ISFA's Countertops & Architectural Surfaces Vol. 17, Issue 1

Page 1

Rising to the Challenge

Learn how you can foster a culture of adaptability and flexibility to navigate uncertainties and build resilience in your business.






Sarah Peiper


Marissa Bankert

Tony Calvert

Tim Saddoris

Ted Sherritt

David Smith

Ed Young


Marsha Jo Scott


V2 Marketing & Management

Printing and Distribution:

LSC Communications


Countertops & Architectural Surfaces (ISSN 2372-983x) is published quarterly by the International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA), with a fifth edition, a Buyers Guide, publishing in October.

Individual copies of Countertops & Architectural Surfaces magazine are available at the nonmember newsstand price of $14.95. Countertops & Architectural Surfaces magazine is also available by annual subscription (five issues) for $30.00. ISFA members receive a complimentary annual subscription with every membership renewal. Special rates and charges apply for orders outside of the United States. To subscribe, call (888) 599-ISFA.

For change of address, please include old label with new information, including both old and new ZIP codes. Allow 3-6 weeks for address change to take effect.

Countertops & Architectural Surfaces magazine is proudly printed in the United States of America. Copyright © International Surface Fabricators Association 2024. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reprinted or otherwise reproduced without the publisher’s written consent.

Countertops & Architectural Surfaces magazine and the International Surface Fabricators Association assume no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts or photographs. Materials will be returned only if accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

Opinions expressed by contributors in this magazine are not necessarily the opinions of Countertops & Architectural Surfaces magazine or the International Surface Fabricators Association, but rather those of the individual writers.


Photos in this publication may not depict proper safety procedures for creative purposes. ISFA and Countertops & Architectural Surfaces magazine support the use of proper safety procedures in all cases and urge readers to take steps to institute such procedures.

Photography/graphics provided by:



Cosentino Coverings


ENVI Surfaces


GEM Industries



Hyundai L&C USA

Infinity Surfaces

International Surface Fabricators Association

Karran USA


Laser Products Industries

LX Hausys



Park Industries


Tower Industries




Ed Young

POSTMASTER: Send address changes to:

LSC Communications

c/o Countertops & Architectural Surfaces magazine 3401 Heartland Drive Liberty, MO 64068


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A Fabricator’s Guide for Annual Planning

This month-to-month forecasting tool will help you spend more time running your business instead of it running you.


Stone Fabrication in the Age of the Great Retirement: Adapt or Be Left Behind

The skilled labor pool isn’t getting any deeper. Here’s why you should be looking for new opportunities and start planning for the future.


New Colors and Materials

From quartz to the ever-growing popularity of porcelain, here’s what’s on trend in 2024.


The Future of Convenience: Smart Faucets and Sinks Revolutionize Everyday Living

A look at the profound impact that smart faucets and state-of-the art sinks can have on modern home living. 32 Fabricator


of solid surface, Tower Industries takes pride in delivering premium products built from quality materials supported by reliable customer service.

6 • Vol. 17 / Issue 1 • International Surface Fabricators Association CONTENTS Follow us on social media! @ISFAnow @ISFAnow @ISFA
Profile: Tower Industries
DEPARTMENTS 8 Editor’s Note 10 Calendar of Events 12 Industry News 14 Education Connection 29 Sustainability Matters 37 Perspectives: Marissa Bankert 38 ISFA News 44 ISFA Associate Member Directory 47 Product News 49 Perspectives: Ted Sherritt
AVONITE Solid Surface is a recent addition to Trinseo’s material solutions portfolio resulting from the acquisition of Aristech Surfaces. Thermoformable and hygienic, due to its nonporous physical properties, AVONITE Solid Surface offers seamless assembly and the possibility to create intriguing light effects, thanks to its subtle translucency. The Riverine Collection of AVONITE is modern yet timeless, featuring the appearance of soft, free-flowing marble patterns with warm, neutral and cool palette options to enhance any décor. To learn more, visit 16 20 14 26 32
Cover Photo


Embracing Change: A Catalyst for Innovation

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus is credited with the idea that the only constant in life is change. Only fragments of his writings are on record, one in which he says, “Life is flux.” Other philosophers have quoted him saying something along the lines of: Everything changes, and nothing remains still; you cannot step into the same stream twice. Heraclitus lived about 2500 years ago, by the way, so this is certainly not a new concept. Yet, many of us are surprised or derailed by change in a way that suggests we don’t expect it when, in fact, we should always expect it. What “it” is — well, that is just a matter of detail.

In the decorative surface industry, we are navigating an era defined by technological advancements, evolving consumer preferences and sustainability imperatives. Material manufacturers and fabricators find themselves at the crossroads of tradition and transformation. In this evershifting landscape, the key to success lies in embracing change as a catalyst for innovation.

Over the years, the countertop has gone through a remarkable evolution, transcending beyond its utilitarian roots to become a centerpiece of expression in homes and public spaces. Gone are the days when countertops were mere functional surfaces; today, they serve as focal points that seamlessly blend style with substance. As we stand on the precipice of innovation, the industry must recognize change not as a threat but as a powerful force propelling us toward new horizons. In this issue, we round up 13 material manufacturers creating impressive designs that are sure to elevate the aesthetic in any space while preserving functionality (page 20).

Meanwhile, technological advancements have emerged as a driving force behind change in countertop manufacturing. From introducing engineered materials to integrating smart technologies and sustainable processes, the industry has embraced innovation to meet the demands of a changing environment. Cutting-edge materials, such as quartz, sintered stone and porcelain, have revolutionized the industry by offering durability, versatility and a spectrum of design possibilities. Integrating smart features, like embedded

wireless charging stations (page 48) and touch-sensitive faucets (page 26), transforms countertops into interactive hubs within the modern home.

The demand for sustainable and eco-friendly options has become increasingly pronounced, prompting manufacturers to explore environmentally conscious materials and production processes. We have a host of companies looking at ways to create safer materials that reduce fabricators’ exposure to crystalline silica while using fewer natural resources in the process. Adapting to these changing preferences is not just a trend; it is necessary to stay relevant in an ever-evolving reality, especially considering the increased awareness of the dangers of respirable crystalline silica dust (pages 13 and 49).

While change brings forth innovation, it also necessitates a reassessment of traditional practices. This issue’s fabricator profile features Tower Industries, a manufacturer and fabricator in Ohio that embraced solid surface in the ’90s and continues to find terrific success with the material today (page 32). While fabricators must adapt to emerging trends and new materials, Tower’s story is a testament to the importance of fostering a culture of continuous learning and collaboration, where professionals across the supply chain share insights and ideas and come up with the next great idea. Industry associations and trade events play a crucial role in facilitating this exchange, serving as platforms for networking, knowledge-sharing and the exploration of new possibilities.

And that brings me to my desk and the changes happening all around it. Being the editor of this magazine is just part of my role at the International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA), and 2024 brings some new faces to our leadership team, including a new executive director (page 38). Under her guidance, along with ISFA’s board of directors, the association is well-positioned to support its membership as it navigates the challenges and opportunities within this industry. I look forward to facilitating the positive changes that elevate everyone’s success. Because, in fact, the only constant is change, and when you apply a forward-thinking mindset, it’s an opportunity for growth.

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California Stone Summit: Fabricator Town Hall

March 7

Pacific Shore Stones North Hollywood, Calif.

Xiamen Stone Fair

March 16-19

Xaimen, China

ISFA Webinar: Beneath the Surface Interior Cladding with Corian Solid Surface

March 20


Solid Surface Fabrication Training

March 26-27

San Antonio, Texas

Alabama Stone Summit: Take Your Organization to the Next Level

April 4

Triton Stone Group Birmingham, Ala.

ISFA Fabricator Forum

April 10-11


Woodworking Industry Conference 2024

April 9-11

St. Petersburg, Florida www.woodworking

Marble Izmir Fair 2024

April 17-20

Izmir, Turkey


April 22-25


HD Expo & Conference

April 30-May 2

Las Vegas

New Jersey Stone Summit: Fabricator Town Hall

May 9

Architectural Surfaces Jamesburg, N.J.

Porcelain Training Presented by Panoramic by Daltile


San Antonio, Texas

ISFA MemberConnect Meeting

May 16


Colorado Stone Summit: Dynamic Intentionality

June 6

Architectural Surfaces


Solid Surface Fabrication Training

June 4-5


ISFA Fabricator Forum

June 12-13

San Francisco

AIA Conference on Architecture

June 5-8

Washington, D.C.


June 10-12


Wisconsin Stone Summit: Know Your Business

July 11

UGM Surfaces

Oak Creek, Wis.

Solid Surface Fabrication Training August 6-7

San Antonio, Texas

International Woodworking Fair August 6-9


International Manufacturing Technology Show

September 9-14


ISFA Fabricator Forum

September 11-12

St. Louis

ISFA MemberConnect Meeting

September 19


Ohio Stone Summit: Dynamic Intentionality

September 19

MSI Surfaces

Columbus, Ohio


September 23-27 Bologna, Italy


September 24-27 Verona, Italy

Washington Stone Summit: Fabricator Town Hall

October 10

MSI Surfaces

Kent, Washington

Solid Surface Fabrication Training October 22-23


BACA BASH by BACA Systems November 6-7

Orion Township, Michigan

Texas Stone Summit: Know Your Business

November 7

Arizona Tile


ISFA Annual Conference November 6-8


ISFA MemberConnect Meeting November 14 Virtual

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Submit your event for consideration in Calendar of Events by emailing Editor Sarah Peiper,

Coverings Offers Well-Rounded Programming for Surface Professionals

Coverings, the preeminent event for the ceramic tile and natural stone industry in North America, has announced a select lineup of featured educational opportunities for Coverings 2024, which will take place April 22-25, 2024, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

Education at Coverings 2024 will span all tile and stone industry segments, focusing on Coverings’ four learning tenets: Sustainability, Health & Wellness, Outdoor Spaces and Timeless

Luxury. Eventgoers will benefit from live demonstrations, show floor tours with prerecorded audio, interactive sessions and partner education.

Coverings 2024’s robust roster of educational offerings will concentrate on the show’s three strategic learning tracks: Installation & Fabrication, Materials & Trends and Workforce & Profits. All learning opportunities have been created to foster professional, business and revenue growth for those in the tile and stone industry.

The Installation & Fabrication track is designed to assist attendees in refreshing their knowledge of industry best practices and staying abreast of cutting-edge techniques in the installation and fabrication of tile and stone. Attendees of the Workforce & Profits sessions will gain insights regarding innovative business practices and tactics to enhance workforce growth and management. Those engaging in the Materials & Trends sessions can expect to receive updates on the most recent tile and stone trends, design inspirations and techniques.

Coverings 2024 will also feature four education stages on the show floor, providing participants with countless opportunities to explore the latest innovations, trends and insights. These stages include the return of the Installation Innovation Stage, Trends & Solutions Stage, Fabricator Stage and a new addition, the Art Tile Stage.

Attendees at Coverings 2024 can expect additional educational opportunities, offering relevant insights and information about other trending topics in the tile and stone industry. Learn how you can make the most of your Coverings experience and register at no cost at

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Have a new product or service announcement? IFSA can help you get the word out! Send press releases to: or visit for more information about our marketing channels.

Growing Concerns About Silica Risk Lead to Additional Restrictions

Engineered stone has faced increased scrutiny and regulatory measures in recent months. Australia has initiated a ban on the material, which is set to go into effect on July 1, 2024. The industry has witnessed a surge in concerns over the health and safety risks associated with the production and installation of stone products.

Respirable crystalline silica dust is generated during the cutting, grinding or polishing of natural stone and engineered stone, posing severe health risks to workers. Prolonged exposure to silica dust has been linked to respiratory problems, including silicosis, a debilitating lung disease that is not reversible. In response to these health concerns, regulatory bodies and occupational safety agencies in various regions have implemented stricter guidelines and restrictions on the handling and processing of these materials.

An Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) was unanimously approved by the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards (Cal/OSHA) board in mid-December 2023, with the ETS going into effect later that month. The new ETS requires that all fabrication of artificial materials containing more than .1% silica, or natural stone materials containing more than 10% crystalline silica by weight, be done using wet cutting methods. In addition, fabricators must wear poweredair purifying respirators, and employers are mandated to facilitate medical testing.

Representatives from the Natural Stone Institute and the International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA) attended the December Cal/OSHA board meeting in California. “We will continue to provide updates relevant to employee safety to our members,” said Austin Maxwell, 2023 ISFA board president. “We urge you to stay informed and stay safe.” The associations have prioritized the issue, assembled additional resources and support, and they continue to collaborate with government officials on future regulations.

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 17 / Issue 1 • 13 IN THE INDUSTRY

A Fabricator’s Guide for Annual Planning

As you consider what 2024 may have in store, you may have questions like:

I think I need to add an install crew. Will I have the revenue to sustain the overhead?

I want to start a marketing campaign, but can I afford it?

If I add a salesperson, when will I need to add that new templater?

I know we need more employees as we grow, but it will increase my cost. Can I afford them?

A great aid in answering these questions is to put together a month-to-month plan that not only forecasts your sales but also helps you think through what staff changes you need to make as your sales change. For this exercise, let’s assume an increase in sales in 2024. If you expect the opposite, the same logic applies but in reverse.

Step 1: Download the Annual Planning Spreadsheet at

Step 2: Forecast your sales for 2024. Hopefully, you are continuously talking to local economic development people, your local home builders’ association, the chamber of commerce and your customers to keep your finger on the pulse of the economy in your area. Use this data plus your experience to forecast sales levels for each month. Remember to include the impact of your normal seasonal patterns.

In the spreadsheet, you can enter the sales volume you anticipate for each month, or you can estimate the additional jobs you expect to add for each month. To use this feature, you will also need to have some data on the average sales price of your jobs. The spreadsheet will calculate the monthly impact of those added jobs.

Keep in mind that this is your best guess based on the information you have today. It won’t be perfect, but it’s a great

starting point and essential for planning out the year. As the year progresses and you have new insights, you can update your forecast accordingly.

Step 3: Take several jobs from each market segment you serve and calculate Throughput Dollars ($T) for each. Then, divide the $T by the sales price of each job to get an average percentage. Entering that percentage in the spreadsheet will calculate your Monthly $T based on your estimated sales.

Step 4: Forecast your monthly Operating Expense (OE) for the end of 2023. If you don’t anticipate making any changes between now and the end of the year, you can use your most current average OE. Enter your OE in the Base OE line for January. Note that the spreadsheet automatically copies this number for the other months.

Step 5: Determine the personnel changes you need to make to accommodate the changing sales levels. Make a list of the positions you need to add.

If you expect sales to increase this year and your current templater is already fully booked, you may need to add a templater early in the year. If your salespeople spend too much time handling paperwork and scheduling, you may need to add a dedicated scheduler or an office support person.

Knowing how loaded the people are in the various functions is critical to this part of the analysis. While you likely won’t have data to verify this, making your best assessment now is a significant first step.

A key concept here is playing to your strengths and the strengths of your people.

A classic example is having capable salespeople handle customer service calls or scheduling functions while sales are increasing. Capable, experienced salespeople are hard to find — why waste that capability on something other than sales? Hire

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someone else to handle those nonsales tasks.

Also, note and estimate other significant additional costs, like the marketing program in the example spreadsheet.

Step 6: Estimate when each position needs to be filled based on your sales projections. Then, estimate the monthly cost of that position: wages, taxes and benefits. List the positions in the Additions section of the spreadsheet. Enter the monthly costs in the OE Adds line. The cumulative impact will be carried through the subsequent months.

Final Step: Review the Net line to see the impact of both the sales and OE increases. Think through each month and confirm that your plan for adding those new positions correlates with the sales increases. You’ll likely want to sleep on this and review it over several days. Don’t be surprised if you make several changes. It also helps to review your thought process with other key people in your company

and get their input.

Remember that you are essentially predicting the future — and you won’t get it right — so don’t obsess too much over the details. The point is to get you thinking about what this year may look like and help you plan how to deal with the changes you expect. As you progress throughout the year, it is helpful to enter the actual OE and $T numbers as each month closes. Also, update your sales or staffing forecasts as the year unfolds.

If you continue to work with this tool, it will become an essential part of your management rhythm. Using tools like this helps you spend more time running your business instead of it running you.

If you want another set of eyes to help review the finished product, send me an email, and I’ll be happy to take a look. You deserve a business that makes you money and allows you time to enjoy it.

Ed Young is the owner of Fabricator’s Business Coach, a consulting firm designed to strengthen and elevate fabrication shops of all sizes. A former shop manager, Ed fully understands the challenges of today’s professionals. He has consulted with a range of businesses, from one-person startups to international Fortune 100 corporations, covering a broad array of products and processes. As a result, Ed knows that each business needs an appropriate structure for its unique situation. To learn more about how Fabricator’s Business Coach can take your shop to the next level, visit www.fabricatorscoach. com or reach Ed directly at

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 17 / Issue 1 • 15 C C C A A A B B B 2 2 2 V V V

Stone Fabrication in the Age of the Great Retirement: Adapt or Be Left Behind

We’ve all seen Help Wanted signs popping up everywhere. For years now, we’ve had trouble finding enough people. Unfortunately, it’s likely to get even more challenging due to the significant number of people retiring.

Baby Boomers have hit retirement age, and they’re calling it a career in record numbers. Pre-pandemic, about 3 million Boomers retired annually. Post-pandemic? That number hit 29 million a year. By 2030, some 75 million are projected to retire from the workforce.

Forget about the Great Resignation. It’s about the Great Retirement.

The numbers are even worse when it comes to skilled trades.

Younger people aren’t seeking trades at similar rates as in the past. Everyone told these kids to go to college! Applications at technical schools are down nearly 50% from 2020. Fewer than 9% of workers under 24 years old are entering the trades. In the construction and contracting business, almost a million jobs are going unfilled. About 85% of companies looking for skilled labor have open positions, and nearly nine in 10 say they are having difficulty filling them.

Over the next decade, it’s estimated that there will be some 3.4 million open positions in manufacturing and fabrication. Yet, there will be only 1.3 million workers to fill those spots. Labor shortages will grow larger and get more expensive.

This isn’t a normal workforce transition. It’s changing the way businesses have to operate. If you’re not preparing for this next phase, you’ll be in for a shock.

Just ask bowlers.

In my area, bowling is (still) a big deal. My brother almost went pro, but now he runs most of the bowling leagues in northwest Ohio. He’s seeing this workforce shift play out

in real time. He says there are only five technicians in this area who can work on the machines that set the pins. One is retiring this year. The remaining four are in their 60s, and nobody can take their place.

It’s changing the way bowling centers will have to operate. They are considering putting a dozen lanes in the area with string pins because a high schooler can repair them. If you haven’t seen string pinsetters, let’s just say it’s a different experience. Pins suspended by strings fall differently, so there is physics involved that changes the way the game plays out. Serious bowlers aren’t happy about it, but alley operators and owners have little choice. These systems are easier to maintain and cost-effective.

These changes are happening right before our eyes across nearly every industry, even those you think aren’t depending on technology. Take lawn mowing. Pretty soon, you won’t see

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people riding lawnmowers anymore. Already, some landscape companies have transitioned to a fleet of Roomba-style robots. They drop them off, and two hours later, the grass is cut.

I’m in the middle of building a house. Five years ago, installing a home septic system took three guys working five days. New technology allows one person to install it in just one day. It’s more expensive to the business owner, but there’s no real cost difference to the homeowner.

What does this have to do with the stone fabrication business? A lot. Almost every shop has that one guy who does amazing work. He’s the master of his craft, and he’s been doing it for 30+ years. But he’s not going to be there forever. What are you going to do when he’s gone?

Technology is not always the answer, either. Take the example of Stanley Black & Decker as a warning. They spent nearly $90 million to build a plant in Fort Worth, Texas, to modernize their Craftsman toolmaking process to overcome the shortage of skilled labor. Despite considerable spending on technology and robotics, they simply couldn’t make it work. In 2023, they announced plans to shutter the plant.

Not every business is going to survive. You need to take stock now and act.

So, where do you get started?

Conduct a Workforce Audit

The first step is to audit your workforce, so you know where you stand. Talk to your team members about their retirement plans and understand how long they plan to stick around. Look at your key positions and think about what happens if they leave.

Do you have someone ready to step in and take over their role?

Can you train someone to fill their shoes?

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Do you have documentation in place for steps and procedures?

You can no longer wait until they are about to leave to put out the Help Wanted sign. Many places that do that find no qualified applicants are coming along. You need to have a transition plan in place now. This may require getting commitments from employees and paying them more to train and prepare to be your next generation of talent.

One simple way to get started, especially for skilled positions, is to use your phone and record how that person does things so you can document it for later. This will come in handy when you have to train new employees or want to refer back to it to learn the tricks of the trade.

Look for New Opportunities

At the same time, this may be the time to look at new opportunities.

Other industries that require specialized labor, such as tile installation, are struggling with the same shortage of workers. Is this a market niche you can exploit? This could be ample opportunity to revolutionize the industry with slabs. Think kitchen backsplashes, bathroom floors, shower surrounds — any areas where tile is used.

Not only might this be an opportunity to expand your business and generate more revenue, but it’s a faster install. A tile guy might take a week to get the job done (and make a mess doing it). You can do it faster and skip the mess for the homeowner. This can offer a competitive advantage and turn jobs faster, putting more cash in your pocket.


Many fabricators we work with are on the fence about products like Dekton, but there are also opportunities to realize with that material. It could replace other materials in commercial applications, for example, opening up new product lines for profit.

Find Workers With Similar Skills

This might also be an excellent time to recruit. You may be able to offer a better job or opportunity to someone who already has some of the skills you need. For example, roofers are often seasonal workers with unpredictable paychecks due to the weather. It’s also an incredibly dangerous job. Yet, roofers have some of the same skills as installers. You can offer them a steady paycheck, year-round work and steady hours.

Consider other occupations with similar skills and see whether you can provide a better career path.

It’s Time to Act

Regardless of your situation, you cannot afford to wait any longer. Assess your staffing, look for new opportunities, identify your next generation and start planning for the future. No matter how well things are going at the moment, we’re in for change. Adapting to the new normal and futureproofing your business is essential to remaining viable and building your business.




International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 17 / Issue 1 • 19
Tim Saddoris is the president of Grand Onyx. a firm dedicated to helping stone fabricators increase their revenue by 30% to 300% using proven techniques and a World Class Blueprint System to help you build a more profitable, scalable business. They help companies refine their sales process, uncover insights about better ways to sell, and coach sales teams for greater success. Learn how Grand Onyx can help your business grow at C C C 2 2

New Colors & Materials

From quartz to the ever-growing popularity of porcelain, here’s what’s on trend in 2024.

Vadara Quartz: New Colors Capture the Essence of Nature

XLIGHT by Porcelanosa

Vadara Quartz Surfaces is expanding its portfolio with seven new designs. Vadara searched the world over and found inspiration in the natural beauty of such places as White Sands National Park in New Mexico and the Okavango Delta in Botswana. The result is an addition that enhances and advances Vadara’s well considered and expansive existing colors and patterns.

These new colors add to Vadara’s reputation as a quartz surface leader and demonstrate the brand’s ability to manufacture patterns and colors that are as beautiful to see as they are easy to live with. Shown here is Scandi Blue, a calacatta marble-inspired quartz, featuring a bright white background with bold, dynamic blue, brown and rust veining.

All seven designs feature bold, striking visuals that are complimentary in color, ranging from blue-gray backgrounds and veins with hints of green, maroon and rust. Available in 2 cm and 3 cm thicknesses, these designs could be viable, cost-effective alternatives to natural stone slabs with the performance characteristics of quartz. See all the designs at

Functionality and beauty come together in XLIGHT by Porcelanosa. This largeformat porcelain is available in extra slim sizes. XLIGHT recreates the look of cement, marble, stone, wood and metal with extraordinary realism. The wide range of large format tiles is ideal for walls and floors with excellent quality and a visual continuity that can elevate the aesthetics of any space. This technical porcelain tile is offered in four finishes — polished, silk, textured and natural. XLIGHT is available in three sizes: 24 inches by 47 inches, 47 inches by 47 inches and 47 inches by 106 inches. Slabs come in two thicknesses: 6 mm and 9 mm. The 9 mm pieces are ideal for more highlytrafficked areas.

This large-format porcelain can be used as flooring or cladding, but also as exterior elements like facades, and is well suited for kitchens and bathrooms. XLIGHT is prized for its lightness, waterproof and stain resistance, as well as easy cleaning. Learn more at

HanStone Quartz Launches Three New Designs

Building on the successful launch of the Opimo Collection in 2023, HanStone Quartz recently introduced its three newest colors — Antello, Riviere and Tahitian Cream, shown here.

The new colors all focus on expressing the innate beauty and unique features found in nature, creating both a bold and welcoming environment. Under the main theme of “Unveil,” HanStone continues its journey to inspire designers and architects to venture into the unprecedented realm of quartz design.

Antello, Riviere and Tahitian Cream are all available in jumbo slab sizes of 65 inches by 130 inches and thicknesses of both 2 cm and 3 cm. Meet HanStone’s new colors at

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Polaris by Vicostone

Vicostone continues its trailblazing efforts in engineered stone innovation with the latest addition to its Natural Collection: Polaris. This new quartz color embodies the elegance of Carrara marble, harmonizing design-centric patterns with hues borrowed from the natural world. Polaris captivates with its tranquil lake-in-winter aesthetic and realistic marbling. Its design is characterized by an intricate network of veins, reminiscent of light dancing across a frozen landscape, adding a touch of serene beauty to any interior space. Crafted for versatility and aesthetic appeal, Polaris is offered in both 3 cm and 2 cm Jumbo slabs, with dimensions of 130 inches by 65 inches, accommodating a variety of design needs. This addition to Vicostone’s product line exemplifies sophistication, merging functionality with the artistry of nature-inspired surfaces. Discover more about Polaris at

Durasein Presents Blanca Carrera

Dekton Launches Ukiyo

Create new experiences with Cosentino’s Dekton Ukiyo, a reinterpretation of textures into geometric patterns that unveil new vertical application possibilities. Ukiyo is available in a variety of Dekton colorways, thicknesses and fluting options to create imposing vertical universes endowed with linearity and depth. Cosentino partnered with renowned interior designer Claudia Afshar to create color-filled structured patterns that offer a sensory experience.

Ukiyo is available in six colors:

• Bromo: A dark gray shade inspired by slate featuring subtle faded graphics and a carefully crafted texture with a natural aesthetic.

• Kreta: Inspired by cement, this design is even and controlled. It can create lighter or darker spaces depending on the density of the pattern.

• Umber: This terra cotta color features a natural reddish pigment creating a warm, textured surface that adds character to any space.

• Nacre: A cream shade characterized by subtle details from fine micro-concrete to lime plastering.

• Rem: Its intricate design with brown and gray veining and hints of gold reflects the traditional and linear structure of Calacatta Lincoln. See all the new designs and learn more at

Blanca Carrera is Durasein’s newest addition to their marble-inspired Dreamy Collection. The design boasts a crisp, clean and modern interpretation of a classic Calacatta veining pattern. Exuding a serene and composed charm, Blanca Carrera elevates any area effortlessly with its sophisticated appearance, reminiscent of traditional marble, and coupled with the practical advantages of solid surface.

From air quality to food safety, Durasein is engineered to maintain a safer environment for human health. With concerns that prolonged exposure to nanoparticles may lead to health issues, it’s also reassuring to know that Durasein solid surfaces are free from nanoparticles. With zero emissions, Durasein’s material and the cured adhesive used in installation are 100% free of formaldehyde and volatile organic compound emissions. In addition to Greenguard, Greenguard Gold Indoor Air Quality, HPD and REACH certifications, Durasein surfaces are also NSF-51 certified to ensure that they are safe for food equipment and food contact.

Durasein’s solid surfaces have also been tested to meet and/or exceed the requirements for industry standards, including ASTM, ANSI, UL and NEMA. It’s undergone strict stain and chemical resistance testing in accordance with CSA B45.5-17/IAPMO Z124-2017, and EN ISO 16000-9 testing to show that there are no traces of harmful substances in the products. Learn more at

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 17 / Issue 1 • 21

Trinseo’s AVONITE Acrylic Solid

Surface: The Riverine Collection

The Riverine Collection of AVONITE Acrylic Solid Surface is a nature-inspired palette that is particularly appropriate for featured vertical spaces where a faux marble appearance enhances the aesthetic. AVONITE Solid Surface, offered in both 12- and 6-mm thicknesses, can be used in a wide range of interior and exterior applications including countertops, bath surrounds, vanities, interior walls, facades and furnishings.

“Trinseo is expanding its solid surface portfolio with a collection of three free-flowing patterns and colors that make up Riverine,” said Peter Allread, Trinseo’s sales director of engineered materials for the Americas. “The material mimics the appearance of natural cut marble and granite, with every sheet unique from one another. The Riverine Collection’s natural expansive pattern provides designers with a hygienic material solution that meets their aesthetic needs.”

The colors included in the Riverine Collection are:

• Haze 8514: Featuring a delicate natural undertone, this warm, soft hue offers inspired elegance and simplicity.

• Mist 8512: Understated and contemporary, this white-on-white colorway is subtle, refined and timeless.

• Oxbow 8510: Cool gray tones and misty white hues flow unhindered to create a tranquil visual texture.

Haze 8514

Oxbow 8510

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Mist 8512

There is no material that allows for greater cleanliness. Both AVONITE 12 mm and WET WALL 6 mm 100% acrylic solid surface sheets do not absorb bacteria, can be cleaned using common household products, are seamlessly assembled and the material malleability makes it possible to design curved corners for more efficient cleaning.

AVONITE Acrylic Solid Surface is produced using a continuous cast, doublebelt manufacturing process with versatile production widths and lengths, specified by the customer to reduce scrap and transportation costs within their projects. A renowned brand in the interior design industry, it is a recent addition to Trinseo’s material solutions portfolio resulting from the 2021 acquisition of Aristech Surfaces, an American manufacturer of surface and design materials.

Over 50 years of rich history, customer-centric focus and a journey of innovation defined Aristech Surfaces. Now under the Trinseo umbrella, the company continues to offer a full portfolio of surfacing solutions under flagship brands AVONITE, AVONITE Flex, ACRYCLEAR, ACRYSAN, ACRYSPA, ACRYSWIM, ACRYSTEEL, and INDURO.

Whether creating a higher impact formulation to withstand environmental extremes, inventing new shipping methods to maximize space, constructing a natural stonelike texture that you would swear was from Mother Earth, or simply bringing the delicate rose petal indoors, Trinseo focuses on the success of its customers by developing effective partnerships and innovative solutions.

View the available colors at

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Infinity Surfaces: Calacatta Oro

Here’s a beautiful example of a freshly renewed working space featuring Infinity Surfaces’ Calacatta Oro, a porcelain material that will stand the test of time.

A team of skilled designers meticulously selected Infinity Calacatta Oro porcelain slabs to enhance every room’s unique character. With almost seamless veining of gold, silver and light brown, Calacatta Oro blends contemporary aesthetics with timeless functionality, creating a harmonious and inviting atmosphere for patients and medical staff.

From concept to execution, the team of expert fabricators prioritized the flawless vision of elegance, comfort and style, ensuring a personalized touch in every detail. Meticulously crafted with 6 mm and 12 mm gauged porcelain panels, both in satin and polished finish, each room is a testament to the unwavering commitment to quality that the ownership required for this project. Infinity’s rigorous quality guaranteed that the end result surpassed expectations, and embodied durability and functionality. Learn how you can elevate your next project with Infinity at

Cambria Quartz: Inverness

Make a design statement with the newest additions to Cambria’s Inverness palette: Inverness Everleigh, Inverness Bristol Bay, and Inverness Swansea, shown here. These designs feature innovative technology and gently textured debossing throughout the veining — all inspired by disruptions in nature.

Use the Inverness designs to create showstopping focal points in any application, from kitchen islands, countertops and backsplashes to flooring, shower walls, bathroom vanity countertops and full walls. American-made quartz surfaces come naturally. For over 20 years, Cambria’s family-owned company has perfected the transformation of Earth’s finest raw material into luxurious designs and unparalleled realworld performance. The company’s commitment to quality and superior service is inspired by our rich heritage and propelled by our industry-leading ingenuity. Learn more at

Lapitec Adds Three New Designs

Lapitec, Italian manufacturer of sintered stone surfaces, recently added three brand-new designs to the Musa Collection. The new styles — Bianco Alba, Bianco Diana and Bianco Pandora — all feature the dramatic through-body veining that the Musa Collection is known for. Lapitec uses patented technology to create a surface that is not only beautiful but versatile and resilient as well. Lapitec can be used indoors or outdoors for countertops, backsplashes and flooring that make a stunning visual impact. Check out the new colors and learn more about sintered stone at

Viatera Quartz by LX Hausys America: The Monte Collection

A testament to the majestic allure and raw splendor of mountainous landscapes, the Monte Collection is crafted with an artful blend of design and innovation while capturing the essence of various mountain ranges across the globe. Shown here is Dolomites.

Viatera quartz contains up to 93% quartz, one of the hardest minerals on earth. It is manufactured at state-of-the-art facilities in the United States and abroad, and it’s available throughout North America via LX Hausys America’s extensive distribution network. Providing exceptional durability, high resistance to staining and ease of maintenance, all Viatera colors come with multiple independent certifications verifying their environmental and health attributes. Viatera is backed by LX Hausys’ 15-year limited warranty. Learn more at us/products/viatera-quartz-surface/.

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Neolith’s Calacatta Royale

Neolith is a pioneering architectural surface with superior technical characteristics made of 100% all-natural raw materials that can provide indoor and outdoor solutions.

The inspiration for Calacatta Royale comes from marble with the gray, neutral, defined veins on a white background. It comes in ultrasoft, décor polished and silk finishes in 6 mm, 12 mm and 20 mm thickness options. With a 25-year limited warranty, it’s ultra hygienic and UV resistant.

The virtues of Neolith surfaces combine next-generation technology and high functionality which, along with Neolith’s sustainable DNA, have led it to becoming one of the most environmentally-friendly materials on the planet. Learn more about all Neolith has to offer at

ENVI Quartz and Porcelain


Quartz and Porcelain slab collections represent a turn-key brand solution for savvy trade professionals. Backed by the company’s concierge support team and comprehensive merchandising program, each slab brings together the world’s most on-trend looks, crafted by a hand-selected group of dedicated producers.

Expansive and always evolving, these market-defining collections now encompass 40 quartz and 40 porcelain selections. Recent porcelain additions include a dozen brand-new, ontrend colorways: Odyssey, 54, Roxy, Troubadour, Connemara, London, Monet, Moonlight, Pure, Silhouette, Timber and Treasure. Pictured here is a sleek, contemporary reception foyer showcasing the bold aesthetic of ENVI Odyssey. Visit to learn more.

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The Future of Convenience: Smart Faucets and Sinks Revolutionize Everyday Living

In the fast-evolving landscape of smart homes, where technological innovation continually reshapes our daily routines, smart faucets and sinks stand at the forefront of transformative change. Beyond their aesthetic appeal, these intelligent fixtures are redefining the way we engage with water in our kitchens and bathrooms. Let’s take a look at the multifaceted advantages, cutting-edge features, and the profound impact that smart faucets and sinks can have on modern home living.

The Rise of Smart Faucets

Smart faucets, equipped with advanced motion sensors, introduce a touchless revolution to the traditional kitchen or bathroom setup. The ability to control water flow with a simple wave of the hand not only enhances convenience but addresses hygiene concerns by reducing the spread of germs. This touchless operation is particularly valuable in high-traffic areas, making daily tasks cleaner and more efficient.

One of the standout features of smart faucets is their ability to provide a highly customizable experience. Users can finetune water temperature and flow rates to their preferences, ensuring a consistent and personalized encounter with every use. This level of control adds a touch of luxury to daily rituals while contributing to water conservation by avoiding unnecessary usage.

The integration of smart faucets with voice-activated assistants, such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, brings an entirely new dimension to hands-free convenience. Imagine preparing a meal with messy hands and effortlessly instructing the faucet to dispense water at the perfect temperature, all through simple voice commands. This intersection of technology and utility transforms the kitchen or bathroom into a space where efficiency and innovation coalesce seamlessly.

Further, smart faucets play a pivotal role in addressing water conservation challenges. Features like automatic

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shut-off and precise control over water usage contribute to sustainable practices. By actively monitoring and optimizing water consumption, these faucets empower users to reduce their environmental footprint without compromising functionality.

The Intelligence of Smart Sinks

Intelligent faucets often come equipped with built-in sensors, initiating water flow without physical contact. This touchless operation not only enhances hygiene but also contributes to the overall cleanliness of the sink space, reducing the likelihood of surface contamination.

In addition, many smart faucets boast integrated water filtration systems, eliminating the need for stand-alone devices and ensuring a direct supply of clean, purified water. This feature improves water quality for drinking and cooking and aligns with a broader trend toward reducing reliance on single-use plastics.

In the kitchen, where functionality is paramount, smart sinks often incorporate innovative prep solutions. These may include built-in cutting boards, roll-up drying racks, or other accessories seamlessly integrated into the sink’s design. Such features optimize space utilization and transform the sink into a multifunctional work area.

through a dedicated mobile app. This level of connectivity not only adds convenience but also contributes to energy efficiency by allowing users to manage their water usage even when they are away from home.

Beyond Convenience and the Comprehensive Benefits

The touchless operation of a smart faucet significantly reduces the potential for the spread of germs and contaminants. In a world increasingly focused on health and hygiene, this feature becomes invaluable, particularly in high-traffic areas like kitchens and bathrooms.

Smart faucets and sinks streamline daily tasks, saving valuable time and energy. Automated features, customizable settings, and connectivity options cater to the fastpaced nature of modern life, ensuring that routine activities are executed efficiently.

One of the most compelling aspects of smart faucets and sinks is their contribution to environmental sustainability. Water conservation features, coupled with efficient usage monitoring, empower users to be more conscious of their environmental impact. By actively participating in water-saving practices, homeowners can make a meaningful contribution to global efforts to conserve this precious resource.

Connectivity is a hallmark of the modern smart home, and smart faucets are no exception. Some models can be connected to a home’s Wi-Fi network, allowing users to monitor and control various functions remotely

Smart faucets and sinks are not merely fixtures; they represent a paradigm shift in how we interact with essential elements of our homes. The fusion of technology and utility creates an environment where convenience, efficiency, and sustainability coexist harmoniously. As these intelligent fixtures evolve, they promise to redefine the fabric of our living spaces, turning kitchens and bathrooms into smart, responsive, and ecoconscious zones. Embrace the future of home living, where every drop of water becomes a testament to the seamless integration of innovation and everyday functionality.

USA. Boasting a diverse career in both B2B and B2C contexts across various industries, his expertise particularly shines in crafting compelling strategies tailored to the unique needs of the brands he represents. At Karran, Tony leverages his experience with a commitment to steering the sink and faucet company toward new heights by combining innovation and strategic consumer insights to achieve excellence. Learn more about Karran USA at

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Tony Calvert heads up marketing for Karran

ESG vs. EcoVadis: What’s the Difference and Why You Should Be Familiar With Both

In today’s corporate landscape, the convergence of profitability and environmental responsibility is more than a mere trend — it’s a necessity. Concurrently, distinguishing between various frameworks has also become a crucial component of informed decision-making. Two terms in particular that are garnering more attention in recent years are ESG and EcoVadis. But what’s the difference and why are they so important?

Understanding ESG and EcoVadis

ESG is a broad concept encompassing three pillars — Environmental, Social and Governance —which together evaluate a company’s impact on society and the environment. EcoVadis on the other hand is a global platform that specializes in assessing and guiding companies on their journey toward sustainability and equality. It provides a comprehensive evaluation across four key metrics: environment, resources and human rights, sustainable procurement, and ethics. While ESG sets the overall direction, EcoVadis offers a detailed roadmap for implementation. Participating in EcoVadis enables businesses to measure, improve and communicate their sustainability performance effectively. It also allows for a standardized comparison with peers, fostering healthy competition and promoting best practices across industries.

EcoVadis: How it Works

EcoVadis is a global platform that moves beyond conventional ESG assessments offering a nuanced perspective on sustainability management. The EcoVadis score, ranging from 0 to 100, serves as a barometer for a company’s sustainability management efficacy at a given juncture. To receive an EcoVadis assessment, companies must register and then answer a series of questions accompanied by supporting documents. Once submitted, the information is analyzed, and a scorecard is awarded to the company.

EcoVadis Medals and Badges

EcoVadis Medals and Badges recognize businesses that exhibit robust sustainability management systems, emphasizing their dedication to each of the four key assessment metrics (environment, resources and human rights, sustainable procurement, and ethics).

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Medals are awarded based on percentile ranks:

• Platinum: Top 1% (99+ percentile).

• Gold: Top 5% (95+ percentile).

• Silver: Top 15% (85+ percentile).

• Bronze: Top 35% (65+ percentile).

A company must meet a minimum score of 30 across the four metrics to be eligible for a medal. The percentile rank, calculated across all industries, offers a standardized comparison, fostering inter-industry best practices.

Badges are designed to recognize companies making commendable strides in sustainability.

• Committed Badge: Minimum score of 45.

• Fast Mover Badge: Score between 34-44, with a minimum 6-point improvement compared to the previous assessment in an 18-month period.

It is important to note that companies working in specific industries may not be eligible for EcoVadis medals or badges. Currently, these include but are not limited to the manufacturing of tobacco products, weapons and ammunition manufacturing, coal or lignite mining, and companies with substantial revenue from coal sources and/or producing a substantial portion of coal-based power generation.

A Call to Business Leaders

For business leaders and entrepreneurs, the integration of ESG principles and engagement

with platforms like EcoVadis present multifaceted advantages:

• Enhanced Reputation: A robust ESG framework, coupled with accolades from esteemed platforms, signifies a brand’s commitment to ethical practices, fostering trust among employees, customers and stakeholders.

• Risk Mitigation: Proactive sustainability measures can preempt regulatory challenges and potential environmental liabilities, ensuring long-term viability.

• Competitive Advantage: Embracing sustainability propels innovation and encourages healthy competition as other companies adapt to keep pace, paving the way for differentiated offerings in the market.

As ESG frameworks continue to gain traction, embracing platforms like EcoVadis is not merely a strategic choice, it’s an ethical imperative. As an example, Garnica, a leader in premium sustainable plywood, epitomizes the transformative impact of embedding ESG principles into business operations. Garnering global recognition, Garnica ranks in the top 1% for sustainable procurement and the top 2% for environmental management within the forestry sector, underscoring the tangible benefits of ESG integration. For businesses poised to make a lasting impact, the journey toward sustainability begins with a single, decisive step: a commitment to holistic ESG integration and a relentless pursuit of excellence.

David Smith is the President of Garnica’s North American Division and brings over 28 years of industry expertise to his role. Prior to joining Garnica, he held senior positions at EGGER Group and Arclin USA, later founding The David Smith Group, a consulting firm focused on sustainable building materials. With a proven track record in customercentric solutions, David specializes in dynamic market leadership through sustainable innovation. Learn more about Garnica at

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Tower Industries

Founded by father-and-son team Bob and Todd Werstler in 1995, Tower Industries is known nationally as a manufacturer of solid surface shower and restroom products. Located in Massillon, Ohio, about an hour south of Cleveland, the company expanded to include a stone fabrication division, Tower Countertops — now one of Ohio’s leading custom surface fabrication and installation providers. As a familyowned and operated company, the Tower team takes pride in delivering premium surfaces built from quality materials supported by reliable customer service.

Humble Beginnings

Todd looks back at how it all started. His father, Bob, got his start in the plumbing trade, eventually owning a plumbing business and then a hardware store. Later in his career, he worked as a sales representative for a cultured marble company. Meanwhile, Todd went off to college to pursue a degree in business. It was then he discovered a passion for economics. After college, Todd worked for a transportation company, where he gained valuable cross-functional experience and a prowess for management.

But the entrepreneurial spirit was alive and well in the Werstlers. “I wanted to work for myself,” said Todd. “I wanted to create something unique — find a niche in the marketplace.”

With a deep understanding of cast polymer products, Bob’s idea was to delve into solid surface. “In the ’90s, solid surface was seeing extraordinary growth in popularity,” Todd recalled. “So we huddled together and carved out an opportunity.”

Bob brought valuable experience in the remodeling and construction trade, while Todd had developed business acumen and management experience. Even Todd’s mom, Joyce, chipped in by helping with accounting, answering the phones, and

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The Tower Countertops division fabricates solid surface, natural stone, quartz and sintered surfaces for all kinds of projects, primarily residential kitchens and baths.


otherwise supporting however she could. “We scraped it together in the beginning; it took everything we had to get it off the ground,” added Todd. “But we were mindful of building something with staying power.” Together, they launched Tower Industries. Nearly 30 years after its humble beginnings, Tower remains humble. They’ve even written it into the company’s core values.

Building a Solid (Surface) Foundation

The company was founded to manufacture its brand of solid surface, which is now trademarked under the name Meridian Solid Surface. The material is a proprietary blend of resins and mineral fillers that comes in a range of colors and patterns. They manufactured sheets and fabricated countertops initially, and by 2004, they had developed a line of prefabricated products for restrooms.

“When the design world changed, and the demand for natural stone — materials like granite — surged past solid surface,” explained Todd, “people moved away from solid surface countertops in new construction, so we had to figure out how to keep the material relevant.” Meanwhile, they nudged the countertop division forward by expanding to other materials like quartz and granite. For Meridian Solid Surface, they had mastered making the material and now needed to find a new space to sell it into.

Around the same time, Todd got a call from a general contractor who had won a bid to remodel a college dormitory. “Somehow, this contractor found our website and discovered we made solid surface, and one of the applications we featured was a shower. He told me he needed 100 showers in six weeks. Of course, I told him we could do it — ‘No problem!’ — but I had no idea how we would pull it off. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Todd took the job, the project went well, and a light went off; if there’s one college dorm in the U.S. that needs this product, there are probably more.

“After that first dormitory, we started poking around,” he recalled. “We went looking for projects at colleges, and we found them. We worked our way in, selling however we could and marketing to that sector. Our second project was at Ohio State University, proving we had a concept.” Since then, Tower Industries has provided Meridian Solid Surface solutions to more than two hundred colleges nationwide. The company has a complete line of products — including fully customizable options — from shower bases and wall panels to accessories like seats, soap dishes, shelving niches, and more. They serve primarily the commercial market, including higher education, health care, military and multifamily facilities. The solid surface division makes up more than 75% of Tower’s total revenue. Todd says the growth with Meridian scales larger by territory — a national market, whereas the countertop business is locked geographically to central and northern Ohio.

Today, Tower Countertops — accounting for the remaining 25% of revenue — fabricates solid surface, natural stone, quartz and sintered surfaces for all kinds of projects, primarily residential kitchens and baths. On average, they fabricate about a dozen kitchens each day. “Today, we’re seeing more demand for sintered materials that we didn’t 10 years ago — including porcelain — so we’ve adapted our offerings,” explained Todd. “You have to keep up with trends to remain competitive.”

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Todd Werstler regularly opens his doors to give tours and host industry events. In the Meridian manufacturing area, Tower runs dual continuous casting machines and continuous casting mixers, with most of the casting performed via robotics.


In the Shop

Tower’s two divisions operate under one roof in a sprawling 60,000-square-foot factory with about 60 staff members. Staff is divided between the two divisions, with just over a dozen staff members spanning the whole business in sales and operations.

The factory floor has evolved to meet the company’s scale. On the Meridian side, they started with hand tools, routers, straight edges and the like. As they made more countertops, it made sense to add a CNC. “Our first CNC was installed in about 1998,” recalled Todd. “Automation has definitely helped to make us grow.”

On the wet side of Tower Countertops, they run Park Industries’ Fusion sawjet, a Titan 2800 CNC, polishers, and edgers, including a Velocity and Bovone’s straight line edging machine. On the dry side, they run a Komo 3-axis CNC and an Anderson 5-axis CNC.

In the Meridian manufacturing area, they run dual continuous casting machines and continuous casting mixers, with most of the casting performed via robotics. “The majority of the operation is automated, allowing us to streamline manufacturing and maximize output with a small crew,” explained Todd. “We only have about 20 workers on this side of the shop.”

In the Marketplace

On the whole, about 75% of Tower’s projects are commercial. Tower’s residential game is a mix of new construction, remodeling and direct-to-customer. They have a showroom where they display both Meridian products as well as premium countertop solutions in stone and other materials. They partner with residential builders, remodelers, architects, developers and property owners to drive business.

Todd says selling a package is vital in certain parts of the business. “We recently completed an apartment renovation project that included shower walls, shower bases, shower accessories and a glass shower door along with demo and installation,” he explained. “The fact that we

“The majority of the Meridian operation is automated, allowing us to streamline manufacturing and maximize output with a small crew,” explained Todd. “We only have about 20 workers on this side of the shop.”

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Meridian Solid Surface solutions is a complete line of products — including fully customizable options — from shower bases and wall panels to accessories like seats, soap dishes, shelving niches and more.


could handle a wider scope — offer a turnkey solution for the client — won us the job. But on a more basic level, I can’t imagine selling a kitchen or bath countertop without supplying the sink. That’s where it started, but over the years, you look at ways to be more competitive and increase your value proposition.” Todd encourages other fabricators to look at ways to differentiate themselves from the competition and provide more value while minimizing customer pain points.

Managing the Dream

Todd attributes Tower’s success to their service-focused approach. “We are an excellent service organization,” he explained. “When there is an issue, we solve it quickly. The size of our team and its scope allow us to have a deep bench, providing us with prompt problem resolution.”

Todd’s management experience and business acumen are built on his belief in processes and procedures. “When we started the company, we were tiny,” he explained. “I only needed to make a one-story house — nothing huge. When the business grew, we had to add a second story, but when we put the third story on, it all got a little wobbly. That’s when I knew we needed a new foundation. He joined the Entrepreneur’s Organization, where he learned about the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS).

Expansion would not have been possible without structure, he notes. About five years ago, the company fully embraced EOS, a simple set of principles by which a company is run. It begins with identifying and implementing core values based not on goals but on strengths. “Our core values are at the

heart of our success,” he explained. “We are kind; we take initiative; we get it done; we make it right; we are humble; and we are enthusiastic.” It forced the team to align and embrace these core values, and the process created a road map, which included processes like structured meetings where issues are identified and solved, quarterly conversations, regular reviews and laser-focused planning that otherwise didn’t occur.

“Before EOS, I didn’t love our company culture, to be honest,” he said. “It enabled bad behavior to exist because we thought we couldn’t afford to lose people. But it wasn’t fair to those who were excelling.

“Tower’s General Manager Kerry Klodt suggested Matthew Kelly’s book The Dream Manager. ‘The book’s premise is if employers help employees realize their dreams,’ explained Kerry, ‘they will more willingly help us realize ours growth, profitability, success and service. To do that, we need productive people who want to come to work and take pride in their work and the product we create.”

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Tower provides its staff with great benefits, growth opportunities and hosts company functions that celebrate successes, like this chili cookoff. Last year, Tower Industries collaborated with the International Surface Fabricators Association to host a fabrication training session for porcelain materials. Tower’s residential game is a mix of new construction, remodeling and direct-to-customer. They partner with residential builders, remodelers, architects, developers and property owners to drive business.


“When we adopted EOS and began to emphasize the importance of our core values, it changed the dynamic. People work here because they are treated with respect and kindness, and they know that the company they work for truly cares about them.”

Tower’s General Manager Kerry Klodt suggested Matthew Kelly’s book The Dream Manager. “The book’s premise is if employers help employees realize their dreams,” explained Kerry, “they will more willingly help us realize ours — growth, profitability, success and service. To do that, we need productive people who want to come to work and take pride in their work and the product we create.” Tower provides its staff with great benefits, growth opportunities and mutual respect by celebrating successes and fostering an excellent work-life balance. From holiday parties to chili cookoffs and hosting industry events like the International Cast Polymer Association’s (ICPA) Polycon or Mineral Surface Fabrication Training with the International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA), they always include all the staff. “We work diligently to regularly engage our entire team, so they know we care about them.”

Staying Connected

Industry involvement has been essential to Tower’s evolution since its inception. Todd has served as president of both ISFA and ICPA, and Kerry is ICPA president today. “Being involved in these organizations helped me to understand the industry better,” said Todd. “I developed Meridian Solid Surface based on what I learned from chemists and technical support advisers who worked

for raw material manufacturers within ICPA. I learned polymer chemistry by volunteering on a quality committee in 1995. I showed up to meetings, and I listened. I asked a lot of questions, and I got a lot of answers. Being involved with ISFA led to terrific insights about how to be more efficient in fabrication by implementing automation. I discovered that my problems and challenges were not exclusive to me. There were others out there who were happy to share their pitfalls and successes and gave me a much better understanding of how to find success in this business.”

In the end, Todd says there’s no magic bullet, and there’s definitely no substitute for hard work. “The success of an organization is never due to one person, and the Tower story is no different. There have been an endless number of dedicated, hardworking individuals who have come together, enabling us to persevere for nearly 30 years and make Tower Industries the company it is today.”

Having a full management team in place, Todd can leave the business for long stretches of time, and he doesn’t worry about what’s going on back in the shop. “All my key players and contributors do a great job of keeping this machine running. I love this business, but I also like to play golf,” he quipped.

What’s next for Tower? Well, by definition, to tower would suggest an aim to reach great heights. Given the trajectory thus far, there’s no doubt this fabricator will continue to find success for years to come.

Learn more about Tower Industries at and find more information about Tower Countertops at


Managing people is difficult. With disengagement and turnover on the rise, many managers are scratching their heads wondering what to do. It’s not that we don’t dream of being great managers, it’s just that we haven’t found a practical and efficient way to do it. Until now …

The fictional company in this remarkable book is grappling with real problems of high turnover and low morale so the managers begin to investigate what really drives the employees. What they discover is that the key to motivation isn’t necessarily the promise of a bigger paycheck or title, but rather the fulfillment of crucial personal dreams. They also learned that people at every level need to be offered specific kinds of help and encouragement or our dreams will forever remain just dreams as we grow dissatisfied with our lives and jobs. Beginning with his important thought that a company can only become thebest-version-of-itself to the extent that its employees are becoming better-versionsof-themselves, Matthew Kelly explores the connection between the dreams we are chasing personally and the way we all engage at work. Tackling headon the growing problem of employee disengagement, Kelly explores the dynamic collaboration that is unleashed when people work together to achieve company objectives and personal dreams.

The power of The Dream Manager is that simply becoming aware of the concept will change the way you manage and relate to people instantly and forever. Get the book at

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New Year, New Perspective

It seems like the only constant is change, and ISFA went through a lot of that in 2023. And even though it’s disruptive to the status quo, it’s a terrific exercise that allows us to reframe and rethink how we approach our work. As an organization, I can tell you that we’re better prepared for what lies ahead — with renewed perspective. While I get up to speed and learn more about this industry, I’m inspired and motivated to lead this organization and implement strategies that will power us forward in 2024.

Who is ISFA’s New Executive Director?

Great question! My professional background is in leadership and management, including nonprofits and educational resources within various industries, and my most recent role was as executive director for a statewide electrical trade association in Pennsylvania. In that role, I focused on apprenticeship, workforce development, networking, advocacy and partnerships for the membership. While developing the staff and board resources and growing the association overall, I also grew as a leader. Personally, I’m a mother, a sports fan, fitness lover and pursuer of … fun! I am energetic and forward-thinking, and I like to surround myself with like-minded individuals who share my enthusiasm.

What’s the Plan?

In 2024, you will see a renewed focus on ensuring that our fabricator members have opportunities to grow their businesses through educational resources and networking events. The goal of our association has always been to guide the industry while providing value to our members — actionable insights that lead to growth. We prize our relationships with our associate partners and experts in the industry. Through those relationships, we can offer quality events in many locations — all centered around helping our fabricator members with the things that keep them up at night.

In addition to events, we’ll focus on the #1 pain point of the industry today: employee safety — silica safety, to be specific.

Throughout the year, you’ll see ISFA bring our members and the industry more information through education, training and advocacy. The goal is to work alongside you, arming you with the resources you need to succeed in your business while keeping your employees safe. Meanwhile, we’ll sit at the table where governing bodies make decisions that change how we do business. The goal here is to ensure all viewpoints are represented — including yours.

All the while, we will be working diligently to grow ISFA as an association and bring more awareness to the industry, our members and our partners. As we bring more experts and thought leaders to the association, we’ll be well-positioned to solve the woes of our fabricator members and thereby further the industry. We want to be the voice of the industry, and we will work as an organization to do so in an effective and meaningful way.

So, What’s Next?

Next is the choice you have in how you leverage your membership or partner with ISFA. I hope you’ll engage — join us as we launch into a new season of growth, opportunity and change. Attend our events, take advantage of our training opportunities, and learn from great thinkers in our industry and beyond. I’m excited to work with ISFA’s board of directors, staff and members to elevate the association to new heights and provide significant value to all who partner with us. Change with us as we grow and adapt, too!

So let me flip the script a little and ask you some questions:

Are you taking advantage of all that ISFA has to offer?

How do you plan to make the most of your membership with ISFA?

How are you making your business more resilient with the resources and connections at your fingertips?

Let’s work together to ensure that 2024 is a change, but a change for the better. If you have any thoughts, ideas or concerns, or just want to say hello, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Drop me a note anytime at

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Empowering Change & Progress: Meet ISFA’s New Leadership Team

ISFA is thrilled to introduce the dynamic individuals who will spearhead the organization’s initiatives in 2024 and beyond. These visionary leaders bring a wealth of diverse experiences, fresh perspectives and a shared commitment to excellence. With their collective expertise and passion for driving positive change, the association is poised to navigate uncharted territories and achieve unprecedented success.

Get ready to witness a harmonious blend of tradition and innovation as these leaders pave the way for a future defined by resilience, creativity and unwavering dedication to ISFA’s mission. Together, we embark on a journey that promises to elevate the organization to new heights, setting the stage for remarkable progress.

Previously the executive director of Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) of Pennsylvania, Marissa Bankert has been an innovator in continuing education, apprenticeship and workforce development. She is passionate about driving organizational growth and building momentum by enabling financial solvency through dynamic partnerships while increasing member engagement, developing resources and creating new training programs.

She is the immediate past president of the central Pennsylvania chapter of The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC). She serves on the boards of Partnership for Career Development and Big Brothers Big Sisters of York & Adams Counties, in addition to working on committees for various workforce development organizations.

Throughout her career, Bankert has grown to love organizational leadership after entering association

management as a community ambassador and working through several roles before becoming an executive director. She is dedicated to improving and implementing structure and alignment, thereby increasing the success of all stakeholders, from the membership to the staff. Before joining ISFA, she increased membership, engagement, funding, staff and partnerships. She has implemented new governance and policy, created a pre-apprenticeship program for high school students and others interested in the electrical trade, and thereby increased the overall visibility of the association.

In 2023, Bankert was named Executive Director of the Year by IEC National, and her chapter was also named Chapter of the Year. In 2022, she was awarded STEM Advocate of the Year by the Whitaker Center. In 2021, she was named one of Central Penn Business Journal’s Women of Influence and an Emerging Leader by the NAWIC.

E.J. (Ted) Sherritt, CPA, CBV, joined FLOFORM Countertops in 1995 as vice president of finance and administration. Ted has previously worked with the company as part of his scope with KPMG in their corporate finance group, where he gained experience in business valuations, corporate finance, receivership, insolvency, bankruptcy, forensic accounting, insurance and litigation support. He was named CEO after successfully restructuring the company to allow the two founding shareholders to be bought out and retire in 2000. The focus was then shifted to building a management team ready to grow the business through broader product offerings and into new geographic marketplaces.

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Austin Maxwell, Immediate Past President

Austin Maxwell is the president and second-generation owner of Maxwell Counters Inc. Since 1981, Maxwell Counters has provided central Illinois and surrounding areas with full-service, custom surfacing for commercial and residential stone, solid surface and laminate countertops.

Austin grew up spending his summer breaks sanding Corian and filing laminate end caps. He joined the company full time in 2015 after graduating with honors from Illinois Wesleyan University, where he studied business management and economics.

Travis McDermott, Vice President

Travis McDermott serves as operations manager for McDermott Top Shop in Jefferson, Wisconsin. Having worked in many roles in the company over the past 16 years, Travis is well-positioned to lead the McDermott teams across all aspects. He is adept at all parts of the business, including best practices in fabrication, shop management, CAD and related software programming, sales, inventory, installation and more. Travis is passionate about leadership and contributing to a thriving company culture; he prioritizes professional development among his team members.

Travis attended the University of Wisconsin, earning a Bachelor of Engineering degree with an emphasis in civil engineering. He worked as a civil engineer for two years before transitioning into the family business. Travis is an active champion of the association.

Mike Schott, Secretary

The founder and president of Onslow Stoneworks, Mike Schott is a fourth-generation stoneworker. After his family emigrated from Guardiagrele, Italy, in the late 1800s, they operated a granite quarry on the Palisades Cliffs overlooking

New York City. Since opening in 1993, Onslow Stoneworks has provided Eastern North Carolina with custom natural stone, quartz, ultra-compact and solid surface countertops.

With unwavering support from his wife, Dawn, Mike has strived to grow Onslow Stoneworks from a two-person shop to one of the largest outfits in Eastern North Carolina — now including three locations. He is passionate about excellent craftsmanship and implementing technological advancements, and he looks forward to transferring operations and ownership to his children — the next generation of Schott stoneworkers.

Before entering the surfacing industry full time, Mike served overseas with distinction in the United States Marine Corps. He is an avid firearms enthusiast and competitive shooter, holding three world titles in skeet shooting. He is active in mentorship roles with organizations that assist fellow special operations veterans in transitioning back to civilian life.

Jessica McNaughton, Treasurer

Jessica McNaughton serves as president at CaraGreen, a provider of sustainable building materials, including many alternative surfacing materials. She has 20 years’ experience in sales, marketing, business development and strategy. Previously the director of sales and marketing at CaraGreen, Jessica has maintained her status as a LEED Accredited Professional since 2009 and she hosts a podcast, Build Green Live Green. Jessica has a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Vermont and a master’s degree in business from the Ivey Business School at Western University.

Joe Duszka, Director

Joe Duszka is the owner and president of Carolina Custom Surfaces. With a degree in industrial engineering and an MBA, Joe’s strong interest in the relationship among machinery, people and processes has served him well in various positions,

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 17 / Issue 1 • 39

including plant engineer, production manager and plant manager for two manufacturing companies. He began working for Carolina Custom Surfaces in 2004 and purchased the company the following year.

A big believer in the importance of creating a customer-centered company culture, continuing education and business development, Joe has been a member of ISFA since 2017. He has been a presenter and panelist at several industry education events. He attributes his success to a thirst for knowledge and a passion for improving the decorative surface industry.

Troy Ellsoos is the operations director for The Countertop Factory Midwest in Addison, Illinois. He is an experienced leader with a proven track record of success. A strategic innovator skilled in cost optimization, Troy has reduced labor expenses by over 20% through streamlined processes. He has been recognized for capacity enhancement, leading facility relocations to increase revenue potential by up to 50%. Proficient in Lean methodologies, Troy is adept at quality improvement and decreasing remakes to less than 5% through rigorous quality control. He is an accomplished team leader, co-owning and co-leading teams to achieve budget and financial targets consistently.

Laura Grandlienard is a leader in the industry and an advocate for the importance of environmental sustainability and increasingly prominent roles for women. She founded ROCKin’teriors in 2008 as an eco-friendly showroom, fabrication and installation company serving the triangle region of North Carolina.

Laura and her team at ROCKin’teriors were awarded 2018 ISFA Fabricator of the Year.

Prior to her career in decorative surface fabrication, Laura spent 14 years with IBM consulting on behalf of Fortune 500 companies. Her corporate and industry experience centers on exceptional quality, craftsmanship, sustainability and client service.

Mike Henry, Director

Mike Henry has worked for ASST for nearly 25 years in almost every capacity. From fabrication to installation to estimating to business development, Mike knows our industry from firsthand experience. Currently serving as director of estimating, Mike is responsible for demand creation for ASST. He is integral to ASST and lives and breathes the core values of being customer-focused with integrity, innovation, persistence, enthusiasm and teamwork. Mike holds electronics and history degrees and served 28 years in the active and reserve Navy, retiring in 2010. He is involved in several veterans organizations.

Todd Scott, Director

Originally from Muskegon, Michigan, Todd Scott now calls Knoxville, Tennessee, home. A University of Tennessee alum, he cofounded Smokey Mountain Tops with his brother, Tim. Todd introduced Tessaro, a unique solid surface material, to the marketplace. Shifting from lab casework, he and his team embraced residential and commercial countertop markets, fostering local relationships for growth. Today, Smokey Mountain Tops thrives with a focus on retail, kitchen and bath, builder and commercial countertops across Tennessee. Todd’s insight into the challenges that today’s fabricators face, including silica safety, demonstrates his commitment to progress and his ability to represent the best interests of the association’s core membership.

40 • Vol. 17 / Issue 1 • International Surface Fabricators Association ISFA NEWS
Troy Ellsoos, Director

Rodrigo Velázquez, Director

Rodrigo Velázquez is the founder and owner of Indeko, a world-class fabrication outfit headquartered in Jalisco, Mexico. After high school, Velázquez started working in the kitchen remodeling industry, where he proved his construction skills. He did so well that in 2002, at the age of 17, DuPont offered him certification to fabricate Corian solid surface.

Indeko strives to be a socially responsible company by collecting and recycling rainwater when polishing stone. Around 20% of the scrap material generated is recycled for a different line of products. And thanks to an idea Velázquez picked up at an ISFA Annual Conference, Indeko uses solar panels to generate energy.

Meagan Hegland, Associate Member Representative

Meagan Hegland is the national sales director for Park Industries. With a decade in industrial manufacturing and a specialized focus on stone fabrication, she excels in sales and operations. Meagan holds certifications in sales leadership and Six Sigma, underlining her commitment to continuous learning and operational excellence. She seamlessly transitions between spearheading sales and optimizing operations, infusing a relatable and human touch into her leadership approach. Her genuine enthusiasm for connecting and shaping decisions aligns with Park Industries’ values and fabricator network.

Frank Sciarrino, Associate Member Representative

Frank Sciarrino is a thirdgeneration stone fabricator with more than 20 years of experience in the stone industry. At his family’s fabrication business, Frank climbed the ranks over the years to chief estimator, operations manager, executive vice president and eventually leading the company as president and chief operations officer. Frank’s fabrication business worked with major builders, box store retailers, kitchen and bath dealers, direct-to-consumers, and commercial work. Currently, he is the chief operations officer and managing partner of Quote Countertops and president of Granite Gold In-Home Services, the service end of the Granite Gold stone care products company.

At Quote Countertops, Frank and his team were the first to bring online quoting and checkout to the countertop industry. Frank regularly advises fabricators and marketing companies nationwide to help drive more sales through digital marketing strategy, protection plan services and technology.

Frank has a Vistage Executive Leadership Certificate from Stanford Graduate School of Business on Strategic Leadership; The Innovation Playbook: Designing Stories for Impact; and Designing Organizations for Creativity and Innovation.

“We’ve got a terrific leadership team this year,” said Marissa Bankert, ISFA executive director. “All of our board members are keenly aware of the challenges faced by today’s fabricators and other professionals across the industry. Together, we’re dedicated to developing resources, programs and events that will enable our members to cultivate key relationships while gaining the tools and insights they need to elevate their successes.”

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 17 / Issue 1 • 41 ISFA NEWS

Thank You and Welcome ISFA Members (In alphabetical order)


Albin Hengesbach Carpentry & Custom Cabinets

Westphalia, Mich.

Cosmic Countertops

Homer, Alaska

Custom Countertops

Albany, Ore.

Good Stone & Quartz Fabrication

Pembroke, Mass.

ISEC, Inc.

Greenwood Village, Colo.


323 Design Team Chenoa, Ill.

Accent Countertops

Murray, Utah

Allbuilders Millworks Ruston, La.

American Epoxy Scientific Mountain Home, Ark.


McSherrystown, Pa.

Atlanta Kitchen

Decatur, Ga.

Atlantic Countertops

Raleigh, N.C.

Bella Casa Countertops and Stone

Littleton, Colo.

Counter Fitters

Savannah, Ga.

Countertops of Memphis Memphis, Tenn.

Craftmark Solid Surfaces Norcross, Ga.

DeLorenzo Marble Torrance, Calif.

Dakota Fixture & Cabinet Co.

Madison, S.D.

Eastern Surfaces Allentown, Pa.

Fischer Tile & Marble Sacramento, Calif.

Galaxy Granite & Marble Hopkinton, Mass.

Gecko Solid Surface Solutions San Antonio, Texas

Gunckel Architectural Stoneworks

Seguin, Texas

Henry H. Ross & Son Lititz, Pa.

J.C.W. Countertops Woburn, Mass.

Jaynes Structures

Albuquerque, N.M.

Kauffman Kitchens

New Holland, Pa.

Mill-Rite Woodworking Company

Pinellas Park, Fla.

Modern Home Distributing Nunda, N.Y.

Nelson Tile and Stone Bend, Ore.

OGB Architectural Millwork/ Santa Fe Flooring Albuquerque, N.M.

Outlaw Construction Kodiak, Alaska

Parthenon Marble and Granite New Port Richey, Fla.

Pohaku Fabrication

Lihue, Hawaii

Quality Cabinets and Counters Inc.

Fort Myers, Fla.


Houston, Texas

Routt Construction Company Van Buren, Ark.

Rumford Stone, Inc. Bow, N.H.

Southern Inventions Granbury, Texas

Spaulding Fabricators Inc. Brick, N.J.

Kodiak Building and Maintenance Kodiak, Alaska

Sarto Countertops

St. Marys, Kan.


Sterling-Miller Designs Inc. Brockton, Mass.

Surface Creations of Maine

Portland, Maine

The Countertop Factory Midwest Addison, Ill.

The Granite & Marble Depot Aurora, Ill.

The Granite Place Burlington, Mass.

Top Priority

Waipahu, Hawaii

Triple M Surfaces

Elkhart, Ind.

Unique Countertops

Buda, Texas

White House Stone

Lake Park, Fla.



P.O. Box 627

Ingomar, PA 15127 (888) 599-ISFA

Executive Director

Marissa Bankert (717) 253-5296

Administrative Coordinator

Samantha Winslow (888) 599-ISFA

Marketing and Communications Director

Sarah Peiper (888) 599-ISFA

Web/Database Administrator

Amy Kyriazis (412) 487-3207

Administrative Assistant

Kanani Camacho (888) 599-ISFA

42 • Vol. 17 / Issue 1 • International Surface Fabricators Association

to our 2024 Sponsors Thank You

Sponsorship opportunities are available for qualifying manufacturers, distributors and other industry-related companies.

These businesses are dedicated to the success of the International Surface Fabricators Association and fabricators everywhere. Through their contributions, sponsors enable ISFA to create meaningful opportunities for its membership including training, education, business development, networking and more.

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 17 / Issue 1 • 43


Companies listed in red are ISFA 2024 Sponsors

ACS International

4775 South 3rd Ave.

Tucson, AZ 85714


Aetna Plywood

1401 St. Charles Rd. Maywood, IL 60153



Svobody Str., 29 Moscow 125362

Russian Federation


Aristech Surfaces

(now part of Trinseo)

7350 Empire Dr. Florence, KY 41042


BACA Systems

101 Premier Dr. Orion Township, MI 48359 248-791-3060

BB Industries

4100 Appalachian Way Knoxville, TN 37918


Better Vacuum Cups

13841 Roswell Ave, Ste. K Chino, CA 91710


BNP Media

2401 W. Big Beaver Rd. Ste. 700

Troy, MI 48084


Breton S.p.A.

Via Garibaldi, 27 Castello di Godego

31030 Italy


Bronwick Recruiting

7700 Basil Dr.

Austin, TX 78750


Caesarstone US

1401 W. Morehead St. Charlotte, NC 28208


Cambria USA

31496 Cambria

Le Sueur, MN 56058



1406 Transport Dr. Raleigh, NC 27603


Chemcore Industries

5311 Fleming Ct.

Austin, TX 78744


Chemical Concepts

410 Pike Rd.

Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006


Colonial Saw

122 Pembroke St. Kingston, MA 02364


Compac USA

1777 NW 72nd Ave., Unit 2

Miami, FL 33126


Cosentino USA

355 Alhambra Cir., 10th Floor

Coral Gables, FL 33134


Countertop Marketing Co.

402 Pequot Ave. #772

Southport, CT 06890



Covia Corp

9930 Kincey Ave., Ste. 200 Huntersville, NC 28078


Crossville Inc.

349 Sweeney Dr. Crossville, TN 38555 931-456-2110

Dal-Tile Corporation

7834 CF Hawn Frwy. Dallas, TX 75217


Dixie Plywood & Lumber

P.O. Box 2328

Savannah, GA 31402 912-447-7000

Doyle Farris (Bellavati)

6606 FM 1488, Ste. 148-517

Magnolia, TX 77354 859-533-3079

Duda Consulting

3601 Southwest River Pkwy. Portland, OR 97239 503-949-7738

DuPont (Corian Design)

200 Powder Mill Rd. Wilmington, DE 19803 314-941-5179

Durasein USA

7030 Quad Ave., Ste. 3 Rosedale, MD 21237 877-771-7712


206 Allison Dr. Taylor, TX 76574


Dwyer Marble & Stone Supply

23177 Commerce Dr. Farmington Hills, MI 48335 248-476-4944


907 Jesuit Lane

St. Marys, KS 66536


Elevated Industrial Solutions

2050 West Barberry Place

Denver, CO 80204


Emnas Technologies

347 Ferndale Dr. South Barrie, ON L4N 9Y6


Evans Midwest

11441 E. Lakewood Blvd. Holland, MI 49424


Fabricator’s Business Coach

309 Gassaway St. Central, SC 29630-9197


Federal Brace

710 E Catawba St., Ste. A Belmont, NC 28012


Fifth Gear Technologies (Speed Label)

450 N. Addison Ave. Elmhurst, IL 60126


GEM Industries

5030 N. Hiatus Rd. Sunrise, FL 33351



2040 Industrial Pkwy.

Elkhart, IN 46516-5411


Grand Onyx

134 West South Boundary St. Perrysburg, OH 43551


44 • Vol. 17 / Issue 1 • International Surface Fabricators Association

Granite Gold

12780 Danielson Ct., Ste. A Poway, CA 92064



3950 Steve Reynolds Blvd. Norcross, GA 30093


Groves Incorporated

818 Trakk Ln. Woodstock, IL 60098


Hallmark Building Supplies

901 Northview Rd., Ste. 100 Waukesha, WI 53188


Home Stone Designs

26834 Avenue of the Oaks, Unit B

Santa Clarita, CA 91321 818-518-4428

Hyundai L&C USA

2839 Paces Ferry Rd., Ste. 1100 Atlanta, GA 30339


Ignite Consulting Group

(Hot Sauce Selling Software)

450 N. Addison Ave. Elmhurst, IL 60126


INEOS Composites

5200 Blazer Pkwy. Dublin, OH 43017


Infinity Surfaces

Via Giardini Nord 225

P.IVA : 00175990365

Pavullo Nel Frignano

Modena 41026 Italy

39 0536 329322

InfoStream Solutions

134 West South Boundary St. Perrysburg, OH 43551



160 Candlewyck Dr. Avondale, PA 19311

IPS Adhesives (Integra Adhesives)

455 W. Victoria St. Compton, CA 90220


Jaeckle Distributors

4101 Owl Creek Dr. Madison, WI 53718


Karonia Surfaces

Ansym Lodge, Water Lane

Eggborough, GOOLE

DN14 0PN United Kingdom


Karran USA

P.O. Box 667

1291 East Ramsey Rd. Vincennes, IN 47591 410-975-0128

Kohler Co.

P.O. Box 899

Kohler, WI 50344


Krion Solid Surface (Porcelanosa)

CTRA Villareal-Puebla

De Arenoso KM1

Villareal 12540 Spain



Via Bassanese 6 Vedelago, Treviso

31050 Italy


Companies listed in red are ISFA 2024 Sponsors

Laser Products Industries

1344 Enterprise Dr. Romeoville, IL 60446


LOTTE Chemical

6 Centerpointe, Ste. 100 La Palma, CA 90623


LX Hausys America, Inc.

900 Circle 75 Parkway, Ste. 1500

Atlanta, GA 30339 678-535-4113

Milia Marketing

2515 Jay Ave Unit 101 Cleveland, OH 44113 216-990-5250

Moksh Tech

#1204, Pushpak Landmark Bldg.

Near Titanium City Center Anand Nagar Rd.

Prahlad Nagar Ahmedabad380 015 India



13125 Welcome Way Reno, NV 89511 866-312-9273

MSI Surfaces

2095 N. Batavia St. Orange, CA 92865

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

1095 W illowdale Rd., MS-2800 Morgantown, WV 26505

Natural Stone Institute

380 E. Lorain St. Oberlin, OH 44074 440-250-9222

Ollin Stone

301 E. Ball Rd. Anaheim, CA 92805


ONE Wade

10075 Davisburg Rd. Davisburg, MI 48350 248-804-1408

Park Industries

P.O. Box 188

St. Cloud, MN 56302 320-251-5077

Parson Adhesives Inc. (Chromalok)

3345 Auburn Rd., Ste. 107 Rochester Hills, MI 48309 248-299-5585

Poseidon Industries

4080 Duncan Rd.

Punta Corda, FL 33982

Princeton Chemical Company

7030 Quad Ave., Ste. 3 Rosedale, MD 21237 877-778-6878

Prodim Systems

7454 Commercial Cir. Ft. Pierce, FL 34951


Quote Countertops

11811 N. Tatum Blvd. #3078 Phoenix, AZ 85028


Rep Methods

1613 Congressional Court Richmond, VA 23238


Rock Doctor/Apex Products

8333 Melrose Dr. Lenexa, KS 66214


International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 17 / Issue 1 • 45


Companies listed in red are ISFA 2024 Sponsors

Rockheads Group


Sage Surfaces

6700 The Woodlands Pkwy., Ste. 230-303

The Woodlands, TX 77382 837-403-2847

Sasso USA

220 N. Smith St., Ste. 414 Palatine, IL 60067 224-200-8004

Schechner Lifson Corp.

4 Chatham Rd. Summit, NJ 07901 908-598-7813

Schultz Forming Products

2796 Loker Ave. W., Ste. 105 Carlsbad, CA 92010 800-822-2875

Slab Caddy

5949 American Rd. E Toledo, OH 43612 419-726-7400

6641 N. Cibola Ave. Tucson, AZ 85718


Stone Grid (StoneApp)

2517 Nothumbria Dr. Sanford, FL 32771


Stone Fabricator Elite

211 E 43rd St,. 7th Floor, #270 New York, NY 10017


Synchronous Solutions

3405 Rainbow Dr. Waxhaw, NC 28173 704-560-1536

Taffy Events (Coverings)

2300 Clarendon Blvd. Ste. 305 Arlington, VA 22201


Tile Council of North America

100 Clemson Research Blvd. Anderson, SC 29625


TotalHousehold Pro

65A Walnut Hill Rd. Bethel, CT 06801


Trajus Surfaces

3 Dubon Ct. Farmingdale, NY 11735 516-777-2700

Triton Stone Group

6025 West 80th St. Indianapolis, IN 46278 317-644-1200

US Silica

24275 Katy Fwy., Ste. 600 Katy, TX 77494 346-334-0745

US Surfaces

4601 Spicewood Springs Rd. Bldg. 1, Ste. 100 Austin, TX 78759 512-454-2229

Vicostone USA

11620 Goodnight Ln., Ste. 100 Dallas, TX 75229


Water Treatment Solutions

6 Merrill Industrial Dr. Hampton, NH 03842



1400 Ameron Dr. Charlotte, NC 28206



1149 Pioneer Rd.

Burlington L7M 1K5 Canada



2501 Wilsonart Dr. P.O. Box 6110

Temple, TX 76503-6110


Wood Stock Supply

4705 S. I-90 Service Rd. Rapid City, SD 57703



3900 Research Park Dr. Ann Arbor, MI 48108


46 • Vol. 17 / Issue 1 • International Surface Fabricators Association

Park Industries Introduces the JAVELIN CNC Sawjet

Park Industries just changed the sawjet game with the introduction of the JAVELIN CNC Sawjet.

Power up your production with its 27 horsepower VFD-controlled arbor motor and versatile 5-axis waterjet capabilities. The JAVELIN is optimized to cut any material, including porcelain, quartzite, Dekton and more.

While the JAVELIN excels at high-production fabrication, it’s also the perfect solution for precise mitering with the ultimate combination of blade and waterjet mitering. Its Miterjet efficiently miters inside corners or arcs in one sweep with its 0-58 degree waterjet capabilities.

The JAVELIN’s unique design offers the industry’s smallest two-table footprint, three-sided table access, and the most complete table coverage. It is highly configurable to meet the needs of any shop layout and is available in single- or two-table models.

Its engineered AccuCut System features a reinforced bridge, precision rotary index system, helical rack and pinion technology and more — all working in tandem to deliver exceptional, long-lasting performance and precision. Have it all with the JAVELIN, the ONLY sawjet that hits every target. Learn more at

LT3Raptor by Laser Products Industries (LPI)

LT3Raptor is a new digital templating platform designed with a robust cloud-based management hub to make you faster and more efficient not only in templating, but other areas of your process including job management, programming and more!

Quick just got quicker with

Templating Intelligence

LT3Raptor has built-in Templating Intelligence to make quick even quicker. From Edge Detection to One-Touch technology, finish fabricationready files in fewer clicks easily and intuitively.

Same simplicity. Enhanced experience.

LT3Raptor has taken the user-friendly foundation of the current LT software and enhanced it. The new UX and UI feature workspace customization, improved quick actions and more. powered by LPI Cloud is a cloud-based management hub at your fingertips where you can view manage jobs, and select edge styles, drop-ins and more.

If you are interested in learning more about LT3Raptor, visit Partners With Quote Countertops

PaperStone’s Environmental Commitment Deepens

Paneltech has invested in an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for PaperStone, their recycled paper composite panels. PaperStone has long been a leader in the sustainable building materials space with their high recycled content and domestic manufacturing process, but now customers have full access to the life cycle and environmental data behind the product. Having a publicly available EPD helps architects and designers find products that will contribute points to LEED projects. The company also hopes that this EPD will demonstrate their commitment to managing their environmental impact on the world and encourage other manufacturers to do so as well. Find out more at

New in 2024,, in partnership with Quote Countertops, has launched a Custom Vanity Top Configurator experience for its customers. This online tool will help ease the process visually for customers, starting with a choice of design colors in both Corian and HIMACS solid surface. Customers can then move on to choose edge and backsplash options and sink design and layout — all along the way creating their custom vanity top. is an online marketplace where all major manufacturers of solid surface material can be found and viewed, with focus offerings on Corian, HIMACS and Wilsonart. The website filtering tools allow visitors to refine the viewing page to their own desired design preferences. is also host to ProFinder, a resource tool for specifiers to locate local professional certified fabricators in their area.

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 17 / Issue 1 • 47 PRODUCT NEWS


FreePower for Countertop

FreePower for Countertop is a first-of-its-kind experience. A futuristic combination of free-position wireless charging and interactive lighting makes it feel like magic, creating an elegantly embedded product to elevate any space — from kitchen islands and bathroom vanities to bar tables and furniture. For this pioneering technology, FreePower engineered an LED halo that projects through stone and onto the counter’s surface. It indicates the charging area, and by using the mobile app, users can customize its color to suit any mood. Backed by 230+ patent assets, the technology can charge multiple devices simultaneously and took home 3 CES Innovation Awards for 2024 in the smart home, smart city and embedded technologies categories. Learn more at

New Lighter Weight GEM Orbital Sander

The GEM Orbital Sander features an 11-inch drive pad which reduces labor by at least 50% over traditional 5- or 6-inch rotary tools. And as opposed to high-speed rotary sanders, the 100% orbital action of the GEM Orbital Sander eliminates the possibility of swirl marks, leaving a totally consistent and uniform finish. Even though it is now 3 lbs. lighter, there is no need to apply pressure; the weight of the machine does all the work. Simply guide the sander across the surface like polishing a car. The GEM Orbital Sander comes with, or without, a shroud attachment for dust collection, and is available in 220 volts. Eleven-inch abrasives are available. This is the ideal tool for sanding large flat surfaces for both the solid surface and woodworking industries. The Gem Sander can also be used with concrete and metal surfaces. For more information, visit

Cinox Collection by Karran USA

Introducing Karran’s versatile Cinox Collection, which features a range of stainless steel sinks specially designed for bathrooms. The collection boasts an impressive selection of 72 distinct models, each crafted with precision and style. Available in four stunning finishes — Gold, Brushed Copper, Gunmetal Grey and Stainless Steel — the Cinox sinks redefine the aesthetic possibilities for bathroom spaces. The rich, earthy tones of the Brushed Copper finish add a touch of luxury and character, creating a focal point that effortlessly blends with various design styles. Learn more at

glass2 Now Available Across the U.S.

glass2 is an incredible recycled glass surfacing material that is now available throughout the United States. glass2 is made of 99% recycled glass fused together, requiring no resins or binders and is both durable and easy to fabricate. It is suitable for interior applications for both residential and commercial use. It can be fabricated by both stone and glass fabricators. Since it is all glass, it is a great material for creating backlighting effects. glass2 allows you to create a stunning visual experience and tell a sustainable story with your countertops, columns or cladding. Learn more about the product and order samples at

48 • Vol. 17 / Issue 1 • International Surface Fabricators Association

The Silicosis Crisis

Over the past few months, a lot has happened in the slab quarrying, manufacturing, distribution and countertop fabrication industry. From Cal/OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard that came into effect December 29, 2023, which mandates no dry cutting, grinding, or polishing; the use of powered air-purifying respirators (PARPs); and employee medical testing, to Australia’s engineered stone ban set for July 2024, there is a lot of talk about silica safety. To be sure, these developments will have profound impacts on the decorative surface industry as we know it today.

The overarching issue at the heart of these changes is the exploding number of stone workers developing silicosis because of respirable crystalline silica (RCS) in fabrication shops and on job sites worldwide. Silicosis is one of the oldest industrial diseases documented — first identified in the 15th century. When RCS gets lodged in the lungs, it results in scarring that significantly reduces the ability to breathe. There’s no cure; advanced cases are debilitating and can result in death. As employers of workers who are exposed to RCS, it’s imperative that we keep this issue top of mind and do our best to stay informed about silicosis and do whatever we can to mitigate it.

Because silicosis is 100% preventable, we must all work diligently toward eliminating this disease within our industry. If we don’t, we’re facing far-reaching disruptions that will negatively impact each and every one of us.

The traditional course of silicosis development occurs due to exposure to RCS over a long period. But with the exponential growth in market share of hard surfaces like granite, quartz, porcelain and sintered materials — particularly in the kitchen countertop segment — we’re seeing a substantial increase in this disease.

Over the last two decades, the demand for premium countertop surfaces has been fueled by significant increases in the home equity value as a result of the housing bubble, low interest rates providing affordable renovation budgets,

the influence of home improvement television, the significant reduction in the material costs, improvements in manufacturing and installation processes, as well as other factors. In the end, hard surface countertops have elevated to heightened demand from homeowners.

In order to meet this increased demand, there has been a massive boom in the number and type of fabrication facilities throughout the world. The countertop industry has many different kinds of fabrication companies, from highly automated large-scale operations to 2-5 person shops. Some of these fabrication companies comply fully with safety regulations, some are trying hard to get compliant and some are operating unaware of the governmental requirements in their area. And some are disregarding these requirements altogether — operating in clear violation of the local laws and regulations and putting profits ahead of worker safety. Each of these companies needs different support and enforcement methods to ensure worker safety.

The shops that are not complying with government regulations that require a safe work environment for their employees are a result of:

1. The owner’s engineering and administrative controls are ineffective.

2. The owner is not informed about their legal responsibility to their employees.

3. The owner intentionally ignores the law to increase profits by not protecting their employees.

The first group needs to continue to apply engineering and administrative controls to further reduce RCS in the workplace. These shops are actively making improvements that will effectively control the level of RCS and will create safe work environments for their employees. Many ISFA supplier partners have products and information that can help you develop methods to control the RCS dust. If you fall into this category, you are not alone. Please reach out to your supplier and take advantage of their resources.

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The second group needs to prioritize informing themselves of their legal requirements around air quality and worker safety and then work diligently to comply with the legislation in their area. For the uninformed, education and awareness campaigns must be established to get these owners to follow the law. ISFA and the Natural Stone Institute are working together to provide training and certification for employers and employees working in the stone industry to eliminate this knowledge gap. Ignorance of the requirements is not a defense for noncompliance.

The third group is a liability to us all. Government regulations must encompass the authority to stop these businesses from operating at all. Many of these fabrication shops have been using techniques that include dry cutting, grinding and polishing without engineering and management controls to suppress the RCS dust. In these environments, the level of RCS exceeds the permissible exposure limit (PEL) and action level (AL) many times over. It’s hazardous to employee health — even those who work adjacent to the shop floor can be impacted. Shops that operate dry — without regard for the OSHA-required level of air quality — are among the most significant contributing factors to the rise in silicosis cases in recent years.

The entire industry, including quarriers, manufacturers, fabricators, installers, regulators, trade associations and others, must work together to support responsible operators and business owners while eliminating the “bad actors” that are focusing the regulatory spotlight on our industry for the wrong reason. If we all work together, we can keep our workers safe while our businesses continue to thrive.

50 • Vol. 17 / Issue 1 • International Surface Fabricators Association

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