The Natural Stone Institute announces 2023 award recipients

HomeNewsThe Natural Stone Institute announces 2023 award recipients

Oberlin, Ohio—The Natural Stone Institute (NSI)  has named the winners of its three award programs for 2023. Manu Shah (MSI) has received the 2023 Migliore Award for Lifetime Achievement; Denise Daniels (MB Stone Care and Supply) has received the 2023 Women in Stone Pioneer Award; and Richard Stahl (Galloy & Van Etten) has been named 2023 Natural Stone Craftsman of the Year.

Manu and Rika Shah started MS International (MSI) in 1975 in the basement of their home in Fort Wayne, Ind. The original idea behind the business was for Shah to work at home during her pregnancy and still generate additional income for the family. Manu had originally come to the United States to get his Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University, which he accomplished in 1968.

From 1974-1981, while getting MSI off the ground, Manu continued to work full-time as a mechanical engineer at International Harvester, a manufacturer of trucks and farming equipment. During these years, he also worked as a broker selling blocks of granite to U.S. manufacturers, primarily in the monuments industry.

In 1981, while still operating MSI out of their basement, the Shahs secured the contract to supply black granite for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. With their entire savings invested in the project, they spent endless nights making sure the project was executed perfectly—and it was.

Building on this success, the Shahs decided to develop and grow MSI full-time, and moved the company to Southern California. Until 1987, the business primarily served as a distributor of granite for monuments and tombstones. The Shahs soon realized that natural stone for residential and commercial usage had even higher market potential and redirected their efforts toward developing this sector of the industry.

By 2008, MSI was among the top importers of natural stone in the world, with materials from virtually every major stone sourcing country across the globe, including India, Brazil, China, Turkey, Italy, Spain and Mexico.

With leadership shared by sons Raj and Rup Shah, MSI was recently projected to reach sales of more than $3 billion and employ over 3,500 people worldwide. MSI said it is proud to indirectly support the employment of over 150,000 people, translating to impacting the lives of over 500,000 people worldwide. Beyond the industry service, the MSI Charitable Trust supports causes such as early childhood education, healthcare and wellbeing and employment generation. The Trust is also a Diamond level member of the Natural Stone Foundation Leadership Society.

Nominations for the 2024 Migliore Award are being accepted until May 20. To learn more, visit here.

Women in Stone Pioneer

Daniels began her industry journey with minimal stone knowledge, yet now stands as a reliable source of guidance and knowledge for stone restoration professionals. Through her work at MB Stone Care and Supply, Daniels equips each of her customers with the best tools available.

natural stone instituteDaniels has gone the extra mile to offer her knowledge through training stone restoration professionals across the globe. With an awareness that numerous individuals have come to depend on MB Stone’s “Intro to Stone Restoration” course, Daniels has taken initiatives to advance that learning experience by introducing additional courses that refine one’s skills.

Essential to MB Stone’s ongoing success, Daniels not only aided in the introduction of new and intriguing courses but has also played an integral role in the design and testing of the company’s product line over the years.

It’s the Stone ID Kit, designed in collaboration with geologist Karin Kirk, that Daniels says is one of her proudest accomplishments, and something that has become a hot commodity in the stone industry. It won the 2023 Best of Innovation award at The International Surfaces Event and was part of a featured hands-on demonstration at KBIS in 2023. Daniels has also teamed up with the Natural Stone Institute to host “What Stone Is This?: An Interactive Experience,” a CEU course that teaches others how to identify natural stone.

Daniels has achieved great success in the stone industry, becoming a figure of admiration for countless women and proving that women can be just as knowledgeable as men in her field. With a growing team of women at MB Stone championing the same cause, Daniels has become a respected mentor, developing an unrivaled community of like-minded industry professionals and cultivating a family culture.

Nominations for the 2024 Women in Stone Pioneer Award are being accepted until May 20. To learn more, visit here.

Natural Stone Craftsman of the Year

Stahl stood by his father’s side at the age of 6, gradually learning the intricacies and skills of the stone business. He eventually began his own career at the age of 16 as a laborer in his father’s cut-stone company. Stahl quickly acquired the necessary skills to become a bridge saw operator, and within a year, was promoted to planer operator, a job at which he excelled, but he and his father both knew his true passion was for stone carving.

Carrying on in the family stone tradition, Stahl completed his journeyman apprenticeship in 1980 under the wings of a master carver who was also a great mentor and cherished friend.

In 1983, Stahl opened his own stone carving studio in an old chicken coop, working in the evenings and weekends to create original designs, models and stone carvings, as he continued to work full-time at the stone shop.

Stahl carved in his own studio full-time for ten years, collaborating with architects, contractors and various local stone fabricators. He eventually returned full-time to the industry, settling in at Galloy & Van Etten in 1993, where he immediately shared his passion for the stone business while demonstrating his versatility carving in a large variety of stone types.

As a third-generation stone carver with nearly 30 years as an essential part of Galloy & Van Etten, Stahl is a master carver that takes great pride in teaching his coworkers the craft. He has mentored countless planer operators, cutters and carvers over the years.

Stahl said he believes in continuing the tradition of his trade and in giving back to his community. He is a founding member of The Stone Carvers Guild. He has conducted educational programs for local boy and girl scouts, schools and church groups, some of which have been recipients of his various stone carvings and sculptures.

Nominations for the 2024 Craftsman of the Year Award are being accepted until May 20. Learn more here.

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