Please enable JavaScript
Email Marketing by Benchmark
     Behind the Surface Podcast The Problem with Silica

Registration Now Open for June Fabricator Forum in Sacramento, California

ISFA’s first Fabricator Forum of the year was a huge success. The event, which took place in Charlotte, North Carolina, included presentations and roundtable discussions on silica safety, empowering employees to become problem solvers, tooling best practices for porcelain and Dekton, and leveraging artificial intelligence. The next event will be held June 11-13 in Sacramento, California. Registration is now open.

These regional events, formerly known as Industry Roundtables, include expert-led presentations, peer-to-peer discussions, facility tours and networking opportunities. Educational topics include silica safety, fabrication and repair techniques for porcelain and other sintered materials, using artificial intelligence to tap into growth opportunities, carving out additional lines of revenue and other business best practices.

“We first learned about silica at an ISFA event nearly ten years ago,” said Troy Page of Ellis Page Company. “The silica presentation and overview included some updates that helped me identify some places we might have exposure. I recommend these fabricator forums; there were so many great takeaways at the Charlotte event.”

“The Charlotte Fabricator Forum was a huge success,” said Marissa Bankert, executive director of ISFA. “The content is curated to help fabricators improve their businesses in multiple ways, including actionable insights they can use immediately. And with concerns about silica on the rise — especially in California — we’re looking forward to educating fabricators about developing regulations and helping them break down barriers to compliance. Silica safety is worker safety, and ISFA is here to help all fabricators learn about the issue and develop a plan of action.”

ISFA Fabricator Forums are open to all fabricators, including nonmembers, and registration starts at $300. Registration includes all programming and meals listed on the agenda. Space is limited, so those interested in attending are encouraged to reserve their spot as soon as possible. 


Got an issue in your business that's weighing you down?

Tell us about it and we'll consider adding it to an upcoming event, virtual or in person.

ISFA aims to provide the tools and resources you need to break down barriers in your business. If you've got a problem, we've got answers!


ISFA Appoints New Membership Director

ISFA is pleased to announce the appointment of Heather Duve as its new membership director. In this role, Heather will lead the association in driving membership growth and retention, as well as contribute to the development of events, programs, groups, resources and other initiatives.  

Before joining ISFA, Duve served as the membership and development director at the Water Quality Association (WQA), an Illinois-based organization representing the point-of-use, point-of-entry water treatment industry in the United States. During her tenure, she oversaw membership recruitment and retention initiatives, facilitated member support and spearheaded sponsorship recruitment for WQA events.

Before her time at WQA, she held positions in member services for various associations, including the Urgent Care Association of America. Heather earned her degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University, and she maintains a Certified Association Executive designation from the American Society of Association Executives.

“I am thrilled to join the ISFA team,” said Duve. “And I’m looking forward to applying my expertise to drive membership growth and engagement through the strategic development of the value proposition and the creation and expansion of programs and resources that support fabricators and other industry professionals. I continuously seek innovative methods to enhance the member experience, and my dedication to delivering exceptional customer service is unwavering.”


Fabricators Eye Growth Opportunities by Upskilling with Solid Surface

ISFA was in San Antonio, Texas, for another Solid Surface Fabrication Training class this week. With shops in attendance from Alaska to Dallas, this two-day training course is designed to help those in the industry who are unfamiliar with solid surface fabrication learn best practices and get hands-on with the material and the tools used to fabricate it. 

More and more clients are asking for solid surface material, admitted Greg Routt of Lonestar Stone and Construction. We want to stay ahead and expand what we can offer as a company. 

Fabricators at Solid Surface Training March 2024

ISFA’s executive director, Marissa Bankert, joined the San Antonio training hosted at Gecko Solid Surface Solutions. It was her first opportunity to see the class firsthand and connect with some of the association’s newest members. Most of the attendees are currently working with other materials such as stone and quartz, said Bankert. But considering the viability of solid surface in commercial applications, there’s a growth opportunity for these fabricators to extend their offerings. That was the prevailing sentiment of many in attendance, along with the desire to keep up their education as fabricators overall.   

A special thanks to our 2024 Solid Surface Fabrication Training sponsors, Aristech Surfaces, Integra Adhesives, BB Industries, and especially our trainer, Aaron Davis, for being dedicated to the success of fabricators everywhere.  

The next Solid Surface Fabrication Training session will be June 4-5 in McSherrystown, Pennsylvania, which will include an expanded session on thermoforming. Stay tuned for more details. 

Construction Safety Week Winds Down, but These Powerful Resources Can Help You Keep the Conversation Going

Construction Safety Week is an annual event that promotes safety awareness and best practices on job sites. Since 2014, this week-long campaign has inspired everyone across the construction industry to be leaders in safety. 

The aim is to help build a stronger, safer industry by establishing mutual respect among all frontline professionals and allowing everyone to speak up and take charge of leading teams toward the safest outcome — to get the job done safely so all can return home to their families.

During Safety Week, companies and organizations often conduct safety training sessions, workshops, toolbox talks and demonstrations to educate workers about potential hazards and how to prevent accidents. It's also a time for recognizing and celebrating achievements in safety performance and reinforcing a safety culture throughout the industry.

The overarching goal of Construction Safety Week is to reduce injuries, fatalities and incidents on construction sites by emphasizing the importance of safety as an integral part of every project. It's a collaborative effort involving employers, employees, trade associations, government agencies and other industry partners.

This year's theme is celebrating an industry that values every voice. The organizers have thoughtfully planned a week of topical prompts, social media kits and other downloadables (Spanish included!) that help companies foster communication among their teams and position their companies as leaders in the community.

The Toolbox Talks in the resources folder can help you engage your team and encourage the communication and accountability that drives successful change. Topics include:

  • Driving Personal Ownership
  • Encourage and Welcome New Ideas
  • Embracing Every Voice
  • Strengthen Our Culture
  • Thank You for Using Your Voice

Even though Construction Safety Week is almost over, it doesn't mean you can't take advantage of the resources and continue these evergreen conversations throughout the year. Incorporate them into some of your team meetings and discover how you can improve engagement and communication while fostering the safest environment for your employees, partners and customers.


Coverings Wraps in Atlanta; Industry Event Attracts Over 25K Attendees

Coverings, the largest international tile and stone exhibition in North America, took place last week in Atlanta. ISFA was in attendance to promote the association and provide members with educational resources and networking opportunities. The renowned four-day event delivered impressive tile displays, industry insights and more through a lineup of special programming and show floor features that stretched throughout the expansive exhibit space.

“The exhibits at Coverings were incredible,” said ISFA’s Marissa Bankert. “And it was so great to connect with ISFA members who stopped by the booth or attended our presentations at the Fabricator Stage.”

More than 25,000 international showgoers flocked to Atlanta for the event; thousands of architects, designers, contractors, distributors and other industry professionals were in attendance, taking part in onsite activities, live demonstrations, show floor tours, and interactive programs provided hands-on experiences and real-time solutions for all applicable industry segments. Fabricators find the machinery and new product displays of most interest, along with educational sessions.

Coverings 2024 Fabricator Stage

The four key tenets of Coverings 2024 – Health & Wellness, Sustainability, Outdoor Spaces and Timeless Luxury – were highlighted throughout the show. Communal activations, imaginative displays and relevant market trends showcased each tenet and provided attendees with distinctive experiences emphasizing tile and stone’s many uses. 

The ISFA booth was near the center of the action for fabricators with proximity to the Fabricator Stage, which offered three full days of education on business and industry trends. The topic of safety was at the forefront. 

ISFA Booth at Coverings 2024

“I had a great time at Coverings,” added Heather Duve, membership director. “This was my first chance to meet members and partners in person and learn more about the industry. I have navigated many exhibit halls throughout my association career, but Coverings was beyond my expectations. It offered a look at an industry that is innovative and artistic and, at the same time, relies heavily on technology.”

Silica Safety: ISFA Weighs in When Forbes Asks, 'Are America's Favorite Countertops Going Away?'

For years, designers and specifiers have been recommending quartz countertops as way to elevate any space. Writer and Designer Jamie Gold, who frequently covers wellness design and housing trends, looked beneath the surface to discover that engineered stone has a dangerous side. Are America's favorite countertops putting those who fabricate the material at risk?

According to the American Lung Association, approximately 2.3 million U.S. workers are exposed to silica in the workplace, including 2 million in construction. Gold said she wasn't aware of the risks to fabricators when she was recommending the material to her clients.

Now she wonders, "As designers and homeowners — particularly Millennials and Generation Z — weigh human issues more than ever in product selection, this becomes a powerful consideration. It is too for regulators here and abroad, as new worker safety rules and even a national ban go into effect."

Gold reached out to ISFA to learn about safe fabrication practices and how the industry creates regulations that protect fabricators from the risk of silicosis while manufacturers innovate safer materials.