The International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA) held an educational event in Raleigh, NC, co-hosted by ROCKin’teriors and CaraGreen, a sustainable surface distributor. The Summit took place from March 21 to 23, 2023, and was well attended by 40 participants across the surfacing industry, including sponsors Trajus (Marva), Cosentino, Lapitec, GranQuartz and Integra. ISFA considers the Raleigh Summit a large success, as the hosts had to cap attendance at 40 people to maintain the interactive format. Attendees included manufacturers, fabricators and suppliers from all over the country, as well as Mexico.

The event kicked off with a tour of ROCKin’teriors fabrication facility, followed by the presentation portion at CaraGreen’s location. Emerson Schwartzkopf, publisher and editor of Stone Update, started with an overview of the industry and led a discussion with all attendees weighing in on important topics such as silica, new products, sintered surfaces, social media and other industry trends.

The Raleigh Summit was a new concept aimed at eliminating the barriers to discussion by covering broad topics up and down the supply chain that impact all partners, from marketing to surviving a recession, and most notably, industry trends, including new materials, new formats and new tooling and equipment needed to support them. The event organizers intent was to have everyone leaving the Summit with some "nuggets" that they can take home to their businesses, as well as a network of friends that they can use for consult or collaboration in the future.

"Some of my best industry contacts and friends have come through interactions at ISFA events like the Raleigh Summit,” said Laura Grandlienard, owner of ROCKin’teriors. “We wanted to bring that unique networking experience to others in the area and from around the country."

Cosentino presented “Cosentino’s commitment to Environment, Safety + Sustainability.” “It was well received by the audience,” said Grandlienard. “It got a lot of good conversation.”

Additionally, GranQuartz demonstrated its TMS (Tool Management Software Program), which includes the Zoller machine available to all fabricators using CNC tools.

"We tend to draw in leadership at organizations looking to differentiate their businesses by knowing what the industry is saying as a collective whole,” said Jessica McNaughton, owner of CaraGreen. “As best we can see, there is no cohesive event that gives all the players a voice in a collaborative, non-proprietary way. This is not a marketing event where you are pushing your brand; you are representing your company as an individual and through your contributions to the open discussions."

Both co-hosts also emphasized the fun part of the event. “We interleave the discussion time over a day and a half with hosted outings, including cocktail hours, dinners, indoor golf and more,” they said. “We want you to feel like you are at an informational social gathering with your new group of industry friends."

“This was a great event and we are so very happy to have been part of it,” said Nico Maganuco, senior director of innovation, digital & marketing at Trajus.