OBERLIN, OH -- Brett Rugo (Rugo Stone) has received the 2021 Migliore Award for Lifetime Achievement.
In his letter nominating Brett Rugo, Tony Malisani said that Brett has been and continues to be a champion for both the Natural Stone Institute and our industry around the world. “His passion for natural stone, as well as the incredible body of work he has completed, were the two motivating factors in nominating Brett Rugo for the 2021 Migliore Lifetime Achievement Award.” Vito Germinario of LGV Group, LLC., another longtime business associate and friend, recalled that one of the things that impressed him about Brett was his meticulousness and his desire to do things right the first time.
That same passion for stone was an essential element in Brett’s motivation to help create the Craftsman of the Year award in 2009. This award was designed to celebrate the hands, the minds, the skill and the craft that forms the beautiful works of art from the blocks and slabs that we get from the quarries.
Born in Barre, Vermont, the grandson of an Italian stone carver, Brett knew early in his life that he was meant to work with one of nature’s most timeless materials. When asked about some of the key influences in his life, Brett began with his parents. “I was raised by really fine people with tremendous work ethic. They taught me right from wrong and they taught me hard work and diligence and dedication, in spite of all the obstacles.”
His most meaningful employment in stone began in the early 1980s with Kenneth Castellucci, who Brett credits for being instrumental in terms of building his own network, his own awareness of all the different sources and players within the industry. “You know, he didn’t hand me a textbook, but he certainly opened doors and I will be eternally grateful for that.”
In 1997, Brett struck out on his own with deep knowledge and vast experience. He quickly earned a reputation as a “can-do” contractor with an ability to handle the most complex projects and became an expert in the industry.
Always seeking knowledge or an opportunity to share, Rugo Stone became a member of the Natural Stone Institute in 2000. Brett’s individual industry association accomplishments began with his appointment to the Board of Directors of the Marble Institute of America in 2004. He ultimately became president in 2010. Here he pushed forward an agenda emphasizing the development of new cutting-edge topics and updating the existing chapters of the Dimension Stone Design Manual to keep the industry up to date with changes in construction techniques and building codes.
Brett can also be credited for initiating the development of the association’s Accreditation program. Longtime Rugo Stone employee Sam Arcot tells us that Brett has always believed the industry should be standardized, and the Accreditation credentialing program was an excellent opportunity to achieve those standards and to create a benchmark for companies to achieve. It’s not surprising that Rugo Stone became the first accredited Commercial A contractor and natural stone fabricator.
Brett and his team at Rugo Stone have together earned an impressive 22 Pinnacle Awards and four Tucker Design Awards over the life of these awards programs. Dozens of other organizational accolades have recognized his knowledge, skill, creative problem solving and dedication to the highest quality in standards. He credits those to his team—not just himself.
Early on Brett realized that he was a good captain, but that you need to have all star players on your team, and you must have people who are willing to take direction and use their skills, which he claims were often better than his in individual disciplines. Rugo Stone has assembled a team that works together and is committed to the highest level of quality, which has always been the standard that he has wanted for his company.
Brett recalls one of his personal highpoints. “Winning the Benemerenti Medal from Pope Francis for our work at the Trinity Dome was an unbelievable moment as a Catholic receiving an award of service for all the years of dedication and quality that I’ve put into the work that we do within the Catholic Church.”
After winning the prestigious Migliore Award, what could be next for Brett Rugo? Colleagues believe he will continue to look for more challenging projects for his company, as he always has.
Brett anticipates working to continually advance the technical documents and documentation that the Natural Stone Institute offers to the industry. He plans to continue educating specifiers and young architects on how to properly use natural stone. He believes it is the key to our industry’s survival.
Brett also encourages members who are passionate about this industry to be forthcoming and share their knowledge and experience with young people so that the same levels of standards, the same usage, continues for the next generation. “Inspiring young people that do have the passion for the stone industry I think is part of our own obligation as leaders.”
Nominations for the 2022 Migliore Award are being accepted until May 20. To learn more, visit www.naturalstoneinstitute.org/migliore.