OBERLIN, OH --The Natural Stone Institute’s Person of the Year award is presented annually to an individual who has provided extensive support to the association’s executive team.   As a dedicated leader and timeless volunteer, Sam Arcot of Rugo Stone is recognized as the 2023 Person of the Year. 

With over 20 years of natural stone experience, 14 of which have been with Rugo Stone, Sam’s involvement and dedicated service to the natural stone industry has grown steadily over the past decade. Today he serves on the Natural Stone Institute board of directors and is a Natural Stone Foundation donor. 

CEO Jim Hieb explains why Sam was this year’s choice. “Sam’s involvement the past two years has been incredible, serving as a champion for sustainability, extending the association’s relationships with other countries, and being a model advocate for NSI membership.”

More specifically, Sam has served as a key advocate in the development of the NSI statement on human rights, which states NSI’s position against any form of forced labor, including child labor. Sam’s advocacy in the human rights space greatly complements the sustainable work practices that exist through NSI’s third-party verified Natural Stone Sustainability Standard (ANSI/NSI 373) and the NSI Accreditation program. 

Sam has previously shared: “There is a huge demand for responsibly sourced products, so it was important that NSI and natural stone industry clearly communicate a strong position on this issue.  I am proud to have played a role in helping NSI establish a statement and provide resources that the design community can turn to.”

In the past year, Sam has also led an effort to strengthen the association’s relationship with key trade associations and trade shows in his native country of India. Sam identified opportunities for NSI to develop relationships in India as strong as those which exist with other key stone producing nations.

At industry trade shows, Sam’s ability to articulate the value of NSI membership has become a model for any volunteer leader.   He has shared, “if you have a passion for the natural stone industry, you have to become a member. There is no better way to learn what is going on in the industry, receive key updates, and obtain valuable resources. The level of networking with industry peers is unrivalled.”