Oberlin, OH — Katie Jensen has been chosen as the 2020 Natural Stone Institute Person of the Year.

Natural Stone Institute CEO Jim Hieb explains why Katie was this year’s choice. “She stepped up to help the association overcome obstacles, presented new ideas, and constantly focused on the big picture while inspiring others to do the same.” As a tireless volunteer and dedicated leader, Katie was a natural choice for this year’s award. She serves on the Natural Stone Institute’s board of directors and joined the executive leadership team as secretary in 2021.  

Her association contributions in 2020 include much more than serving on the board of directors. Katie was instrumental in her company donating stone to multiple Gary Sinise Foundation R.I.S.E program homes for severely wounded veterans. She also inspired the association to create a natural stone Lookbook to streamline how R.I.S.E. recipients select natural stone for their homes. Katie then personally contacted several quarries to solicit their involvement and contributions to the program. 

When asked about her reasons for being so involved, Katie replied: “It is important to give back to the industry. It helps me be more well-rounded. I am able to interact with many different people at many different levels in the industry.”

During the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, Katie participated in weekly roundtable discussions with industry peers offering insight for the association’s executive board and CEO.  She served as a mentor in the Women in Stone Mentorship Program and assisted in key meetings with U.S. Senators addressing legislative issues important to the industry.

Knowing that membership is the lifeblood of any association, Katie deployed the full resources of her company in 2020 to market membership to its suppliers and customers. In that effort, she led all volunteers in recruiting companies to join.  She highlights the importance of membership within the Natural Stone Institute by saying: “It’s important to connect with those like-minded individuals who are also fabricators, distributors, and suppliers. You’re able to learn from one another. There are so many resources that the Natural Stone Institute offers, and really the further that you apply yourself, the more that you are able to enact change and be a better person for your company.”

Her long list of 2020 industry involvement includes participating in several educational webinars and offering support to the association’s presence at KBIS. She has also provided helpful insight and donations to the Natural Stone Foundation, the charitable arm of the Natural Stone Institute.

Pam Hammond, Natural Stone Institute Executive Assistant to the CEO, worked alongside Jensen on several projects and describes her as “someone who has great marketing prowess, is head of 21 locations across the southeastern USA, and mother to 4 children.  She’s a dynamo!”

In her own words, Katie describes why her commitment to the industry correlates to the success of her company. “It’s really not about the dollars and cents. I’ll be honest, I truly love what I do.  I’m passionate about natural stone.”