and integrity. He fully understands and embraces stoneworking technology, while never losing sight of the traditional hand-worked craft. He uses this comfortable synergy between the two disciplines very effectively, making it the hallmark of the company. Mario & Son is widely known in the region as the company to call when things get complicated, or when quality is paramount. Being voted the best granite shop for 10 straight years in local magazine readership polls is a testament to this, and Joey is certainly a solid reason behind this good fortune and reputation.
Aside from his own accomplishments, Joey has been an engaging leader and mentor, supervising and nurturing the numerous employees that have interacted with him throughout their careers. With his long experience in the business and extensive travels to the stoneworking regions of the world, Joey possesses a depth of knowledge beyond many in the industry, a knowledge that he openly and freely shares not only with his staff, but with all he encounters nationally and internationally through his leadership position with the Stone Fabricator’s Alliance (SFA). In addition, Joey has participated in many trade show seminars, collaborated on numerous articles in Stone World magazine, currently oversees the SFA’s annual tour of Italy and hosted an SFA workshop at Mario & Son’s facility in 2013.
These days, although still crucial to the ongoing success of Mario & Son, you are more likely to find Joey working in the shop than in the office, as he believes he’s a craftsman first and a business owner second. Well exceeding all the criteria to receive this prestigious award, I believe Joey Marcella is a clear and solid choice for the honor to be Stone World’s Fabricator of the Year for 2018.

Words from Joey

This award is very special to me, not only because it is voted on by my peers, but because it holds a sentimental place from early in my career. When I was just starting out in the stone business in the early 90’s, there wasn’t a great deal of information to be shared. There was no SFA, no workshops, and the internet was still in its infancy. We relied on the often misguided advice of tool salesmen, and if we were lucky, the occasional trip to StonExpo — only if we could scratch up enough money to get there. I remember being scolded in the exhibition hall by the owner of Eastern Marble Supply when I inquired if they had any of this magical “polishing fluid” that some less than reputable salesmen had told me about. There are no shortcuts. Lesson learned.

The one reliable source of information I depended on was Stone World magazine. I would study it cover to cover, harvesting any information about our industry that I could get out of it. I even studied the ads, to get to know who’s who, and who was selling what.

I remember reading about the Fabricator of the Year award, and in those days there were just a few names on that list. One name in particular that stood out to me was a gentleman named David Teitelbaum, whom I’ve never met, but the name of his company intrigued me — Cathedral Stoneworks.

I was in my early 20s back then, and while my friends were flipping burgers, I was immersing myself in this exciting industry, among these superhuman people on that list. I couldn’t begin to fathom the knowledge and accomplishments these people would possess to be on such a list. I mean, with names like Cathedral Stoneworks, I could only imagine the kind of grand projects they must have been doing.

Fast forward nearly 30 years, Stone World is as strong as ever, and I still read it cover to cover and encourage my employees to do the same. I often joke that I gauge the health of the industry by the thickness of the magazine. The Fabricator of the Year list has grown with it each year, and I’m proud to say, has many of my friends added to it. Modern day superstars like Dave Scott, Marco Duran, Matt Lansing, Mike Yates and Ron Hannah, and many others whom I don’t know personally, but admire professionally.

Now in 2019, to have my name added to that prestigious list is surreal. Never in a million years would I have thought as a young, fledgling fabricator that I would join such an elite group of total Rock Stars. And if that wasn’t enough, the Natural Stone Institute also bestowed on me a nice little collection of hardware as well this year, but to list it all would be rather pretentious I’m afraid. Let’s just say it was a really, really good year and leave it at that.

When my time in this business comes to an end, I know I will look fondly back on this year, knowing I made at least a little impression on the industry that had defined my adult life. At the very least, I’ll have bragging rights with the grandchildren. “Look at this list of distinguished people. See, grandpa used to be somebody.”

So thank you David Madonia, Jennifer Richinelli, Jason Kamery, Steve Smith, the late Michael Reis, and those I have yet to meet at Stone World for providing me a dream that I’m convinced I’ll wake up from at any moment.

And Mr. Teitelbaum, if you’re still out there, Cathedral Stoneworks is a fantastic name, and I hope that maybe the Mario & Son name can inspire an up-and-coming fabricator just like you did with me.

Stone World Fabricator of the Year award winners

2018 – Joey Marcella, Mario & Son

2017 – Dave Scott, Slabworks of Montana

2016 — Scott Hanes, Majestic Granite and Marble

2015 — Eric Tryon, Premier Surfaces

2014 — Marco Duran, Atlas Marble and 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 — GK 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

1998 — Harold Stobbe, Owen Sound Ledgerock

1996 — Willard Vetter, Vetter Stone Co.

1995 — Chuck Monson, Dakota Granite Co.

1994 — Linus Dingman, Cold Spring Granite Co.

1993 — David Teitelbaum, Cathedral Stoneworks

1991 — Wilbur Bybee, Bybee Stone Co.

1989 — Tony Ramos, New England Stone Industries

1988 — Jim Stengel, Dakota Granite Co.