Instone Presents: InBuilding Design A New Online Show For Pros and the DIYers
At Instone, we sell rocks. But what does that mean? If you’ve ever wondered, then we have a show for you!
Instone introduces the InBuilding Design Series, a new show that gives you a backstage look at Instone’s products and hot tips for installation for both professionals and at-home do-it-yourselfers (DIY). Plus, there is some fun trivia and we have friendly competitions between the Instone team and their expert guests.
Launching June 23, the show stars Instone’s COO, CMO Rob McKay, as our resident pro, and Video Producer Ken Czechanski as the “new guy” asking the questions you might have been afraid to ask.
The show’s format is similar to a relaxed afternoon out in the garage sharing a beer with some neighbors.
“At Instone, people always ask what we do for a living, and sometimes it’s hard to explain without getting too technical,” says McKay. “People don’t typically see our type of product in Home Depot like they do paint and flooring. Our goal is to talk about the products in a casual, friendly way over a couple of drinks and demystify the whole thing.”
The show will focus on a separate product for each of the upcoming nine episodes. They also bring in an expert on that product.
“The idea is to provide education, but also keep it light, so it’s entertaining,” says McKay. Guests participate in games, knowledge tests and various challenges around the product. Will they rise to the challenge? You’ll have to tune in to find out!
The show is designed to appeal to both the professional and the DIYer by providing information about Instone’s products and just being a fun show to watch.
“This isn’t a corporate training video,” says McKay, “The professionals don’t really need training, but they will walk away possibly having learned something about the product they didn’t know—and it’ll be entertaining.”
For Czechanski’s role as “the new guy,” he represents the curious neighbor who might want to know if they could use an Instone product in their DIY project. “I speak for the guy who might be wondering, ‘can I do this myself?'” says Czechanski. “I’m there to fill in the gaps for people who may not understand everything and make sure they say it in layman’s terms.” Czechanski also brings in the comedic element. “I’m an improviser, so I’m used to looking at things differently. I like to bring out who the guests are as people. There’s some good-natured ribbing going on.”
Whether you’re a professional or a homeowner DIYer, the InBuilding Design Series has something for you.
“Ultimately, I want to make the products more accessible for people,” says Czechanski. “I want them to feel more confident about using the products because if I can figure it out in the 15 minutes of the show, then there is hope for everyone!”
And while you’re getting to know Instone’s products, here are some fun facts about the team:
Rob McKay’s Fun Fact: He was Santa Claus and the Easter bunny in his local shopping mall for four years. People lined up and waited for an hour to see him. And he has the photos to prove it!
Ken Czechanski’s Fun Fact: He can sing! We just may ask him to show off those pipes on a future episode!
So crack open a cold one and sit back and enjoy InBuilding Design with your friendly Instone team!
Construction and landscaping are two fields traditionally thought of as male-dominated. But more and more women are entering the industry and proving to hold their own and bring new perspectives and fresh ideas to the table.
Instone is proud of the women who work at their company and wanted to put the spotlight on them so you can get to know them.
Cathy Fluharty, Warehouse Lead
Cathy has been with Instone since 2019 and works as a warehouse lead. Growing up with two brothers, she was used to spending time around the males in her life. “I used to play peewee baseball and lots of sports with the boys.” She says. “It wasn’t an unusual thing for me.” She says she enjoys the challenge of showing them up a lot of time!
She began working in the construction industry by taking manufacturing and warehouse jobs, “I hadn’t ever thought about stone. I was going to go into nursing but decided that wasn’t for me. I think the products we have are pretty cool. I like seeing the fireplaces and things people put together for their houses.”
Cathy admits when she started her first job in the industry, she wasn’t sure if she would be able to cut it, but now 24 years later, she proudly exclaims, “I’m still here!”
Her motto is “work smarter, not harder”. She credits that with seeing her through any challenges, especially when asked if women have any disadvantages in the industry, such as physical strength. “If you do things smarter, it’s not hard. We move a lot of cartons. If it’s too heavy for me to lift, I just use a forklift or slide it over and let gravity do the work.”
After surviving several layoffs with her previous company, she says she loves the security she has at Instone. “In the past, we were always waiting for the ball to drop. Here we’re growing. Things are good. I have a family and the security means everything.”
Christine Quersher, Fabrication Manager
Christine has been with Instone since 2019 and quickly went from working in estimating to fabrication manager. It’s a career path she never expected to be on. “I worked for 20 years in human resources and left my job in 2015 to stay home with my son.” She said staying at home wasn’t for her, so she took a temporary part-time administrative job to keep busy. “The company I was with at the time offered me a little more, and it went to full-time. I kept growing and training and went on to be an estimator. Instone bought that company out, and I then went from estimation to fabrication.” Now she’s responsible for the fabrication shop and its three team members.
Working with stone wasn’t something Christine ever thought about doing, but now that’s she’s in the business, she finds it very interesting. “It’s completely different and wide variety of products. My brother just renovated his house with an addition and a walkway. I was able to point out and name all the stones!” she laughs. “It’s so beautiful. I really enjoy it.”
When she started in the industry, she was only one of two women at her company. With Instone she says it’s about 50/50. She said she never felt like that was holding her back. “I went to two hardscape shows and there were a lot of other women. It gave me a lot more confidence. It’s a great environment. I’ve never been in a situation where I wasn’t taken seriously.”
Christine wants to encourage other women to consider the construction and landscaping industry and see for themselves. “Just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you can’t apply for these jobs. When I was first thinking of applying, I thought it was mainly men. Why would they want a female? But you can’t face life that way. You have to be confident in yourself. That was my approach and it’s worked well for me. I don’t think anybody I’ve worked with in this business has looked down on women. I think women should challenge themselves and try different industries. Reach out, give it a shot!”
Nicole Blackburn, Senior Estimator
Nicole joined Instone three years ago ad works as a senior estimator. She holds a degree in mechanical engineering and didn’t really think about stone until a recruiter reached out to her after she worked as an estimator in the plastics industry. “It was something that piqued my interest. I never thought I’d be in this field coming from mechanical engineering, but I always wanted to build things and create and see something come to life that I created.”
Her job consists of working on custom stone projects, sourcing materials from across the globe and seeing projects through with clients from start to finish. Although she works in the construction industry now, she says she doesn’t look the part.
“I have a girly look.” Adding that she also wants to appear educated because in past jobs, men felt the need to explain things in laymen’s terms or assumed she didn’t know how to do things like measure on a tape measure. But she’s quick to clarify that doesn’t happen at Instone.
She’s not surprised it happens, citing that when she started in the engineering field, she was only one of two women in her graduating class of 100. “And the other woman was my twin sister!” she laughs. “So from the beginning, I’ve been outnumbered. Anything to do with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) has very few women.”
Nicole feels women bring a different perspective to traditionally male-dominated industries that is needed. “I think women are naturally calmer. When I deal with customers, and they have an issue, they automatically calm down speaking to me. They’re not as defensive.”
The collaboration she has with her partner Zak [last name] at Instone is what really makes her love her job. “It’s great coming to work every day and working with someone who understands you and your ideas.”
She just hopes other male-dominated industries will one day be more of a level playing field. “You always have to fight harder as a woman. That’s probably always going to be that way. But maybe it’s a good thing. We always want to be the best we can be.”
Are you interested in working for Instone? Check out our LinkedIn page to learn more about our company culture and job openings.
We Pity the Fool: Meet The Instone A-Team at the Northeast Hardscape Expo
“We Pity the Fool Who Doesn’t Sign Up”
Meet The Instone A-Team at the
Northeast Hardscape Expo
Need a stone? We got it! Supply issues? Not a problem when these guys are around!
They can get what you need fast as lightning.
It’s the Instone A-Team!
Members of the Instone A-Team will be at the Hardscape Expo.
Come stop by Booth 500 and meet them.
Get to know a little about them here:
Jake is the Territory Sales Manager for New England, including Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. He’s been with Instone for four months. He says one of the best things about Instone is the customer service. “We’re a very personable company. I think a lot of people think bad about big corporations, but Instone is one of the best corporations around. The CEO and COO are very hands-on and very one-on-one with the customers.” Jake also loves to rave about the products to his clients, “The products are top-notch. I tell people, ‘They aren’t the best in Massachusetts, they aren’t the best in New England, they are the best in the world!'”
A typical day for Jake consists of going by the office to pick up new samples, then being on the road most of the time, visiting customers. He says what he loves about his job is being out and about and seeing customers face-to-face. “I don’t like being in the same office. I like being active and creating connections.”
Get to know Jake:
When Jake’s not working, he likes to: I watch an excessive amount of sports. My favorite sport is whatever season it is! When it’s nice outside, I’m a big golfer. I like to go on hikes.
Favorite color: Blue
Favorite food: Cheeseburger
Most amazing place traveled to: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Favorite band/ type of music: Classic rock, Red Hot Chili Peppers
Favorite beer: Corona
Pets: A cat and two dogs at my parent’s house
He collects: No collections
What he loves about where he lives: I live in Boston, and I think it has an elite sports environment. Us Mass-holes love our sports!
Secret skill: I’m a good impressionist of my peers.
Justin is the VP of Natural Stone Products. He works nationwide getting natural stone established across the country. He also travels the world looking for the next products to establish in the United States. He says one of the biggest benefits of Instone is they offer a wide range of products and they’re easy to order on the website. “I like to find alternatives to popular stones, so when they’re not available, we always have something we can offer right away. I like bringing in new color ranges that had never been available before, like browns and tans.”
A typical day for Justin consists of visiting various regions, finding out what colors work in that region and finding stones to bring in for them. He says what he loves about his job is selling a product he loves. “I love natural stone, I’m very passionate about it and I have a job where I get to help pick out the stones and sell them. I’m selling something I love, so it’s a dream job.”
Get to know Justin:
When Justin’s not working, he likes to: I like to watch sports. I enjoy watching my kids grow up playing sports. I coach as many of the sports they play as I can. I enjoy being with my family, going on vacations, going out to eat. I love food. And I love my animals as much as my family. I love golf, being outside, being on the water, the ocean and lakes. I like to cook.
Favorite food: Italian
Favorite color: Green
Most amazing place traveled to: India
Favorite band/ type of music: Country, Toby Keith, Luke Combs, Luke Bryan
Favorite beer: Used to be IPA, now it’s Coors Light
Pets: Two golden retrievers
He collects: I actually throw everything away! I do collect sports ticket stubs and the things my kids make for me.
What he loves about where he lives: I live in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts and it’s a great community. My grandfather lived there growing up, and it was always a dream to live there. I didn’t think it would be possible, but I got lucky and found a house 20 years ago and lived there ever since. It has an amazing school system and great people everywhere, there’s nothing bad about it.
Secret skill: I can predict what the next great natural stone is going to be. I stay one step ahead of the competition! And I can do 50 pushups at the drop of a hat!
Bob is a Territory Sales Manager covering southern New York, New Jersey, southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. He’s been with Instone for seven years and says one of the primary benefits of stone products is the aesthetic look it gives a home. “It gives people a sense of worth for their home or building. It’s the exclamation point on top of things.”
A day in the life for Bob consists of being out in the field, stopping at job sites, meeting with mason installers, builders, architects and designers and all the channels that either use or specify Instone’s products.
He loves to tell people, “I sell rocks!” with tongue firmly placed in cheek, but what he loves most about his job is his interaction with trades. “I grew up in this industry doing some form of building since I was 10 years old with my grandfather. I love interacting with the trades or educating people who don’t know about the products we have. There are so many unique differences between the products, whether it’s a natural material or manmade. I have 40 years of experience and I try to identify expectations. Then I can give recommendations on the products and the esthetics.”
Get to know Bob:
Favorite color: Blue
Favorite food: I’m a health and fitness guy, but I love pizza
Most amazing place traveled to: Ireland
Favorite band/type of music: Foo Fighters
Favorite beer: I don’t drink beer
Pets: Two dogs – A Labradoodle and American Bulldog
He collects: Legos
When Bob’s not working, he likes to: I like to spend time with my family. I build really challenging Legos. My hobby is work when I’m not working. I love to build things. During the pandemic shutdown, I built a massive pavilion with a fire pit in my backyard.
What he loves about where he lives: I live in New Jersey, and it’s great because we’re incredibly close to the ocean.
Secret skill: ping pong
Dan is the Vice President of Sales for Instone. He oversees territory managers, outside sales and inside sales customer service teams. He’s been with Instone for four years and says they truly live up to their motto of: we make it easy. “We’re a two step-distributor that specializes in the mason industry selling thin veneer stone both natural and manufactured. We sell only to dealers and then our contractors buy through the dealers. We’re all challenged with Covid these days but we’re respectful of how people want to meet now. I just enjoy being with people.”
A typical day in the life for Dan consists of working with the sales teams to provide support. He says what he loves about his job is working with his teams and his customers. “We have the best team out there.”
Get to know Dan:
Favorite color: Deep blue
Favorite food: Spicy Thai
Most amazing place traveled to: Thailand
Favorite band/ type of music: Classic rock, Aerosmith
Favorite beer: Bud Lite
Pets: A Golden Retriever named Norman, “The Dog of Leisure.”
He collects: Baseball hats
When Dan’s not working, he likes to: I enjoy my family life. I’ve been married 37 years and I have two boys. In the winter, as a family, we like to downhill ski. In the summer, we like to boat and water ski.
What he loves about where he lives: I live in Michigan, and I love all sports teams, I always have a Michigan hat handy, even though people like to tease me because they all stink. But I love them all!
Secret skill: I like to work with my hands. I do very good mason work. I find it very therapeutic. I recently made a plant stand for my office out of natural stone.
Stop by Booth 500 and meet our
Stone Superheroes – the Instone A-Team.
Maybe you have something in common?
They’ll be happy to show you our products and give you a free T-shirt!.