Oberlin, OH, February 8, 2024—Manu Shah (MSI) has received the 2023 Migliore Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Manu and Rika Shah started MS International (MSI) in 1975, in the basement of their home in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The original idea behind the business was for Mrs. 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 this project, they spent endless nights making sure that 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.
MSI became a member of the then known MIA in 2004 and since then, has always been a reliable and generous partner to the association.
What is striking about Shah’s contributions to NSI is that he has never officially served on a committee or the board of directors. Yet, he and his company have played key roles in supporting five major initiatives undertaken by the association and other industry groups and has been a consistent donor or motivator to several other NSI programs and events.
Manu was the first to contribute financially and to donate stone for testing during the industry response to the radon crisis.He provided constant input and counsel during the 2-year effort to defend and protect the natural stone industry.The vast NSI safety training resources enjoyed by stone industry professionals today, including the focus on material handling and silica safety, are in large part due to Manu sharing his early vision for our current training library.
He provided visionary direction for the 2013 History of Man and Stone documentary, as well as funded nearly 80% of the project, which topped $125,000. No one has done more to support the Natural Stone Institute and the industry while never serving on the board of directors.
With leadership shared by sons Raj and Rup, MSI was recently projected to reach sales of more than $3 billion and employ over 3,500 people worldwide. MSI 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, their 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 www.naturalstoneinstitute.org/migliore.
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 www.naturalstoneinstitute.org