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Denver Stone Summit Unites Fabricators

Fabricators discuss best business practices and shop safety at the Stone Industry Education event hosted by Architectural Surfaces in Denver, CO

The Stone Industry Education (SIE) series, organized by Stone World and the Natural Stone Institute, made its way out west to Denver, CO, on Thursday, June 6, 2024. The town hall-style seminar, which encourages attendees to engage by asking questions and sharing experiences, was hosted by Architectural Surfaces, a leading importer and distributor of natural stone, engineered stone, and tile for residential and commercial applications. While the majority of fabricators who participated in the Denver Stone Summit were from Colorado, there was also representation from Utah.   

The full-day event, a total of nine held in different regions of the U.S. throughout the year, targets fabricators from the area. The morning session, presented by third-generation fabrication shop owner Tony Malisani of Malisani Inc. in Great Fall, MT, hit on best business practices, as well as ways to retain employees and find opportunities to further ensure success in a fabrication operation. The afternoon presentation focused on shop safety and OSHA standards for silica. 

The morning presentation kicked off with Malisani telling the group the concept for the day was to think about how your company is proceeding with purpose. “Planning is critical to all of our lives,” he said. “It’s the same with your company. If you don’t have a plan in place, it makes it more difficult to complete daily tasks.

“The time to improve is now,” Malisani went on to say. “It seems like a massive burden, but it’s not. It’s really a starting point. Having a plan, even a five-year one, and putting down what you want to accomplish is really important.”

Malisani told the group to define what success means. “Sit down with your group and ask, ‘What are you trying to achieve?’ Trying to sell? Are you trying to grow? Is it more employees? Better paid employees? Changing your company structure?

“Make a mission statement and a vision statement,” he continued. “It is a big picture. There’s a wide-open sky.” 

Once a mission and vision statement are outlined, then there needs to be a plan to reach those goals. “It is important to communicate that to your employees,” said Malisani. “People want to be a part of the family. They will probably work for even a little less if you make them feel important and included.”

When the conversation turned to hiring and retaining employees, Malisani explained it is important to be open with potential new workers. “Introduce them to your company,” he said. “We are all competing against each other, but we are also competing against the grocery stores, banks, etc. because people can get other jobs. Communication at the very beginning is important.”

Malisani also spoke to the group about the benefits of community involvement. “It is incredibly important,” he said. Sponsoring an event or fundraiser is a way to get your name recognized. 

The morning session was followed by a tour of Architectural Surfaces’ slab warehouse and then a BBQ lunch. Attendees were also given time to mingle with each other and talk with sponsors to learn more about their products. Sponsors of the Denver Stone Summit included Biesse, Big Dog Adhesives, Dry-Treat, Inc., Informa/The International Surface Event (TISE), Laser Products Industries, More Surface Care and Wood’s Powr-Grip.

The important topic of shop safety and silica was the focus of the afternoon discussion. Jeff “Corky” Courtright, safety coordinator at Planet Granite in Colorado Springs, CO, went over the top items OSHA looks for when performing a shop inspection and what fabricators can do to be compliant. Look for a more detailed account from Stone World soon.

The next SIE event will be held by UGM Surfaces at its facility in Oak Creek, WI. To register for this event and to view the complete 2024 calendar visit


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