Along with the more than 1,000 global exhibitors showing a range of products and technologies at Coverings, taking place April 14 to 17 in Orlando, Fla., education sessions for stone fabricators will be held beginning April 13.

In addition to the keynote speakers—including Eric Astrachan, executive director of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA); Edie Cohen, deputy editor of Interior Design Magazine; Harris Rosen, president of Rosen Hotels & Resorts and Joey Shimoda, CCO of The Shimoda Design Group—other conference topics relevant to the fabricator segment include conversations on job-site safety, best business practices and industry challenges; guidance on how to select appropriate membranes and anchors for projects and instruction to ensure that products are tested and cared for appropriately.

Sessions will include:

•OSHA On-Site Consultation. This session, moderated by G.K. Naquin of Stone Interiors, will provide attendees with insight into the benefits of inviting OSHA into facilities directly from companies that took the challenge. David Castellucci of Kenneth Castellucci & Associates, Jonathan Mitnick of CCS Stone, Jim Nikolopoulos of Walker Zanger and William Tomlin of OSHA-Department of Labor will outline guidelines for employees that ensure a safe, OSHA-friendly atmosphere at any facility. Monday, April 13, 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

•Fabricators Forum. Moderated by Eric Tryon from Premier Surfaces, this open forum for residential countertop fabricators is an excellent opportunity for collaborative discussion about the challenges that exist in the fabrication market. Marco Duran from Atlas Marble & Granite, Karen Rothenberg of Natural Stone Motif and Buddy Ontra of Ontra Stone Concepts will discuss fabrication methods, equipment needs and materials, customer expectations, personnel and sale strategies. Monday, April 13, 2:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.

•Anchoring and Backup Systems for Interior Light Commercial Projects. Rodney Harvey of Curtain Wall Design and Consulting will discuss the many decisions to address after deciding to use a mechanically anchored stone veneer. This session will share insights to recognizing whether preassembly will provide a cost advantage or whether it will produce unnecessary engineering complications, and offer basics of selecting and specifying anchorage systems appropriate for particular projects. Tuesday, April 14, 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.

•State of the Stone Industry. This panel discussion, led by David Castellucci  of Kenneth Castellucci & Associates; Jim Hieb of the Marble Institute of America; John Lancto of Surface Products; Tony Malisani of Malisani; and Dan Rea of Coldspring, will cover first-hand how industry leaders and peers are addressing matters ranging from government regulation, competing product challenges and forecasting of market growth. This session is focused on questions, answers and great discussion between peers. Wednesday, April 15, 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.

•Selecting and Installing the Appropriate Membrane. This session, presented by Steve Taylor of Custom Building Products, will help attendees identify the different types of membranes for ceramic and natural stone installation and review the physical properties of all types of membranes. Standards from ANSI and TCNA for various membranes, the areas of use, and any limitations to the use of a type of membrane will also be discussed. Wednesday, April 15, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.

•Wholesale/Slab Distributors Forum. Moderated by Jonathan Zanger of Walker Zanger, this forum will feature an in-depth discussion of strategic issues critical to running successful wholesale/slab distribution companies. Panelists Evan Cohen of Quality Marble, Josh Levinson of Artistic Tile and Roy Viana from Dal-Tile, will also focus on problems and solutions to common operational issues. Wednesday, April 15, 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. 

•Practical Application of Stone Standards & Tests. Robert Bacon of Dal-Tile and Chuck Muehlbauer of the Marble Institute of America will present an interactive session about the relevance of the most widely used test procedures for stone products, and will advise for which applications they should be used. Attendees will learn tips on how to explain the technical aspects of stone testing in everyday common terms. Thursday, April 16, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

•Fabricator Roundtables. New for 2015, Coverings has added three roundtable sessions to provide smaller, more interactive learning opportunities for fabricators. The first roundtable will be led by Robert Bacon of Dal-Tile and Sarah Kelly of MIA and is titled: CEU Immersion Class |Providing CEUs to Architects & Interior Designers Using MIA's Turn-Key Program on Wednesday, April 15 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. The second roundtable session will be facilitated by speakers Peter de Kok, GranQuartz and Duane Naquin, Stone Interiors East and this session will focus on Perspectives in Benchmarking. The last roundtable will be held in the Appreciation Lounge and will focus on How to Handle Wastewater in a Fabrication Setting with speakers Jim Callaghan, GranQuartz and Jon Traczuk, Moscone Tile and Marble. Unless indicated, all roundtables will take place on Thursday, April 16 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

•Care and Maintenance Forum. Facilitated by Rod Sigman of Custom Building Products, this forum will help attendees gain an understanding of important and essential products to use for maintenance of tile and stone installations. David Bonasera of Better Bio Solution, Keith Graves of Arc, Lorne Greenberg of Fabra-Cleen, and Rawi Tabbah of International Stoneworks will demonstrate the difference between alkalines, acids and solvents and where each should be used. Thursday, April 16, 2:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Click here for more information about Coverings' seminars.