ISSFA, Moving to Expand Focus, Names New Executive Director

Henderson, NV — The International Solid Surface Fabricators Association has named industry veteran Russ Lee as executive director of the Henderson, NV-based trade association.

The move comes on the heels of a unanimous vote by the ISSFA Board of Directors last month to recommend its membership adopt a change in focus to embrace all decorative surfacing products. The proposed change would shift the focus from solid surface and quartz surfacing products exclusively, to embracing all decorative surfacing materials.

The move, according to ISSFA leaders, was made to facilitate ISSFA’s evolution from a product-based organization to a fabricator-centered association.

“As a strictly solid surface fabricators association we saw the needs of our membership changing, but were restricted by association by-laws as to how we could respond to those needs,” said ISSFA President Todd Werstler.

“By changing the focus of the association to embrace all decorative surfacing options, we now can concentrate on the total needs of our fabricator members instead of promoting a single product category. Russ Lee is the perfect person to help guide us through that all-important transition.”

A countertop fabricator for 13 years, Lee served as editor of SolidSurface magazine, a sister publication to Kitchen & Bath Design News, for six years. Lee also served as v.p./surfacing for the advertising and public relations firm Fry Communications for two years, and President of sitesNsolutions.com for two years.

In addition to fabricating countertops for residential and commercial applications, Lee has experience in the manufacture of solid surface materials, including color design, mold design/construction and product development. As editor of SolidSurface, he traveled extensively across the U.S., Europe and Asia, reporting on countertop manufacture and fabrication. As a freelance journalist, his articles have been published in a number of industry magazines, including KBDN. For the past two years, Lee has concentrated on developing Internet marketing opportunities for countertop fabricators through his company, sitesNsolutions.com.

He replaces former executive director Robert Oxley, named to the post several years ago.

“I have a passion for the countertop industry and for ISSFA that continues to grow,” said Lee. “ISSFA stands at a crossroads today that will determine the scope and vision of the association for the foreseeable future.

“Countertop fabricators face challenges and opportunities that are consistent with a rapidly evolving and fashion-driven industry,” he said. “We must be there to offer the kinds of education, training and promotional opportunities that are relevant and significant to their businesses. The groundwork has been laid for that effort but, frankly, we can do better.”

According to association leaders, ISSFA objectives for the immediate future include solidifying fabricator membership support for its change in focus, the selection of a new name for the association, restructuring of education and training programs, renewed emphasis on industry awareness and generating profitable business opportunities for member fabricators.

“We have a full plate, but the need is great,” said Werstler. “Some of the territory we expect to cover may be uncharted for a trade association in this environment of on-demand resources over the Internet and rapid change. With a new leadership and renewed focus on the fabricator, we feel confident ISSFA can take a proactive role in helping our members become more profitable in their businesses.”

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