Francee Alderson brought her background in the service industry to American Stone, where she uses her expertise to expand the company’s Vancouver, Washington location into a highly desired source for stone and other landscape materials. Recently, Alderson was a recipient of the Natural Stone Institute scholarship, which has afforded her to build upon her knowledge, hone her skills and stay updated on the latest trends and best practices in the field. Stone World had the opportunity to chat with Alderson. Here’s what she had to say: 

SW: Tell us a little about yourself.

FA: My name is Francee Alderson. I am the general manager with American Stone. I’m originally from a small town called Elmira, OR, where, between my incredible single mother and my amazing education, I came to be passionate about and have an amazing respect for nature and all that it encompasses. 

I came up in the service industry, learning my customer service and management skills working for companies including Fred Meyer, Peace Health and Lowes. I’ve spent my career providing both leadership and service to the companies I’ve worked for while continuing to partner with my leaders and mentors to grow within the industry to be both a better leader and a respected professional. 

Now, as general manager at American Stone, I bring my diverse background and deep-rooted values to the forefront, driving our company towards excellence while creating a work environment that I am proud of. I am an avid crafter, gardener/landscaper, I love traveling to the beach to explore and the mountains to be in awe of our astounding geological formations and revel in the beauty of it. 

SW: How long have you been working in the stone industry?

FA: I’ve been working in the stone industry since March 2021 as a general manager, helping American Stone to grow the Vancouver location into a successful profitable business, as well as being our customer’s first choice destination for everything stone and landscape. 

SW: Describe your role at American Stone.

FA: I am the general manager at the Vancouver, Washington location. In my role with American Stone, I work to grow the business, my employees and my position within my community as a premier provider of both stone products and customer service, including partnering my contractors with my DIY customers and providing advice and assistance to anyone looking to create a stone-based magical landscape. 

I believe in growing my team with hands-on leadership and education and providing a workplace where their time, experience, and engagement are both valued and rewarded. Within our community, we partner with our vendors and provide interactive events for both contractors and DIY customers. We work with our neighbors in volunteer events providing service and product, and we do everything we can to be good stewards of the land we own and operate on. 

Our company vision is to “help people create beautiful spaces and living scapes through natural stone products,” and that vision is the pinnacle of the foundation that drives me in my role. I strive to cultivate a team of bright genuinely engaged people who love the work as much as I do; provide products that serve both American Stone and the community we live in, and drive the profitability of the business by growing both of those aspects with marketing, merchandising, and continued education for myself, my team and my customers. 

SW: I understand you recently won a scholarship from the Natural Stone Institute (NSI). What does that mean to you? 

FA: Winning the scholarship from the Natural Stone Institute has been incredibly meaningful for me, both personally and professionally. It validated my dedication and commitment to the stone industry, affirming that my contributions are recognized and valued by such a prestigious organization.

The scholarship not only provided financial support for education and training, but also opened doors to invaluable resources, networking opportunities and access to industry experts. This has empowered me to expand my knowledge, hone my skills and stay updated on the latest trends and best practices in the field.

More than just the practical benefits, receiving this scholarship has filled me with pride and motivation. It has inspired me to continue striving for excellence in my professional pursuits and to embody the teachings and values I gained through this experience.

SW: What is one of the aspects of your job that you like most? Why?

FA: I'm deeply passionate about networking with fellow stone providers and contractors because it allows me to transform dreams into tangible realities. People often have an emotional vision of how they want their business, yard or home to look, and I find immense satisfaction in being able to facilitate bringing those visions to life.

One of the most rewarding aspects of my role is teaching my team to see beyond the stones in the yard and build relationships with other providers that enable us to turn these visions into realities. This approach has proven invaluable in aligning with our company's vision – as we nurture our team, expand our business and help our contractors realize their own business aspirations. We solidify our standing within the community.

For me, there's nothing quite like the joy of knowing that our work brings happiness and fulfillment to people in their everyday lives. Being able to contribute to the creation of beautiful and meaningful spaces is truly everything to me.

SW: What advice would you give someone starting a career in the stone industry about how to further your expertise and seek out educational tools and opportunities such as the NSI scholarship?


  • Stay Curious: Never be afraid to ask questions and do your research both online and with     your peers and partners. I have learned so much by spending time with local quarriers, my leadership and the vendors. You will get out if it what you put into it!  
  • Seek Mentorship: There are so many great ways to find a mentor and build your relationship with them. I’ve shadowed vendors, contractors and my own leaders to learn what they know, and have looked outside my immediate circle to find additional ways to grow within my field. NSI offers mentorship programs as well, and there is never a shortage of people willing to talk about stone! You will find people with immense pride in their knowledge and willingness to share.  
  • Continuously Educate Yourself: The stone industry is constantly evolving, with new technologies, techniques and trends emerging regularly. Take advantage of educational resources such as workshops, seminars, webinars and online courses to stay updated on the latest developments. The NSI provides these webinars and virtual training sessions, and in addition, there are innumerable platforms available for furthering your skillset and education. Don’t be afraid to jump in with both feet!  
  • Join Local & Industry Associations: Joining industry associations like the NSI can provide you with access to a wealth of resources, networking opportunities and educational programs. This will grow you on a personal and professional level.  
  • Network: Networking is key in any industry, including the stone industry. Attend industry events, conferences and trade shows to connect with fellow professionals, suppliers and community leaders. Building a strong professional network can open doors to educational opportunities and career advancement. 
  • Demonstrate Your Commitment: When applying for scholarships or educational opportunities like the NSI scholarship, be sure to highlight your passion for the stone industry, your dedication to continuous learning and your desire to contribute positively to the industry's growth and development.

SW: When you aren’t working, how do you like to spend your free time?

FA: I am an avid gardener/landscaper, so every sunny day is a gift I wait for and use to the fullest. I also truly love long drives, exploring the Pacific Northwest with my mom, boyfriend or best friend. It’s amazing how the road trip memories are created -- something with the music, laughter and scenery has a profound impact on the depth of the one-on-one time I get with my favorite people in my busy life. In addition, I am a crafter and curator of goods. I have an Etsy shop where I create and sell gnomes and funky earrings, as well as vintage knick-knacks that if I didn’t sell them, I might be buried in them! 

SW: Is there anything else you would like to share?

FA: I feel incredibly fortunate to be part of the stone industry. It's truly unlike any other. The people I've met here are genuine, passionate and eager to share their stories and successes. Seeing the results of everyone's hard work and expertise come together in these projects is truly breathtaking. They're not just visually stunning, but they also evoke deep emotions and a sense of pride for everyone involved.

I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to step into my role with American Stone. While I've always excelled in service and leadership, being able to apply my skills in an industry that has been a lifelong passion is the ultimate blessing. I'm grateful for the opportunity to contribute to something that means so much to me personally, and I can't wait to see where this journey takes me.