Three Inspirational Figures in the Stone Industry: Stories of Passion, Perseverance, and Contribution

Words: Amy Oakley

Words: Amy Oakley, Natural Stone Institute

Despite their modest beginnings, the Shahs' dedication and entrepreneurial spirit propelled MSI forward. In 1981, while still operating from their basement, they secured the contract to supply black granite for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C., a project that showcased their commitment to excellence. This success marked a turning point for MSI, leading to its expansion into the residential and commercial natural stone market.

Over the years, MSI's influence grew, becoming one of the top importers of natural stone globally by 2008. Despite Manu's absence from formal leadership roles within industry associations, his contributions to the Natural Stone Institute (NSI) were invaluable. He supported key initiatives and provided financial aid and expertise during industry challenges, leaving a lasting impact on safety training resources and documentary projects.

With leadership transitioned to their sons Raj and Rup, MSI's trajectory continues to soar, projecting sales of over $3 billion and employing thousands worldwide. Beyond business success, the Shahs' commitment to philanthropy through the MSI Charitable Trust underscores their broader impact on society.

Denise's journey in the stone industry began with minimal knowledge, yet her dedication and passion propelled her to become a trusted source of guidance and expertise in stone restoration. Through her work at MB Stone Care and Supply, Denise revolutionized the industry by developing cutting-edge resources and providing unparalleled customer experiences.

Her commitment to knowledge sharing extended globally, as she trained professionals and introduced innovative courses to enhance skill development. Denise's involvement in product design and testing at MB Stone ensured the delivery of top-quality solutions, with her Stone ID Kit winning prestigious awards and gaining recognition across the industry.

Denise's success not only shattered gender stereotypes but also paved the way for a community of empowered women in the stone industry. As a mentor and leader, she fosters a culture of collaboration and excellence, leaving an indelible mark on her colleagues and industry peers.

Richard Stahl's connection to the stone industry began at a young age, working alongside his father and mastering the intricacies of stone craftsmanship. His passion for stone carving led him to establish his studio, where he honed his skills and collaborated with architects and contractors.

Returning to the industry full-time, Richard's expertise and dedication made him an invaluable asset at Galloy & Van Etten. As a master carver, he not only produces exceptional work but also shares his knowledge generously, mentoring countless colleagues and instilling a love for the craft.

Beyond his professional achievements, Richard is committed to giving back to his community, founding The Stone Carvers Guild and conducting educational programs for local groups. His legacy as a skilled artisan and dedicated mentor continues to inspire future generations in the stone industry.

About the Natural Stone Institute
The Natural Stone Institute is a trade association representing every aspect of the natural stone
industry. The current membership exceeds 2,000 members in over 50 nations. The association
offers a wide array of technical and training resources, professional development opportunities,
regulatory advocacy, and networking events. Two prominent publications—the Dimension Stone
Design Manual and Building Stone Magazine—raise awareness within the natural stone industry
and in the design community for best practices and uses of natural stone. Learn more at

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