“Play ball! “ The umpire yelled, and with those words the 2016 baseball season was under way. I have always enjoyed the start of baseball season, there is just something truly heartwarming and American about baseball. When I was a kid, it was the only sport I was really good at and that’s not saying much, except that I loved playing and being on a team. In the 70’s when I was growing up and playing baseball, there was no year round season, no personal coaches, no specialty camps and no expensive personalized equipment. If you were good you played a lot and if you were not so good you played a little and once the season was over, it was over for the year. I guess maybe that’s why it was so fun, because you didn’t have to do it year round. The one thing from that whole baseball/sports experience that has really stayed with me and been an influence in my life is the aspect of being on a team and being part of something bigger than myself. It has been a part of my life since then and remains a part of my life to this very day. When I think about it, just about every job or career I have ever had in my life has had some aspect of team attached to it. Whether it was working as part of the wait staff in a restaurant, being part of an Army unit or working on a fire engine as part of a rescue crew, a team and team work are how things get done. In looking at the granite industry here in Elberton, you can find a team concept as well. All of the different companies, all working on their own individual projects and agendas, yet all with the same intent of delivering quality granite products. It is really amazing when you stop and think about all the different parts of our industry and how they all work together in the manufacturing and shipping of Elberton memorials throughout the country or around the world. From the quarry workers who cut the blocks from the earth, to the stone cutters, the sand blasters, the hand etchers, the setting crews and the truck drivers; although Elberton is made up of many different companies, we are ultimately all part of the same team. For the last 120 years, that team spirit has been alive here in Elberton and it is that team spirit that is taking us into the future. When people ask me why Elberton is considered the “Granite Capital of the World”, I tell them it is because of our teams of people who specialize in the craft of stone working and who are dedicated to producing the finest monuments and memorials anywhere. Generations of our customers know it and our new customers learn it with their first order. The Elberton Granite industry means quality and quality comes from team work; it’s just how things get done. King’s Monument Company proudly announces that Zach Peacock has successfully completed his apprenticeship as a Stone Cutter. Zach completed 1,530 hours of apprenticeship training under the expert guidance of Marty King and Ronnie Grimes. We look forward to the projects that Zach will create and wish him the best of luck in his chosen profession.Rachel Floyd (right) of Elbert County and a journalism student at the University of Georgia, recently presented new Bulldog Coach Kirby Smart with an Elberton granite nameplate for his desk at the Butts-Mehre Building in Athens. Floyd and her father, Quinn Floyd, owner of A.Q. Stone Design Company, saw a couple of photos of Smart at his desk during recruiting season and saw that he had a plastic nameplate, so they decided they needed to “fix the problem”. Shown with Rachel and Coach Smart is Elbert County’s own Steve Bryant, who has worked for years with the University of Georgia Athletic Association as an athletic trainer.When Wenta Monument Co. in Milwaukee, WI was in need of a crane upgrade, Chuck Schroedl remembered Elberton Granite Association’s “EGA Member Spotlight” from last summer’s edition of The Graniteer magazine featuring PalFleet Truck Equipment. Wenta Monument’s original truck frame on their truck was severely deteriorated by rust buildup between the factory frame and reinforcement rails which was causing them to split apart. In order for a new crane to be mounted, some major structural work needed to be done. At the PalFleet branch in Tiffin, OH, before the installation of the crane could begin, it was key to inspect the truck chassis and create a good foundation for the crane. The belly reinforcements were cut out, sand blasted, primed, and repainted. Then the outer reinforcements were replaced with new sections and extra bolts added to keep them tight and seams sealed to keep water out. The frame was stretched, a proper sub frame added, the body refurbished and wood replaced with Rumber; then the new crane could be mounted. The finished product was not only structurally sound again but safe, stable and operator friendly. Creating a safe truck package by determining axle ratings, frame strength and usable frame dimensions all play a big part when selecting the proper crane size for any given new or used truck chassis. At PalFleet, we won’t put just any crane on any truck. It must be the right crane on a structurally sound body and chassis ensuring safety for the user and a product that suited for the job.Mandy Kamerad joined the Star Granite & Bronze customer service team as a Customer Service Assistant. She was promoted to Customer Service Specialist and is now dedicated to assisting customers in the Canada and California territory. Mandy brought granite industry experience to the team, having worked as a production assistant. She has lived in Elberton for 2 years with her sons, Preston and Chandler.Page Alix brings several years of valued granite industry experience to Star’s customer service team. As a Customer Service Specialist she serves customers in the MD, OH, PA, NY, NJ, MA & UT territory. She is currently studying Business Administration at Athens Tech and is on track to graduate this summer. Page is a life-long resident of Elberton and has one son, Landyn. Granite Sales & Supply Corp provides stone working equipment and industry supplies to local granite companies. Stacey Drake, Sales Manager, brings over 22 years of granite industry experience to his position. Stacey says that he is proud of the competitive pricing and customer service that Granite Sales & Supply provides, and that he has a hard working team of people who are dedicated to helping customers with their granite supply needs. Lindsay Outzs is new to Granite Sales & Supply, and works as Assistant Office Manager. Lindsay resides in Bowman, GA, and brings experience from her training as a teacher. She says she is quickly learning about the various supplies and services that GSS provides to customers. She adds that she very much enjoys working with the team at GSS, and has learned a lot from her co-workers, especially “Ms. Wanda”. Lindsay says she looks forward to coming to work every day, and that everyone there has been really helpful while she learns the ropes. Wanda Lankford is Granite Sales & Supply’s Office Manager and Bookkeeper, and has been employed there for over 17 years. Wanda understands every aspect of Granite Sales and Supply’s mission to deliver superior customer service, and she has a vast amount of product knowledge. As Stacey Drake said, “Wanda is the one we rely on. We don’t know what we’d do without her.” Courtney Palinkas was recently hired at Porcelains Unlimited as an Administrative Assistant. Courtney manages the North Port, Florida office, and brings her experience as a Customer Service Manager at Publix Supermarkets to her new position. Courtney’s background includes providing superior customer service and financial management. As a new mother, Courtney is very pleased to work for a family owned and operated business. In her free time, Courtney volunteers to Olympic weight lift with children. She is excited to be working in a new industry and applying her skills learned, adhering to Porcelains Unlimited’s strict customer demands.