Peter J. Marcucci

Special Contributor

Brenda Edwards, Owner/ General Manager TexaStone Quarries,  MIA Board member and Natural Stone Council Board memberTexaStone Quarries—a family owned and operated facility located in Garden City, Texas—has been a leading supplier of quality limestone as well as a stone fabricator for nearly two decades.  

A holder of numerous local quarry assets, TexaStone Quarries offers a magnificent collection of limestone colors in both slab and block, suitable for residential or commercial applications. 

Directing the company throughout this period has been Owner Brenda Edwards, a well credentialed industry leader and longtime advocate of sustainable quarrying methods. Brenda’s commitment to excellence in workmanship and ethics has been key to this culmination of success, and insures that TexaStone Quarries continues its current course, offering unsurpassed standards and quality in our industry.  

Brenda, thank you so much for contributing your time to our readers. Could you please explain your background in the stone industry? 

“TexaStone Quarries became an entity January, 1995. This happened after a man from Dallas in the stone business suggested that limestone was on our ranch land. The ranch land at one time was the Permian Sea, many millions of years ago. After drilling and coring for several months and finding several different colors of stone on a thirteen mile coral reef, the land was leased to a stone company from Dallas for quarrying purposes. 

“Later, the lease was not renewed, and TexaStone became a company. After several trips to Italy where machinery and equipment were purchased, a fabrication building was built and the doors were opened. This was certainly a learn as you go process, since no one had experience with limestone quarrying or fabrication.”

Where do you see our industry at this point in time?   

“I believe that the natural stone industry is heading in a positive direction upward. After four years in an economic slump, the construction business is back on track and natural stone will receive its share of the market. A very important factor that will increase natural stone’s market share is the creation of the ANSI NSC 373 Standard.”

How do you square on current as well as pending government regulations in the pipeline?

“I firmly believe in regulations, and consequences, if they are not followed. However, I believe that an elected official (politician) should not have the power to say what regulations should be placed in an industry. These rules should be established within a panel of educated individuals from that specific industry. 

“Each industry is different, so a blank regulation should not be applied. An example of this would be the quarrying of stone in an open pit or ledge, which is totally different than coal mining, yet, they all have the same regulations. The regulations imposed on companies should be helpful to the industry, and not so harsh that it puts companies out of business.” 

What important facts do stone retailers need to know when ordering or purchasing domestic or imported materials? 

“Retailers purchasing natural stone for a particular project should know the composition of the stone and the applications that their selected stone is best suited. Talking to the stone supplier and the installer is what I would recommend. 

“Natural stone is one of the oldest building materials, and should be recognized as such. The manufactured materials (engineered stone) should not be allowed to present themselves as stone to retailers. Lack of education of natural stone has scared consumers, therefore, the more knowledge the supplier or installer can give, the better. Don’t be afraid of natural stone!”

What important issues should owners of new or existing fabrication companies (especially smaller ones) be most concerned with to ensure their continued viability in a price competitive market?

“New owners should be aware of the high ethics that are promoted in the natural stone industry and that competition is good and not their enemy. I recommend visiting other companies that are similar to theirs, get to know them, and network together to help each other with problems.”

What new direction, if any, would you like to see the industry take in the near future? 

“I would like to see natural stone become the most desirable building product in the US.  International would be nice also. The industry as a whole should come together not as a competing body amongst themselves, but as an industry striving for the same goals.”

You’re a member of many organizations, including the Marble Institute of America. Which ones, if any, do you encourage others to join? 

“Yes, I am a member of many stone organizations, but I believe that an individual company should seek their own best fit. After serving on many different organizations’ boards, I have found that many activities and educational programs, overlap. With this being said, and with my previous statement regarding coming together and with the economic environment, I am in support of these organizations becoming one. 

“My reasons are the following: one membership fee, one planning of activities, no overlapping of educational programs, an increase in membership networking and a united hand working together. 

“Each organization has great benefits to offer individually, but pooling and combining their excellent, experienced staff and resources into one unit, WOW! The natural stone industry could set the world on fire.”

So what can people like myself as well as owners of quarries, distributors, and fabricators do to help promote sustainability in the industry?

“I see the future of the natural stone industry exceeding previous years. The unity of the natural stone industry in publishing the ANSI NSC 373 Standard, will have a major impact on construction, not only in architecturally designedly commercial, government, and industrial buildings, but in residential construction. The standards that the natural stone industry have imposed on themselves, without governmental intervention, will be one of the greatest assets.” 

As an industry luminary, what direction do you see the industry going in the next ten years?

“One thing I’m most excited about in the stone industry, is an initiative by the MIA ‘The Women in Stone.’ There was a kickoff reception at StonExpo in Las Vegas that was very well attended. The Steering committee has been hard at work getting ready for their first conference in Miami at StonExpo East on October 19th.”  

In what emerging markets do you see great promise, and what is needed by stone fabricators to acquire these markets?

“I’m not sure I’m qualified to answer this question. My best guess would be the ‘Green Building’ move. Everyone seems to be leaning toward building green today, so I would advise fabricators to certify to the ANSI NSC 373 Sustainable Production of Natural Dimensional Stone Standard.”  

Thank you so much for your time and wisdom, Brenda.

Peter J. Marcucci has over 25 years of fabrication experience in the stone industry. Send your comments to our Contacts page on the SRG website.