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ISFA Wraps Another Successful Annual Conference

The ISFA Annual Conference returned as an in-person event, including powerful presentations, valuable workshops and fun networking opportunities.


ISFA held its 2021 Annual Conference on October 18-20 at a luxury ranch just outside Phoenix, a perfect setting for professional and leisure programming. Attendance exceeded expectations despite lingering travel concerns due to COVID-19.

“With such a great turnout, it’s clear that ISFA members are keen to get back to normal and celebrate what makes this association so powerful,” said Steve Mast, president of ISFA. “We shared a lot of industry insights, best business practices and enjoyed the chance to connect in what was truly a beautiful setting.”

Conference attendees enjoy the beautiful ranch setting during the welcome reception.The event included educational sessions, new product presentations, networking activities, award presentations and more. The conference kicked off with the 2021 ISFA board of directors meeting, which included the 2022 Directors Election, and the results were announced at the event.

Presentations and workshops focused on positioning your business for success in the best way possible. Eric Tryon, retired founder and CEO of Premier Surfaces, kicked off the educational sessions by discussing how to create value in a business. His presentation emphasized the need to be forward-thinking about how you position your business no matter where you are in your career. The supplemental workbook included valuation exercises and tips for stability and consistency in financials, creating a diverse customer base, fostering a strong company culture and striving toward a unique value proposition.

Ted Sherritt presents at the 2021 ISFA Annual Conference

Next up was Ted Sherritt, CEO at FLOFORM and treasurer, ISFA board of directors. He continued the conversation around creating value in a business by outlining what buyers look for when purchasing. Ted, who has an extraordinary track record with successful acquisitions, shared his insights around value drivers, risks and opportunities to consider when it’s time to sell.

Aaron Crowley, the current owner of No Lift Install System and previous owner of one of the most well-respected and successful stone fabrication outfits in the Pacific Northwest, rounded out the discussion with a powerful presentation on the psychology behind selling a business. He says that while the mechanics of a successful sale like valuation, negotiation and execution can be straightforward, the mental and psychological pressures can be overwhelming. Attendees learned about the critical dimensions of a business sale that can test the mental health of an owner, and how to cope with those challenges.

In addition to workshops, attendees learned about some of the latest and greatest products in the industry. Presenters in the New Product Roundup included GranQuartz, Infinity Surfaces, Park Industries, Crossville, Integra Adhesives, Corian Design, PinPoint Status, LX Hausys, Caragreen, Stone Services Group, Gemstone and No Lift Install System.  

In between workshops and presentations, attendees took advantage of the stunning desert ranch backdrop where they enjoyed great food, entertainment and a serene setting that enabled everyone to kick back, relax and enjoy each other's company. Sharing experiences and learning from one another in conversation continues to be a cornerstone of ISFA.

A bit of leisure time included a cowboy cookout and fireside gathering.

Team CaraGreen enjoys the welcome reception at the 2021 ISFA Annual ConferenceBrad Pearce and Geoffrey Gran are all smiles at the cowboy cookout.

The 2021 ISFA Awards

After a lovely welcome reception and dinner, ISFA presented the 2021 Awards. The ISFA Awards is a process rich in tradition, including the fact that the previous Fabricator of the Year Award winner designs, fabricates and delivers the awards for this year’s recipients. Last year’s winner, Geoffrey Gran of The Countertop Factory Midwest, designed a stunning pyramid-shaped award complete with internal lighting. 

The nominations process for the ISFA awards starts in July. It’s an open nomination process, and ISFA members submit nominees. Once the ballots are determined, voting begins, exclusive to ISFA members, with the exception of Volunteer of the Year, which is nominated by the executive director and voted on by the board of directors. 

2021 Innovator Award: Onslow Stoneworks 

The Innovator Award is presented to a fabricator member organization or individual that has displayed ingenuity by creating a product, system or service that enhances the fabricator’s workflow or process. The nominees were ASST and Onslow Stoneworks. 

Onslow Stoneworks was established in 1993 with locations in Swansboro, New Bern and Morehead City, all in North Carolina. Granite and stoneworking have been in the family for well over 120 years.  

Under owner Mike Schott’s leadership, Onslow Stoneworks has implemented an Entrepreneur Operating System (EOS), which transformed and optimized Onslow’s operating structure, and transitioned to a paperless workflow over 10 years ago by developing their own digital operating system. 

“Onslow Stoneworks took a giant, uncomfortable leap by letting an outside consultant come in and install an operating system, putting a structure and processes in place that resulted in massive increases in efficiencies, accountability and ownership that have transformed his business,” shared a fellow ISFA member. “The bravery and the humility that Onslow exhibited by embracing this system are unmatched in the industry.” 

Today, Onslow Stoneworks employs the latest in stone-cutting technologies but still has the same commitment to craftsmanship instilled in the Schott brothers years ago. Onslow Stoneworks continues to set the standard by which others strive to achieve. 

“We are constantly amazed by the ingenuity of our fabricator members,” said Nancy. “Mike and his team at Onslow Stoneworks have shown a remarkable aptitude for innovation within their business practices. They set a great example of how to be successful in a fabrication business.” 

“We are humbled to have been selected for this year’s Innovator Award, considering the amazing talent within the ISFA ranks,” added Mike. “We have a heads-down, mission-oriented mindset at Onslow Stoneworks, and we try not to get wrapped up in what the status quo may be. We always look internally to push ourselves harder and harder and to analyze processes and procedures. Every once in a while, you reflect on some big efforts and realize that wasn’t so easy, so being recognized like this, from the peers we are privileged to be surrounded by, is an honor.”  

Mike attributes Onslow’s success to his staff for having the strength, character and perseverance to push the limits of comfort every day to make Onslow Stoneworks a great company. To learn more about Onslow Stoneworks, visit

2021 Envision Award: BB Industries 

The Envision Award is presented to a supplier or manufacturer member who excels by creating something imaginative and exceptional for the surfacing industry. The nominees were BB Industries, Cosentino North America and PinPoint Status. 

Since 1994, BB Industries’ philosophy has offered the best customer service and the best value. They provide quality stone, tile, and concrete tooling and supplies. They strive to deliver the latest technology, fabrication techniques, and equipment improvements with better service and better value! 

From their Customer Bill of Rights: 

  • To be treated with friendliness, honesty, and respect. 
  • The lowest prices on our tile and stone products and full value for your money. 
  • A complete guarantee of satisfaction. 
  • Same-day shipping of our stone and floor tile supplies—in the event of a delay, customers are entitled to immediate notification along with an honest estimate of the expected shipping date. 
  • Speedy, courteous, and knowledgeable answers to inquiries. 
  • Questions on accounts will be handled on an individual basis so they can be resolved quickly. 

BB Industries is the publisher of the Slippery Rock Gazette, the most widely read stone trade newspaper in the United States. They mix their brand of humor and advice to share stone industry news, trade show information, and helpful educational articles. As a continuing service to the stone industry, the publication offers classified ad listings for used tile and stone tools and equipment, help wanted announcements and business opportunity listings. 

“BB Industries has stepped up their leadership regardless of COVID, which has hampered us globally,” shared a fellow ISFA fabricator. They have stepped up by creating and displaying ingenuity that enhances the fabrication industry.” 

In 2021, BB Industries was named a Top Workplace in Knoxville by the Knoxville News Sentinel based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey. 

“BB Industries represents what it means to be an exceptional supplier and supporter of fabricators,” said Nancy. “They are always looking for ways to go the extra mile for their customers and further the industry.” 

Most recently, BB Industries opened a full-service distribution operation in Salt Lake City to better serve the west coast with a sustainable approach in mind. They’ve expanded their sales team as well as hired a business analyst to support strategic growth. 

Rick Stimac, BB Industries, accepts the 2021 Envision Award from Nancy Busch, executive director, and Nancy Busch and Paul "Max" Le Pera, director at the ISFA Annual Conference.

“We were so honored to receive the ISFA Envision Award because it declares that we’ve created something imaginative and exceptional for the surfacing industry,” said Rick Stimac, president and CEO of BB Industries. “BBI strives to be innovative in all that we do from technology and operations to customer service and treating our customers, vendors and employees like family. In the past few years, we have heavily expanded both our external and internal sales teams, added our large fulfillment center in Salt Lake City to better serve the west coast and hired people who are helping our organization to grow strategically. We are also heavily involved in all stone industry associations, and as always, strive to be the best partner for all with which we do business. This award recognizes all the steps we have taken in the last few years to grow our business significantly, upgrade our technologies and expand our reach across the country to be better for our customers.” 

For more information about BB Industries, visit

2021 Associate of the Year: Park Industries 

The Associate of the Year Award is presented to an associate member organization that has best serviced the needs of fabricator member companies and supported ISFA in all activities. The nominees were Park Industries and CaraGreen. 

Park Industries began providing full-service solutions to the stone industry in 1953. Today, they have grown to become North America’s largest stoneworking equipment manufacturer. Park Industries’ steadfast commitment to customers is second to none, offering fabricators 24/7 technical support and tech dispatch.  

“As an ISFA member and Platinum Sponsor, Park Industries is a valued participant in events targeted toward fabricator training and networking,” said Nancy Busch, executive director of ISFA. “Park Industries strives to support fabricators with not only innovative tooling solutions but also educational programs. In July, the company demonstrated this by bringing together industry-leading experts to share data-driven market forecasts for our industry.”  

“ISFA has been instrumental in helping evolve the countertop industry, and we are delighted to support and participate in ISFA’s educational events and programs,” added Meagan Hegland, sales manager, Park Industries.  

Meagan Hegland and Mike Schlough of Park Industries were presented with the 2021 Associate of the Year Award by Nancy Busch, executive director, and Travis McDermott, McDermott Top Shop.

ISFA members look forward to hearing more from Park Industries in 2022. The association plans to coordinate a tour of Park’s facilities with additional conversation around tooling and fabrication processes. To learn more about Park Industries, visit

2021 Fabricator of the Year: J.C.W. Countertops  

The Fabricator of the Year Award is presented to an individual or a fabricator member organization that has best exemplified the ISFA ideals of quality, innovation, character and service to ISFA and the decorative surfacing industry. The nominees were J.C.W. Countertops, Alpha Granite and Lakewood Countertops.  

J.C.W. Countertops, an award-winning company founded by International Surface Fabricator Association Hall of Famer Jack Hussey, celebrates 50 years in business. Originally called Jack’s Custom Woodworking, the Woburn, Massachusetts-based business changed its focus mainly to solid surface as one of the very first fabricators of the groundbreaking material. The company then changed its name to J.C.W. Countertops. Now the second-generation business is under the ownership of Jack’s daughter, Erica Hussey, who is also an inductee of the ISFA Hall of Fame (2019).  

“Erica does a great job promoting the solid surface, quartz and stone industry,” shared a fellow ISFA member. “Her company does spectacular work, making dreams come true with their excellence in service, expertise, and understanding of both fabrication skills and budgets.” 

“ISFA is thrilled to present the Fabricator of the Year Award to Erica and her team at J.C.W. Countertops,” said Nancy. “Their dedication to the manufactured surface industry is an inspiration to fabricators everywhere.” 

Erica Hussey and J.C.W. Countertops are recognized and certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise from the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). 

Nancy Busch, executive director, and Geoffrey Gran, The Countertop Factory Midwest and 2020 Fabricator of the Year Award winner, present Erica Hussey of J.C.W. Countertops with the 2021 Fabricator of the Year Award.

“My father was one of the first to work with solid surface, and while I was growing up, I watched how the products changed,” said Erica. “The colors, patterns and capabilities of the material are amazing. And when I think about my experiences in this industry, lSFA has played a large role. When we joined the association, we knew it would be an asset. Being able to share ideas with fellow fabricators helped us to grow our business, and we formed many friendships along the way. Receiving this award is an honor and being recognized by my peers is truly humbling.”

Learn more about J.C.W. Countertops at

ISFA Volunteer of the Year: Rich Katzmann 

New to ISFA in 2021, the Volunteer of the Year award recognizes outstanding service to ISFA. Nominations are made to ISFA’s board of directors by the executive director. The nominees were Rich Katzmann, owner of Stone Services Group, and Frank Sciarrino, president of Granite Gold Services, Inc. 

“There are so many great individuals that give to our association, but it’s important to recognize those who have gone above and beyond,” said Nancy. “This year’s recipient has been a constant source of support in myriad ways. Rich serves on our events committee, he has participated in numerous events as host and emcee, and he continues to refer new members to the association. From creative content ideas to helping us develop our newest endeavor, the Behind the Surface podcast, Rich is dedicated to ISFA.” 

One new member captured his dedication to ISFA best by saying, “You don’t have to sell me on membership. If [Rich] believes in ISFA, I just need to know where to sign up.” 

“I was completely surprised to win this award,” said Rich. “I am beyond grateful. My experiences with ISFA have always been positive, and I wouldn’t be volunteering as much if I didn’t believe in the group’s mission and the value we create for the membership. Thank you, ISFA!” 

ISFA Hall of Fame: Chuck Sawyer 

The ISFA Hall of Fame Award is presented to an individual who has made significant contributions to the decorative surfacing industry throughout their career. This individual has demonstrated leadership qualities and a commitment to the ideals of ISFA. The nominees were J. “Bart” Leach and Chuck Sawyer. 

Chuck Sawyer has constantly provided advice, recommendations, solutions and innovation to the surfacing industry. Having served in countless roles, Chuck’s engineering and carpentry background proved to be a strong foundation from which the decorative surfacing industry has benefited. 

In 1974, he founded his own business, Environments Plus, Inc., a Crescendo Award-winning firm specializing in the design and construction of commercial spaces. His firm developed into an integrated organization, complete with manufacturing, construction, design and solid surface divisions. Because of his expertise and successful development of training programs in fabrication, sales and marketing, DuPont approached him to open an additional facility in Pittsburgh. 

Meanwhile, Chuck was not finished filling his schedule. He was also working as an instructor for the University of Cincinnati on home repair and remodeling techniques. He was recognized by DuPont as an independent consultant and certified instructor, assisting in the development and implementation of many programs and initiatives for the Corian and Zodiaq surfacing brands.  

In 1996, Chuck took a role with the Formica Corporation as a commercial sales manager and Fountainhead district representative. Chuck was later appointed to the Fountainhead Business Team, where he achieved the Circle of Excellence Silver Award in 1996. He developed business for Fountainhead commercial projects, which resulted in 30% growth. Chuck was also the chief sales/marketing person for the transition of Fountainhead from International Paper to Formica ownership in 1999.  

Chuck Sawyer, 2021 ISFA Hall of Fame Inductee

Among DuPont’s first certified trainers, Chuck pioneered early fabricator training in the U.S. and South America and was co-chair for the ISSFA Solid Surface Conferences. He was selected as Associate Member of the Year in 2001. 

For a short period, Chuck was a project manager for A.B.F. Industrial Constructors, Inc. and another personal business, Sawyer Customworks, Inc. Here he managed all manufacturing and construction activities and contract negotiations with many Fortune 500 clients. 

From 1999 to 2012, Chuck worked for both Ohio Valley Supply (OVS) and Basix International. During this period, he was responsible for creating and implementing new products from concept to launch. For OVS, he coordinated all phases of business with fabrication customers for Corian, Zodiaq, TorZo, granite and Soterra surfaces. He helped develop new sales and marketing programs along with the business model for the Corian 123 Program. He interacted with various clients on product attributes, capabilities, and technical detailing and developed online technical training programs. 

In 2009, Chuck was one of the first to be accredited as a LEED Green Associate by the U.S. Green Building Council.   

In 2012, Chuck was named executive director of ISFA. His initiatives as ISFA executive director were comprehensive fabrication and installation standards for solid surface and quartz, and regional and local opportunities for ISFA members to work, connect and learn together. He was instrumental in the redirection of ISFA and a resurgence of new energy to serve the membership better. In addition to implementing various programs such as the C.E.O. Roundtable, Knowledge Is Power and Total Fabrication Training (T.F.T.), his boundless energy helped pioneer ISFA’s Continuing Education program for architects and designers. 

“[Chuck’s] knowledge, experience and industry contacts, along with the great ideas he brings to the table, [helped] us to revamp ISFA’s programming,” said one ISFA member. “Chuck has been a constant source of positive influence, support and guidance and willfully provides a wealth of knowledge and experience.”  

“Chuck’s work with ISFA helped set a solid foundation upon which we are still building today,” said Nancy. “ISFA will always be grateful for Chuck’s hard work and dedication. From one executive director to another, I want to personally express my gratitude to Chuck for all he’s done for ISFA and the industry.” 

“Thanks so much for selecting me for this honor,” said Chuck. “From my first solid surface fabricating experience in 1975 until today, the decorative surface industry has been a huge part of my life, and I’ve loved just about every minute of it. I’ve also had the good fortune to be associated with ISFA since its inception, and I hope to contribute in the coming years. I see a lot of good things happening and good things for the future.” 

Conference attendees Nick Ciepluch, The Grandlienards, Arne Anderson and Stephen Johnstone toast to the winners at the ISFA Awards dinner.

And, of course, none of this would have been possible without the generosity of our sponsors. A special thanks to GranQuartz, Integra Adhesives, Park Industries, Infinity Surfaces and Crossville.

Cheers to a terrific event, and we look forward to seeing you next year.

Stay tuned for details! 


 Presenting Sponsor:




Integra Adhesives
Infinity Surfaces


Conference coverage photos are provided by ©️Kelley Carey Photography