Information for, about, and of interest to the stone trade, including items previously featured in Latest News.

Pollux Gets Safety Honor

   MINNEAPOLISPollux Manufacturing Inc. won recognition this spring as the latest Minnesota Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (MNSHARP) work site.
   Pollux is the 24th company to achieve this status, and the only stone company in Minnesota with the designation.
   MNSHARP recognizes companies whose managers and employees work together to develop safety and health programs that go beyond basic compliance with all OSHA standards, resulting in immediate and long-term prevention of job-related injuries and illnesses.
   Pollux Manufacturing worked with the state’s Department of Labor & Industry’s Workplace Safety Consultation unit to develop and implement an effective written safety program to meet or exceed OSHA standards. Key elements of the program include management leadership and employee involvement; allocation of resources to address safety issues; systems to identify and control workplace hazards; and an employee safety training and education program.
   “It’s an honor and a tribute to our system to be recognized by MNSHARP,” said Roland Pfender, Pollux COO. “We will continue to maintain and further improve our safety and health standards in accordance with the MNSHARP status.”
   Pollux Manufacturing will be recognized this month at a Safety Award Luncheon by Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
   Founded in 2003, Pollux Manufacturing Inc. is a state-of-the-art wholesale manufacturing facility of granite and engineered stones – primarily DuPont’s Zodiaq® quartz surfaces – to service fabricators and installers. It uses an integrated system of software, processes and machines to manufacture countertops.

Get Entries Ready For 2007 Rocky

   CLEVELAND – The Marble Institute of America (MIA) is now accepting entries for the Third Annual MIA “Rocky” Advertising Awards competition.
   The MIA Advertising Awards competition, begun in 2005, has drawn hundreds of entries from MIA members worldwide. For the third consecutive year, Salem Stone of Winston-Salem, N.C., is sponsoring the competition.  
   The competition honors superior advertising produced by MIA members, their advertising agencies, design studios and broadcast producers.   The competition will focus on entries in print (newspaper and magazine), broadcast (radio and TV), collateral material (brochure, poster, direct mail piece and/or campaign) and point-of-sale (trade show booth design, counter top display and free standing display) advertising.  
   Returning this year to the competition is broadcast and point-of-sale categories.  The Web categories will come back next year.
   Judging will be done by a panel of advertising experts with no direct association with the natural stone industry.
   Deadline for entries is July 2, 2007. Winners will be presented at StonExpo 2007 in Las Vegas on October 19, 2007, at a special MIA awards luncheon  Winners will receive the coveted “Rocky” award or certificate.
   Winning entries will be publicized in stone-industry publications, on the new MIA Stone News Channel via the Internet and on a DVD included with the November 2007 MIA newsletter.

Pragma Opens U.S. Arm

   POMPANO BEACH, Fla.Pragma S.r.l., the Casinalbo, Italy-based manufacturer of technologies for the ceramic and marble industries, recently opened a North American division – Pragma USA.
   The launch of the new division was created in an effort to increase product availability in the North American region and make it more feasible for North American mosaic manufacturers to test and purchase Pragma cutting, gluing, and assembly machines.  
   The new division will serve as an extension of the Pragma home factory and will feature a variety of in-stock replacement parts, in-stock manufacturing machines, and a full staff of certified program technicians to assist with financing, service, and technical support. The division will also be hosting live demonstrations upon request.
   Pragma USA will operate under the direct supervision of Massimo Valcavi.  
   For more information regarding Pragma USA  contact the company at 888-PRAGMA-1.

MIA Hits Road In Vermont ‘07

   CLEVELAND – The Marble Institute of America (MIA) will take to the road next month with its first “Quarry Tours and More” in Vermont.
   Called “Destination Vermont,” the seminar/bus tour on May 16-17 is packed with visits to four quarries, three stone museums, and a number of other points of interest to stone professionals. In addition to Vermont the trip will take attendees to Stanstead, Quebec, famed as the granite capital of that Canadian province.
   Quarries to be visited include the Bethel White, Danby and E.L. Smith in Vermont, and the Stanstead Gray in Quebec.
   Registration fee is $369 for MIA member employees and $419 for non-members, with discounts available for early registration and additional people from member companies. The deadline for the early registration discount is April 18.  
   Hotel space is also limited, so it’s recommended that you book your accommodations early – see the MIA website for more information.
   The MIA will sponsor a second “Quarry Tours and More” event in Minnesota and South Dakota in late August.

Time For MIA Accreditation

   CLEVELAND – If you’ve been anticipating the accreditation program from the Marble Institute of America, the wait is over.
   The MIA announced on March 7 that it’s now accepting applications for accreditation. The program, in the planning stages for more than two years, is expected to draw hundreds of applicants.
    “Accreditation will be available to all fabrication/installation companies within the natural stone industry, not just MIA members,” said Scott Lardner, MIA past president and chairman of its Accreditation Commission.
   Three forms of accreditation are available: Natural Stone Fabricator, Commercial A Contractor and Commercial B Contractor.
    “The MIA intends to explore expanding the program to other sectors of the natural -stone industry upon successful implementation of the first three,” Lardner said.
   “A great deal of time and effort has been spent ensuring that this accreditation program is the real deal,” said Tony Malisani, a member of the Accreditation Appeals Committee. “The MIA accreditation seal will not be a rubber stamp; rather, it will lend instant credibility to firms that earn it.”
   The process of becoming accredited consists of three equally-weighted phases. Phase one requires the completion of a application to ensure that the company is in compliance with the 10 standards of accreditation as laid out by the MIA Accreditation Task Force.
   The second phase is a 200-question multiple-choice examination, testing the applicant’s knowledge and application of material usage, installation, fabrication, restoration, care and maintenance, administration, legal/contracts and jobsite and shop safety.
   The third phase is a comprehensive site visit, which will include a facility review, document review and one or more installation visits.
   Accredited natural-stone fabricators consist of residential-oriented companies that have successfully completed 200 projects in a minimum of three years, among other requirements.
   Commercial accreditation is broken into two categories. Commercial A is for companies doing large commercial work, while, Commercial B is for firms that handle smaller-scale commercial stone installations such as hotel lobbies, bank lobbies and low-rise interior/exterior cladding.
   To request an application go to, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the “Application Request Form” link.