Spanier Promotes Unity in the Stone Industry

Shannon Carey

Photos Courtesy

Coldspring and NSI

Kathy Spanier, Coldspring Director of Marketing

Kathy Spanier, Coldspring Director of Marketing

When Kathy Spanier joined Coldspring as their new director of marketing 13 years ago, she had enough career experience to know that the education she needed was not in the office. It was in the field.

Spanier came to Coldspring, a natural stone quarrier, fabricator and bronze manufacturer, from a varied career, with a marketing background in a variety of b-to-b industries. Coldspring recruited Spanier based on her track record, but she came to Coldspring because of the people.

“The comfort level I had with their culture, this was the perfect fit for me,” she said. “This has probably been the highlight of my career from an opportunity standpoint. I look at this industry very differently than any industry I’ve worked in, and it’s really all about the people and to embrace the passion that people have in this industry. There’s so much opportunity if you step out to get involved.”

Coldspring’s brand has made great strides under Spanier’s leadership. They changed the name from Cold Spring Granite Company to Coldspring to reflect that the company offers much more than granite. 

“Our look and feel didn’t reflect who we are today.  We had a collection of brands that were rolled up into the new Coldspring name to take advantage of all the resources available to serve the markets we are in. We wanted to break down the silos, as we are one company,” Spanier said.

But, some of Spanier’s greatest achievements have been in the bridges she’s built between the stone industry and the green building movement, outside the four walls of the Coldspring marketing office.

“A position in marketing is more than being behind a desk,” she said. “You have to be out in the market engaging with your target markets. Focusing on this in my role at Coldspring, I’ve found there are a lot of resources in the market with our target market as well as with key associations that have given me great insight and direction on driving strategy.”

Spanier (left, foreground) helped develop and implement the Women In Stone Mentorship program.

Spanier (left, foreground) helped develop and implement the Women In Stone Mentorship program.

Spanier Receives the Women in Stone Pioneer Award. From Left: 2017 BSI President Daniel Wood,  Kathy Spanier, and 2017 MIA President Jon Lancto

Spanier Receives the Women in Stone Pioneer Award. From Left: 2017 BSI President Daniel Wood, Kathy Spanier, and 2017 MIA President Jon Lancto.


And while those efforts have certainly boosted Coldspring, they have also benefitted the stone industry as a whole. For example, Spanier was at the forefront of the sustainable movement within the stone industry and in the development of NSC 373, a standard that allows natural stone to be used in U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED projects, along with other sustainable building program projects. Through networking and information-gathering, Spanier found that while stone is a natural product viewed as a favorable material choice because of its beauty, durability and low maintenance, there is a misperception thatwith how it gets to market as people don’t understand thethrough extraction and the fabrication process. 

“Our material is a natural, durable material that doesn’t have any additives, it’s mother nature after all, so it is a perfect fit for the green industry. LEED began with recognizing materials that were renewable or recyclable, but that changed to look beyond the product to how the material is produced and how it’s brought to market. The ANSI/NSC 373 Standard helps us the stone industry tell our story in a credible way showcasing our environmental, ecological and social responsibility similar to other industries,” Spanier said. 

Spanier has also been at the forefront of vital mergers and partnerships between stone industry associations, including the merging of the Marble Institute of America and Building Stone Institute (MIA+BSI), to form the Natural Stone Institute (NSI). She was originally on the board of the Building Stone Institute (BSI) and is currently serving as secretary of the NSI executive board. In that role, she has visited industry stakeholders around the world and gained a wide perspective.

“With NSI, I have the opportunity to serve on the executive board with many other great stone industry leaders,” Spanier said. “It is very a successful association due in large part to having an executive director like Jim Hieb at the helm, who engages the board and membership to drive association initiatives. It makes all the difference. We have an active board, and we’ve developed great alliances internationally with other stone associations in places such as, Brazil, Turkey, Italy, China, etc. Within the membership we also have developed advocacies for different sectors of our industry such as: quarriers, fabricators, installers, etc.”

A particularly meaningful part of the Natural Stone Institute to Spanier is her involvement with the Women in Stone as a board liaison and active participant. Her passion for the Women in Stone Mission, which is to recruit, retain and advance women in the stone industry, has driven her level of involvement with the group including developing and implementing the Mentorship Program. “It is very rewarding to see that we are on our third year of the mentorship program which has involved pairing over 100 individuals to help them increase their network and accomplish their personal career goals within the stone industry.” Spanier is the 2018 recipient of the Women in Stone Pioneer Award where she was recognized for her leadership and accomplishments.
(See archives, April 2018 article.)

“A key driver for this newly formed part of the association is to look at women when planning for the future of our industry. We’re seeing a lot of younger women coming in as part of a family business or new to the industry. Either way it is important for us to help them in their development to ensure their success and involvement in our association in the future. 

Today, Women in Stone has more than 650 female members. It goes beyond the mentorship program and gives women and opportunity to be involved in other committees including, planning events at major tradeshows with speakers and networking opportunities, communication outreach, recruitment and special projects. All of these efforts are aimed at giving a helping hand to women and making the stone industry as a whole stronger.

“I think that networking is important, and it doesn’t just have to be females. It’s about building a strong pipeline for our industry, and with how genuine people in this industry are, it’s fairly easy.”

And bringing those genuine people together is what it’s all about for Spanier.

“I think we as an industry are very fragmented, and I think the vision is to become a single voice against the other materials and industries we compete against. There’s a lot of opportunity to become stronger if we unify our voice. It’s amazing how much we are alike,” she said. “We shouldn’t be competing against each other. There’s enough work for all of us.”

“It isn’t about me. It’s about having a passion and finding the people that share that passion. Being able to be a role model to people, getting other people involved, it’s really rewarding to see people advance and be a mentor.”

For more information about NSI or the Women in Stone program, visit

See the related Milbank Quarry story in this issue.