As we enter the month of June, I look back on the first half of the year, and it sure has been busy! We kicked it off with The International Surface Event (TISE) and from there it has been a bit of a whirlwind for me. I was in Florida and Alabama for our Stone Industry Education (SIE) events, which we organize with the Natural Stone Institute. Those Stone Summits are always fun for me. I not only learn new things, but meet fabricators from the area, and some are even willing to share their stories with us. On the tile side, I was part of the Passport to Creativity Tour hosted by Tile of Spain USA, which is always an incredible experience. From a city tour to learn the architecture and culture of Valencia, Spain, to attending Cevisama and touring tile production plants and showrooms, it is beyond insightful into the world of Spanish tile.

More recently, I was in Atlanta for Coverings, which is always filled with learning about new products, reconnecting with industry friends and meeting new industry members. In addition to our Coverings wrap-up podcast, Jason talked with several others. You can find all of our podcasts from Coverings, as well as others, at

And finally, but certainly not least, was my trip with the Stone Fabricator’s Alliance (SFA) to Italy. Stone World truly appreciates our invitation each year to join this group of fabricators on an amazing adventure. While intense, it is meticulously planned down to the minute by the SFA board of directors and Tenax. We visited the breathtaking Henraux quarry, many machinery and tooling manufacturers and a porcelain slab production facility. And of course, devoured many delicious meals, drank local wine and soaked in the spectacular sights of Italy. Stay tuned for coverage on this trip soon.

As I have said many times, one of my favorite parts of my job is getting out and talking with people. It is how we come up with new story ideas and make new industry friends. And the start of this year has been no exception. Now that I will be home for a few months, I have plenty to keep me busy and numerous stories to share with all of you.

In this issue, we turn a spotlight on Alabama Marble Mineral & Mining Co. “AM3” in Alabama. I had the chance to meet Bintao Qin, the company’s vice president of operations, and he was kind enough to show me around their production facility. Again, this is how we take advantage of our travels to gain valuable content. You can learn more about AM3 here.

So now that we are entering summer, I am looking forward to relaxing a little and maybe a vacation. I’m also welcoming the opportunity to dive into my work and follow-up on the many leads I have gained from all of my trips this year. And as we say repeatedly, if you have a story or suggestion you would like to share, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are always open to new ideas.