Joint Venture Proposal

Strengthening the Stone Industry


MIA     +       Logo-finals with diamond

the Natural Stone Institute

A Joint Venture Proposal of the Marble Institute of America
and the Building Stone Institute

MEMBER VOTE NOVEMBER 30th.  One vote per member firm. Watch your email for the ballot.


The respective boards of the Marble Institute of America (MIA) and the Building Stone Institute (BSI) unanimously voted to approve a 2-year Joint Venture proposal as it was presented by the Joint Task Force groups in July. In doing so, both boards will proceed to a vote of their respective memberships in late November, seeking member approval to move forward negotiations of a Joint Venture process.

Over the next several months the executive vice presidents of both organizations will be working together to fine tune an operational plan that will support the proposal as presented in the July 21, 2015 Report of the Consolidation Task Force.




In preparation for the membership votes, both organizations will be responsive to member feedback, and will provide various venues for informational discussion on the proposal. As well, each will host a web page portal to post detailed information as it becomes available. View the MIA Joint Venture webpage with their perspective on the joint venture proposal.

Member resources available now:

• Joint Venture Power Point for Members – Sunday November 15, 2015 from Washington DC Study Tour – Town Hall Meeting

The Report of the Consolidation Task Force – the power point presentation presented by the joint task force teams to the respective boards in July.

• Frequently Asked Questions document – answers to frequently heard questions & concerns of BSI members assembled by the BSI Executive Board &  EVP

• BSI President Rob Barnes’ August Newsletter Message to BSI Members

Cover Story from MIA September-October Newsletter

• MIA President Dan Rea’s September Newsletter Message to MIA Members

• August 13, 2015 Press Release [MIA+BSI 0120]


Planned Member Outreach:
August 13 – MIA and BSI jointly announce board proposal to hold membership vote
September – What your peers say about a Joint Venture – Testimonials from both memberships
October – Webinar – An Overview of a Proposed Joint Venture between MIA and BSI
November – Washington DC Study Tour Sun. Nov. 15 – Town Hall Meeting – 3:30 – 5:00pm
November 30th – December 10th  – Member Voting Period by Electronic Ballot

BSI Board Accessibility:
The BSI board will make themselves available to any member who desires to discuss the proposed Joint Venture personally.  Please see names and business contact information for each BSI Board Member listed here.

The Vote:
The week of November 30, 2015 a vote via electronic ballot will circulate both memberships. Member firms will be given one vote per enrolled location. It is imperative that the BSI and MIA have accurate key contact information to insure the emailed ballot reaches an authorized agent of the member.

An affirmative vote of a 2/3 majority of the BSI membership who cast a vote, will be needed to approve the Joint Venture proposal. The MIA membership will simultaneously vote in order to approve the proposal seeking a 50+ % majority of voters to approve.

If the Vote Passes in Both Memberships…..
The new Joint Venture of MIA+BSI – the Natural Stone Institute – will launch at The International Surface Event West in Las Vegas January 19-22, 2016. Joint programming will be offered.  Further joint programming will continue at the 2016 Annual Convention in Scottsdale February 28- March 2, 2016.



In theory, a joint venture of two of the largest and most powerful stone associations in North America makes sense for our industry. Attempts at consolidating have occurred for many years. Today, the additive benefits in consolidating and the need to strengthen the position of natural stone in the design and construction markets to remain competitive and viable outweigh the hurdles that have prevented success in the past.

About Both of Us:
As a member of the Building Stone Institute (BSI), you are familiar with what the BSI offers our members and our industry – including hands-on, interactive study tours; annual conventions providing personal and professional development education along with intimate, and fun networking activities like our now annual LIVE AUCTION; hosts of the Tucker Design Awards and Bybee Prize – celebrating exceptional design projects built in natural stone; and publisher of Building Stone Magazine – a unique, high-quality, magazine promoting awareness and education for the diverse use of natural stone.

The majority of the BSI membership is located in North America with the highest percentage being stone distributors and quarry/producers of both building and dimension stone. The BSI has existed in serving the natural stone industry since 1919, whose office is currently located in Chestertown, NY with just two full-time staff members handling all aspects of association services.

Similarly, for over seventy years, the Marble Institute of America (MIA) has served as the authoritative source of information on standards of natural stone workmanship and practice, and the suitable application of natural stone products.

Membership in the MIA is worldwide and includes over 1700 natural stone producers, exporters/importers, distributors/wholesalers, fabricators, finishers, installers, and industry suppliers — all committed to the highest standards of workmanship and ethics.

MIA publishes a monthly newsletter for members, operates an industry accreditation program for fabricators and installers, markets a range of technical publications and consumer pamphlets on natural stone, sponsors business and technical meetings and seminars on industry-related topics, provides educational programming for architects and construction specification professionals, presents a Natural Stone Scholarship Award (free trip to StonExpo) to future industry leaders and conducts the annual Pinnacle Awards competitions recognizing outstanding natural stone projects worldwide (awarding industry, versus the architect as through Tucker Awards).

MIA also produces a number of consumer education materials on the use of natural stone and its proper care and maintenance. Currently, the MIA operates with 9 full time and 1 part-time staff members.

Both organizations have outstanding leaders/volunteers and staff that if combined into one entity have an amazing potential to accomplish much more.

The MIA & BSI staffs have recently collaborated on several projects including: 2011 Vermont Study Tour, multiple StonExpo events, Natural Stone Council work, AIA convention education, and now the 2015 DC Study Tour.



• Combine assets and resources to form a financially stronger organization.
• Merge duplicate services provided by each of the associations.
• Utilize the combined staff strengths to more effectively focus on new, priority initiatives
• Eliminate multiple dues payments and minimize conflicting allegiance of the many companies who belong (membership) to and support (sponsorships and “in kind” contributions) both organizations.

Understanding the Current Memberships of Each Organization:
34.5% (or 81 companies) of the BSI membership are already MIA members. In total the MIA has 1745 members in 54 countries. The BSI membership consists of 226 companies. A combined organization would be 1971 companies. The rough breakdown by industry segment is:

Memberships Chart


In addition to the four primary reasons featured above, The MIA membership will gain from several key BSI programs, most notably an awareness of and potential project involvement in Building Stone Magazine and the Tucker Design Awards. The BSI membership will gain from the addition of many new benefits — the very same that MIA members enjoy today — including access to technical support, existing continuing education courses, chapter events, business forms and more. The BSI also provides outstanding networking events and that influence will make a lasting impact on current MIA local and regional events.

Together, through this larger membership, (especially in the quarry/producer category), the MIA existing influence on regulatory agencies will gain a stronger voice. All members will benefit from outstanding board leadership and a very capable combined staff. An expanded list of benefits to both memberships is listed below:

Increased membership: Uniting two of the largest natural stone associations – a consolidated increase of 154 members with great potential to grow.
Regulatory Influence: Continue to leverage the MIA’s good standing with OSHA, EPA, and NIOSH. Use the stronger quarry/producer segment to enhance the relationship with MSHA.
Larger Voice: Become a unified and larger industry voice.
Efficiencies: Pool resources/assets/administrative support.
Stronger Outreach to Quarry/Producers: Opportunity to increase the outreach and resources provided to the quarry/producer segment (more difficult to accomplish if two organizations exist).
Expanded Safety Training: Expand the focus of the current MIA safety committee beyond fabrication, distribution, and restoration. Add training resources for MSHA. An inclusive quarry/producer segment committee make-up is being explored now.
Promotion: Combined staff talent and connections will be applied to an industry-wide Natural Stone Promotional Campaign, including incorporating Building Stone Magazine into a portfolio of existing advocacy/education programs for the design community. Expansion of the Stones of North America website and iPad App.
Architects and Designers (CEU): Combine the CEU programs which would expand the number of presentations available and extend beyond just AIA and ASLA. Availability of list of 6000 architects (from MIA CEU Program) for Building Stone Magazine awareness and minimally, its digital edition distribution.
Study/Quarry Tours: Combine both annual events into a single, inclusive program.
Member Savings: No longer will members belonging to both groups pay dual dues payments or duplicate sponsorship support.
Recognition: A chance for the two existing awards programs to alternate years – the Tucker Design Awards program occurs in even years, and likely, the Pinnacle Awards program would move to every other year, to be held in odd years.
Staffing: The 2 person BSI staff has skill sets that compliment that of the existing larger MIA staff.


Combined Brand: Trade show exhibits will be combined into one entity/brand. Beyond AIA, ASLA and StonExpo, BSI members gain influence from  Coverings, Marmomacc and other international stone shows.
International Sector: Increased awareness to the international stone sector through a large existing MIA international member base.
Interiors: Increased awareness to stone fabricator group (interiors/ countertop industry) through large, existing MIA fabricator member base.
DES CEU: Access to existing MIA Continuing Education programs — “canned” programs.
Industry Standards: Online access to essential documents in the existing MIA Resources Library, including the Dimension Stone Design Manual,
Tool Box Safety Talks, Technical Bulletins and Technical Q&A references.
Pinnacle Awards: Ability to enter Pinnacle Awards program (currently must be an MIA member to enter).
Combined Annual Awards Programs: Tucker (awards the architect) even year/Pinnacle (awards the member) odd year.
Dues Savings: If currently also an MIA member, no further duplication of dues payment.
Staff: Current BSI administrative staff will continue to lead events currently enjoyed by BSI members.
Technical Support: BSI members will benefit from existing MIA staff that respond to inquiries from members and the design community.
Chapters: Access to regional charter groups — education, networking, convenience (additional fees required).
Business Forms: The combined membership will have online access to “Members Only” area hosting existing MIA generated Human Resource tools and programs, currently:
– Job Descriptions Toolkit
– Employee Handbook Toolkit
– 70 Human Resource Forms
– 100 Customer Sales Forms
– Member to member discount offers
Money Savings: Endorsed Partner money saving programs, currently:
– Worksite Benefits Insurance Program
– Collections Program
– Credit Card Processing Program
– Utility Audit Program
– Employment Practice Liability Insurance Program
– Office Supplies and Print Services Program
– Website Optimization Program
Bookstore Resources: Member pricing for existing MIA Bookstore items


A vote of the respective memberships to approve a Joint Venture proposal between MIA and BSI is planned for November 30th, 2015. Both boards believe uniting two of the largest stone trade associations makes sense. Both organizations have excellent leaders, outstanding members, and competent staff.

A joint venture would allow for a stronger voice on regulatory matters, strengthen programming options, allow broader access to a valuable resource library, and provide a stronger outreach to architects and designers, and much more.

Assuming membership votes to create a joint venture, and that it is successful, in two years the intent would be to request a second vote of both memberships to legally consolidate into one business entity.

We urge you to get engaged in the conversation.


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