News from the Natural Stone Institute (NSI): Blake Christensen Appointed to Executive Committee, Foundation Board Update 2024

Blake Christensen (Valley View Granite).

In our NSI-channel, we publish the following information from the Natural Stone Institute:

The Natural Stone Institute is pleased to announce that Blake Christensen (Valley View Granite) has been selected to join the association’s executive committee as board secretary.

Katie Jensen (Triton Stone Group), 2024 NSI board president, commented: “I am excited to announce that I have appointed Blake Christensen to the NSI board executive committee. Blake has been very involved with our education program, committing his time to educate those in our industry. I am very much looking forward to working with Blake and continually moving our industry forward.”

Under Blake’s leadership, Valley View Granite became a Natural Stone Institute Accredited fabricator in 2015 and has provided fabrication services for homes through the Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. program. Under his leadership, Valley View Granite has also participated in NSI’s Industry-Wide EPD report for countertops and donated to the Natural Stone Foundation. During his time on the NSI board, Blake has facilitated several Stone Summits for the Stone Industry Education program and provided valuable insight into the fabricator sector of the industry.

Blake commented: “To be able to serve and give back to an industry that has given me and my family so much has been such a privilege, and it is a great honor and responsibility to be asked to serve for four more years on the NSI executive committee. I am excited to continue strengthening NSI’s relevance and influence within the lanes of safety, education, standards, community, and the promotion of natural stone. It is truly humbling to carry the torch of those great leaders that have walked this path before me. Relationships matter most and I will do my best to strengthen and grow the relationships and influence of the natural stone industry. Thank you for letting me serve.”

The 2024 NSI executive committee is comprised of President Jensen, Vice President Evan Cohen (Quality Marble & Granite), Treasurer Jeff Erickson (Cutting Edge Countertops), and Secretary Christensen. Christensen is slated to become the association’s board president in 2027.

Natural Stone Foundation logo.

The Natural Stone Foundation is proud to welcome the following industry members to their Board of Directors for 2024:

Kevin Camarata—Board President
Brie Pfannenbecker—President-Elect
Tony Malisani—Immediate Past President
Ralph Morgan
Greg Osterhout
Rick Stimac
Holly Roher
Jonathan Zanger
Buddy Ontra
Katie Jensen-NSI Board President Liaison

2022 Foundation President Rich Katzmann (Rockheads Group USA) will officially end his term at StonExpo in January 2024. Katzmann has served on the board since the Foundation’s origin in 2017 and has witnessed its impact firsthand. Natural Stone Foundation Executive Director Jim Hieb commented: “During Katzmann’s tenure on the board, the Foundation funded initiatives that have increased natural stone’s market share, supported globally unified standards, combatted confusion between natural and manmade materials, educated and inspired architects and designers, cultivated future stone industry leaders, and advocated for programs that help keep employees safe.” 2023 Foundation President Tony Malisani welcomed Buddy Ontra to the board by saying: “We are excited to have Buddy Ontra join the board and be part of a winning organization that is helping to make our industry rock solid.”

In 2024, the Foundation board will continue raising funds to address future industry needs. Individuals and businesses are encouraged to make contributions to the Foundation’s annual fund or to honor an industry colleague or friend by making a tribute gift in their name. The board will also be seeking key stakeholders to support the launch of an endowment fund to further guarantee sufficient funding is available for years to come.

The Natural Stone Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Natural Stone Institute. Its mission is to serve the natural stone industry by financially supporting initiatives and services important to industry stakeholders. Funding received from the Foundation allows the Natural Stone Institute to produce educational programming, scholarships, and advocacy for the use of natural stone.

(16.01.2024, USA: 01.16.2024)