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Unread 07-18-2003, 03:01 AM   #1
Art in Stone
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Natural Stone Council

Just read this in the Stone World magazine. Any comments? Dave Gobis?

STONEXPO ISSUES GRANT TO NATURAL STONE COUNCIL ...

The StonExpo Federation recently concluded its annual board meeting in Phoenix, AZ, and has announced several new initiatives in support of the natural stone industry. The board approved a $100,000 grant to the Natural Stone Council, a new organization formed with the purpose of promoting the use and specification of natural stone. (A full article outlining the goals and objectives of the Natural Stone Council can be found in the June 2003 issue of Stone World, page 110). The grant will fund initial activities of the Council, which include the design, construction, and display of a major industry exhibit that will be featured at prominent industry trade shows. The new display will debut at the 2004 American Institute of Architects trade show in Chicago.

The board also voted to approve the creation of a new organizational structure of the StonExpo Foundation. The purpose of the foundation is "to fund and/or develop and conduct education and training programs concerning the selection, specification, fabrication and installation of natural stone." The Foundation's goals are to "increase the use of natural stone and significantly increase the flow of information on natural stone to the marketplace."

The StonExpo Foundation is funded by StonExpo, a premier industry trade show for stone, fabrication machinery and related equipment. As a non-profit entity, revenues generated by the show help fund industry support initiatives.

The next edition of StonExpo will be held December 4-6, 2003 in Atlanta's Georgia World Congress Center. For more information, contact StonExpo Federation, Inc., 70 North Market Street, Mount Sterling, OH 43143; Phone: 740-869-9990; Fax: 740-869-9991, E-mail: info@stonexpo.com; Internet: www.stonexpo.com.



Posted on: 07/01/2003
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Unread 07-18-2003, 02:23 PM   #2
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I think it's an idea whose time has come. I think they're going to need more than a hundred grand, though.
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Unread 07-18-2003, 06:37 PM   #3
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Ill believe it when I see it. My concern is that this turns into another MIA. They dont do anything to bring the industry together as a whole or help further it along and theyve been around a while. For $900 a year you dont get squat except a sticker and discount on some books.If you notice that most of the guys on the board seem to be self appointed manufacturer and suppliers. This smacks of the thinset and material manufacturers in the tile industry and the beauracracy with TCA.(no offense Dave) Theyre going to spec with the products they come up with. I need to see something else before I get my hopes up.
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Unread 07-18-2003, 07:58 PM   #4
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Rock : YA ever been to a TCA handbook meeting? Out of 26 voteing members do you know how many of them are mfg of thin set? -------------------Three..

I have also found that ya get out, what you put in ,how active are ya with the MIA?Do you go to the show? Ever asked to be on the MIA Board? Maybe you are I dont know??
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Unread 07-19-2003, 04:04 AM   #5
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More stone promotion!

That's what I like.
Everyone should use more stone!
The more stone people use, the sooner I can retire.
David
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Unread 07-19-2003, 04:56 AM   #6
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Eric

Your point is well taken. About the TCA thing, Im bitter about the thinset versus mud thing and from what everyone is saying mud will eventually die out. Its a shame in my opinion but thats just me. It all seems like politics to me.

Im not amember of the MIA and wont be for the time being.. In short the reason for that is that they should have been doing what The "Stone Council" has proposed when they were formed.
Personally I dont have time to do alot of things I would like to. These guys get paid to further the industry, what have they done?

Without getting into depth, back in the early 90's Maurizio and Fred had a meeting with the MIA to be on the board so to speak. I dont remenber how it went exactly but Maurizio walked and Fred wasnt far behind. Ill see if I can get him to clear that up, I dont want to get it wrong.

Im not better just cynical in my young age.


Jeff
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Unread 07-19-2003, 06:52 AM   #7
Maurizio Bertoli
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Jeff:
It was not the MIA, it was the BSI (which, by the way, means: Building Stone Institute, not Bull Shit Institute!! ). Same shit (just smaller), different name.
Answering to e3, my answer is, yes, I did (try to be in the board). Then, after throwing up, I left. And since then (April 1990) my corporate stationery proudly states: "NOT a member of the MIA, BSI"
Those associations, including this new Natural Stone Council are there to do one thing and one thing only: Sell more stone. Period. There's no self regulation, no industry standards, no serious training programs, no professional certification, no serious guidelines for the maintenance of all the stone they sell, no nothing!! Every idiot with 20K (or even less!) can hang a shingle on his or her door with written "Marble & Granite" in it, and ... voila', another overnight "Michelangelo"!
Why are these organizations doing absolutely nothing about it? Simply because -- probably due to the still tiny size of the stone industry on its whole -- the federal authorities didn't step in yet, and force them into doing what is right. And trying to do it voluntarily would mean stepping on the toes of some due paying interest group or another. And we do NOT want that to happen, do we?!! So ... "Who gives a damn?! For as long as we can get away with murder, let's enjoy the ride!" Doctors and Quacks are equally welcome with open arms, for as long as they pay they yearly dues. So now, considering this scenario, e3, what do you expect it would happen if you'd ever get into the board of those organizations and try and voice your opinion?
I've got an answer for you: NOTHING. Unless your voice is about selling more stone, of course!
I don't have time to be a Don Quixote, thank you. And if they want me in the board to be treated like an idiot (like they did), they'd have to pay me for the previlege (of treating me like an idiot, that is), not the other way around!
I consider myself only a little guy and I realize that a little guy can only do so much (very little!), but for what I feel my contribution to the industry could be, I'm much more productive and effective voicing my opinion from without, in open forums like this one, rather than from within, where every "different" opinion would be kept buried under the sand.
I don't need them. The stone industry doesn't need them. Most importantly, the end-users of natural stone products don't need them.
Ciao and good luck,
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Unread 07-19-2003, 04:55 PM   #8
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I don't know anything about the stone industry. I do, however, know a little about the federal government, and they are the last people you want running your industry.

I have my list of pros and cons with the TCA, but I think overall they serve a purpose. The standards would not be published without the TCA, for one thing. I'm aware the membership is composed of manufacturers, so I take things with a grain of salt.

And there is an offshoot of the TCA that is overwhelmingly worth support. That is Dave Gobis' tile school, under-utilized though it may be. http://www.tileschool.org

I don't see anything wrong with trying to get something similar going in the stone business.

But geez, Maurizio, leave the government out of it, will ya?
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Unread 07-19-2003, 11:49 PM   #9
Art in Stone
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I would really like everyone in here to comment on this. I am curious about what you guys think.
If we were to put together a similar organization, would others in the industry view it in the same way?
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Unread 07-20-2003, 08:26 AM   #10
Maurizio Bertoli
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Ramon:
I really don't know the answer to your question. What I do know, however, is that an organization -- any organization -- is viewed for what is set out to do, and then what it actually does. The stone industry organizations are very candidly set out to do one thing and one thing only: sell more stone, period. And that's exactly what they do -- whether or not successfully and to what degree. But they are running totally wild and there's no sign on the far horizon that anything decent is going to happen any time soon.

John:
I never meant for a second to imply that the Federal Government should step in and run the stone industry. But I take as an example the timber/lumber industry. There are strict rules -- dictated by federal laws -- about definition of the different types of lumber, their grading, etc. For instance, nobody can sell birch as beech, and the grading must be disclosed all the time. In the stone industry they sell orthogneiss, and gabbro, and dolerite, and anorthosite, and basalt, and prophiry, and so on through a long, long, looooong list as granite. It's illegal already, but nobody seems to be in the bit interested at enforcing the law and rectifying the situation. And what about the grading? Poooleaaase! That's one of the darkest secrets in human history! And this, without mentioning any standards (at least the TCA has them), any much needed professional certification programs, and so on. All they do, is coming up with blanket and pathetic recommendations, such as: "This is what you have to do with granite (WHICH ONE???), and this is what you have to do with marble (again, WHICH ONE???)."
The level of widespread stone ignorance among the industry's operators is exactly at the same level of Joe Doe consumer. And it's not only wrong in my book, but scary as well. Look at you tile setter guys, for instance: you install "marble" and "granite" and what-have-you stone tiles, but know just about nothing about it. It's not your fault, mind you; but I just don't think that's right. After all, whom are you supposed to get your stone education from? Where could you possibly get it? But you must admit that the general perception from the consumer point of view is that when you go in their homes to install stone, your are (supposed to be) the stone man. And it sounds mighty odd when they find out that your knowledge about the stuff you're installing in their home and get paid for is just at their same level. The one that ultimately suffers the consequences of this total lack of industry standards -- which in my opinion spills aboundantly into business ethics territory -- is the final consumer, who just so happens to be the one who pays the bills of everybody involved. It is just not fair. It is just not right. I am very proud to be a stone man, but at times I feel very uncomfortable having to work in an environment that's run by what I feel is but a bunch of crooks. I like to make money just as much as the next guy, but I have ethics and I like to look at myself in the mirror without feeling like throwing up.
Sorry about the outburst (which I hope you interpreted in the right way). The subject of stone industry organizations does that to me all the time, and I had to let some steam out!!
Ciao and good luck,
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Unread 07-20-2003, 10:24 AM   #11
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The only way the government enters the timber industry is when logging companies are harvesting trees on federal land. Grading and specie definition are handled by industry organizations, not the government. A prime example is plywood, which (for the most part) is specified by the American Plywood Association (Engineered Wood Association), not a governmental body.

The Uniform Building Code sets out standards that are adopted by states and cities which specifiy ways in which various species of lumber can be used. The UBC is published by the International Conference of Building Officials, not a governmental body.

The U.S. Forest Service operates a Forest Products Laboratory, but it depends on input from the American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM), a non-governmental agency. Lumber grading, for instance, falls under ASTM Standard D-1990.

All industries rely upon agencies such as ANSI, ASTM, SAE and the like to formulate standards. These agencies in turn rely upon data that is generated within the industries themselves. None of the agencies is owned or run by the government.

Although it sometimes appears to be to the contrary, industry in this country is controlled by private entities. The government regulates interstate commerce to make things uniform and workable between the states (in matters of distribution and labeling, for instance). It is simply illegal to label pine lumber as fir lumber. You've acknowledged it's illegal to call a limestone a granite. If someone has a complaint, he or she can take it up with state attorneys general, or if the matter has interstate implications, it can be taken up with the Dept. of Justice.

The point is, the government doesn't do the labeling. The government only says there must be truth in labeling. The government does not run the industries.

Apparently, the stone industry has never developed the necessary private sector bodies to set standards for itself.

Last edited by John Bridge; 07-20-2003 at 10:39 AM.
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Unread 07-20-2003, 12:18 PM   #12
Maurizio Bertoli
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John:
I did appreciate the clarification. So I was wrong about the way standards are enforced within the different industries, but the fact in the matter is that the stone industry is totally unregulated and, for what I can tell, if nobody from the outside is going to force any of the organizations that represent it to make it into a decent industry, it's going to stay like that forever. From the inside, I promise you, it's never going to happen. It is just too "convenient" to keep it like that.
Ciao and good luck,
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Unread 07-20-2003, 02:39 PM   #13
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O.K...am I hearing this right? There are no regulationgs for stone? Sorry for the uneducated response. But really......how do you distinguise a $10 stone from a $100 stone.....How do you know if the $100 stone isen't just a $10 piece of shit priced at $100.
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Unread 07-20-2003, 03:11 PM   #14
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Well, the way I see it, it's the same thing in the tile business. You are at the mercy of the people manufacturing and selling to tile to tell you what's good and what's not. And the standards that we try to adhere to are voluntary. Nobody can enforce them unless they are written into someone's building code.

I didn't mean to come off so strong. It's just that I have a hard time putting up with government of any sort. I realize a certain amount is necessary, but I'm not about to call for more.
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Unread 07-20-2003, 03:21 PM   #15
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I'm glad that this discussion has come up.
John I agree fully. I really respect the TCA but if you look at the members, there are to many manufacturer's. If I have a question, I want hard facts from people who experienced of have full knowledge on that certain subject , Not an answer from someone who suggests something in order to fatten their wallet. I'm not saying that the manufacturer's are unknowledgable, but as I was taught in my previous career as a financial advisor "OUR NUMBER ONE REASON FOR BEING IN THIS BUSINESS IS TO MAKE MONEY.......IF YOU DISAGREE,......YOU ARE FOOLING YOURSELF".!
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