People and places in the stone trade.


People - June 2006

   • Alpha Professional Tools® adds Oscar Soltero to the Oakland, N.J.-based company’s sales team.  He will be responsible for Northern California and the Reno/Lake Tahoe area of Nevada.
   • Vince Pompo joins Ceramic Tile and Stone Consultants LLC (CTaSC) as new business development manager, focusing on promotion of University of Ceramic Tile and Stone (UofCTS) training programs for the San Diego-based consultancy. Pompo began his career in the ceramic-tile industry, working as a sales manager and also owner/founder of several San Diego-area companies.  He is a Certified Ceramic Tile Consultant (CTC) and a charter member of the Ceramic Tile Distributors of America (CTDA).
   • Braxton-Bragg Corp. promotes Steve Bussell, an eight-year veteran of the Knoxville, Tenn.-based company, to sales manager, coordinating the work of eight sales representatives. The company also adds Matt Maples as automated tooling specialist and Gerald Ruiz as a bilingual (English/Spanish) representative in sales and customer service; names Ed Mink and Sam Parker to CNC customer service; and appoints James Sykes as director of warehousing.
   • Jim Owens, executive director of the Indiana Limestone Institute, was honored at the group’s spring meeting in Bloomington, Ind., last month for his outstanding efforts in promoting the use of natural stone. Francis Heck of Stone Industry News offered the first annual award from the publication for Owens’, “tireless efforts in promoting natural stone through educational programs and technical assistance to architects, contractors, and building owners and others throughout the country.” 

Company Briefs - June 2006

   • STONEPRO, the exclusive distributor of DIAFORCE products, is now known as Helix Professional Tools. The change, effective June 1, comes as the Buffalo Grove, Ill.-based company found its previous name to be too prevalent and confusing in the market, and not unique for the tooling offered.  “We wanted something that would convey our unique offerings and not create confusion for our customers in the marketplace,” said Mark Smith, Helix vice president.
   • Marmo Machinery USA will hold its Fourth Annual Summer Machine Open House July 21-22 at its Southfield, Mich., headquarters, exhibiting a representative sample of the company’s major equipment segments of bridge saws, polishers, CNC machines and water reclamation/dust intake equipment.  In addition, attendees will be treated to a BBQ lunch each day, and a free Detroit Tigers/Oakland Athletics baseball game on July 21.
   • Sales of ETemplate Systems’ ETemplate Photo digital templating and measuring system saw a growth of almost 200 percent through the first quarter of 2006, following record sales in 2005.  Company representatives attribute the sales growth to the countertop industry understanding the benefits of digital measuring, along with fabricators who own other digital systems adding or converting to ETemplate. ETemplate Systems is a division of Tri-Tech Solutions Inc., a privately held corporation located in Raleigh, N.C.  
   • Vinci Stone Products Inc. is completing the renovation and restoration of the historic 25-acre Butler Quarry that the Marriotsville, Md., company acquired in 2005. Mined since the early 1800s, the quarry’s gneiss stone is known for its warm and distinctive silver-grey-brown appearance; A.J. Vinci, company president, says that several new state-of-the art machines and equipment are now in use, with the additional ability to produce natural-stone veneer. The Butler operations complements the company’s other quarries: the original Vinci Quarry in Randallstown, Md.,  and the Piccirilli Quarry in Marriottsville.
   • Bethany, Ct.-based LATICRETE International opens a 107,640 ft² plant in Salaspils, Latvia. Located 11 miles from the capital of Riga, the new facility will employ 40 people, and will be run by Genady Jakimenko, president and senior partner/owner, who’s worked in distribution of LATICRETE products in Latvia for more than 10 years. The plant will feature a new micro-dosing machine to carefully measure mixing ratios, and fully-automated handling equipment for existing LATICRETE suppliers.
   • Samsung announces that Rugby IPD Corp. is the first authorized distributor of Staron® Quartz in Chicago and Indiana. Tempe, Ariz.-based Rugby is a wholesale distributor of name-brand surfacing with 12 distribution centers nationwide.
   • Questech Corp. opens a new 70,000 ft² headquarters and manufacturing plant in Rutland, Vt. The new facility features fully automated equipment for producing the company’s decorative tiles and tumbled-marble field tiles with Q-Seal™ lifetime sealer.
   • Kevin S. Sause of Ceramic Tile Work in Punta Gorda, Fla., won the top-tier giveaway at the Brazil Pavilion at Coverings 2006 in April; the grand prize was a Ford F-150 XLT, although Sause opted to take a $25,000 cash prize instead. In a giveaway at Coverings coordinated by the National Tile Contractors Association, two tool packages valued at $5,000 each went to Bill Tillman of Decorative Flooring Products in Gilbert, Ariz., and Mareth Kotze of Antique Stones in Atlanta.

Company Briefs - April 2006

   • FinishPro Tools LLC of Lenexa, Kan., acquired the Goldblatt and Pacesetter masonry-tool brands from The Stanley Works in early March. Stanley originally acquired Goldblatt in 1992; FinishPro will incorporate the line through the new Goldblatt Tool Company LLC.
   • ETemplate Systems joins forces again with the International Solid Surfaces Fabrication Association (ISSFA) as a 2006 educational program sponsor.  The software-publishing division of Raleigh, N.C.-based Tri-Tech Solution Inc. also sponsored the industry group’s Job Management and Installation (JMI) and Shop Process Optimization (SPO) seminar series in 2004-2005. ETemplate Systems has been an ISSFA Training and Education Center (ITEC) sponsor since 2001, and was the association’s 2005 Associate of the Year.  
   • STONEXPRESS is the exclusive North American and Central American source for Laura Ashley Home stone, porcelain and ceramic tiles. Kennesaw, Ga.-based STONEXPRESS announced the deal in mid-March.
   • Entries are being accepted until July 31 for the Second Annual Marble Institute of America Advertising Awards Competition for member companies. The contest honors print advertising, sales collateral and Websites this year, as the radio and television award categories go on hiatus. Awards will be presented on Nov. 10 during StonExpo 2006 in Las Vegas; Salem Stone is sponsoring the ad awards competition for the second consecutive year.

Company Briefs - May 2006

   • Superior Stone Equipment forms a partnership with supplier Keystone Tools to be a distributor for the Byron Center, Mich., company’s Force 5000 bridge saw. Keystone is a supplier of products for the marble and granite industry with mobile warehouses, retail stores in California, Texas and Illinois, and nationwide shipping of products.
   • Granite and Marble by Malave recently celebrated its tenth anniversary in Greensboro, N.C. During the month of April, the company hosted tours of the facility and offered natural-stone seminars to area homeowners, architects, designers and contractors.
   • OMAX Corp. recently announced the sale and delivery of its 1,000th waterjet machine, a Model 55100 JetMachining® Center. “With the delivery of our 1,000th unit, OMAX has marked a significant milestone in the waterjet machining market,” said Dr. John Olsen, co-founder and vice president of technology for the Kent, Wash., manufacturer. “OMAX is grateful to its customers and distributors for their continued trust in our superior products, software and technology.”
   • Habitat for Humanity of Orange County honored Custom® Building Products for its $160,000 donation to the housing charity’s Operation Home Delivery. The program is rebuilding homes in the Gulf Coast region that were destroyed by hurricanes Katrina, Wilma and Rita in 2005; the Seal Beach, Calif.-based manufacturer of installation materials and tools started with a $100,000 donation and also pledged to match, dollar-for-dollar, the funds of all Custom employees donating one day of vacation pay.
   • Hard Rock Tool opens a new service center and retail store in San Diego. The 3,200 ft² store at 8150 Miramar Road for the Anaheim, Calif.-based distributor joins the existing lineup of outlets in Anaheim; Dallas; Denver; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Las Vegas; Orlando, Fla.; Phoenix; and Salt Lake City.

People - March 2006

   • Dal-Tile Corp. promotes Harold G. Turk to president, replacing Chris Wellborn, who is now chief operating officer of Mohawk Industries, Dal-Tile's parent company. Turk, who joined Dal-Tile 30 years ago, previously served as executive vice president for the Dallas-based company's strategic business unit.
   • Gordon Shell is the new Midwest sales manager for Eos Solid Surface. Prior to joining Eos, he worked as Fabrication Segment Manager for H.J. Oldenkamp Co. in Warren, Mich,  and served as a Corian® and Zodiaq® Certified Instructor for the Michigan market. Shell’s territory includes Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin, and eastern Canada. Eos also appoints Robin Price as logistics manager at Eos headquarters in Portsmouth, Va.      
   • Joe Renzetti is the new president and general manager at Specialty Construction Brands (SCB), the manufacturer of TEC® brands. He was previously general manager of Adalis, a global consulting firm serving the consumer packaging, wood panel and corrugated manufacturing industries. SCB and Adalis are both in the H.B. Fuller Company’s Full-Valu and Specialty Group.
   Renzetti has held multiple positions with H.B. Fuller since joining the company in 1994.
   • Global Granite & Marble selects David Brotherton as general manager of the company’s new stone selection center in Nixa, Mo. He previously managed the natural-stone-tile division at Global’s St. Louis headquarters. Corey Chase, with more than two years of experience in natural stone, will join Brotherton at the Nixa facility.
   • MultiCam LP promotes Galen Derrickson to waterjet and laser product manager. Prior to joining the DFW Airport, Texas-based firm in 1993, he worked in a production shop with lasers and waterjets, and later owned a waterjet business.
   • Nate Rowlan joins Global Granite & Marble as a natural-stone-tile sales representative at its St. Louis headquarters. Rowlan worked in sales for six years, at San Diego Marble & Tile and John Paschal Tile Co. in Oklahoma City, prior to joining Global.
   • Alexandra Niedbalski is the new eastern U.S. regional sales manager, tiles and slabs distribution, for Polycor. Prior to joining the Saint-Sébastien, Quebec-based stone quarrier and supplier, Niedbalski developed the tiles/slabs market for Novelda, Spain-based Levantina during the past five years. She graduated from Paris University with a bachelor’s degree in International Business and Marketing.
   • Marmo Machinery USA appoints Nick McDonald as sales representative for the northwestern United States and Canada. Before joining the Southfield, Mich., company, McDonald worked as sales representative for an Ann Arbor, Mich., granite shop.