Organizers of Surfaces and StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas 2011 are planning a joint General Session focused on persevering and reaching goals in this fluctuating economy. The General Session will feature Aron Ralston, author of the New York Times best-selling book Between a Rock and a Hard Place, which focuses on perseverance, goal-attaining and overcoming adversity.

In 2003, while Ralston was on a solo rock-climbing excursion, his right arm became pinned to the canyon wall by an 800-pound boulder. Ralston survived for five days with little food and less than a liter of water. Finally, he self-amputated his crushed arm to free himself, repelled down a 65-foot face of a cliff, and hiked several miles out of the canyon to his truck. A film based on this story, called  “127 Hours” and starring James Franco as Ralston, will be released in late 2010.

“There couldn’t be a better choice than Aron Ralston to launch the inauguration of an Opening General Session at StonExpo and Surfaces,” said Gary Distelhorst, exec vp and ceo of Marble Institute of America. “His story is one of true grit, guts, focus and fortitude, and is a lesson everyone can learn from as we emerge from the worst recession to hit our businesses in recent memory.”

The opening General Session will be held on Tuesday, January 25, 2011, from 8:30 to 10:00 a.m. in Las Vegas. Registration details for Surfaces and StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas 2011 and the opening General Session will be available in mid-August.