Monroe County Innovator Turns to RCBI for Technical Expertise

June 13, 2016

HUNTINGTON — Like many successful entrepreneurs, Matt Mann sees opportunity in unexpected places. While accompanying a friend to purchase fabricated stone for his house, Mann had an innovative idea. By taking advantage of technology and expertise at RCBI through its Innovate WV early stage funding initiative, the Monroe County resident has created an inventive, easy-to-install product that is now available coast to coast.

“When I saw what the stone manufacturer was doing, I had an idea that involved technology,” Mann said. “I know that sounds odd when you’re talking about building rock. That’s when I came up with the thought process for MSI: Mortarless Stone Innovations. Then the chase was on to build a new product.”

Mann, already successful as the owner of a graphic design and printing business, founded a new company in 2003 called M-Rock Stone Manufacturing that creates fabricated stone that’s easier to install, involves less mess and can be applied in all weather conditions because it eliminates the need for mortar, using screws instead. Today, from its headquarters near Peterstown in Monroe County, the growing company sells several types of fabricated stone nationwide to clients of all sizes.

When Mann was developing the second generation of the rail used to attach the stone, he contacted the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation (GVEDC) in search of technical assistance. GVEDC, in turn, referred him to RCBI. “GVEDC and RCBI are both what I identify as great state entities,” Mann said. “They provide the resources to businesses like mine that allow them to succeed and compete in a competitive environment.”

RCBI awarded Mann an Innovate WV early stage funding opportunity that provides access to the technical expertise and advanced manufacturing technologies at RCBI. Engineer Chris Shaffer helped Mann design, refine and 3D print prototypes of brackets to which the manufactured concrete stone is attached.

In addition to 3D printing technology and engineering services at RCBI, Mann has used RCBI’s waterjet cutter and laser cutter to manufacture pods used to make the stone façade. Next, he plans to use a 5-axis machining center to create injection molds.

“The technology at RCBI has helped me develop new manufacturing processes and enabled me to link them in new and innovative ways,” Mann said.

To learn more about Innovate WV and RCBI’s other early stage funding opportunities and how they can help companies and entrepreneurs develop new products, call 800.469.7224 or apply here.