OBERLIN, Ohio & CHESTERTOWN, N.Y. – On Jan. 1, it’s auld lang syne to two stone-industry groups, and the beginning of a new one.

The Marble Institute of America and the Building Stone Institute will merge, following an overwhelming vote of approval from the combined memberships. In 2018, there’ll be a new name: the Natural Stone Institute (NSI).

275 MSIBIAMembers okayed the merger by a vote of 565-25 during an online election held on Nov. 13-24.

“Thank you to those members who voted and to everyone who has participated in the dialogue about the merger,” noted Jim Hieb, MIA CEO, and Jane Bennett, BSI executive vice president, in a statement today announcing the results. “Your trust, support and guidance has helped make this possible. Together, we will continue our resolve to provide the best technical, educational, and promotional support for our growing membership and the natural stone industry, as well as expand our outreach to the design community.”

David Carnevale, of Carnevale & Lohr in Bell Gardens, Calif., will serve as the first president of the merged organization.

“I look forward to serving as first president of the Natural Stone Institute,” he noted in a statement. “I want to thank the many current and past industry leaders from BSI and MIA who had the foresight to see what was possible with a merger.

“The Natural Stone Institute is well positioned to further advance the combined association’s role as a technical and educational leader. We will continue to offer a wide array of opportunities for networking with both industry and design professionals.”

Greg Osterhout of Northern Stone Supply in Oakley, Idaho, will serve as vice president. Robert Zavagno Cleveland Marble Mosaic Co. in Cleveland will serve as secretary, and Kathy Spanier of Coldspring in Cold Spring, Minn., will serve as treasurer.

The NSI will start with more than 2,000 members, with a leadership focusing on technical and education initiatives intended to further advance the use of natural stone.

A new association logo will officially debut at TISE 2018 in January.