Frank Hardwick has spent over forty years in the world of natural stone. After graduating college in 1981, Frank landed his first job working for a contractor in Houston, White Marble Company. At the time, there were only four contractors in the state of Texas doing natural stone supply and fabrication. White Marble had been in business since the 1940s. Because of the 1981 oil boom, the city of Houston was taking off- buildings and residences were being built, and the demand for natural stone was incredible. Frank’s role at White Marble started as a stone estimator and sales associate. Six months into his career, Frank moved to Dallas to work at White Marble’s second location. The Dallas office was for sales and estimates, but the fabrication of the stone continued in Houston.
Six months after the opening of the Dallas location, White Marble opened their first fabrication shop in Fair Park, near downtown Dallas, and Frank continued to help this company excel in providing stone solutions to both residential and commercial clients. Unfortunately, the effects of the recession in the mid-1980s hit White Marble. After two years in business in Dallas, they sold their office and moved Frank back to Houston, where he was in charge of production and installation through 1987, when White Marble Company officially closed its doors forever.
Frank took that opportunity to move back to Dallas, where the stone industry did not take as big a hit as Houston. He continued his career at Fitzgerald Tile and Marble as a Commercial Estimator. Only a handful of companies in the US were importing natural stone, and Frank was able to excel in his career and had the lead role in providing stone to customers like the Ritz Carlton in Detriot. Around that time, one of the leading importers of natural stone, IGM, wanted to open a branch office in Dallas and asked Frank to be the Regional Manager for this new endeavor.
IGM opened a warehouse in Dallas where they stocked slabs, sold precut overseas projects, and supplied natural stone to area contractors. Frank’s career lasted nearly 20 years at IGM, and this is where his career shined. In the early 2000s, the kitchen boom was happening, and so many got into the natural stone business. During his time at IGM, Frank took multiple trips to France and Italy to select blocks of stone. His projects included Bass Hall in Fort Worth and hotel brands like Gaylord, Atlantic, and Ritz Carlton. When he started, they were the only natural stone business in DFW, and when he left in 2017, there were over 60, and the market was saturated.
While working at IGM, Frank met Andrew Gilbert and Chris Blackburn through working with Texas Counter Fitters. At this time, TCF was in a growth process, and Andrew had expressed interest in Frank coming aboard to grow the business. TCF was just starting to import its own materials and needed someone with experience in the industry. Frank liked the excitement and energy from Chris and Andrew and was ready to commit to doing everything he could to grow TCF! In 2017, Frank came on as Project Manager and watched TCF boom into what it is today.
Throughout working in the stone industry for over 40 years, Frank has contributed thousands of hours training sales staff that moved on to further their careers. He has also spent much of his career educating customers and training fabricators. He has overseen coordination between sales and fabrication, training sales team members on working with customers and helping them walk through the projects from start to finish. Frank’s vast knowledge of what you can and can’t do with all different types of stone, he is the go-to guy for making the best decision about natural stone for every project.
“Frank Hardwick is one of a kind,” says Andrew Gilbert of Texas Counter Fitters. “I meet many people in the stone industry, but I will never forget the first time I met Frank. Let’s just say I was impressed. Every time I listen to him, I feel like I’m learning something about natural stone. It’s like Frank has old secrets from the industry. He is humble and kind, and he comes across that way to everyone – from our fabrication team to our customers.”
Frank’s resume is impressive – all of the things he has seen and done along the way have made him one of the most respected thought leaders in the natural stone industry. Two of the largest commercial contractors in Texas relied on him for expertise, knowledge, take-offs, and leadership for over 30 years. Texas Counter Fitters is honored and proud to have Frank on their team. Because of his leadership, no one can question our experience and knowledge of the stone industry- we have the expert of experts in our building! We have nominated Frank for the Migliore Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Natural Stone Institute, and we are hopeful to pay him back for his lifetime of incredible dedication to the natural stone industry! We will know the outcome summer of 2022!