Stoneman Construction LLC

Stoneman Construction LLC 
Portland, Oregon

www.stonemanconstructionllc.com

 

Jason McDaniel, owner of Stoneman Construction, LLC in Portland, Ore., was recently recognized as an emerging young leader in the tile industry by his inclusion in the Coverings Rock Star Awards. Here, in his own words, he tells the story of his company and his passion for the industry. – Ed.


I am a custom residential tile contractor, with a background in granite and quartz fabrication. I love creating beautiful spaces that I know will stand the test of time and be something my customers will love.

I started setting tile 11 years ago to keep busy when I didn’t have kitchen countertops to install. Eleven years later I have found that my fabrication ability makes being creative with tile fun and easy. Stoneman Construction is known for templating backsplashes, floors and walls, making it easier to lay out and install complicated projects. We have done many projects incorporating scribe work into the design and we also specialize in self-leveling underlayments. 

My brother, Shawn McDaniel, was a painting contractor for 20 years and came to work with me two years ago. He has become extremely efficient at shower prep and applying liquid anti-fracture membranes. Coming from a trade that required a high level of cleanliness and detail made it a seamless transition for him. I feel very fortunate to have such qualified people working with me on a daily basis. Jeremy Bickett, CTI #1353, moved to Portland a year ago and now works full time with us. His background in self-leveling underlayments (SLU) has made it possible for us to fix and level almost any floor in our market, setting us apart from the competition. Together with Jeremy, Shawn and myself, Robert Brazington rounds out the crew. 

I am a two-year member of the NTCA and a NTCA State Ambassador. Years back, when I started setting tile, I was taught incorrect ways of doing things and had no knowledge of any associations or certification programs in the industry. Since I discovered these organizations existed I have done everything I can to get involved. 

Through the NTCA I discovered the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program, a certification exam administered by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF). Being a Certified Tile Installer and a NTCA State Ambassador has given me credentials I didn’t have previously. I am taken much more seriously in meetings with architects, general contractors and homeowners, and the amount of knowledge I have gained gives me more value when bidding projects. Being able to answer a wide variety of questions in regards to my profession gives the end user confidence in our company.

In our company of four, three of us – Jeremy, Robert Brazington and myself – are Certified Tile Installers. My brother Shawn aims to take the exam when he is ready. 

The CTEF Regional Evaluator Program has given my evaluator partner and one of my closest friends, Shon Parker of Hawthorne Tile, and me an opportunity to be on the front lines of training and testing installers of all ages who are new to the trade, or veterans wanting to expand their skills and knowledge. (Regional Evaluators administer the CTI exam, and their growing numbers mean that more people across the country have the opportunity to take the exam. – Ed.). In my opinion, getting more people involved and ensuring they have the proper skills going forward is the most important thing any of us can do for our industry. With the help of people like Dirk Sullivan of Hawthorne Tile, Heidi Cronin of The Cronin Company, industry representatives, and Global Tile Posse – the industry-related page I created on Facebook – we are having great success here in the Pacific Northwest.

In fact, creating the Global Tile Posse on Facebook has been a huge help to bring recognition to this amazing family of people and to the NTCA, who are out there working hard to help us as tile setters and business owners. One of the greatest joys I get from being a tile contractor is hearing from people all over the country who are positive and energized about learning and growing and sharing their experiences. In Global Tile Posse we have created a family environment where anyone can come in and talk about their experiences and growing pains in this industry. 

The other great joy I get is creating art. The people in the tile industry are getting more and more requests to create really beautiful and unique spaces for our customers. Being able to help design and execute a truly artistic space is very satisfying. 

Some of the excellent craftsmanship from Stoneman Construction LLC:

Inventive Oregon contractors form co-op apprenticeship program

Program kicks off September 2018

Creativity is afoot when it comes to training the next generation to enter the tile trade. Oregon tile contractors and NTCA members (and some soon-to-be-members) are partnering in a unique co-op concept that provides monthly training for apprentices and different levels of involvement for co-op members. Participants in the co-op – named the Oregon-Columbia Tile Trades Training Trust – are
Hawthorne Tile, Davis Solutions, Stoneman Construction LLC, Campbell’s Custom Tile, Prestige Tile & Stone, Inc., Level Plane Tile & Stone, Columbia River Tile, Classique Floors & Tile, Sustainable Interiors, Designer Floors & Interiors, LLC and AHMS, Inc.

The concept developed when project manager Shon Parker and owner/project manager Dirk Sullivan from NTCA Five Star Contractor Hawthorne Tile in Portland, Ore., started brainstorming about how to get more qualified help in the field. Parker took the lead in conceptualizing an affordable apprenticeship program with industry buy-in and called fellow Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (JATC) members to participate. An education co-op model was formed, with those members who are able to help or participate with training paying a lower fee to belong to the co-op and those who cannot paying a higher fee. 

Participation might mean helping to build training modules or doing set up with classes. “There are those who could pitch in – in some way – and those who are more commercially oriented, and whose office staff can’t do that, but who are willing to pay at a higher rate to have their people trained,” Parker said.

Classroom and hands-on components

The co-op has a NTCA tie-in: each co-op member must be a NTCA member in order to gain access to the online apprenticeship courses through NTCA University, which will form the backbone of the classroom part of the program. And one Friday a month, student apprentices will receive live training from different manufacturer reps about TCNA methods, and specific product knowledge. “[Manufacturer reps] will teach a method and the products that fit inside those methods will get the manufacturer involved,” Parker said. “It will also serve to introduce students to reps, build relationships, and help reinforce good methods and best practices.” He explained that every manufacturer who wants to be involved will have a balanced presence within the program, without any one manufacturer dominating. So far, ARDEX, Daltile, LATICRETE, MAPEI, and Schluter are on board. 

The hands-on portion of the training will take place at The Cronin Company, headquartered in Portland. “Heidi Cronin is allowing us to use a classroom and space in the warehouse for hands-on mockups,” Parker said. Plus, an arrangement between The Cronin Company and Daltile will allow students to buy hand tools at cost while in the program. Students will also be responsible for building the modules – “thin bed, mortar bed, epoxy installations, depending on what we are teaching,” Parker explained.

The schedule

The program will start in 2018. “We currently have state approval for the program, and we will be updating the new classes to reflect current methods and products from some of the methods we’d used from the 2003 NTCA curriculum,” Parker said. Examples of changes include dropping the hands-on demo for mastic over wood assembly to including updated methods, such as an uncoupling assembly, he added. “This will need to be addressed and approved at the state Apprenticeship Board,” he said, suggesting folks call him with questions at 503-708-1737.

Students are recruited via outreach ongoing at job fairs, high schools and Women in Construction. To date 17 students – including a couple of women – have signed up for the program. 

Once a candidate has been found, co-op members aka “Training Agents” are asked if they are interested in bringing them into the program, with the intent of creating a labor pool. Each student apprentice must be employed by a Training Agent. The program is administered by the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). 

Parker explained how apprentice candidates are culled at Hawthorne Tile: “We may have a worker employed at entry level as a driver,” he said. “If they show aptitude, we give them opportunity to join the apprenticeship program. It’s a stepping stool on our team to get there.”

The program is completely free to the student apprentice, funded by a monthly fee per student paid by the Training Agent co-op members. 

As previously noted, the program is based on the NTCA year one apprentice classes, and will utilize years 2 and 3 as they are completed. “By the end of year three , we should have all the bugs worked out.”

Though Parker calls this venture “uncharted waters,” he added that, “It makes sense up here – being part of a community. Dirk has done a great job as State Ambassador and Regional Director getting people excited about this, and Jason [McDaniel of Stoneman Construction LLC] and I are regional evaluators, so we can get people excited.” Hawthorne Tile’s office manager Lara Walker and project manager Ryan Willoughby have been “incredibly helpful” as well, Dirk Sullivan added. 

And Parker praised the industry for its support, saying, “Our industry is so willing to invest money in education.” 

Becky Serbin, NTCA Training and Education Coordinator, added, “It’s great to see tile contractors in a region coming together to develop a co-op training program to help grow the tile industry. I look forward to working with them through NTCA University. I hope that NTCA members are able to take this concept and repeat it in other areas of the country to help start training the next generation of tile setters.”

Dan Hecox presents to A&D students at University of Nebraska – Lincoln

NTCA Nebraska State Ambassador schools interior design students on tile failures

 

In March, NTCA State Ambassador Dan Hecox of Hecox Construction, Inc. of York, Neb., gave a class on how to avoid tile failures to 28 second-year interior design students at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.

Interior Design Professor Stacy Spale, IIDA, LEED AP, EDAC, NCIDQ Certificate No. 28851, asked Hecox to present to the IDES 200 Programs, Standards, and Codes class “so our students could better identify standards of installation,” she said. “These students will enter various professions within the design industry, and they should be able to feel comfortable on a job site, or managing a project, and at least having a base knowledge of trade vocabulary.”

Spale believes that it’s a vital skill for interior designers to learn to collaborate with trade contractors. “Early in my career, I drew casework sections the way I’d been taught and never really thought much about it,” she explained. “Then I spent some time learning about custom casework and realized that had I called a fabricator before I drew my custom projects, I could have saved time, money, materials, etc. 

“The jobs where I could collaborate and communicate my design intent – and work alongside the people doing the work always turned out better,” she added. “This seems like generic advice, so I like to show students with real stories so the learning is more applicable.” 

Adapting professional material to college classwork

Hecox adapted the “Tile Failures – Could it Be Me?” presentation normally given by the NTCA and CTEF workshop presenters to the needs of the design students, which was a challenge in itself. 

“It’s one thing to talk to people in the trade and quite another thing to talk with up-and-coming designers,” Hecox said. To not lose students with highly technical details that would have more meaning to professional tile setters, he covered some areas briefly and “brought along a lot of visuals for them to see and touch,” he explained. “I also had some demonstrations for them…I tried to think about where they are in their education and what kinds of things would be important to them in their careers as designers.” 

Dan gave them real-world useful information to use once they graduate. “I really tried to explain to them as designers, that they can spec certain things – like qualified labor, Certified Installers, and material that falls within ANSI specs,” he said. “They should know the work schedules and when things like floor prep will take place and when tile setting will start – and they should be there on the job site to inspect the floor prep and tile install.” Hecox emphasized that they should also ask questions of those involved about what they are doing.

Presentation gets thumbs up from students

Based on the responses from the students, the class was a smashing success.

“I found the tile talk extremely interesting,” said student Sydney Carl. “I feel like it’s extremely important to learn at least a little bit about how to install materials that we would be picking. I think as interior designers we should be educated on the installation of products and not just the application. I learned a lot about mortar and the correct way to lay tile (which from watching HGTV, I was very misled). I definitely feel more knowledgeable now and I have confidence that I could have an educated tile talk with a contractor.”

Keleigh Ketelhut admired Hecox’s passion about his trade – and professionalism. “What came as the largest shock to me was that people have people pay them big money for jobs they do completely wrong but still call themselves a professional,” she said. Excited to hear “Omaha is the first city in the nation to require a tile licensure before one can call themselves a professional,” she added, “This has shown me the importance of being a part of the project even after you’ve handed over the specs, construction documents and the overall design. Not only to check up on the lazy people but I think it is also cool to see things in progress and this thing you once had envisioned come to life.”

Lindsay Meyer enjoyed learning from Hecox’s experience and considers it “easiest for us to understand what not to do (and why) by seeing bad examples. Dan did a great job sharing with us, and I learned a lot from him.” These insights include learning about different types of underlayment and backer board, being able to touch the samples to better illustrate the lessons, and ensuring that both GC and tile contractor are reliable, often by working with certified tile setters. 

“Another thing I learned is that it is important for me, as the designer, to show up on the job often to double check the installation process, and if something is awry, to speak with the general contractor about my concerns. I also learned that if there is lippage in a wall application of tile, not having light fixtures wash the wall directly can help hide that. Especially with larger format tiles, the cupping of tiles is inevitable to some degree, so it is up to the designer to make sure it shows as little as possible.”

Truthfully, Becky Virgl wasn’t too jazzed about listening to “some guy talk about tiles all class, but I really enjoyed everything he had to say. It was really nice to learn what good tile installation actually looks like, and see what a dramatic effect it can have on the look of the tiles overall.”

Since the class, Virgl has been noticing bad tile installations in bathrooms and other public places. “I can really appreciate the value of good installation now that I know the difference,” she said, adding that when recently watching videos on Facebook, she came across a tile video in her queue. “I felt so frustrated because they were seemingly knowledgeable, but they were instructing people incorrectly – we learned, you cannot just slap mortar on all willy-nilly without giving the air a place to escape to and you cannot spot-bond tiles. I really appreciated this class because it gave me actual concrete knowledge on a subject that will be incredibly useful to me as a designer and a homeowner in the future.”

It seems from the comments of the students that Spale’s goal that the presentation “allow the students to develop a critical eye and insist that all installations are up to the standards specified,” was achieved.

The student feedback was a big help to Hecox, too. “I’d obviously never given a presentation like this to college students, so I really was unsure of how and what to present to them,” he said. “But hearing how they really enjoyed the presentation, and that now when they are out and about they are inspecting tile work that they see, shows me that what I presented them was spot on.”

Might there be an opportunity to share your knowledge with a university or high school class in your area? 

A strong focus on education and training

Editor’s Letter – July 2018

The only thing worse than training employees and having them leave is not training them, and having them stay. – Henry Ford, Founder, Ford Motor Company

This month we have a strong focus on education and training. Of course, training and education are core pillars of NTCA’S mission, but this month we get to see how contractor members are taking that mission out into their communities to spread the word about installation that conforms to industry standards and invites the next generation of tile setters to a career in qualified labor. 

Our Training and Education feature takes a first look at the Oregon – Columbia Tile Trades Training Trust, a cooperative of contractors, supported by distributors, manufacturers and other suppliers that are developing an apprenticeship program based on NTCA University courses. Read about this inspiring new program.

In our Qualified Labor section, Nebraska State Ambassador Dan Hecox talks about a presentation on how to avoid tile failures he gave to a group of 28 second-year design students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln earlier this year. Hecox focused on real-world useful information that students can use once they graduate, and got thumbs up from the class. 

NTCA Training and Education Coordinator Becky Serbin discusses how to use the NTCA University courses in DOL-approved programs and apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs in this month’s NTCA University Update. As a member you have access to a fantastic collection of courses that can be utilized in many ways, tailored to your business. 

Our Tech Talk feature this month is derived directly from another avenue of education offered by NTCA – the monthly Webinar series. These free online presentations bring you the wisdom of industry experts on a range of topics that you can access on your phone, tablet or computer, solo or with a group of colleagues. This month, we learn about the benefits and advantages of self-leveling underlayments from TEC/H.B. Fuller’s Tom Plaskota. 

Jason McDaniel, of Stoneman Construction LLC in Portland, is profiled in our Member Spotlight this month. In addition to being one of the members of the Oregon-Columbia Tile Trades Training Trust referenced above, McDaniel is a Regional Evaluator with the CTEF’s Certified Tile Installer credentialing program, which allows him to be on the “front lines of training and testing installers of all ages who are new to the trade, or veterans wanting to expand their skills and knowledge.” With the expansion of the number of Regional Evaluators across the country, the CTI test is much more accessible to more tile setters who want to test themselves and obtain credentials that enhance their dealings with customers and design professionals.

And finally, in this issue we preview the Total Solutions Plus (TSP) all-industry conference coming up October 27-30 in Grapevine, Texas. This conference is a prime opportunity to gain wisdom and share experience about the business and technical ends of the industry, and learn from peers and experts. The full program and relaxed pace give you the opportunity to both learn and network and return home equipped with inspiration and new strategies to take your business to the next level. 

Have a topic you’d like to learn more about? Drop me a line and let me know and we’ll schedule an article in an upcoming issue of TileLetter.

God bless,
Lesley
[email protected]

EGE SERAMIK’S DOUBLES DOWN WITH NEW TILE COLLECTIONS

Ege Seramik proudly introduces the latest in its series of porcelain tiles… Antwerp and Spectra.

Antwerp is a sophisticated, glazed porcelain collection characterized by its matte finish. Available in four earth tones (beige, brown, grey and anthracite) and two sizes (12” x 24” and 24” x 24”), the product has been designed to appear as a mixture of concrete and natural stone.

Antwerp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spectra is the “fraternal twin” of Antwerp with a defining characteristic of being a fully polished tile. The colors and the sizes are the same.

Spectra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Digitally printed via Ege Seramik’s state of the art inkjet technology, both series are high-performance and low maintenance, ideal for both residential and medium traffic commercial applications.

“These collections have been well received here in the states,” stated Semih Susleyen, Sales Manager of Ege Seramik America. “Both ranges .really allow one to produce extremely creative, eye-catching designs.”

 

About Ege Seramik

Since 1972, Ege Seramik has been a major global supplier of top-quality ceramic and porcelain tile materials. To meet the demand of customers in the United States and Canada, Ege Seramik America, (established 1991) has been serving a strong and loyal cadre of active North American customers from its stateside headquarters in Georgia. For years, Ege Seramik has been the number one Turkish product exported to the North American continent. To learn more about Ege Seramik and view the entire product line, visit http://www.egeseramik.com or contact the firm directly at Ege Seramik America, Inc. 1721 Oakbrook Drive, Suite C Norcross, GA 30093 Office: (678) 291-0888.

OSHA issues RFI to consider expansion of construction tasks and silica control measures

In a recent article concerning the lack of leadership for OSHA as nominee Scott Mugno awaits Senate confirmation, authors Leah Kaiser and Avi Meyerstein of Husch Blackwell LLP reported that OSHA has moved ahead with its Spring 2018 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, outlining the current status of both pending and anticipated rulemaking efforts. OSHA looks as though it will have its hands full with twenty agenda items, up from fourteen on the Spring 2017 list.

In a new request for information, OSHA wants to determine if it should expand its list of construction tasks and associated control measures that construction workers can use to comply with its 2016 silica rule for construction. Table 1 of the rule listed dust control methods that employers could use for common construction tasks.

The purpose of the table is to provide a clear path for compliance. It spares construction employers from verifying exposure levels (with data and monitoring) if they employ accepted methods for controlling silica dust. Per OSHA: “Employers who fully and properly implement the engineering controls, work practices, and respiratory protection specified for a task on Table 1 are not required to measure respirable crystalline silica exposures to verify that levels are at or below the PEL for workers engaged in the Table 1 task.”

OSHA intends to use the additional information it gains in response to the RFI to revise Table 1 if deemed appropriate. OSHA currently classifies this rulemaking agenda item as “substantive, nonsignificant,” so it is unclear whether we should expect substantial movement in the near future.

Just Launched: Physics Collection by Crossville Offers Sophisticated Update on Classic Colors

New line developed to blend with other Crossville collections

Crossville Inc. has announced the launch of Physics, a new porcelain tile collection offering a fresh, sophisticated interpretation of a classic visual by incorporating micro-particles for a subtle mingle effect. This domestically-produced line is engineered to provide a clean aesthetic and the powerful performance of porcelain for floors and walls in a range of environments.

Taking inspiration from natural science, Physics takes inspiration from the relationship between matter and motion. The line is calibrated and through-body, making it a great fit for budget conscious projects that demand technical performance and durability for high traffic commercial environments. Its five colors, offered in both unpolished and polished finishes, are enhanced by the most subtle of dappling in rich pigmentation. The palette is foundational for a nearly endless range of applications and is designed to blend with a bevy of other Crossville collections.

The 12”x 24”and 12”x 12”field tiles pair with 3”x 3”mesh-backed mosaics that are ideal for shower floor installations and thoughtfully curated trim packages that meet code requirements nationwide. The combination of sizes, trims and colors will create fully finished designs in residential and commercial applications.

As with all products produced at Crossville’s Tennessee manufacturing facilities, Physics is responsibly made in the USA, contains a minimum of 4% pre-consumer recycled content, and is Green Squared certified. Physics is recommended for interior floors, walls and countertops, as well as exterior walls, in commercial and residential settings. Its technical performance is suited for even the most demanding commercial settings.

For more information on this collection, visit http://crossvilleinc.com.

OSHA Issues Silica Enforcement Memo

 

By Jackson Lewis P.C.

The silica standard for construction came into effect last year, on September 23, 2017, whereas most provisions of the silica rule as it pertains to general industry and maritime (29 CFR § 1910.1053) take effect this month, on June 23, 2018. The new standard for general industry and maritime imposes stricter permissible exposure limits (PELs) by establishing “a new 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 50 µg/m3, an action level (AL) of 25 µg/m3, and associated ancillary requirements.”

According to a June 8thmemorandum from OSHA, “OSHA will assist employers that are making good faith efforts to meet the new standard’s requirements.”  The Agency indicates that those employers will be treated more leniently than employers in situations where “it appears an employer is not making any efforts to comply.”

“If upon inspection, it appears an employer is not making any efforts to comply, compliance officers should conduct air monitoring in accordance with Agency procedures, and consider citations for non-compliance with any applicable sections of the new standard.

The determination as to whether an employer is or is not making a good faith effort to comply seems to be open to interpretation by the individual OSHA investigator.  The Agency appears to acknowledge this when it mentions yet-to-be-released “interim inspection and citation guidance” and refers to “effective implementation and uniform enforcement of the new standard.” (emphasis added)  This may in part be the reason why during the first 30 days of enforcement, any proposed citations for inspections carried out during this time period, will first have to go to OSHA’s National Office for review and approval before citations are actually issued.

A couple of publications produced by OSHA on the silica standard for general industry and maritime which may provide useful information are as follows:

Support requested for family of Julio Cesar Leiva of The Tile & Grout King

The Tile & Grout King employee suffered a fatal stroke at age 30 while on the job

NTCA member The Tile & Grout King, Inc., (T&GK) recently suffered a sad and sudden loss with the untimely passing of one of the company employees, Julio Cesar Leiva, at age 30.

Julio Cesar Leiva with his wife and young daughter

Hany Louis of The Tile & Grout King in Santa Clara, Calif., wrote, “It’s been a sad week for The Tile & Grout King Family. Julio Cesar Leiva was not only one of my most kind-hearted and hard-working employees, but he was like a brother to all of us. I am sad to say that a stroke took his life on Tuesday morning [June 12] while he was working. He was in his early 30s and had so much life left to live. He left behind a wonderful wife and a beautiful 10-month old daughter. We are all heartbroken over his loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and everyone that had the honor of calling him a friend.

“Today the awesome crew of the T&GK team put together $2,318 from their own pockets to help his family with all the unexpected expenses that they will surely have to deal with. The T&GK matched that amount, but any additional contributions would help his family out tremendously during these hard times that they’re going through.” A GoFundMe account has been set up to support the family at https://www.gofundme.com/julio-cesar-leiva.

Louis added, “Life is mysterious and no one knows when it’s their time to go. We hope that Julio knows that while he was taken from us so unexpectedly and at such a young age, he will always be a member of our family. We also hope that he will rest assured knowing that his family will be taken care of, because they are now permanently a part of our family.”

Landmark Ceramics shows Frontier20 novelties at Coverings 2018

Frontier20, offers a unique porcelain paver experience for outdoor application

Frontier20 M.P.D project porcelain pavers

Landmark Ceramics’ Frontier20 introduced the Multi Pattern Design (M.P.D.) project, designed to allow combinations of multiple size patterns and therefore develop creative and original outdoor design solutions. M.P.D. project is available in two different versions: M.P.D. Big & M.P.D. Small.

 

 

 

 

Frontier20 also adds to its wonderful line four new stone-look items. These colors are inspired by a mix of the finest and most contemporary natural limestones, making it a unique collection, ideal for designing in a free and versatile manner.

Frontier20 stone colors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frontier20 expands its selection with new sizes ranging from 12″x12″ to 24″x48″. Among those, two new wood looks in the highly demanded plank format 16”x48” have been added to satisfy the demand of the most accurate and attentive designers.

Frontier20 offers new sizes

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