The NSI informs: 2020 CEU Educator of the Year Awarded to Stone Panels International LLC, and North American Quarry Advocacy Group Steering Committee Created

Kayla Strand (center) accepts the award from Education Committee Chair Daniel Wood and CEU Administrator Sarah Gregg.

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

Each year, the Natural Stone Institute (NSI) recognizes both an organization and a certified individual for presenting the most CEUs for that calendar year. It takes time and effort to coordinate these events for architects and designers, and the educational impact deserves recognition. As many locations were closed to visitors in 2020, certified speakers embraced virtual education to reach their audience.

The 2020 CEU Educator of the Year Award was presented to Stone Panels International LLC, a lightweight stone company in Marble Falls, TX. Certified speakers at Stone Panels educated 594 individuals at 74 classes: the most of any participating company for 2020. Stone Panels implemented a marketing plan that targeted emails and flyers specific to architect and design firms, delivering a message they knew would resonate.

Kayla Strand, Regional Sales Manager for Stone Panels International LLC, was named 2020 CEU Speaker of the Year. Kayla’s efforts in outreach, presenting, and maintaining industry relationships allowed both her and her company to achieve these honors. Kayla was the top performing speaker, contributing 44 classes and 317 attendees to Stone Panels’ totals.
Regarding achieving her goals during a global pandemic, Kayla stated: “Last year was trying for all of us on many different levels. Every week regulations were changing. Instead of spending time on an airplane and traveling around to different cities, I used that time to dive into the market segments I was serving and offer them the same level of expertise I would have provided before the pandemic, just in a different way – virtually. I found that reaching out and offering online education was something many offices were looking for. People were looking for an opportunity to get their credits and learn about the product Stone Panels International has to offer. Before I knew it, my calendar was full: I was spending 2-3 days a week providing CEUs, sometimes back to back. COVID has brought a lot of challenges to all aspects of our lives. I’m a believer that sometimes the greatest ideas come out of the most challenging times.”

The Natural Stone Institute CEU program currently has 454 certified speakers worldwide. With 336 CEU classes were presented to 4,225 design professionals in 2020, the program continues to make an important impact on the natural stone industry. To learn how to get involved, visit

North American Quarry Advocacy Group Steering Committee

Nine applicants have been selected for the inaugural North American Quarry Advocacy Group Steering Committee:

Byron Davis – Salado USA, Florence, TX
Quade Weaver – TexaStone Quarries, Garden City, TX
Ann Marie Ramos – New England Stone Industries, Smithfield, RI
Ben Kaus – Vetter Stone/Alabama Stone, Mankato, MN
Bernard Buster – Lyons Sandstone, Lyons, CO
Peter Prvulovic – Vermont Quarries Corp., Mendon, VT
Ralph Morgan – Polycor, Quebec City, QC, Canada (Bedford, IN)
Reid Kubesh – Coldspring, Cold Spring, MN
Eric Chaloux – Miles Supply, Barre, VT

Reid Kubesh of Coldspring has been appointed chair of this committee. Kubesh brings strong volunteer leadership experience and enthusiasm for the industry and committed support from Coldspring. Their confidence and support ensure Kubesh the appropriate time and resources necessary to spearhead this initiative and advance the North American Quarry Advocacy Group’s purpose, positively impacting quarries of all sizes.

In their initial meetings, the Steering Committee has identified several key areas of focus, with priority attention being given to two initial work groups: one addressing collaboration in benchmarking and exchange of data and solution, and one that will collaborate to find solutions for recruiting and retaining employees. The committee will continue to discuss natural stone promotion and educational needs for the North American sector. They will meet virtually throughout the summer, with their first in-person meeting to occur during the Cleveland Study Tour in September.

Natural Stone Institute members are encouraged to join the advocacy group to receive communications and updates on the group’s initiatives and progress. To learn more, visit

(03.07.2021, USA: 07.03.2021)