ISFA's Countertops & Architectural Surfaces Vol. 16, Issue 3

Page 1

Powerful Transformations

Unleash your potential with tech-savvy strategies that improve productivity and increase profitability.






Editor: Sarah Peiper


Stephen Alberts

Nancy Busch

Paul “Max” Le Pera

Austin Maxwell

Jessica McNaughton

Tim Saddoris

Louise Scott

Travis Sterrett

Ed Young

Proofreader: 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 2023. 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:


Alexander Volkmann

Aristech Surfaces

BB Industries




Crystallyne Enterprises


Daniel Stauch

Darius Ramazani

DG Innovations


Edel Photography

Emmanuel Raab

ETemplate Systems

Fabricator’s Choice

Groves, Inc.

Heiko Stahl

Jan Bitter



Laser Product Industries

LX Hausys

Mans Berg


Park Industries

Paul Moore


Pinpoint Status



Quote Countertops

Rosskopf + Partner

Slab Caddy


Spanish Ceramic Tile

Manufacturer’s Association


Steffen Spitzner


POSTMASTER: Send address changes to:

LSC Communications

c/o Countertops & Architectural Surfaces magazine

3401 Heartland Drive

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4 • Vol. 16 / Issue 3 • International Surface Fabricators Association


A housewarming invitation like no other, this fuss-free lineup features sepia-inspired whites with both warm and cool veining so often found in natural stone. Well-loved in both traditional and modern design stories, these ultra-versatile tones work as well on an oversized waterfall island as they do in a tiny bath. Visit one of over 45 MSI showrooms and distribution centers to make your dream surfaces a reality.




20 Weathering the Storm: How the Construction Industry Uses Technology to Grow Amid Challenges

Learn how industry professionals are turning to technology to help them reach their expansion goals despite economic downturns.

22 5 Ways to Improve Your Sales Process with Fewer People

Make the most out of your sales processes by working smarter, not harder.

26 Tech Trends in Surface Fabrication: Enhance Efficiency and Accuracy With These Smart Solutions

Discover the latest and greatest software solutions that support today’s fabricators.

38 ISFA Fabricator Profile: Rosskopf + Partner

A true champion of solid surface, this German fabricator innovates extraordinary solutions in the pursuit of progress.

Cover Photo

Trinseo is excited to announce the Riverine Collection by AVONITE Solid Surface, a new addition to our 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 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

Follow us on social media! @ISFAnow @ISFAnow @ISFA

6 • Vol. 16 / Issue 3 • International Surface Fabricators Association
DEPARTMENTS 8 Editor’s Note 10 Calendar of Events 12 Industry News 15 Education Connection 32 Sustainability Matters 45 Perspectives: Nancy Busch 46 ISFA News 49 ISFA Associate Member Directory 52 Product News 58 Perspectives: Austin Maxwell 20 26 38

Can You Automate the Human Condition?

The advent of artificial intelligence and sophisticated language models like ChatGPT has undoubtedly revolutionized how we interact with technology. These models have shown incredible capabilities in understanding and generating humanlike text, leading some to speculate about the potential for these AI systems to replace people in various applications. However, despite their impressive abilities, there are several fundamental reasons ChatGPT and similar technologies cannot fully replace humans.

First and foremost, the human element encompasses qualities that are difficult to replicate in an AI system. Humans possess empathy, intuition, creativity, and the ability to understand complex emotions and nuances in communication. These underlying qualities allow us to connect with others on a deeper level, provide emotional support and navigate ambiguous situations. While ChatGPT can mimic humanlike responses, it lacks our deep understanding of each other — subliminal communication including tone, touch, visual cues, proxemics, and even silence — that help us relate to situations and each other.

Further, the human element involves contextual understanding and real-world experience. Humans have lifetimes of experiences, cultural knowledge, and personal biases that shape their perspectives and decision-making processes. These unique backgrounds enable humans to consider the broader implications of their actions and make informed judgments in complex situations. ChatGPT, on the other hand, lacks personal experiences and relies solely on preexisting data to create responses. This limitation restricts its ability to fully comprehend the context and make judgments that consider the complexities of the real world.

Another crucial aspect of the human element is ethics and moral reasoning. Humans possess a moral compass and an understanding of right and wrong, which guides their decisions and actions. While AI systems can be programmed with ethical guidelines, they cannot truly comprehend the underlying principles and values that inform ethical decision-making. As a result, AI systems may make decisions that are technically correct but morally questionable.

Furthermore, the human element encompasses subjective experiences and perspectives. Individuals have unique thoughts, emotions and perspectives shaped by their personal lives and identities. This diversity of perspectives fosters creativity, critical thinking and innovation. ChatGPT, on the other hand, lacks personal experiences and subjective viewpoints. It generates responses based on patterns in data and lacks the ability to truly think outside the box or offer fresh insights.

In situations where empathy and understanding are crucial, the human element is irreplaceable. Consider customer service. Humans can build trust, establish rapport and provide genuine emotional support. While ChatGPT can simulate conversation and provide information, it lacks the emotional connection that inspires. Many of you may have implemented customer service chatbots on your website to funnel users shopping for your services and products. There’s always a layer of skepticism around it: Am I talking to a real person or a robot? For many, trying to reason with a robot is a huge turnoff — more work trying to connect than it’s worth. Here’s looking at you, automated phone systems! No matter how much frustration I impart in my pleas for help when my information is mistaken, or the options don’t match my needs, you just repeat yourself and cycle through the prompts like some kind of twisted prank — the definition of insanity. Please just connect me to a real person.

The fact of the matter is technology is all around us, and it is constantly innovating. The good far outweighs the bad. It helps keep us safe in the shop and on the road and analyze and run our businesses with more clarity than ever. This issue presents more than a dozen software solutions for fabricators that can increase profitability, create efficiency and improve accuracy (page 26); a digital marketing strategy that funnels leads (page 18); ways in which you can increase sales with fewer people using tech (page 22); and a fabrication company that takes pride in its ability to embrace automation and innovate new products (page 38).

And while ChatGPT and similar AI systems are remarkable tools, it remains to be seen how they can fully replace the human connection. Although my brain can’t possibly hold all the information cataloged in ChatGPT’s database, it’s good to know that there is something inherent in me that it can’t replicate … yet.

8 • Vol. 16 / Issue 2 • International Surface Fabricators Association EDITOR'S NOTE


Behind the Surface Podcast: Marketing Tools that Lead to Growth

September 4


ISFA Webinar: The Right Way To Do Discovery in Your Sales Process

September 6

ISFA Mineral Surfaces Fabrication Training

September 13-14

Massillon, Ohio

Behind the Surface Podcast: B2B Lead Generation

September 18

BACA Systems Fabrication Seminar

September 21

Farmington, N.Y.

Missouri Stone Summit: Know Your Business

September 21 St. Louis


September 25-29

Bologna, Italy


September 26-29

Verona, Italy

ParkFest 2023 by Park Industries

October 3-4 St. Cloud, Minn.

ISFA Webinar: Selling Identity Transformation vs. Countertops

October 4

Behind the Surface Podcast: Mindful Materials and Sustainable Products

October 9

ISFA Annual Conference

October 16-19, 2023 Sint Maarten

Connecticut Stone Summit: Dynamic Intentionality

October 19 New Haven, Conn.

Behind the Surface Podcast: Using Data To Find Opportunity in Your Business

October 23

ISFA Solid Surface Fabrication Training

October 24-25

Addison, Ill.

BACA Systems Fabrication Seminar

October 25-26

Orion Township, Mich.

ISFA Webinar: 3-Step Framework To Close Deals More Quickly & Easily

November 1

Woodworking Machinery & Supply Conference + Expo

November 2-4, 2023

Mississauga, Canada

Behind the Surface Podcast: Entrepreneurial Operating Systems: Reflect and Review November 6

ISFA New Member Workshop

November 8 Virtual

Texas Stone Summit: Take Your Organization to the Next Level November 9 Austin, Texas

Behind the Surface Podcast: Checking in with Eric Tryon November 20

Middle East Stone Show December 3-6 Dubai, U.A.E.

Behind the Surface Podcast: The New NEO Consumer December 4

ISFA Webinar: Creating Raving Fans & Loyal Customers with Gratitude Campaigns

December 6

ISFA MemberConnect Meeting

December 14 Virtual

Behind the Surface Podcast: The Art of Upselling December 18

The International Surface Event (TISE) 2024

January 24-26

Las Vegas

KBIS 2024

February 27-29

Las Vegas

NAHB International Builder Show 2024

February 27-29

Las Vegas

10 • Vol. 16 / Issue 3 • International Surface Fabricators Association
Submit your event for consideration in Calendar of Events by emailing Editor Sarah Peiper,
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The Call for Entries for the 22nd Annual Tile of Spain Awards Is Open

The Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturer’s Association (ASCER) announces the call for entry for the 2023 edition of the Tile of Spain Awards of Architecture, Interior Design and Final Degree Project. This year marks 22 years of honoring innovation in design.

Celebrating the excellence in precision and progression of ceramic craftsmanship, the Tile of Spain Awards highlights the careful consideration, meticulous installation and design enhancements of ceramic tiles, in projects from around the world. With the awards open for entry, ASCER invites architects, designers, specifiers, installers and trade professionals, to submit their completed work for consideration in this year’s accolades.

The jury presiding over the awards will be led by architect Carme Pinós and is made of esteemed architects and interior designers including Inma Bermúdez, Jesús Olivares, Gracia Cardona, Susana Babiloni, Luis Rojo, José Juan Barba, Ángel Pitarch and Agnès Blanch.

The Tile of Spain Awards have a total prize fund of €35,000 (approx. $38,500), to be shared among three categories. The two main categories, Architecture and Interior Design, each have cash prizes of €15,000. The Final Degree Project award has a cash prize of €5,000. The panel of judges is also entitled to give up to two special mentions in each category.

Project submissions from around the world will be accepted now through Wednesday, October 18, 2023. The awards ceremony will be held during Cevisama 2024. Visit to review entry guidelines, enter the design contest or learn more about the Tile of Spain Awards.

The European Commission Officially Recognizes Sintered Stone

The European Commission and European Organization for Technical Assessment have adopted a new European Assessment Document (EAD) that defines a new product category known as Sintered Stone. The definition is as follows:

“An industrial product consisting of a wet mix of minerals, without using resin or cement. The material is cold-formed by vacuum vibro-compression and then consolidated, after drying, by sintering at temperatures between 1,100 and 1,200°C. The production process is reversible. The material can be used in architecture and design for various interior and exterior applications and can be installed by means of adhesives, structural bonding or mechanical fixings.”

The material is produced in large slabs and boasts high levels of resistance against scratches, temperature changes, fire, salt water, humidity, UV rays and more. Above all, it is environmentally sustainable, as it is produced without the use of petroleum derivatives. As specified in the EAD, the material is the result of a reversible process, enabling it to revert to its original state at the end of its lifespan and be reused. These properties make it a valuable material for construction and design, both on land and at sea, and it is compatible with numerous global certifications for quality and sustainability.

The EAD 090142-00-0404, which will soon be cited in the Official Journal of the European Union, contains the list of essential characteristics and specifies the test methods necessary to verify the performance of this innovative surface. It’s a significant breakthrough that sheds light on the different specificities of the sintered stone and ceramic product categories to avoid overlaps, confusion and misuse of terms. From now on, surfaces that meet the requirements of the new EAD can be CE marked and circulated even more easily within the European Community’s borders.

12 • Vol. 16 / Issue 2 • International Surface Fabricators Association IN THE INDUSTRY

Engineered Stone Demand to Grow 9.3% Annually Through 2027

According to the Freedonia Group study, Global Countertops, demand for engineered stone is expected to grow at a strong pace through 2027; it will surpass both laminate and granite to become the second most popular countertop product in the world.

Global demand for engineered stone countertops is projected to advance 9.3% per year to 128 million square meters in 2027. Engineered stone has rapidly increased its share of the global countertop market over the past decade — rising from 7% of sales in 2012 to 14% in 2022 — and has become the most popular countertop material in the large U.S. market due to its aesthetics, durability and ease of maintenance when compared to natural stone. Strong sales increases and increasing market share will continue due to:

• A growing array of colors in line with current design trends from both domestic and foreign suppliers.

• The increased availability of non-Breton equipment, largely made in China, which has allowed producers to significantly boost capacity (The market was previously limited by Breton’s dominance in engineered quartz fabrication equipment and its strict quality control standards.)

• An abundant supply of low-cost quartz slabs from the Africa/ Mideast region and other locations in the Asia/Pacific region, such as India.

• Broader distribution networks for engineered stone.

In 2022, North America accounted for the largest share, or 35%, of global engineered stone countertop demand. The Asia/Pacific region was the second largest regional outlet for engineered stone countertops, accounting for 26% of global sales.

Porcelain will be the fastest growing countertop product — albeit from a small base — in the world, with demand rising at a rate of 27% annually through 2027. This robust growth will be fueled by rising consumer awareness of porcelain slab’s favorable performance properties.


Park Industries Bolsters Sales Team

Park Industries, the leading manufacturer of stone CNC machinery, announced the promotion of Meagan Hegland as national sales director and the addition of Jeremi Cowman as national sales manager. These strategic moves reflect Park Industries’ commitment to prioritizing customer success and strengthening its sales force to deliver unparalleled service.

As national sales director, Meagan will play a crucial role in driving the company’s customer-centric sales strategies and expanding its market presence. “Meagan’s promotion is a testament to her exceptional skills and her steadfast commitment to customer success,” said Joan Schatz, CEO of Park Industries. “Under her leadership, we are confident that our sales team will continue to thrive.”

Joining the Park Industries team as national sales manager, Jeremi Cowman brings a wealth of experience from his 18-year tenure at a global distribution company. Throughout his career, Jeremi has excelled in sales management and developed a deep understanding of customer needs. He is known for his ability to build strong relationships, develop effective sales strategies and ensure customer satisfaction.

“Jeremi’s extensive background in sales and his customer-centric approach make him a valuable addition to the Park Industries team,” said Hegland. “His commitment to understanding and addressing customer needs aligns perfectly with our company’s focus on delivering exceptional value and success to our clients.”

Alongside Meagan and Jeremi, the sales team at Park Industries includes a talented group of professionals, including 12 experienced sales consultants, four dedicated sales support specialists and two skilled sales application specialists. Together, this robust team is well-equipped to deliver personalized support, technical expertise and comprehensive solutions.

Daltile, Marazzi, American Olean Reduce Carbon Footprint 17%

Actions key to parent company’s inclusion in USA Today’s America’s Climate Leaders list.

By reducing their carbon footprint an impressive 17% since 2018, leading tile company sister brands Daltile, Marazzi and American Olean were key contributors to their parent company, Mohawk Industries, being named to USA Today’s recent America’s Climate Leaders list. Substantial reduction in carbon emissions is just one of many sustainability accomplishments the brands have achieved to date, providing their customers with tile that is not only beautiful and durable, but sustainably and responsibly manufactured.

“As a company, we create beautiful tile designs responsibly,” said Paij Thorn-Brooks, vice president of marketing, Dal-Tile LLC. “Under our brands’ ‘Our Promise’ sustainability platform, we are focused on creating a more climate positive future by being dedicated stewards of our global impact, leveraging our resources to shrink our footprint and reduce our waste.”

The Daltile, Marazzi, and American Olean environmental sustainability efforts include, but are not limited to, the following:

• 99% — Over 99% of tile collections contain recycled or reclaimed materials.

• 300 million — On average, the company’s North American facilities recover and reuse over 300 million pounds of recycled or reclaimed material per year.

• 17% — Reduction in carbon footprint by 17% from 2018 to present.

• 84% — Recover and reuse 84% of all process wastewater in U.S.- and Mexicobased facilities.

• 125 million — Prevented over 125 million gallons of wastewater from entering local municipal water treatment facilities annually.

• 11% — Reduced energy consumption by 11% at all sales service centers and distribution facilities.

• 0% — Tiles are made from only natural materials: water, clay, sand, feldspar and other minerals. Tiles contain zero VOCs, plastics, PVCs, allergens or formaldehyde.

• Developed and maintain productspecific EPDs and product-specific HPDs for each of our core companies.

• 341 tons — Recycled over 341 tons of cardboard and office paper, averaging 68 tons per year.

• 9 — Nine manufacturing facilities have achieved Mohawk’s internal Zero Landfill Certification.

• 6 out of 11 — U.S.- and Mexico-based facilities are zero-discharge facilities (meaning they recover and reuse a full 100% of their process wastewater).

• Millions — Sent millions of pounds of materials to state-approved beneficial reuse programs.

14 • Vol. 16 / Issue 3 • International Surface Fabricators Association IN THE INDUSTRY

Build Confidence in Your Business by Evaluating Your Market Segments

I get a lot of questions from shop owners about how to price their products. They see advertisements from competitors touting incredibly low price-per-square-foot numbers and wonder if they have priced their products incorrectly.

“How are their prices so low?”

“Should my prices be that low?”

“How do I make a profit at that price?”

I also run across a lot of shop owners who want to close every quote opportunity regardless of the work. For them, it’s all about selling as much as possible. They think, “If the shop is busy, shouldn’t I be making money?”

Unfortunately, they are both asking the wrong questions. They should ask, “What kind of work makes the most money for my shop the fastest?”

To answer this question, you need to know how much money each order generates for your business (Throughput Dollars or $T) and how much cash the business burns daily (Operating Expense or $OE). Additionally, you need to understand how quickly you can fabricate and install different jobs.

Here’s an example of what happens when you ask the right question and use these metrics to get the answer:

I was working with a shop that was limping along at about break-even financially and had some unfilled capacity. Just filling the capacity would have added profit, but the owner was struggling with low-price competition in the area, hampering his ability to increase sales.

We analyzed his market segments: retail, kitchen and bath, contractors, etc. To do this, we calculated the $T as a percentage of the sales price for each kind of job. As expected, the $T percentage varied between the market segments and within each segment. However, there were a few surprises. Most of the contractor orders had a similar $T percentage as most of the retail jobs. The owner had expected the contractor work to have a lower percentage of $T. Through this exercise, he discovered he was doing better with the contractor work than he thought.

We then discussed which market segments he could get more sales from and what actions were required to get that work. There were various challenges with each market segment: high advertising costs, fierce low-cost competition

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 3 • 15 EDUCATION CONNECTION
Invoice #TypeTotal InvoiceMaterial Cost$T $T % Sales Jobs Per Week $T Per Week 2531Retail $ 15,364.00 $ 4,852.00 $ 10,512.00 68%1.5 $ 15,768.00 2595Retail $ 17,070.00 $ 6,273.00 $ 10,797.00 63%1.5 $ 16,195.50 2621Custom Builder $ 15,925.00 $ 5,182.00 $ 10,743.00 67%1.5 $ 16,114.50 2560Custom Builder $ 15,457.00 $ 5,406.00 $ 10,051.00 65%1.5 $ 15,076.50 2634Production Builder $ 7,988.00 $ 3,711.00 $ 4,277.00 54% 5 $ 21,385.00 2589Production Builder $ 6,754.00 $ 2,997.00 $ 3,757.00 56% 5 $ 18,785.00
Table 1: Evaluation by Market Segment. $OE per week = $15,000


for a couple of segments, and other issues. These challenges were significant barriers to increasing his sales volume.

Then the owner recalled one market segment he hadn’t evaluated yet. Recently, he had taken on some production builder work at a really low price because he needed to keep the shop busy. Sure enough, the $T percentage was the lowest of all the market segments. It was easy to see why he felt beat up by that customer.

Next, we discussed how many jobs of each market segment he could fabricate and install each week. The way we approached it was to ballpark fabrication and installation of typical retail jobs for an entire week and then do the same for the other market segments. We talked about how the various characteristics of the types of jobs impacted how many he could get fabricated and installed in a week.

The retail and contractor jobs were typically larger and more complex than the production builder jobs. This meant he couldn’t get as many retail jobs fabricated and installed in a week as the production builder jobs. The question was whether the higher $T for the retail and contractor jobs would make up for the lower quantity completed per week.

The aha moment came when we looked at the production builder work. As expected, the number of these jobs he could process per week was the highest of all. When we multiplied the typical $T for production builder jobs by the number of those jobs he could fabricate and install in a week, this segment outperformed all others. We had a winner! Not only was this

work good for his shop, but he also knew how to get more of this work so he could fill his shop. We now had a recipe for this shop owner to start making a significant profit.

This rough calculation helped the owner understand how quickly each type of job generated $T relative to other types of jobs. While not true for every shop, in this instance, the simple production builder work generated cash faster than any other type of work this shop was doing. We also talked about how he might start to adjust his pricing to reflect this impact and start to drive total $T for the business even higher.

Another client recently sent me a note. She had bid on a sizable multi-unit job a year ago and had just learned she had won the bid, but now she was concerned about the ultimate profitability since this was an unusual job for her workflow. When she went through the same evaluation for her market segments, she realized this job could be quite profitable. Now she just had to focus on making sure the logistics for the job were managed well rather than worrying about profitability. Now she has the data and the confidence to bid on this type of work in a way that makes her company money.

Remember, you cannot take the results in this article and assume they are true for your shop. Each shop is different, and you have to do your own analysis. But knowing how to

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 or reach Ed directly at

With each episode, Behind the Surface inspires fabricators to take their business to the next level by addressing challenges, sharing strategies and gathering insights from leading industry experts.

in and stay on top.
out more at Behind the Surface a podcast presented by














International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 3 • 17
Get the skills you need to fabricate these increasingly popular materials and meet growing customer demand.

WEBSITE CONVERSION FUNDAMENTALS: How To Turn Website Visitors into Leads

In the world of online marketing, having a well-designed website is crucial for converting visitors into leads. Regardless of how successful your pay-per-click campaigns or search engine optimization strategies are, you risk losing potential customers to your competition if your website fails to engage users and convey a compelling message. To maximize the profitability and revenue of your online marketing efforts, it’s essential to focus on website conversion fundamentals.

One of the key factors in website conversion is authenticity. People relate to real people — not staged environments — so it’s important to avoid using stock photography whenever possible. Instead, incorporate photos of your team, showroom, or even your trucks. These visuals help create a personal connection with your audience, making them feel more comfortable and confident in choosing your company. When it comes to content, craft messaging that resonates with visitors; for example, if someone is looking for a countertop, the first message they see on your homepage should reinforce trust and reliability — an emotional connection. Highlight your company’s values and include a call to action, such as encouraging them to call for an estimate or book an appointment. Remember, they have multiple options, so provide compelling reasons they should choose you.

Your company logo should be in the top

left-hand corner. A brief blurb emphasizing that the company is family-owned and operated adds a personal touch. The main navigation should be easy to find, with clearly descriptive links that guide visitors through your site. Use social media to drive traffic to your website by showcasing videos, project photos and community interactions. Lastly, make sure your website is mobile-friendly and make all important information easily accessible. Incorporating web forms throughout your website is essential for capturing leads. Ensure that each page has a web form or, at the very least, have one on the “Contact Us” page. This enables visitors who may not be ready to make a phone call to provide their contact information. Ensure your phone number is prominently displayed in the website’s top right-hand corner, along with a clear call to action telling visitors what to do next. For our clients, we like to put the phone number at the top and then add a button that says, “Get Estimate” or “Get Quote.” Also, remember to leverage your reviews, testimonials and videos to provide additional proof of your company’s credibility. Videos are incredibly effective, catering to both visual and auditory learners.

When writing content for your website, address the specific concerns of your target audience. For instance, if someone wants to refresh their kitchen, include messaging that speaks directly to their needs. After each


Digital marketing can be confusing, but it can completely change your countertop company when done correctly. This article is adapted from chapter 7 of Stephen’s book, The Complete Guide to Internet Marketing for Countertop Shops. To learn more about how to up your online game, get a free copy of the book at book/.

18 • Vol. 16 / Issue 2 • International Surface Fabricators Association


block of text, provide clear calls to action, such as scheduling an appointment or getting an estimate. Include links to other relevant pages, such as your “About Us” section, special offers and before-and-after images of completed projects. Provide content that showcases your expertise and professionalism, making visitors think, “This shop knows what they’re doing.” Emphasize why they should choose your company over the competition.

When considering the conversion factors of a website, it’s essential to optimize the content “above the fold.” This is the top half of your website, what’s visible to the user when they land on your page without scrolling down. Include attention-grabbing headlines, bullet points, calls to action and lead-capture forms. Incorporate a dedicated section for user engagement, focusing on your company profile to establish credibility.

A blog section keeps visitors informed and enhances your shop’s credibility. Testimonials are crucial for earning trust, and including a “Read More” link that redirects to a testimonial page provides additional social proof.

Optimizing your website for conversions is a fundamental aspect of online marketing success. By incorporating authentic visuals, compelling messaging and clear calls to action, you can increase the likelihood of converting visitors into leads and leads into jobs. Address their specific concerns, provide external proof of your credibility, and make it easy for visitors to contact you. Analyze and optimize the various conversion factors on your website to ensure a user-friendly interface and maximize conversions. With a well-structured and persuasive website, you can effectively convert visitors into valuable leads for your shop.

Cut time with Crossville. Perform with porcelain.

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Stephen Alberts is the owner of the Countertop Marketing Co. and STONE ENGAGE. They specialize in helping countertop companies grow the retail side of their business outside of wordof-mouth and referrals. They also offer software to help you engage more with customers and close more countertop projects. To learn more, visit or You can also email Stephen at steve@

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 3 • 19
IFSA member since 2018
Crossville Porcelain Slabs and Countertops in State of Grace and Sugar Coat

Weathering the Storm

How the Construction Industry Uses Technology To Grow Amid Challenges

The construction industry is facing significant challenges, such as scarcity of skilled labor, rising material costs and lead delays that have carried over from pandemic-driven supply chain issues like transport bottlenecks and geopolitical uncertainties. But despite these challenges, contractors, subcontractors and material suppliers are moving forward with an optimistic mindset.

A recent survey conducted by PlanHub found that eight in 10 (82%) of general contractors and 80% of subcontractors plan on growing their business in 2023. Also, according to the American Institute of Architects, commercial construction is expected to grow by 6% in 2023, and industry professionals are turning to technology to help them prepare to reach their expansion goals amid an economic downturn.

Technology to the Rescue

Greater use of technology across the construction industry helps companies increase efficiency, streamline operations and mitigate labor shortages. To weather the economic slump and labor scarcity, construction professionals rely on digital solutions that increase collaboration and improve margins through greater productivity. And the proof is in the pudding, with 91% of general contractors and 82% of subcontractors planning or considering using new technology in 2023.

A cloud-based preconstruction platform connects general contractors, subcontractors, owners and material suppliers to build relationships and improves how they collaborate, manage their business and win more projects.

In addition, this advanced technology helps streamline the bidding process, accelerate takeoff and secure more leads, so contractors and subcontractors can spend more time enhancing their skills and hiring quality talent to move their business forward.

Building a Successful Sales Pipeline

By leveraging a comprehensive cloudbased preconstruction platform, suppliers are connected directly with general contractors, and subcontractors can get their products in front of them as quickly and efficiently as possible. In addition, by having an easy-to-use sales and collaboration platform, suppliers and other construction professionals can boost their revenue and focus on building their teams and hitting the ground running with new client projects.

Hiring and Onboarding New Talent

One significant and long-standing challenge confronting the construction industry is a profound shortage of skilled labor. According to Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), contractors must hire approximately 546,000 workers in 2023 to be in a healthy place to meet the demand for jobs and grow their businesses as the construction worker shortage hits half a million.

Added to this challenge is the coming construction worker retirement cliff. The aging of our workforce is a problem for many industries, but the construction industry will be hit particularly hard. ABC reports that nearly one in four construction workers is currently

through greater productivity. And the proof is in the pudding, with 91% of general contractors and 82% of subcontractors planning or considering using new technology in 2023.

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over 55, meaning the labor gap will widen year by year as this generation steps into retirement. This means longer hours and less downtime for current skilled construction workers, causing burnout and frustration while adding pressure to wages.

To help respond to this labor crisis and get quality, skilled talent on the payroll, certain best practices provided by technology can be implemented to take full advantage during the hiring and onboarding of new employees.

First, employers must have quick access to a broader talent pool. Technology can help contractors and subcontractors find and hire skilled workers from anywhere in the world, which can be especially helpful in areas with a shortage of workers, allowing contractors to tap into a wider pool of talent to fill critical roles.

Regarding onboarding, a preconstruction solution accelerates the process and provides employers with necessary data on their workforce securely and in good time. This comes in handy for companies low on HR professionals and in need of quickly moving forward on new bids.

Growth Ahead

One of the best ways to implement substantial and consistent growth is by having a competitive advantage. Technology can help contractors, subcontractors and material suppliers stay competitive in an increasingly challenging market. Why? Companies that adopt new technologies and processes are more likely to win contracts and attract top talent, ultimately driving growth and profitability.

According to PlanHub’s industry report, since the beginning of 2021, a 324% increase was seen in the number of general contractors posting their first projects on PlanHub’s platform, and projects with activity increased by 231%. By leveraging preconstruction technology platforms, general contractors have been able to expand their invitations to bid by 35%.

Not only are more contractors leveraging tech to grow their businesses, but they are proving to know the importance of being able to offer well-rounded services by expanding their skill set and services. As such, the aforementioned survey report shows that 44% of subcontractors said they plan to provide more trades in 2023. In addition, subcontractors have responded to adversity by seeking new ways to find business. They expanded their reach by listing up to 20% more trades and boosted their service area by nearly 50%.

Another bright spot for contractors, subcontractors and suppliers is the positive effects of the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in November 2021. According to PlanHub’s Q2 Thriving in the Dynamic Construction Market report, there was a 500% increase in civil construction projects posted to the platform in Q1 2023 over Q4 2022.

In short, technology has significantly impacted and transformed the construction industry, allowing for increased efficiency, accuracy and productivity. Preconstruction bidding technology has enabled the industry to improve talent recruitment and retention, reduce costs and minimize waste. In addition, integrating such technologies has revolutionized how construction projects are planned, designed and executed by growing their talent pool amid staffing shortages, winning more bids by building stable relationships within the industry, listing more trades, and developing and retaining skilled talent. As the industry continues to evolve, companies must stay abreast of emerging technologies and incorporate them into their operations to remain competitive. The future of construction is increasingly reliant on technology, and those willing to embrace it will undoubtedly be at an advantage as they return to work. C C C C


Ro Bhatia is the CEO of PlanHub, the leading cloud-based preconstruction platform that enables general contractors, subcontractors and suppliers to connect and collaborate on construction projects across the United States. PlanHub was created by contractors, for contractors, to simplify the construction bidding


2 2 2 D V V

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 3 • 21

Without sales, your business is going nowhere fast. The incredible downpour of new orders during COVID is starting to end, and you need a dynamic sales team to maintain as much momentum as possible. With today’s labor shortage, it’s nearly impossible to find salespeople, and keeping the sales funnel full is a real challenge. So how do we prepare for what’s ahead with limited resources? The answer isn’t just finding more staff but making the most out of your process, creating efficiency and that adage — work smarter, not harder.

Recently, my team was hired to work with a stone fabricator to help grow their revenue. While they were focusing on their online leads to generate more prospects into their sales funnel, sales weren’t increasing relative to the number of leads coming in. Something was wrong.

I also noticed how hard it was to schedule meetings with their sales team. They were always unavailable and struggled to get back to me on outstanding questions we had for them. Salespeople said they were simply too busy.

You’d think the phone was off the hook all the time because of how busy they said they were, but whenever I walked through the showroom, maybe

one of six phone lines was busy. The plot thickens!

So, I asked the owner if I could pull their phone records. Across six salespeople, they averaged — wait for it — a whopping 24 minutes on the phone daily for both inbound and outbound calls. What?!? If they were busy, they were busy with things that prevented them from selling.

We took a deep dive into this company’s sales process to find ways to free up time and make the team more efficient. From that, we found five practices you can implement to grow your revenue.

1. Get a Customer Relationship Management Platform

If you haven’t invested in a customer relationship management (CRM) platform, do it now. In this case, when someone walked in the door at the shop, the sales team used Post-it notes or emails as reminders. Handwritten notes or entries in a spreadsheet make it challenging to find and stay on top of customers, especially if a salesperson has to help with a customer working with a different sales team member or someone is out on vacation.

A CRM lets you capture all the contact information you need and keep it in one place that any authorized user can access. It helps you:

• Keep track of who the customer is and any notes about them.

• Automatically log all emails and texts sent.

• List what the next activity should be.

• Know you need to follow up.

If a salesperson is working with 30 prospects, how are they supposed to remember all that? And what happens when a former customer needs help?

A CRM solves this problem and stops having to pull paper records.

There are plenty of CRM solutions out there — about 300. We prefer Pipedrive for stone fabricators. It’s affordable and straightforward to use; no engineering degree is required.

2. Never Tell Them When Your Showroom Is Open

This may sound strange, but bear with me for a minute. While controlling the foot traffic at your location so you can anticipate the flow

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and manage those customers effectively, it goes without saying a more specific approach can yield better results.

We listened to more than 1,000 stone fabricator calls and learned an interesting thing. Most calls from new prospects asked about the hours the showroom was open. Most salespeople simply gave them the answer and moved on.

But here’s where it gets good: The most successful salespeople — those earning six figures — knew an important hack: They didn’t tell callers the store hours. Instead, they started asking questions and building what we call a social contract.

They might open with a question like, “Before you waste your time driving to our shop, may I ask you a few questions about your project?”

By framing it this way, the salesperson shows they are being helpful and trying to save time for the customer. They are also gaining information about the customer and building a relationship. They can learn so much about the projects, like the types of materials and colors they have in mind and whether they have talked to any competitors.

Then, they set a time to meet. When customers show up, the salesperson has already gotten some basic info so they can steer the visit more effectively. A good salesperson will take all this information and provide a customized experience with samples already pulled out.

shop for a car, they provide you with a quote when you come in to try to close the deal. With stone fabrication, if you can’t provide a quote, there are no onecall closes.

This process turns into multiple back-and-forth interactions, taking the numbers, giving them to the pricing person (and then reminding them to give you the quote), forwarding it to the customer and dealing with it potentially getting stuck in their spam filter, etc., then, reaching out to make sure they got the quote and what they think.

No wonder your sales team feels like they’re too busy.

In the meantime, your customers are probably shopping your competitors. In the end, the most efficient process might win the job.

• 40% to lock in the materials and hold them.

• 40% to lock in the installation days.

• 10% on the day of the install.

• Remainder on the day of completion.

This gets you paid faster, helps with your cash flow, and reduces your team’s time chasing payments.

5. Embracing Texting

How many times have you called someone, the call went to voicemail and the mailbox was full? Or you sent an email, but the customer said they never saw it? While phone and email are important, they can be a time suck.

4. Get Paid Upfront

Most salespeople love building beautiful kitchen designs, helping customers make the right choices — and making money. They didn’t go into sales to become debt collectors. Yet, in most cases, the sales team is responsible for building a relationship, closing the deal and chasing the check. It no longer makes sense to ask for 50% upfront and the rest when the job is done. After the installation, the sense of urgency to pay disappears.

3. Let Your Salespeople Quote

Many shops don’t let their salespeople quote, which adds an extra layer to the process and takes time. It can also frustrate customers. Think about it for a minute. When you order furniture or

You don’t buy high-ticket items without providing a down payment and arranging for financing for the remainder of the deal. Savvy home remodelers, construction companies and fabricators have moved toward progress payments. There are many variations of this, but here’s one strategy you might consider instead of 50/50:

The average sales rep can spend hours each day trying to hunt customers down to follow up on a conversation, leaving messages or emails. Sales can get stalled or put on hold hoping the customers reengage.

Yet, there’s a better way. Here’s how texting can accelerate the sales cycle:

• Text messages get seen: 98% of texts are read.

• Text messages are seen right away: 60% of texts are read within five minutes of receipt.

• Text messages get responses: 45% of texts get a quick response.

When you get a response, you can quickly answer questions and keep the sales process moving forward. Plus, you know when the customer is active and can quickly convert the text into a phone call. There’s no more phone tag or waiting for an email response.

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Bonus Tip: Leverage AI

Here’s an advanced course for stone fabricators that can be a significant time saver. Use artificial intelligence. You don’t need a degree in computer science or even a budget anymore. ChatGPT is free, and it can do amazing things.

I was coaching a sales team, and they had some questions I wasn’t exactly sure how to answer. I went to ChatGPT and asked it to act as the vice president of sales for a large fabrication shop. I told it that this persona was kind, caring, to the point and dedicated to making their sales team better.

scenario. While you may need to work with the output a bit to get it right, it can help get your brain moving and even come up with suggestions you may not think about otherwise. It’s like having a consultant available 24/7 (for free!) to help you think things through.

2 2 2 D ENTIRE digital process. The

Now, I have this avatar that can be used to craft emails to unhappy customers, respond to negative reviews, and even provide coaching advice for tricky situations. I can ask the avatar how to be a better coach or leader in a specific

digital templating EVOLUTION begins now...

V V V V LT3Raptor

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International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 3 • 25
While our industry certainly faces a number of constraints, you don’t have to let them drive the way you do business. Consider improving what you already have. Growth opportunities are right around the corner if you minimize barriers by simplifying your processes. C C C C
A A A A LT3RAPTOR.COM | 877-679-1300
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 to 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

Tech Trends in Surface


Enhance Efficiency and Accuracy With These Smart Solutions

In today’s digital age, there are all sorts of software and technology solutions designed to augment the fabrication workflow while providing growth opportunities that enable you to streamline processes, monitor material inventory, track jobs, review metrics and provide a richer experience for your customers — all of which lead to better margins and more sales. Here are some of the latest and greatest tech solutions that support today’s fabricators.

ActionFlow Countertop Fabrication Management Software

With ActionFlow’s countertop fabrication software, you can complete more jobs, enhance communications, increase accountability, manage inventory more accurately and increase sales while devoting less time and effort to each task. This stone fabrication software has modules designed to simplify each aspect of your business. Whether you’re looking for a customer relationship management tool or a mobile app with cloud-based storage to give your team remote access to critical information, ActionFlow optimizes your daily operations.

From efficient scheduling and routing to convenient and customer-friendly payment options, ActionFlow’s business management solutions make it easier to manage projects by automating tedious day-to-day tasks that take your focus away from high-priority objectives. Learn more at

CounterGo by Moraware

CounterGo is a straightforward drawing and estimating solution that allows fabricators to become more efficient, accurate and professional. This industry-leading software makes quoting

countertops in as little as 3 minutes possible while taking the business side of a countertop shop to the next level. With clear communication, accurate and consistent pricing, and easy accounting using the QuickBooks Integration, fabricators quickly see an increase in bid output and countertop sales. Learn more at

ELaser Xpress 3D by ETemplate Systems

ETemplate Systems, experts in digital measuring, are the makers of the ELaser Xpress 3D Templating System. Powered by award-winning ETemplate Measure Manager software, templates are faster and easier, and the software provides seamless compatibility with all CNC machinery. The ELaser Xpress 3D system features auto-start software, an industry-best three-year warranty, enhanced speed averaging one second per point, accuracy of 1 to 2 mm for a standard-size space, horizontal and vertical fine adjustment knobs, digital leveling, hand-held remote, Bluetooth connectivity, rechargeable batteries with charger, and compact design with a rugged case for easy portability. These enhancements, along with automated countertop functions and new manual design updates within Measure Manager, allow users to create templates

faster than ever before. Set up, shoot your points, press enter and you’re done! This solution integrates with popular cabinet design software such as Mozaik, Cabinet Vision, KCD and 2020. For more information, visit

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Hot Sauce Selling Software

Whether it be supersizing a meal, a wheel shine with a car wash, or an extended warranty on an appliance, everyday consumers are introduced to options that upgrade a sale. These offerings, called “Hot Sauce,” are deemed a little something extra that can enhance a purchase. The same holds true for countertops. Hot Sauce can dramatically improve your profitability with the most immediate earnings boost you can do for your company. The Hot Sauce selling software provides content, images and pricing so that every consumer-facing employee can be your best salesperson. Hot Sauce selling software offers meaningful metrics that enable you to track sales, integrate with Moraware and automate communications with your customers and team. Visit www.hotsauceyourtops. com to learn more about this powerful selling tool and how users are increasing their profitability with every sale.

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 in templating and other areas of your process, including job management, programming and more. LT3Raptor has built-in Templating Intelligence to make quick even quicker. From Edge Detection to One-Touch technology, finish fabrication-ready files in fewer clicks easily and intuitively. In addition, 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. Easily view and manage jobs, edge styles, drop-ins, user permissions and workflows. Learn more about LT3Raptor at

PHOTOTOP 5 by Fabricator’s Choice

PHOTOTOP 5 from Fabricator’s Choice just keeps getting better with added power capabilities. Functionalities include the ability to auto-create miter strips, auto-create lamination, auto-dimension on PDF output and more. PHOTOTOP 5 makes templating fast and accurate, and is easy to use. Professional training and online support are available. Integrate templating with office inventory, job management systems, and shop equipment. Multiple software licenses are not required

to expand PHOTOTOP 5 to additional templaters. Simply order ORGANIZE Field Kits, which include a laptop, camera and markers.

The exclusive Organize On-site Tool provides immediate confirmation and file delivery of the most highly detailed digital templates in the business. PHOTOTOP users enjoy frequent upgrade options due to ongoing developments. For more information, visit

Pinpoint Status

There’s never been a better time to transform your customer experience. PinPoint Status’ mobile app and platform sync with your scheduling software to:

• Automate appointment reminders and reduce call volume with two-way texting.

• Eliminate missed appointments. Customers get an accurate estimated arrival time via service tech GPS location monitoring.

• Build customer loyalty. Customer experience is transformed through simplified two-way text communications, service technician photo identification and bio, and requests for customer feedback.

• Measure employee performance and build online reviews. Automatically ask customers to review their service after a job is done. Generate employee performance reports and help capture positive online reviews.

PinPoint Status eliminates communication gaps between in-home service providers and the homeowners they serve. Low flat rates and a userbased monthly subscription model make PinPoint Status a simple, affordable solution for companies of any size. For more information, visit

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 3 • 27

QuickQuote by Crystallyne Enterprises

Whether you fabricate laminate, solid surface, wood, granite or engineered stone, QuickQuote Countertop Estimating Software from Crystallyne Enterprises can save time, eliminate errors, and entice new customers with faster, easier countertop quoting and drawing. It features a uniquely intuitive interface that creates a fully-labeled scale drawing alongside every quote. Its flexible pricing system offers multiple pricing methods so virtually any material can be quoted, and it allows customization of items and services to fit a particular business. Quotes can be printed alongside the drawings on a single page, exported to different formats such as PDF, and transferred directly to QuickBooks. The built-in schedule provides a place to keep track of everything from fabrication to installation, and the internal slab inventory lets users lay out the parts on the slabs for more accurate material counts. For more information and a free trial of QuickQuote, visit www.

Quote Countertops

This award-winning kitchen and bathroom industry software offers 3D kitchen and bathroom visualization and instant quoting for consumers and sales teams. Quickly design and quote a new kitchen or bathroom countertop, room renovation, cabinet reface, tub shower conversion and more using this integrated and easy-to-use software, which generates leads, streamlines the sales process, increases average ticket sales, and serves as an invaluable tool for sales team training. Quote Countertops’ focus is on their clients’ success, and that means you’ll benefit from unparalleled and personalized onboarding, training, and technical and marketing support. To learn more, visit

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Pathfinder by Park Industries

The Pathfinder workstation is designed to capture precise, fully calibrated images of slabs in high resolution. Whether you want to build a visual slab inventory library or create scaled images for further programming on your CNC saw, Fab Center, or CNC saw/waterjet, the Pathfinder workstation is a rock-solid platform for consistent, accurate imaging. The Pathfinder is the tool that will reduce your material costs by enabling you to efficiently and effectively manage your full and partial slab inventory while also giving you the ability to accurately veinmatch slabs and provide 3D rendering visualization for your clients. For more information, visit stone/slab-imaging/pathfinder/.

QuickBooks, JustCall and Google Drive. Learn more at

Prodim Factory Software

Prodim Factory Software connects field, office and production teams. With four available versions of the software with increasing levels of functionality, businesses can choose the software that matches their requirements best. For instance, the innovative Factory Draw Advanced provides an easy as-is multiple-plane design with insightful 2D and 3D views and solid collision alerts. By entering details like the material type, thickness and glue offset, Factory Draw Advanced can be used to make calculations, identify potential problems and make design decisions. With Factory Full Fabricator, you can even build your digital slab library and match all your slabs in your designs. Prodim’s Factory Fabricator is the complete solution for exactly what it says: fabrication! For more information and demonstration videos, visit

Pipedrive Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Winner of numerous best-in-class awards in 2023, Pipedrive’s visual sales pipeline makes customer relationship management a breeze by allowing you to track leads, spot opportunities, measure key activities, streamline sales workflows and focus on sales success. The cloud-based CRM solution includes automated reminders and follow-ups that increase productivity and eliminate repetitive, time-consuming tasks. Real-time reports


Let your clients see what you have in stock. This Slabsmith Inventory software offers up-to-date inventory with accurate slab dimensions and high-quality images for each product. Slabcloud offers automatic synchronization with Slabsmith to allow for 24/7 inventory accessibility. You will have access to the latest technology, ensuring your clients will correctly see your entire range of products on all your devices. The Slabcloud Kitchen Visualizer is unmatched by offering a unique, real-time stone preview feature. Allow your customers to visualize their dream kitchen using your inventory of products. Slab Inquiry allows your clients to ask questions about any specific slab in your inventory with quick customer service. With Slabcloud Inventory Integration, your website will benefit from consistent updates that will improve your search engine optimization. Learn more at

show your sales reps and managers what business processes to prioritize. Use dashboards, CRM analysis, and reporting tools to identify customer trends and assess sales performance. Create and send customizable email campaigns with pro templates built to get more clicks. The software integrates with over 350 other applications, including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, DocuSign,

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 3 • 29


Slabsmith is an integrated system that creates tight links among the office, showroom, warehouse and shop. It includes the most powerful inventory management solution, which provides accurate and detailed slab inventory status. By producing digitized slabs that are true-to-life in both color and dimension, it captures all the relevant properties of the original slab that was photographed. It provides the ability for anyone in a company to quickly locate and view the slabs in inventory based on any of the properties of the slab. The Perfect Match layout module provides tools that are customized for the specific needs of users to lay out countertops efficiently. Incorporating Slabsmith into your business can increase profits and lower operating costs; yield increases of 8-10% are typical. For more information, visit


Since 2017, SPEEDlabel has changed how fabricators label and track materials in production. It can be used with hand drawings or CAD files and works automatically with most countertop software. The labels are waterproof and tear-proof and come off easily at installation. There are customized label designs, including top, bottom and edge formats. SPEEDlabel provides a quick understanding of the status of every part in the shop and helps ensure entire jobs are kept together, improving accuracy and efficiency. SPEEDlabel was developed by fabricators to help other fabricators streamline processes, stay organized and improve quality control. For more information, visit

The Speroni STP Essentia: An Entry-Level CNC Tooling Presetting and Measuring System

With the Speroni STP Essentia, you can efficiently measure tools easily and independently of the operator achieving full machining productivity. Robust, spacesaving and long-lasting, the Speroni STP Essentia is ready to deliver quality results right beside your CNC machine. Clear, concise and easy-to-use controls are designed to optimize all tool presetting and measuring operations. An attractive multi-touch display efficiently complements Speroni STP Essentia’s design and ergonomics. Tool presetting essence is delivered on a Windows-based display and sensor system with high definition camera. The automatic Run-Out, MaxP, Comparator, Base Post Processor and the top-level Tool Database are only some of the functions included. The online help function provides additional assistance for users. Learn more at

30 • Vol. 16 / Issue 3 • International Surface Fabricators Association
Have a new product or service announcement? IFSA can help you get the word out! Send press releases to: or visit for more infor mation about our marketing channels.


Nature-inspired design with the performance of Corian®

Introducing six new aesthetics that combine the beauty of the great outdoors with the hygienic, thermoformable, virtually seamless, and repairable benefits that you can only get from solid surface. Each of these Terrains and Terrazzos are made in the USA, and also contain recycled content* to help make an impact on design, not the environment.


Pending SCS certification in Q4 2023. Scan to see the new Corian® Solid Surface collection.

Available in Corian® Solid Surface –Archeologic, Excavage, Laguna Terrazzo, Pebble Lane, Peppered Terrazzo, and Stonique

© 2023 DuPont. All rights reserved. DuPont , the DuPont Oval Logo, Corian® and all trademarks and service marks denoted with TM , SM or ® are owned by affiliates of DuPont de Nemours, Inc. unless otherwise noted.
Corian® Solid Surface Laguna Terrazzo


Waste: Environmental Hazard, Latent Asset, or Both?

A central pillar of Sustainability Matters is to suggest ways and incite conversation around how we can weave into the fabric of the industry the four R’s of environmental sustainability: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Reform. As we continue the journey with a holistic focus, it is clear that not all strategies are endemic to each business. Furthermore, as we move to construct a more defined framework around Leadership in Energy and Environmental Fabrication (LEEF), a concept we introduced in the previous issue, we insist that some efforts require teamwork. Waste is one of these conundrums that is profound in size and poorly understood, yet it continues to grow at a rate many times faster than the expended efforts to remediate it.

Waste comes in many forms: excess water usage, lights we forget to turn off when we leave a room, office workflows that heavily rely on paper products, or a lack of protocols to recycle within an organization. But dig deeper, and you’ll find more subtle forms of waste such as cardboard, lumber, yield loss, cutout remnants and material samples that end up in the trash. While businesses may ignore these waste streams’ impact, the waste summation of everyone — fabricators, distributors and manufacturers — is alarming.

The solid surface industry may have the highest degree of the circular economy because sheets can be hard-seamed together, and yield loss can be kept at a minimum — for the popular colors at least. Further, due to the nature of this material, it requires carbide tooling, which is relatively easy and less

expensive. Converting cutouts and remnants into something of value is quite possible. Finally, the repairability of solid surface means the life of this material is easily extended. Every effort to reuse anything otherwise destined for a landfill poses a win for the environment.

At the local level, some fabricators are doing what they can and addressing the problem in their own way – every effort counts. For example, material otherwise destined for the dumpster can be donated to organizations such as Habitat for Humanity or passed along to paving companies that grind the material down to aggregate for roads and landscaping. Additionally, for solid surface, some of you may be creating cutting boards, signage and other marketing materials that can be easily made from remnants and cutouts. While all these efforts are fantastic, they represent only a nano-fraction of the waste remediation policies we need.

Further, as we look beyond solid surface into the other two main engineered materials categories — quartz and mineral surfacing — we see a distinct step change in how effective the four R’s are represented. These materials have a hardness about them that, on the one hand, gives them performance benefits that are so appealing, but on the other, makes reusing, recycling and reforming a significant challenge.

The massive quartz waste, for example, starts at the manufacturing level. Given the profound proliferation of the quartz category since 2006, when quartz, for the first time,

32 • Vol. 16 / Issue 2 • International Surface Fabricators Association


took the crown away from natural stone as the best overall choice for countertops, the world has seen an explosion of quartz manufacturing facilities whose manufacturing, research and development of the material, has raced to innovate designs, but in the process created an abundance of out-of-spec material and slow-moving and discontinued colors. Add fabricator yield loss that often winds up in a dumpster, and the tonnage is almost incalculable.

The mineral surfaces category, which includes sintered stone, porcelain and ultracompact materials, is rapidly growing, although relatively smaller by volume than quartz. The value proposition is becoming clear that mineral surfaces are the next big surfacing category whose application, colors and aesthetics steadily increase every year.

Sintered stone, for example, is purely a mineral mix and can be reground back into its base mix and reformulated into new slabs. This is unique to sintered stone, unlike large format porcelain, which can use inks and dyes that compromise its ability to be reground into a pure mix. Porcelain can also use mineralbased colorants, which would be reground, but many manufacturers do not make this claim. Recycling and reclamation programs are all impressive in theory, but in reality, the programs’ implementation needs attention. Fabricators will need to bin and sort the offal from quartz, mineral surfaces and stone to keep them separate for individual processing, depending on if there are resins or if it is a mineral composition like stone or sintered stone.

In addition, regrinding does not come without concerns, including respirable crystalline silica, which, while safe to consumers when installed in a slab form, would need proper safety and protection equipment and infrastructure in place. Any facility constructed must have the appropriate

systems and machinery to keep all operators and occupants safe. Both stone and engineered stone like quartz have crystalline silica; some sintered stones do not, and some new quartz formulations, like that introduced by Breton (Bioquartz), do not have crystalline silica in their mineral mix.

Back to this idea of teamwork. Viable, sustainable solutions that combat waste is front and center. The problem emanates from the cost of conversion for engineered materials. That is, what it costs to reuse or reform waste in terms of skilled labor alone, exceeds any realized value. Hence, little to no effort is invested, and the waste stream gets wider and deeper.

Industry teamwork, however, could be a viable solution for waste remediation. Oftentimes, a process does not become economically feasible unless done at scale. Engineered waste could likely fall into this category. Where one fabricator trying to convert all engineered waste into something of value is not in the least viable, perhaps a regional specialized processing center, for example, can repurpose (a combination of reuse and recycle) the materials at scale. Why scale? Mainly because a processing center would be highly operationally leveraged due to the nature of the material and the large scale and volume needed to reach and surpass break-even. Such a theoretical plant could make quartz bricks, create aggregate for paving, and a host of other assets that help to minimize waste accumulation and, at the same time, reduce demand for new materials and thereby preserve natural resources.

If we all banded together to support the operation, perhaps fabricators could get rebates based on the tonnage they contribute. After all, the operation’s raw materials could be included at a negative cost on their financials. For example, the operation charges to pick up the waste — the very raw material they need

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 2 • 33


to make a new product — hence a negative cost. As an incentive to guarantee their supply chain, a discount or rebate could go to the fabricators who contribute their waste and are proactively part of an industry-wide solution — theoretically, a huge win/win.

Yes, this is big-picture thinking, but it’s necessary because the dilemmas grow and increase in severity without it. Participating in this sort of venture or anything similar would be crucial to being a LEEF. As we design the constituent parts of the certification, actions like these are highly aligned. A good next step is perhaps forming an industry waste alliance network with participants at every level — manufacturing, distribution and fabrication — to brainstorm and participate in solutions that significantly mitigate the waste dilemma and create an economically and environmentally viable solution.

Paul “Max” Le Pera is the president and founder of Proprietary Ventures, LLC, a boutique-style global firm devoted to researching, discovering and deploying disruptive and sustainably oriented proprietary products and technologies. He serves on the ISFA board of directors as vice president of standards. He can be reached at paul.l@

While the industry is evolving and iterating, and materials are becoming healthier and safer for people and the planet, the surfacing industry is woefully behind in contributing to environmental health. In its inadvertent stockpiling of slabs, partial slabs, remnants and waste across thousands of fabrication shops, material manufacturing and distribution facilities should look at ways to mitigate adverse environmental impacts. With seemingly little to no economically viable solution to reuse, recycle or repurpose at the moment, perhaps the awareness we drive here is a first step in calling all parties to the table to start the conversation. There is much truth applicable here; it does, in fact, take teamwork to make the dream work. C C A A B B 2 2 V

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. She can be reached at

34 • Vol. 16 / Issue 3 • International Surface Fabricators Association

Sustainability Meets Aesthetics: Quartz Surfaces Shine in Net-Zero Home

Imagine a home that seamlessly integrates breathtaking design aesthetics with a deep-rooted commitment to environmental sustainability. A net-zero home is so energy efficient that it produces as much renewable energy as it consumes annually. In addition, design elements are chosen to ensure things like temperature management with minimal energy consumption, water conservation, air purification and healthy natural light exposure. Products manufactured using sustainable processes are prioritized.

Then consider how you can contribute your knowledge, skill and experience to such an endeavor. Cambria, the leading American-made, family-owned quartz surface producer, did just that by being a part of a groundbreaking net-zero home

— the first-ever sustainability show house in the nation. By providing the purest quartz in the marketplace, Cambria perfectly complemented the sustainable ethos of the home, showcasing a beautiful harmony between innovation and nature-inspired beauty.

The home is nestled in Cave Creek, Arizona, and spans 3,000 square feet. Meticulously crafted using environmentally conscious processes and products, its construction focused on minimizing the adverse effects on the environment. A net-zero home is renowned for its exceptional insulation and energy efficiency. Beyond its eco-friendly features, this residence boasts a captivating layout and modern architectural design, accentuated by exquisitely appointed spaces. Notably, the home showcases the stunning beauty of environmentally conscious products.

Mark LaLiberte, the founder of Construction Instruction, is the owner and driving force behind this project. According to LaLiberte, a high-performance home encompasses

36 • Vol. 16 / Issue 3 • International Surface Fabricators Association SUSTAINABILITY MATTERS
Photo credit: Paul Moore

exceptional indoor air quality, outstanding energy efficiency, captivating aesthetics and impeccable durability. Achieving net-zero status begins early in the planning and design phase by making sustainable home design decisions that align with ecofriendly objectives. The entire team recognized and embraced this responsibility wholeheartedly.

The construction of this remarkable home was a collaborative endeavor involving teams from Construction Instruction; Cosan Studio, an architecture firm specializing in high-end residential design; Refined Gardens, a landscape design company; K & Q Interiors, an interior design firm; and A Finer Touch Construction (AFT). Together, they have pushed the boundaries of what can be achieved in net-zero homes, resulting in an unprecedented masterpiece.

AFT procured the quartz slabs directly from the Phoenix Cambria Sales and Distribution Center. With 22 distribution centers spread across the United States and Canada, Cambria’s network aligns with the objective of minimizing carbon footprint during the home construction process.

Taking steps toward sustainability, Cambria addresses

transportation, water usage, power generation, lighting design, tooling and materials in its operations. By prioritizing sustainable practices, it plays an active role in safeguarding the land and its people for generations to come. Its commitment to minimizing the environmental impact throughout its operations showcases a company dedicated to a brighter and greener future.

The masterful design of the home seamlessly blends beauty and functionality, creating a harmonious living experience that transcends expectations. The home features Brittanicca, Brittanicca Warm and Ironsbridge, which draw inspiration from organic forms found in nature. By integrating these designs into the kitchen and baths of the home, the quartz surfaces beautifully bring the outside in, creating a space that harmonizes with the surrounding environment.

As a country, we continue to move forward in our quest for sustainable living. This net-zero home stands as a testament to the boundless possibilities when innovation, design and sustainability converge. C

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 3 • 37
B B 2 2 2 V V V

ISFA Fabricator Profile: Rosskopf + Partner

In 1984, Helmut Rosskopf founded Helmut Rosskopf Construction and Furniture Joinery. Located near Frankfurt, Germany, he worked with borrowed machines in an old barn. Since the company’s expansion to the German states of Thuringia and Saxony, it has changed considerably, not only in its location but also in terms of scope. What started as a millwork company has become well-known for fabricating all kinds of materials, including solid surface, quartz, sintered stone and natural stone for high-end kitchen countertops, custom commercial casework and architectural installations for a variety of applications. Today, Rosskopf + Partner is well past its early days in the barn working with borrowed machines. Offering a complete range of services, including engineering, product development, fabrication and installation, the company’s customer base extends from Germany throughout Europe to Africa and North America.

Raiffeisenbank (Zurich, Switzerland): This consulting area

of the bank features one-of-a-kind wall paneling and office furniture made of solid surface.

The Next Generation of Leadership

In 2021, Helmut Rosskopf moved to the supervisory board as chairman and handed his responsibilities to Christin Bergmann and Oliver Schleich, two experienced company employees who hold leadership positions on the board of directors. Meanwhile, the Hoffnungsträger Foundation acquired ownership by purchasing stock from Helmut. “The newly established cooperation with the Hoffnungsträger Stiftung is an important step toward a promising future,” said Rosskopf. “The Foundation is not only an economically strong partner but also deeply committed to involvement in humanitarian causes.” This transitioned the midrange company to the next generation. Today, the company employs

38 • Vol. 16 / Issue 3 • International Surface Fabricators Association FABRICATOR PROFILE
King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, Gallery 4 (Dhahran, Saudi Arabia): The huge homogeneous curved wall cladding, so-called Ribbon Walls, was created from hundreds of individual elements made of solid surface material. Rosskopf + Partner also produced exclusive exhibition furniture, such as seating, topographic models and impressive presentation elements.


200 people at locations in Obermehler in Thuringia and Augustusburg in Saxony.

Oliver Schleich is optimistic about the future. “During the coming years, I envision Rosskopf + Partner will continue on a growth trajectory,” he said. “With tried-andtrue manufacturing processes, we are developing from a classic handcraft business into a contemporary, architecture-influenced industrial enterprise. We intend to continue to offer our partners and customers smart, reliable solutions while improving and iterating our processes and products at the same time.”

Material Offerings

The company works with two types of material: On one side, they focus on solid surface, while the other handles hard materials like quartz, sintered and natural stone. In addition, they remain flexible in adopting new materials for different applications and unique design elements. For example, recently, they started working with Universal Performance Board (UPB) made from Resysta, a natural fiber compound that comes from rice husks. This sustainable material is 100% waterproof and lightweight, and it does not splinter, crack or rot. It is resistant to chlorine and salt water; it’s thermoformable and has the natural look and feel of wood. “We use this material for our miru line, a series of modular design counters,” said Heike Findeisen, marketing team lead for Rosskopf + Partner. “It was awarded the German Design Award in February 2023, and we’re quite proud of this product. It is a testament to our strategy to process different materials and create premium product lines.”

The diverse material offerings enable Rosskopf + Partner to create

exceptional designs. As specialists in material combinations, they stand out from the competition. The company’s expertise and proven track record of creating functional and fascinating designs have positioned them as a leader in the industry. “We gain a lot of momentum — relevance for our

brand and increased awareness among our target customers — that helps us grow the business year after year,” said Oliver Schleich, CEO of the company. “Of course, fabricating a wide variety of materials requires different skills, resources and machines, but it helps us diversify the business and find revenue

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 2 • 39
Leonardo Glass Cube (Bad Driburg, Germany): The Glass Cube connects guests and co-workers with the philosophy and visions of the Leonardo enterprise. The organic appearance of the object is characterized by its giant solid surface facade and interior. NuernbergMesse (Nuremberg, Germany): Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, Hall 3C is one of the most modern exhibition halls in Europe. For the cafeteria in the elevated gallery, Rosskopf + Partner manufactured an organically shaped counter.


streams across multiple channels — more opportunities to learn, create and grow.”

In the Shop

Rising demand, digitalization and competitive pressure inspire Rosskopf + Partner to improve its processes, including investing in the company to ensure long-term viability. “We keep our finger on the pulse and strengthen our position as engineers, fabricators and experts of all surface materials,” said Schleich. “In our segments, it is imperative to keep our machinery efficient. In recent years we have invested in upgrading our machines at both sites.”

Last year, the company added a new Brembana Sprint bridge saw from CMS Steintechnik. The machine is around 60 feet long and has an automated table-changing system that enables Rosskopf + Partner to switch materials easily without a lot of downtime. The shop has several 5-axis CNCs from the HOMAG Group, including various waterjet saws and an edge grinder. Constant modernization helps to increase throughput and meet growing demand.

In addition to machinery, it’s essential for Rosskopf + Partner to drive forward the optimization of processes, and the team does this by co nstantly reviewing and adapting the production layout. Technology and software play a big part in this, so they’ve implemented appropriate planning CAD software, including Rhinoceros 3D, a commercial design tool for architecture, seCAD, which is used for worktop drawings, as well as seKON for nesting and cutting slabs. In addition to production optimization, they invested in fiber broadband expansion at their sites. They introduced Electronic Data Interchange to optimize the ordering process for customers who use configuration programs like CARAT, an often-used planning tool for kitchen design studios.

Going to Market

Rosskopf + Partner operates almost exclusively on a business-to-business model. They have a roster of partners, including architects, interior designers and contractors. “We pursue different approaches to the market,” explained Schleich. “In many cases, we directly work with providers like contractors, kitchen and bath studios, and builders. We also work directly with architects, interior designers and other project planners.” Another revenue stream is serving as an original equipment manufacturer, producing products like sinks for distribution through other companies.

In Rosskopf + Partner’s market, the interest in solid

40 • Vol. 16 / Issue 3 • International Surface Fabricators Association
Precision through handicraft: In addition to the use of modern machinery, a great deal of craftsmanship is necessary to ensure the highest quality. Constant modernization helps to increase throughput. In the last few years, the company invested in several new machines, including this new edge grinding machine. At the headquarters in Obermehler (Thuringia), the focus is on the production of kitchen countertops made of quartz, sintered stone and natural stone.



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surface materials like HIMACS, Avonite and Corian is still high, especially for commercial applications like museums, hospitals, schools and other public spaces. Architects and designers choose it for its hygienic properties, durability and the complex designs that can be realized with the material. At the same time, the demand for sustainable materials is increasing everywhere. “Lately, there has been an elevated interest in mineral surfaces like sintered stone,” added Schleich. “Our customers are choosing a lot of Neolith and Dekton. And, of course, we have the

advantage because we are accustomed to working with multiple materials. We can fabricate anything and combine multiple materials, and that’s because we’ve built up our expertise in processing the various materials over many years.”

Rosskopf + Partner sees itself as a fabricator of durable, high-quality and sustainable materials. In addition to surfaces and casework, they offer add-ons like basins, sinks, drain kits, lighting options and more — all of which add value to their services and strengthen their relationships with their customers. At the same time, their

forward-thinking nature keeps the ideas flowing. “In addition to custom-made kitchen countertops, bathroom, interior and exterior architectural solutions, we look to create new stand-alone product lines, like the miru collection,” explained Findeisen. “Each reception desk solution in this collection has a solid surface body. Depending on the design series, solid surface can sometimes be combined with sustainable materials such as natural stone, sintered stone or UPB. Thanks to the modularity, these units can be expanded and adapted however the customer sees fit.”

Another Rosskopf + Partner innovation is a surface finishing technology called synergy3D. It combines the fabrication of solid surface material with the aesthetics of new surfaces, such as oak, concrete, brass, copper and more. synergy3D lends lightness and flexibility to otherwise rigid materials.

What sets Rosskopf + Partner apart from the competition is their intentionality. “Over the past 35 years, the pursuit of progress has allowed Rosskopf + Partner to mature from fledgling pioneer to a world-renowned specialist in the processing of the various materials — with dedication and passion,” recalls Findeisen. “We’ve worked with renowned architects such as Zaha Hadid and David Chipperfield. For example, the Hotel Puerta America in Madrid was a project that included unprecedented applications and required innovative solutions to realize them. The wishes of our customers are invariably our highest priority. Therefore, in terms of design and shape, breaking new ground with our material is essential to our DNA. That is the reason we are proud of our collaboration with M|R Walls to create beautiful

42 • Vol. 16 / Issue 3 • International Surface Fabricators Association FABRICATOR PROFILE
3D-carved walls and surfaces. miru, modular design counters: This newest product line from Rosskopf + Partner was awarded the German Design Award in February 2023. One of the eight designs in the line, shown here, is called Flow. The company is well known for its high quality kitchen surfaces. This project was made of sintered stone by Neolith. Forumtorget (Uppsala, Sweden): In the heart of the city sits this long bench measuring 65 meters. It is made of more than 7,000 unique slats of glass and quartz.

We are always open to projects that need special solutions and innovative thinking. Recently we realized a huge interior façade for an internationally well-known fashion brand together with the famous design studio Aranda\Lasch from New York.”

For Rosskopf + Partner, staying connected with experts and peers across the industry is crucial. Schleich says that networking and exchanging ideas and information across the industry have always been a cornerstone of the company, both on regional and international levels. As a matter of fact, Rosskopf + Partner, represented by former board member Martin Funk, pushed for the founding of the International Solid Surface Fabricators Association in the mid-1990s, a group that later dropped the “Solid” from its name to encompass all manufactured materials and become the International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA) you know today.

Schleich understands the value of connecting with others to learn how to improve processes, implement technology, embrace design trends and more. “Our industry is fast-moving. There are always new requirements and challenges that we can only overcome if we all pull together and think outside the box.”

He added that being present and visible as a point of contact for customers and partners is imperative. “We use trade fairs and conferences to inform ourselves about new developments, establish contacts, coordinate joint events and meetings with partners, and exchange with and within associations such as ISFA. If you don’t stay connected, you might miss the next big idea or opportunity to grow your business.”

The Keys to Success

Rosskopf + Partner creates fascination. With creativity, experience and knowledge, the team develops individual

solutions for architects, builders, private individuals — whomever the customer may be. In the end, Rosskopf + Partner attributes its success to the dedication of its employees. “Our treasure is the knowledge and experience of our staff,” said Christin Bergmann, CHRO of the company. The secret to their success is the many employees who have been with the company for a long time. In fact, more than 60 employees have been with Rosskopf + Partner for at least 15 years, some of them for more than 30 years. To retain and strengthen such a strong and experienced employee base, opportunities for professional advancement are very important to the company. For this purpose, Rosskopf + Partner has created an individual training concept to offer employees new perspectives in the company even after several years of service. This also includes regular staff appraisals to foster development. “We want to be an employer who inspires and motivates people to be as good as they can be because our employees make the difference,” concluded Bergmann.

What’s next for Rosskopf + Partner? The company intends to maintain its leading position in the market by remaining nimble, discovering new solutions and developing new products while staying ahead of trends. Given the company’s track record, there’s no doubt the Rosskopf + Partner team will continue to innovate their way to further success.

To learn more about Rosskopf + Partner, visit

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 2 • 43 FABRICATOR PROFILE
M|R Walls: Oliver Schleich, CEO of Rosskopf + Partner, is proud of the company’s collaboration with Californian designer Mario Romano, the creator behind M|R Walls. Raiffeisenbank (Zurich, Switzerland): This consulting area of the bank features one-of-a-kind wall paneling and office furniture made of solid surface.


Don't miss the boat.

Enjoy four days of educational sessions, business development workshops, networking opportunities and more at the International Surface Fabricators Association's Annual Conference in Sint Maarten.

In between workshops and presentations, engage with your peers over great food, entertainment and a breathtaking island backdrop.

Learn more and register at

44 • Vol. 16 / Issue 3 • International Surface Fabricators Association ISFA ANNUA L CONFERENCE OCTOBER
1 6
19, 2023 SintMaarten


In the fabrication industry, where skilled workers are in short supply, attracting and retaining staff is a constant challenge. The fast-paced nature of the work often leaves little time for anything beyond immediate business demands. Amid this whirlwind, the concept of company culture has gained attention, but it runs the risk of becoming a hollow buzzword.

Recently, I read an article that delved into the difference between being nice and being kind. According to what I read, being nice can stem from fear and be a form of manipulation. While I still value niceness over meanness, this concept gave me pause. It made me reflect on how we can use this distinction as a quick gut check to ensure our decisions align with our desired company culture.

Let’s consider a familiar situation. Amid this challenging labor market, some of you may be hiring new employees but abbreviating the onboarding process while under pressure to get them working on the shop floor as soon as possible. A bit of a learn-as-you-go routine, trial and error. While we all understand the importance of comprehensive onboarding, we often say, “You’ll figure it out; just go for it.” While you mean to be nice or give them the benefit of the doubt — whatever the reason — this trial by fire, this lack of clarity and support can be incredibly frustrating for new staff members. Imagine their disappointment when a major mistake occurs, and their manager simply says, “Don’t worry, we’ll fix it.” While a very nice response to a costly mistake, it doesn’t save the employee from the frustration of a misstep, a do-over, and the ripple effect this has across the rest of your team. It may even reinforce the idea that remakes are part of your process. This passiveaggressive support leaves the employee feeling unsupported and unproductive, undermining the desired company culture. This is an example of a “nice” culture.

Now, let’s imagine a different scenario. The new staff member is assigned a mentor who actively trains and guides them. When a mistake happens, the mentor reviews what

went wrong, holds the employee accountable and helps find a solution. This experience may not be labeled as “nice,” but it is a kind approach that sets the employee up for success.

Kindness is helping your staff be the best they can be, setting them up for success. While this isn’t always nice, accountability, constructive feedback and establishing expectations are part of this.

Niceness is pleasing others — it’s transactional — and usually means you’re avoiding an issue or muddying expectations by not being honest about the situation. It’s not uncommon to encounter managers who complain about their staff’s performance from project to project but then give them a favorable performance review at the end of the year. Is their niceness aimed at motivating better performance, or is it driven by a reluctance to have difficult conversations or invest effort in supporting and measuring employee progress?

Additionally, managers are often promoted based on technical expertise rather than people skills. While promoting them may be seen as the nice thing to do, it might not always be the kind thing. If this person is only used to managing tools and processes, you’ll set them up to fail if you don’t ensure they have the skills they need to manage humans. The kind thing to do is to promote them, yes, but provide all the resources you can to help them excel in this new role.

By consciously considering whether our actions stem from niceness or kindness, we can ensure that our decisions align with our culture. Prioritizing comprehensive onboarding, training managers in effective people management, and regularly reflecting on our leadership behaviors enable us to foster a culture that supports and empowers our staff. While it may not always be feasible to create a formal onboarding plan in every situation, we can still make a positive impact by simply asking ourselves, “Am I being nice or kind?” It’s a small but powerful habit that can guide our actions and contribute to a more supportive and nurturing environment.

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 3 • 45

Prep Your Team on Porcelain at ISFA’s Mineral Surfaces Training Event

According to the association, the Mineral Surfaces category includes sintered stone, ultra-compact and porcelain materials.

ISFA has announced a Mineral Surfaces training event scheduled for September 13-14, 2023, in Massillon, Ohio. Hosted by Tower Industries and sponsored by Daltile, the course is designed to arm fabricators with the knowledge and skills they need to embrace these materials to meet growing customer demand. According to the Freedonia Group, porcelain is rapidly rising in status as consumers seek alternatives to quartz and granite. It is expected to be the fastest-growing countertop material in the United States through 2026.

The hands-on, two-day training will be held at Tower Countertops. It will provide attendees with the skills and knowledge in all facets of the fabrication process, including material handling and inspection, cutting techniques (feed rate, blade recommendations, tension release cuts), sink cutouts, miters, overhangs, seaming, polishing and finishing, installation, and chip and scratch repair techniques.

Raul Amat, the national manager of Panoramic Porcelain Surfaces for Daltile North America, will conduct the training. With over 20 years of experience in sales, training and development of large teams, Raul has helped several companies within the natural stone, countertop and flooring markets by leading their teams and expansion plans in the United States and Canada. Raul will be assisted by Rey Matos, the technical support and

fabrication specialist for Daltile North America.

In addition, this training event includes a moderated Shop Safety Best Practices discussion with safety experts from Sheakley, a family-owned firm dedicated to practical and innovative risk management and safety solutions that can enhance business while helping to manage costs and maintain compliance.

Registration fees cover coursework, lunches and an evening excursion to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, with dinner provided. The cost is $249 per person for ISFA members and $349 per person for nonmembers.

Participants who complete the Mineral Surfaces Training with a satisfactory result will receive a certificate recognizing that they are an ISFA Certified Professional. After the course is completed, students have exclusive access to the ISFA Member Exclusive Portal, where they can access:

• Fabrication training information and guidelines.

• Technical resources.

• Material specifications.

• ISFA standards for solid surface and quartz materials.

• All ISFA events, programming and member benefits.

“Fabricators — specifically solid surface fabricators — founded our association to provide educational and growth opportunities for professionals

within the decorative surfaces industry,” said Nancy Busch, executive director of ISFA. “Today, the association supports fabricators of all kinds of manufactured materials, including quartz, sintered stone, porcelain and more. ISFA is dedicated to delivering the tools and resources fabricators need to keep up with current trends and material innovations across the industry. In this challenging labor market, our training programs are a great way to train new hires, get familiarized with new materials, and gain valuable insights that lead to safe and successful operations.”

Aside from the Mineral Surfaces Training program, ISFA offers Solid Surface Fabrication Training events throughout the year. The next Solid Surface Training session is scheduled for October 24-25 in Chicago. In addition, ISFA offers a Solid Surface Training option that is conducted onsite at the registrant’s shop. This is ideal for fabrication shops, facility management and maintenance companies, and other technical trade businesses with several staff members who need training and would benefit from having it in their own space. Onsite training includes the same fabrication coursework as the regularly scheduled events. For more information about onsite training, contact For more information about the International Surface Fabricators Association and all its training programs, visit

46 • Vol. 16 / Issue 2 • International Surface Fabricators Association ISFA NEWS

Thank You and Welcome ISFA Members (In alphabetical order)


Block Tops, Inc.

Anaheim, Calif.

C amelia City Millwork, Inc.

Sacramento, Calif.

Cross Creations

Naples, N.Y.

Curtis David Interiors

Stanwood, Wash.

Custom Stone & Marble, Inc.

Chapel Hill, N.C.

Ellis James Fabrication

Dodge City, Kan.

GMD Surfaces

Mokena, Ill.

Gr anite Expressions

DuBois, Pa.


77 Stone

El Paso, Texas

Alpha Countertops Russellville, Ark.

Atlanta Kitchen, Inc. Decatur, Ga.

Atlantic Countertops Raleigh, N.C.

Bella Casa Countertops and Stone

Littleton, Colo.

Bisley Fabrication, Inc.

Gresham, Wis.

C arefree Kitchens, Inc. Baltimore, Md.

C arpenters International Training Fund

Las Vegas

Colorado Custom Stone Denver

Counterscapes, Inc.

Tyler, Texas

Countertop Source

Hurricane, Utah

Delorie Countertops & Doors Inc.

Pompano Beach, Fla.

Dirk Foster Mineral Wells, Texas

Galaxy Granite & Marble, Inc.

Hopkinton, Mass.

Gr id Dallas

H J. Martin and Son, Inc. Green Bay, Wis.

Harkey Tile & Stone

Charlotte, N.C.

L apitec Sarasota, Fla.

Great In Counters

Providence, R.I.

Hard Rock Stone Works

Sterling Heights, Mich.

Henry H. Ross & Son, Inc. Lititz, Pa.

Indeko, Inc.

Henderson, Nev.

King County Library System

Issaqua, Wash.

L aminated Tops of Central

Indiana, Inc

Bloomington, Ind.

LouAda Granite

Duluth, Minn.


Austin Maxwell, president Maxwell Countertops (309) 928-2848

Laura Grandlienard, vice president ROCKin’teriors (919) 577-0207

Jessica McNaughton, secretary CaraGreen (919) 929-3009

Ted Sherritt, treasurer FLOFORM Countertops (204) 474-2334

Joe Duszka, immediate past president Carolina Custom Surfaces (336) 215-5518

Premier Flooring, LLC

Klamath Falls, Ore.

Set in Stone US, LLC

Conway, S.C.

Smokey Mountain Tops

Knoxville, Tenn.

Smokey Mountain Tops

Nashville, Tenn.

Marble Works

South Elgin, Ill.

Mar vic Corp.

Union, N.J.

New Age Surfaces

Romeoville, Ill.

Quartz & Stone Creations

Northwood, N.H.

The Granite & Marble

Depot, Inc.

Aurora, Ill.

The Granite Place Inc.

Burlington, Mass.

The Pinske Edge

Plato, Minn.

Sprovieri’s Custom Counters

Addison, Ill.

St. L awrence Health

Potsdam, N.Y.

Tr iple M Surfaces, LLC

Elkhart, Ind.

TS Woodworks and RAD

Design, Inc.

Monroe, N.C.

Top Advantage Surfaces, Inc.

Hartville, Ohio

Top Shelf Manufacturing, Inc.

Warren, Ohio

Tropic Industries

Hainesport, N.J.

Unique Countertops

Buda, Texas

Valley View Granite

Tremonton, Utah

W R. Watson, Inc.

Stafford, Texas

W hite House Stone

Lake Park, Fla.

Mike Henry, director ASST (717) 451-4935

Kimberly Homs, director Great In Counters (401) 233-0666

Paul “Max” Le Pera, director Global Surfacing Alliance (908) 358-5252

Steve Mast, director Precision Countertops (503) 660-3023

Travis McDermott, director McDermott Top Shop (262) 593-2456

Mike Schott, director Onslow Stoneworks (252) 393-2457

Eric Tryon, director The Rockheads Group (678) 614-7111

Rodrigo Velazquez, director INDEKO 52 331-028-7863

Jim Callaghan, assoc. member rep. GranQuartz (248) 660-3291

Frank Sciarrino, assoc. member rep. Quote Countertops (858) 499-8934

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 3 • 47



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.



P.O. Box 627

Ingomar, PA 15127

(888) 599-ISFA

Executive Director

Nancy Busch (253) 691-0169

Fabricator Member Services

Carol Wilhite (412) 487-3207

Member Experience Coordinator

Samantha Winslow

(888) 599-ISFA

Content Manager | Editor

Sarah Peiper

(888) 599-ISFA

Web/Database Administrator

Amy Kyriazis (412) 487-3207

Administrative Assistant Kanani Camacho (888) 599-ISFA



Companies listed in red are ISFA 2023 Sponsors

AAA Adhesive

2020 Wild Acres Rd., Bldg. D

Largo, FL 33771


ACS International

4775 S. 3rd Ave.

Tucson, AZ 85714


Aetna Plywood Inc.

1401 St. Charles Rd.

Maywood, IL 60153



Svobody Str., 29

Moscow 125362

Russian Federation


Al-Badaha Company for Modern Industries

P.O. Box 126444

Jeddah 23643

Saudi Arabia


Alf Noon for Modern Kitchen Co.

P.O. Box 54210

Al Raboua, Sari St. Beside the Municipal Airport

Jeddah 21514

Saudi Arabia

966 12 275 2309

Andres O’Neil & Lowe

212 N. Defiance St.

Archbold, OH 43502


Aristech Surfaces

7350 Empire Dr. Florence, KY 41042


BACA Systems

101 Premier Dr.

Orion Township, MI 48359


BB Industries, LLC

4100 Appalachian Way Knoxville, TN 37918


Better Vacuum Cups, Inc.

13841 Roswell Ave., Ste. K Chino, CA 91710


Breton S.p.A.

Via Garibaldi, 27

Castello di Godego

31030 Italy


Broadcreek Marketing Associates

16411 Carmenita Rd. Cerritos, CA 90703

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


CaraGreen, Inc.

1406 Transport Dr. Raleigh, NC 27603


CH Briggs Company

2047 Kutztown Rd.

Reading, PA 19605


Chemcore Industries, Inc.

5311 Fleming Ct.

Austin, TX 78744


Chemical Concepts, Inc. 410 Pike Rd.

Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006


Chintan Corporation

901, Mauryansh Elanza

Shaymal Cross Rds. Satellite Rd.

Ahmedabad 380 015 India


Colonial Saw

122 Pembroke St. Kingston, MA 02364


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


Dafanie Financial Group, LLC

850 Pacific St., Ste. 1162

Stamford, CT 06902


Dal-Tile Corporation

7834 CF Hawn Frwy.

Dallas, TX 75217


Dixie Plywood & Lumber

P.O. Box 2328

Savannah, GA 31402


Dongguan Kongder Industrial Materials Co.

Room 3006-3007, G1 Building Hongtu Rd. Nacheng District, Dongguan Guangdong 523071 China 8613925574811

Doyle Farris (Bellavati)

6606 FM 1488, Ste. 148-517 Magnolia, TX 77354


Duda Consulting

3601 Southwest River Pkwy. Portland, OR 97239


DuPont (Corian Design)

200 Powder Mill Rd.

Wilmington, DE 19803


Durasein USA

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

Durcon 206 Allison Dr. Taylor, TX 76574


Dwyer Marble & Stone Supply 23177 Commerce Dr. Farmington Hills, MI 48335 248-476-4944

Emnas Technologies, Inc. 347 Ferndale Dr. South Barrie L4N 9Y6 Canada


Etemplate Systems (a division of Tri-Tech) 106 Wind Chime Ct. Raleigh, NC 27615 919-676-2244

Evans Midwest 11441 E. Lakewood Blvd. Holland, MI 49424


Evolv Surfaces

1208 Hensley St. Richmond, CA 94801

415-767-4600 #7230

Fabricator’s Business Coach 309 Gassaway St. Central, SC 29630-9197



D-502, Swapnil Arcade

B/h-Sardar Party Plot

Dastan Circle, Naroda, Gujarat Ahmedabad 382430 India


International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 3 • 49


Companies listed in red are ISFA 2023 Sponsors

Federal Brace

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


Fifth Gear Technology (Speed Label)

450 N. Addison Ave. Elmhurst, IL 60126


Flexijet North America

11223 Blair Rd. Charlotte, NC 28227


GEM Industries

5030 N. Hiatus Rd. Sunrise, FL 33351



2040 Industrial Pkwy.

Elkhart, IN 46516-5411


455 W. Victoria St. Compton, CA 90220

Grand Onyx

134 West South Boundary St. Perrysburg, OH 43551


Granite Gold, Inc.

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


Hyundai L&C USA

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


IceStone LLC

63 Flushing Ave., Unit 283, Bldg. 12 Brooklyn, NY 11205 718-624-4900

Ignite Consulting Group (Hot Sauce Selling Software) 450 N. Addison Ave. Elmhurst, IL 60126 630-606-8055

INEOS Composites

5200 Blazer Pkwy. Dublin, OH 43017 614-790-2078

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 567-686-1040


160 Candlewyck Dr. Avondale, PA 19311

IPS Adhesives LLC (Integra Adhesives)

455 W. Victoria St. Compton, CA 90220 919-598-2400

Jaeckle Distributors

4101 Owl Creek Dr. Madison, WI 53718 608-838-5400

Karonia Surfaces

Ansym Lodge, Water Ln. 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 920-457-4441

Krion Solid Surface (Porcelanosa)

CTRA Villareal-Puebla De Arenoso KM1

Villareal 12540 Spain 34964506464


156 State St. Boston, MA 02109 289-924-0394

Lane Supply Company

2050 West Barberry Place Denver, CO 80204 303-908-9095


Via Bassanese 6 Vedelago, Treviso 31050


Laser Products Industries, Inc. 1344 Enterprise Dr. Romeoville, IL 60446 630-755-5402

LOTTE Chemical

6 Centerpointe, Ste. 100 La Palma, CA 90623 714-443-0901

LX Hausys America, Inc.

900 Circle 75 Pkwy., Ste. 1500 Atlanta, GA 30339 678-535-4113

Marble & Granite, Inc.

270 University Ave. Westwood, MA 02090 781-915-1250

Meganite, Inc.

1461 S. Balboa Ave. Ontario, CA 91761


Moksh Tech

#1204, Pushpak Landmark Bldg. Near Titanium City Center

Anand Nagar Rd. Prahlad Nagar Ahmedabad - 380 015 India


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

MSI Surfaces 2095 N. Batavia St. Orange, CA 92865

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

No Lift Install System 30485 S.E. Veterans Blvd. Estacada, OR 97023 503-212-4034

NOW1 LLC 4180 Merritt Dr. Cummings, GA 30041

Ollin Stone 301 E. Ball Rd. Anaheim, CA 92805 714-535-0800

ONE Wade 10075 Davisburg Rd Davisburg, MI 48350 248-804-1408

Pacific Shore Stones 10220 Metropolitian Dr., Ste. A Austin, TX 78758 512-568-0649

The Palmer Group Holdings (Kitchen Design Solutions) 760 King George Blvd., Ste. E Savannah, GA 31419


50 • Vol. 16 / Issue 3 • International Surface Fabricators Association


Companies listed in red are ISFA 2023 Sponsors

Park Industries

P.O. Box 188

St. Cloud, MN 56302


Parson Adhesives Inc. (Chromalok)

3345 Auburn Rd., Ste. 107

Rochester Hills, MI 48309


PinPoint Status

29750 Shaker Blvd. Pepper Pike, OH 44124


Plastiglas de Mexico SA

Frente a la Estacion del Ferrocarril FFCC

Maciovio Herrera S/N

Ocoyoacac 52740 Mexico

Poseidon Industries

4080 Duncan Rd.

Punta Corda, FL 33982

Princeton Chemical Company

7030 Quad Ave., Ste. 3

Rosedale, MD 21237


Prodim Systems

7454 Commercial Cir.

Ft. Pierce, FL 34951


Pure Surfaces/Basix Surfaces West 16411 Carmenita Rd. Cerritos, CA 90703



7930 W. 1000 N. Nappanee, IN 46550


Quote Countertops

11811 N. Tatum Blvd. #3078

Phoenix, AZ 85028


QXM Solutions

4815 E. Carefree Hwy. Ste. 108-297

Cave Creek, AZ 85331


Regent Stone Products

2656 Quality Ct.

Virginia Beach, VA 23454


Rep Methods

1613 Congressional Ct. Richmond, VA 23238


Rock Doctor/Apex Products 8333 Melrose Dr. Lenexa, KS 66214


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

Siom Marble & Granite Factory Sector 5, Emirates Industrial City

P.O. Box 22149

Sharjah 22149

United Arab Emirates 97165422240

Slab Caddy

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

6641 N. Cibola Ave. Tucson, AZ 85718 520-247-3304

Stone Cloud

125 Walnut Dr. Tenafly, NJ 07670 201-776-6478

The Stone Collection

11935 N. Stemmons Fwy. #100 Dallas, TX 75206 972-488-5700

Stone Fabricator Elite

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


Stone Services Group

10308 S. Keeler Ave. Oak Lawn, IL 60453


Swan Surfaces

200 Swan Ave. Centralia, IL 62801 800-325-7008

Synchronous Solutions

3405 Rainbow Dr. Waxhaw, NC 28173



TotalHousehold Pro

65A Walnut Hill Rd. Bethel, CT 06801 203-733-1276

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

Vendura 1202 Femrite Dr. Madison, WI 53716 262-613-0225

Vicostone USA

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


Water Treatment Solutions 6 Merrill Industrial Dr. Hampton, NH 03842 603-758-1900

Web-Don 1400 Ameron Dr. Charlotte, NC 28206 800-532-0434

Welnest 350 South St. McSherrystown, PA 17344 844-935-6378

Willis 1149 Pioneer Rd. Burlington L7M 1K5 Canada 289-775-5814

Wilsonart 2501 Wilsonart Dr. P.O. Box 6110 Temple, TX 76503-6110 800-433-3222

Wood Stock Supply 4705 S. I-90 Service Rd. Rapid City, SD 57703 605-341-6900


3900 Research Park Dr. Ann Arbor, MI 48108 734-332-4851

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 3 • 51

Blue Roma: The Newest XTONE by Porcelanosa

With a captivating design that creates a strong visual component to any space, Blue Roma sintered stone intertwines coppery veins with a distinctive and elegant grayish-blue canvas. Blue Roma is available in 12 mm or 6 mm thickness as well as in two finishes; silk and polished.

Blue Roma and all XTONE surfaces adapt to any environment and application, making them an extremely versatile option. The surfaces are suitable for various settings including kitchens, due to their low emission of volatile organic compounds, which is ideal for direct contact with food. Sintered stone maintains a high tolerance to heavy impact and cutting tools and is waterproof, preventing the absorption of liquids and the accumulation of odors thanks to their low porosity, making these surfaces an ideal solution for bathrooms as well.

Blue Roma is produced in Porcelanosa’s state-of-the-art facilities which feature a total of 4475 solar panels that promote sustainable energy consumption. The facility also recovers 100% of the heat from the kiln, reuses 100% of water through a treatment facility and recycles 100% of waste by reincorporating it back into the production system. Learn more at

Vadara’s Newest Color Collection Captures Essence of Nature

Vadara Quartz Surfaces, a leading manufacturer of artisan handcrafted quartz surfaces, is expanding its portfolio with eight new designs inspired by the Earth’s natural beauty. Four of the new designs — Aurum, Lava Plain, Sky Dance and Sand Weaver — build upon Vadara’s marble and quartzite-influenced offering.

“We strive to capture the essence of nature in our surfaces,” said Ed Rogers, executive vice president of US Surfaces, the parent company to Vadara Quartz Surfaces. “Aurum and Lava Plain are on-trend additions to our already successful lineup of wide-vein designs, such as White Aurora. Sky Dance is a neutral gray that resembles the popular quartzite Superwhite, and the thin-veined design of Sand Weaver with crisp gold veining is a key product in any lineup in today’s market.”

Four other new designs — Sakura, Moon Valley, Nakoda, and Crimson Peak — are sparked by natural quartzite and marble, and feature bold, striking designs that are nonneutral in color, with blue-gray backgrounds and veins. Their inspired natural stone slabs have limited supply, can vary greatly between bundles and are expensive. These designs could be viable, cost-effective alternatives to the natural stone slabs with the performance characteristics of quartz. All designs are offered in 2- and 3-cm thicknesses. Learn more at

Learn the Art of Selling with Rep Methods

The Art of Selling is an unmissable seminar for businesses looking to hone their sales skills. With interactive roleplay, Q&A sessions and audience participation, this 1 1/2-hour event is designed to stimulate new tactics and strategies for both B2B and B2C businesses. Our expert speaker will cover every aspect of the selling process, from lead management and brand ownership to identifying new targets and developing expertise. The seminar will delve into closing tactics, sales pitch strategy, organization methodology and even the often-dreaded rebuttal and refusal process.

And that’s not all! Attend this event and you’ll also leave with fresh ideas for merchandising and brand development. Get ready to feel motivated and inspired to take your sales game to the next level with The Art of Selling by Rep Methods. To find out how you can attend, visit

52 • Vol. 16 / Issue 3 • International Surface Fabricators Association
Aurum Crimson Peak Lava Plain Moon Valley Nakoda Sakura Sand Weaver
Sky Dance

All-In-One Tool Storage by Groves, Inc.

Introducing the versatile, all-in-one Groves Tool Storage system. Now you can store all your tools, accessories and other small items in one safe and secure location. Engineered with robust, welded steel construction and powder coated, this heavyduty system combines durability and security with functionality and organization. The space-saving locker system is available as a mobile system with either two or three individual lockers or as a wall mounted system and arranged with any quantity of individual lockers. Each individual locker measures 20 inches deep by 24 inches wide by 72 inches tall and comes standard with three shelf levels and a rear security panel. Customize your system using additional shelves, optional metal pegboards and metal louvered panels as well as a security door and security shelf. Truly the only tool storage solution you’ll ever need, learn more at

LX Hausys Porcelain: TERACANTO Calacatta Gold

LX Hausys’ TERACANTO Calacatta Gold 2 cm is offered with Thru Vein Technology. This is the newest thru body technology with a clear definition of the veins moving through the entire full-size slab. This new technology is an innovation in the industry and will make the slabs look more natural.

Perfectly balanced veins of rich gold and cool gray sweep across a polished white base, creating a refined, alluring and classic aesthetic. Featuring the sophistication of Calacatta marble in lightweight porcelain, Calacatta Gold is the perfect accompaniment for luxurious indoor and outdoor applications.

Inspired by the Earth’s magnificent natural beauty and the transcendent sounds of harmonious music, TERACANTO Porcelain Surface redefines high-end design. Luxurious looks, organic earth-based ingredients, and versatile applications make TERACANTO ideal for premium residential and commercial environments. The following TERACANTO colors can be bookmatched to offer even greater visual design interest: Calacatta Gold (1.2 cm), Calacatta Extreme and Statuario Bianco. For more information visit

Caesarstone Porcelain: 533 Silverdrop

533 Silverdrop by Caesarstone is a lush pearl gray base porcelain, softly patterned and built of multiple layers with gentle bluish undertones, delicately touched by the dynamic depth of its feathery seafoam veining and subtle dark gray shadows that are tinged with earthy traces and sage accents. It is available in a honed finish. Caesarstone’s new porcelain range brings life to both indoor and outdoor countertops. And, it’s not just about aesthetics. The porcelain line marks a leap in technology, functionality and design with surfaces delivering a new degree of durability, strength and beauty in the heart of homes. Find more information at

The Slab Caddy

The Slab Caddy was created to address overloaded A-frame stationary carts as well as traditional forklift transportation methods; one person driving with another guiding the slab to ensure it doesn’t pose a safety risk. The technology is composed of a heavy duty Slab Cart equipped with swivel casters that can hold up to six per side, depending on thickness, and an electric powered Cart Caddy that is responsible for pushing and pulling carts around. The first shop to use the Slab Caddy was loading two to three days’ worth of production on a stationary A-frame with the traditional forklift method, which would commonly overload it with 20 to 40 slabs, sometimes on one side. The Slab Caddy enabled them to load Monday’s, Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s production on three separate carts, days in advance, so that come Monday, all they had to do is locate that cart and drop it off. Find more information at

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 3 • 53 PRODUCT NEWS

Trinseo Adds Bold New Patterns to


AVONITE Acrylic Solid Surface Portfolio

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

“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-onwhite colorway is subtle, refined and timeless.

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

54 • Vol. 16 / Issue 2 • International Surface Fabricators Association PRODUCT NEWS
Oxbow Mist Haze


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.

AVONITE, a renowned brand in the interior design industry, 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, STUDIO Collection and Aristech Acrylics.

Whether it be 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, Aristech Surfaces had focused on the success of its customers by developing effective partnerships and innovative solutions.

View the new colors at colors or order samples at

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 2 • 55

Breton’s Forte Flash

Direct drive linear motors bring bullet train technology to the kitchen and bath industry. The Breton Forte Flash is a 3- and 4-axis high output CNC router, driven by linear motors. Together with a powerful high-speed spindle, the extreme speed and acceleration of the axes translate into reduced machining time and increased productivity, while keeping accuracy at the highest level. The Flash’s “chip to chip time” (from workpiece to tool change and back) is under 15 seconds. Coupled with the patented Robocup system for automatically positioning the vacuum cups on the table and the retractable cup for sink cutouts, the Flash is the most advanced and safest option for fabricators who are counting on every second. For more information on this revolutionary technology, visit

Heated Countertops by DG Innovations

While granite, quartz, marble and porcelain materials continue to be the most popular countertop options, the demand for heated surfaces has also increased in popularity as stone is cold to the touch. With FeelsWarm by DG Innovations, fabricators simply peel and stick a thin warming mat to the surface before it is placed on the cabinetry, leaving the homeowner with comfortable warmth where one most commonly rests their arms.

Using a passive warming approach, this heated countertop technology is safe for stone and plugs into a standard outlet. Countertop warmers are designed to overcome the poor thermal characteristics of stone by uniformly heating throughout the area where the mat is placed without cold zones. Removing the cold feel of new or existing countertops is a practice that is on the rise for stone fabricators, contractors and remodelers everywhere. For more information, visit

Naturale from the Balanced Collection by Durasein

Feel at ease and find balance with the Balanced Collection by Durasein. Naturale reveals a peaceful color array that calms and keeps projects centered.

Durasein’s production and D.Lab teams create all products from their state-of-the-art factories and facilities. They produce a premium, 100% acrylic solid surface material that is made up of two-thirds alumina trihydrate (derived from bauxite, a natural ore) and one-third high performance 100% acrylic resin and pigments. Due to this high mineral content, the material is incredibly dense and stonelike, yet able to be fabricated with standard woodworking tools, plus it is completely thermoformable. These solid surfaces are not only beautiful, but antibacterial, making them an ideal surface for high use areas in public spaces. Durasein solid surface materials are also resistant to mold and mildew, along with being foodsafe, nontoxic, nonporous and low VOC. Learn more at

Laminam’s Diamond Series

Laminam has launched its innovative Diamond Series that infuses light into the surface for a unique effect. The collection is comprised of two new colors, Calacatta Black and Cristallo Gold. Two new finishes have also been introduced. The Polished Starlit finish creates a stardust effect using a special formula based on quartz powder, while the Caress finish offers a delicate tactile experience with a soft touch.

Calacatta Black, available in Bocciardato and Polished Starlit surface finishes, captures the elegance of black marble while incorporating a warm twist with subtle hints of beige. Cristallo Gold offered in Polished Starlit and Caress finishes has a soft aesthetic and veins of beige, amber and gold — emulating natural crystal patterns on a milky surface.

Now available in the North American market, Calacatta Black and Cristallo Gold are offered in various formats and thicknesses, providing architects, designers and fabricators with unlimited creative possibilities for residential and commercial projects. For more information, visit

56 • Vol. 16 / Issue 2 • International Surface Fabricators Association PRODUCT NEWS

NuWood by Corian Design

New to Corian Design’s solid surface collection this year, the NuWood designs capture the eternal beauty of wood, in a light beige and/or rich brown color, all coursing with parallel grains and subtle color variations. These Nuwoods have the performance of Corian Solid Surface (nonporous, easy to clean, virtually seamless, and repairable) in beautiful woodgrain looks. Whether quietly adding moments of visual calm, or making a bold statement with color and pattern, the new Corian Solid Surface aesthetics are the perfect choice to translate nature’s best looks to any design space.

Made in the USA, Corian Solid Surface slabs are produced in New York and crafted with skill and dedication, resulting in the high quality Corian Solid Surface that customers have valued and trusted for over 50 years. Learn more at

Crossville Introduces Sahara Noir Porcelain Tile Panels

Crossville, Inc. has announced the introduction of its new Sahara Noir porcelain tile panel. Inspired by Tunisian Black Marble, found on the cusp of the Sahara itself, these unique panels are crafted to replicate the characteristic rich black of the base and the distinctively striking bright orange and white veining of the appearance. The line is made in Italy by Laminam and stocked in the United States.

The Sahara Noir porcelain tile panels are an impressive 1200 mm by 3000 mm (47 ¼ inches by 118 7/64 inches) size format that’s wider than traditional porcelain panels and available in the 5.6 mm thickness suitable for interior and exterior walls, counters, furniture and flooring in dry interior spaces.

Though Sahara Noir beautifully captures marble’s appearance, the durability of the panels stands in contrast to natural marble’s more tender qualities. The porcelain tile panels offer a durable, nonporous, sustainable solution suitable for most interior and exterior applications in both commercial and high-end residential markets. For more information on this collection, visit

New Wilsonart Quartz

Wilsonart Quartz reflects exquisite scenes of nature like never before with 10 new designs inspired by the world around us. With looks ranging from Soapstone to the coveted rare beauty of deep-veined Calacatta marbles, these new styles offer elegant and tranquil looks ideal for any space. Reflecting current residential trends, the expanded quartz collection also includes a new natural matte finish that will be available on select designs within the portfolio. Terra Nova (Q4069) is a light neutral background that is accented by large scale organic swaths of bright white to golden taupe that fade in and out of the design. These swaths occasionally open to expose small pools of off-white. Terra Nova is available only in a natural matte finish.

Other designs include Terlingua (Q6024), San Angelo (Q6025), Calacatta Marliana (Q4066), Calacatta Olympos (Q4067), Nova Serrana (Q4068), Kastoria (Q4071), Alvarado (Q4072), Victoria Mist (Q4073) and Sea Ice (Q1024).

All Wilsonart Quartz designs are extremely durable, easy to maintain and clean, and are stain-resistant. Wilsonart Quartz also is a recent recipient of the International Living Future Institute Declare label, which details the material health composition of building products to help inform consumers about the safety of the products they use every day. For more information, visit

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 3 • 57 PRODUCT NEWS

Augment Your Customer Service Strategy with Artificial Intelligence

In the fast-paced world of our industry, staying ahead of the competition requires embracing new and innovative technologies. One such breakthrough that has the potential to revolutionize the way we do businesses is ChatGPT, an advanced language model developed by OpenAI.

Countertop shops can use this AIdriven solution to optimize their processes. I encourage you to give it a try; the applications are endless. Whether you’re looking to create a blog post or research any number of topics for your benefit, simply type in your question or query, and ChatGPT will output a surprisingly thorough answer.

For example, you could ask ChatGPT to write a care and maintenance guide for quartz countertops or a one-pager that tells customers how to prepare for the template appointment. ChatGPT will generate a response in a few seconds that would’ve otherwise taken at least several minutes — if not hours — to research and write. That’s not to say you don’t need to proofread or finesse ChatGPT’s response before using it, but the results are generally a great starting point. To illustrate the potential of this tool, here’s a prompt I gave to ChatGPT generated:

Create a “what to expect during installation” handout for homeowners who purchased countertops from a countertop fabrication and installation company.

And here’s what ChatGPT came up with: “Dear Valued Homeowner, Thank you for choosing our custom countertop services. We are dedicated to ensuring a smooth installation process for your new countertops. To help you prepare for the installation, here’s a guide to outline what you can expect during the installation process.

1. Pre-Installation Preparation:

• Confirmation Call: Our team will contact you to confirm the installation date and address any last-minute details or questions.

• Clearing the Workspace: Prior to installation day, please ensure that the workspace is clear of any personal items, appliances, or other objects that may hinder the installation process. Remove items from the countertops and adjacent cabinets.

2. Arrival of Installation Team:

• Our installation team will arrive at the scheduled time on the date and time.

• Please make sure that someone over the age of 18 is present at the property during the installation.

3. Installation Process:

• Assessment and Preparation: Our team will carefully assess the site to ensure all necessary preparations are made.

• Countertop Placement: The countertops will be placed in their designated positions. Our installers will take measures to minimize dust and debris.

• Securing Countertops: The countertops will be securely installed using a combination of adhesives, brackets and fasteners.

• Seams and Joints: In cases where multiple pieces of countertop are required, our installers will ensure that any seams or joints are properly aligned and sealed.

• Sink and Faucet Installation: If applicable, sinks and faucets will be installed and connected to the plumbing system.

• Edge Treatments: The edges of the countertops will be finished according to your chosen design, such as beveled, bullnose, or ogee.

• Clean-up: Our team will clean up the work area, removing debris or packaging materials. However, light cleaning may be required afterward.

4. Final Steps:

• Inspection: A representative from our team will conduct a thorough inspection to ensure that the installation meets our quality standards.

• Customer Approval: Once the installation is complete, we will request your approval and provide you with an opportunity to review the quality.

• Payment and Warranty: Payment for the installation is due upon completion. Additionally, we will provide details about our warranty and care instructions for your countertops.

The duration of the installation process will vary depending on the complexity and size of the project. We will strive to complete the installation efficiently while maintaining the highest level of craftsmanship.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our customer service team. We value your satisfaction and are committed to addressing any issues promptly.

Thank you once again for choosing our custom countertop fabrication and installation services. We look forward to transforming your space with beautiful, durable countertops.”

As the countertop industry continues to evolve, staying relevant and competitive demands embracing innovative solutions. By harnessing the power of ChatGPT, countertop company owners can transform their businesses, reinventing the customer experience and driving operational efficiency.

58 • Vol. 16 / Issue 3 • International Surface Fabricators Association PERSPECTIVES
International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 2 • 59
Product Info Videos Contact/News SDS TDS Adhesive Calculator Color Swatches Stone Gallery Color Charts Find Distributors Quickly find everything you need to know about your favorite seaming and assembly adhesives. Scan QR Code to learn more and download the app. Or search “Integra Adhesives” in the app store The Integra Adhesives App ‘appy to be back! We’ve fully updated our app to give our users the best experience possible. New user interface. New color chart page. New swatch page. New Natural Stone Gallery. And much more! Surface Bonder Zero, Surface Bonder XI, Surface Bonder performance under any condition, for any surface types. The trusted adhesive manufacturer.

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