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9:30 AM

Keynote:Old Dogs & New Tricks: Driving Successful Change in Safety Culture

One of the biggest challenges within any industry is convincing decision-makers of the value of adopting new approaches to train, monitor and evaluate safety procedures. Many firms simply fail to see the benefit or need to adapt to the technological advancement in safety tracking and reporting, often to the detriment of workplace safety. As regulatory and private concerns (i.e., insurance providers) clamor for increasing amounts of detailed data, many industries often lag.


At the same time, the flood of technology options hitting the market can seem daunting. With so many competing choices, many firms maintain the status quo for fear of committing to an option that fails to become an industry best practice. This could lead to internal disruption as they shift to and from competing innovations. Comfort and certainty in known processes become preferable to the risk associated with the unknown.


Additionally, the cost of technology can often seem obstructive when the returns are not realized until the end of the implementation process. Though these solutions have been shown to prevent costly oversights, make workplaces safer and more effectively manage project schedules (saving money), the upfront investment leaves some firms feeling that if the technology was not necessary to complete the job before, it is not warranted. However, the evidence points to the contrary. As firms confident in adopting new approaches continue to become the industry leaders, the remainder of the industry must keep pace.


In this presentation, we will explore current trends and the challenges of change within safety programs, including:

  • State of the science: silica and new safety approaches.

  • Avoiding shiny objects: incorporating technology-friendly business practices without causing distraction by constant change.

  • Proactive vs. reactive: anticipating industry trends and facilitating change needed to support them.

  • The future of safety: sustainability and ESG, ergonomics, training, air quality and predictive analytics.

Old Dogs New Tricks

About Rich Hubner, associate director at BSIRich Hubner is a safety practice lead for BSI, a leading international standards body that helps clients exercise safe, secure and sustainable practices. He is responsible for client services, business development and staff mentoring in the Mid-Atlantic region. He provides authoritative hazard assessments, risk mitigation planning and innovative guidance for occupational health and safety management. In addition, he cultivates and conducts occupational safety training. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Rutgers University and a Master of Public Health in environmental and occupational health from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

About BSI

Established in 1901, BSI is a leading national standards body that helps clients exercise safe, secure and sustainable operations. The company’s unique combination of consulting, knowledge, assurance and regulatory services makes organizations more resilient and, in turn, inspires trust in their products, systems, services and the world we live in. BSI enables people and organizations to perform better by sharing knowledge, innovations and best practices to make excellence a habit. As a global leader in helping organizations improve, its clients range from high-profile brands to small, local companies in 193 countries worldwide. Learn more at

Panel #1

10:45 AM

Panel Session + Q&A: Building a Strong Company Culture


In this session, panelists will share their experiences and strategies for prioritizing positive company culture before hiring new staff and how getting the culture right can streamline employee onboarding and retention. Topics include:

  • Defining company culture: the importance of determining company values, vision and mission statement to identify ideal employee candidates and ensure new hires align with your company culture.

  • Cultural fit questions in the interview process: an exploration into asking cultural fit questions during the interview process to gauge a candidate’s alignment with your company culture.

  • Job postings that attract suitable candidates: insights about using language that reflects your company’s values and mission statements to draw ideal applicants.

  • Sharing your culture with potential hires: sharing information about company culture with potential hires before onboarding and how it can help retain top talent.

  • The power of a positive work environment: increased productivity, improved employee performance, and reduced time and costs associated with hiring and onboarding new employees.


Panelists will answer questions from the audience and share their experiences in building a positive company culture. Join us for this informative and engaging panel session on Building a Strong Company Culture.

Panel #2

Moderator: Joe Duszka, Carolina Custom Surfaces, ISFA Immediate Past President

Joe Duszka is the owner and president of Carolina Custom Surfaces. With a degree in industrial engineering and an MBA, Joe’s strong interest in the relationship between machinery, people and processes has served him well in various positions, including plant engineer, production manager and plant manager for two manufacturing companies. He began working for Carolina Custom Surfaces in 2004, and he purchased the company the following year.

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Bo Schwarz, CEO, Bronwick Recruiting


Bo Schwarz is the founder and CEO of Bronwick Recruiting, a firm dedicated to pairing companies with not just employees, but powerhouses who can drive success and embody their culture. A proud bearer of the enneagram 7 tag, Bo channels the energy and passion of "The Enthusiast" into every aspect of his work. He's got an infectious zest for life and isn't afraid to inject a little fun into the business of recruitment. After all, who said building exceptional teams couldn't be an exciting ride?


Chris Sturdevant, General Manager, Adobe Walls Stoneworks


Chris Sturdevant is the general manager of Adobe Walls Stoneworks (AWS) in Amarillo, Texas. Chris has been with AWS for five years. While relatively new to the surface and stone business, Chris has 35 years of experience in business management and sales, including 15 years in residential and commercial building supplies. Prior joining the AWS team, Chris worked in the oil and gas industry, as well as cattle ranching, including the management of Longfellow Ranches, which is the second largest contiguous ranch in Texas.

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Travis McDermott, Operations Manager, McDermott Top Shop


Travis McDermott serves as operations manager for McDermott Top Shop in Jefferson, Wisconsin. Travis attended the University of Wisconsin, where he earned a Bachelor of Engineering degree with an emphasis in civil engineering. He worked as a civil engineer for two years before transitioning into the family business.

Having worked in many roles in the company over the past 16 years, Travis is well-positioned to lead the McDermott teams in all aspects. He is adept at all parts of the business, including best practices in fabrication, shop management, CAD and related software programming, sales, inventory, installation and more. Travis is passionate about leadership and contributing to a thriving company culture; he prioritizes professional development among his team members.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2023 - Panel 2

9:00 AM

Panel Session: Optimizing Software and Systems for Improved Productivity


In this session, panelists will discuss software solutions in the shop and reflect on implementation experiences. Topics include:

  • Software must-haves: tech solutions that improve productivity and efficiency, including productivity apps, communication tools and project management software.

  • Lessons learned: implementation pitfalls, common mistakes and assumptions about onboarding tech and how to avoid them.

  • Best practices in optimization: augmenting software and systems for productivity, including tips on how to streamline workflows, improve communication and reduce errors.


Panelists will answer questions from the audience and share their expertise in optimizing software and systems for productivity. Join us for this informative and engaging panel session on Optimizing Software and Systems for Improved Productivity.

Moderator: Travis McDermott

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Austin Maxwell, President, Maxwell Counters, ISFA President

Austin Maxwell is the president and second-generation owner of Maxwell Counters, Inc. Since 1981, Maxwell Counters has provided central Illinois and surrounding areas with full-service, custom surfacing for commercial and residential stone, solid surface and laminate countertops. Austin grew up spending his summer breaks sanding Corian and filing laminate end caps. He joined the company full time in 2015 after graduating with honors from Illinois Wesleyan University, where he studied business management and economics.

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John Gardner, Plant Manager, Carolina Custom Surfaces

John Gardner began his career in the surfacing industry by running CNC machinery for a fabricator while finishing his college degree in sports medicine. Since then, he has held multiple positions including operations manager, plant manager, commercial estimator, project manager, production manager and shop foreman. He joined Carolina Custom Surfaces in 2010 as its stone shop supervisor.

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Geoffrey Gran, Owner, The Countertop Factory


Geoffery Gran is the owner of The Countertop Factory Midwest and The Countertop Factory Southwest (TCF). TCF focuses on providing the highest quality countertop products using state-of-the-technology and best-in-class customer service. He is a managing partner of Fifth Gear Technologies, the company behind the popular fabrication solutions SPEEDlabel and SPEEDcad. He is also the managing partner of The Rockheads Group and Ignite Consulting Group. In 2020, Geoffrey was awarded the Fabricator of the Year award from ISFA.

Panel #3

Wednesday, October 18, 2023 – Panel 3

11:00 AM

Panel Session: Implementing New Equipment in Your Shop to Increase Efficiency


In this session, panelists will share their experiences with implementing new equipment and discuss best practices for optimizing efficiency in the shop. Topics include:

  • Implementing new equipment: identifying the right equipment for your needs and best practices for employee training and implementation.

  • Success stories: learn the best path to success from those who have traveled the road before and understand how it increased efficiency and productivity.

  • Potential pitfalls: learn what to avoid when purchasing new equipment.

  • Maximizing efficiency, including tips on employee training, maintenance schedules and proper use of the equipment.


Panelists will answer questions from the audience and share their experience with implementing new equipment in the shop. Join us for this informative and engaging panel session on Implementing New Equipment in Your Shop to Increase Efficiency.


Moderator: Frank Sciarrino, Managing Partner, Quote Countertops


Frank Sciarrino is a third-generation stone fabricator with more than 20 years’ experience in the stone industry. At his family’s fabrication business, Frank climbed the ranks over the years to chief estimator, operations manager, executive vice president and eventually leading the business as president and COO. Currently, he is a managing partner of Quote Countertops & president of Granite Gold Services, Inc., the service end of the Granite Gold stone care products company.

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Rick Stimac, President & CEO, BB Industries


With experience and the ingenuity to capitalize on profitable opportunities and a firm commitment to building the strongest organization possible, Rick Stimac, president and CEO of BB Industries, has earned a reputation for consistently delivering strong results. His background includes top positions in well-known organizations, including Sportcraft and Huffy Sports. Throughout his career, he has taken on responsibility for critical components in the consumer product arena, from achieving sales goals to profitability management, and most importantly, the creation and implementation of strategies designed to maximize revenue and promote advancement.

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Chuck Russo, CEO, BACA Systems


Chuck Russo is the founder and CEO of BACA Systems. He has over 35 years of experience implementing more than 4,000 robotic and waterjet technology solutions. Prior to founding BACA Systems, Chuck owned Surface Encounters, a stone fabrication shop in Macomb, Michigan, producing 1,000 square feet per shift. Chuck was also the founder and owner of Robotic Production Technology (RPT), a robotic systems supplier for the composites, plastics, automotive, aerospace, construction and marine industries. Chuck’s experience at RPT led him to introduce robots, including the industry-leading Robo SawJet programmable saw and abrasive waterjet cutting system, into the stone fabrication industry in 2014. Chuck studied business administration at Northwood University and received technical training at Ferris State University.

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Meagan Hegland, National Sales Director, Park Industries


Meagan Hegland is the national sales director at Park Industries, the largest provider of stone fabrication equipment in North America. With over 12 years of experience in industrial manufacturing and a focused expertise of two years in the stone fabrication industry, Meagan brings extensive knowledge to the table. She has a diverse background in sales and operations, and she is certified in Six Sigma, a set of methodologies and tools used to improve business processes by reducing defects and errors, minimizing variation, and increasing quality and efficiency.

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Laura Grandlienard, Owner, ROCKin’teriors


Laura Grandlienard is a leader in the industry and an advocate for the importance of environmental sustainability and increasingly prominent roles for women. She founded ROCKin’teriors in 2008 as an eco-friendly showroom, fabrication and installation company serving the triangle region of North Carolina. Prior to her career in decorative surface fabrication, Laura spent 14 years with IBM consulting on behalf of Fortune 500 companies. Her corporate and industry experience centers on exceptional quality craftsmanship, sustainability and client service.

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