Over the years, I've written articles from stone companies and events around the world. On this day, I'm writing at theMIA/Stone World industry education event in my home state of New Jersey, and I feel compelled to share some of what I'm seeing.

First of all, I'm surprised at the experience level of the fabricators in the room with me. Well more than half of those in attendance have been in our trade for 15 years and more, and yet they remain focused on advancing their craft. The remaining attendees are no less eager to learn, and they're bringing a fresh perspective to the table.

The topics being discussed cover a wide range of issues, and pretty much all of them represent forward thinking and a view towards future success.

Among the subjects being discussed are:

  • Expanding a business
  • Reducing errors
  • Best practices
  • Working with new technology
  • Marketing in the digital age

"Most people got into this business thinking that the market was only countertops, and for a decade and a half, it was," said one fabricator. "But now, if you walk into our shop, we are doing a lot of other work. Countertops are only a small part of it."

The fabricator went on to explain specific products and practices that he has employed to grow his business and make it stand out in a very crowded marketplace.

At a time when it is easy to become disenchanted with the current business climate, it is a breath of fresh air to see a collection of industry veterans take a moment to network, share information and collaborate to advance our industry as a whole.

These MIA/Stone World events take place year round across North America, and if you haven't been to one (or even if you have), I strongly encourage you to check one out in the future. Like our industry, the topics are always changing, and I guarantee you will take something away from it.

Learn more at www.stoneindustryeducation.com.