Editor’s Letter – March 2014

Lesley psf head shotThis month, it seems NTCA president Dan Welch and I are thinking along the same lines – pondering the frailty of human life and appreciating and valuing those who impact, guide or accompany us on our paths on this planet.

You’ll notice in this issue, we have an “In Memory” section for two folks who are well known in the industry, but who passed on in February: NTCA regional director Tom Hambrock, and Stone World’s Mike Reis. In addition, at the 11th hour of putting March to bed, we learned of the passing of industry legend, Dr. Henry M. Rothberg, founder of LATICRETE International, Inc., who you will find honored in a special section in this issue. They join a growing crowd of industry (and personal) friends, acquaintances and family who have left us in recent months and years.

Tom, Mike and Dr. Rothberg’s dedication to this industry was clear to anyone who knew them. And they made many important business connections and sparked many deep friendships during their time with us.

But their passing makes me stop and pause as I consider the larger context. Since you are reading this article printed in an industry magazine or its corresponding website, I assume you work in this industry. I hope you get great pleasure and fulfillment from your job, from your craft, from the network of great people that this industry is and from the opportunities to exercise your skills and creativity within the daily scope of work.

If you aren’t enjoying what you are doing, stop right now and put plans in motion to do something else.

Life is short. Damn short. It’s way too short to invest decades of your precious time into something that doesn’t bring you joy.

Here at TileLetter, we bring you motivational articles about how to excel at your business. We have articles about how to lead, how to motivate yourself, how to motivate employees. Perhaps the best motivation is loving what you do and engaging in work that brings you pleasure. It is said that those who love their work, never “work” a day in their lives.

If this doesn’t describe you, stop and take stock right now. Maybe there are changes you can make with your team, your employer or your employees that would bring you greater satisfaction and service. If the company culture does not support that kind of change, and you’re in charge, seek to change the culture. If you are an employee in a company that does not support your wellbeing on all levels, it might be time to find one that does.

As far as any of us know, this time on earth is our one chance at life on this planet. At any rate, it’s our one chance at life with this unique set of skills, relationships, challenges, gifts and abilities. Make the most of them. Make the most of your life. Make your life count and choose a joyful path. It’s the best stewardship you could employ for this gift called life.


Crossville Welcomes Sam Dryden as Vice President of Manufacturing

CROSSVILLE, Tenn.  – Officials with Crossville, Inc. have announced the addition of Sam Dryden as Vice President of Manufacturing.

Sam Dryden, Crossville VP of Manufacturing

Sam Dryden, Crossville VP of Manufacturing

Dryden comes to Crossville from Mannington Wood & Laminate Floors division, where he worked since 1998 and most recently served as Director of Manufacturing. Prior to and in tandem with his career in manufacturing management, Dryden served in the U.S. Navy. He retired from the military in 2011 as a U.S. Navy Commander – Naval Flight Officer after 20 years of service. He holds a BA in Accounting from the University of North Georgia and an MBA from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Editor’s Letter – February 2014

Lesley psf head shotWell, we’ve done it, folks. We’ve made it through another year and the holidays and the start (and perhaps the failure already) of New Year’s resolutions.

And now we are squarely into 2014, which in the Chinese calendar is the Year of the Horse. To be exact, it’s the Year of the Green Horse, or the Year of the Wooden Horse.

Just to get a little woo – woo for a minute (hey, I live in New Mexico), the Year of the Horse is all about ACTION. The last two years have been “water” years – years steeped in contemplation and introspection, caution and planning. All together, we have completed five years of a degenerative cycle (how has THAT shown up in your personal life and your business?) and now we are primed towards intuitively-guided action, freedom, optimism and extroverted energy. The “green” of the Green Horse corresponds to the element associated with 2014 in the Chinese tradition – wood. Wood represents new budding and branching out of life we are now embarking upon – symbolized by green.

So, what has this got to do with tile and stone contracting?

This time of year kicks off the trade shows, which for me means Surfaces, and its new Tile Expo, which trumpets the importance of this surfacing material and its installation. Each year while I am at Surfaces, hotels and casinos in Las Vegas are decked out for the Chinese New Year. That got me interested in researching a little about what is in store this year.

I see some echoes of truth in the Chinese predictions in our industry. These last few years have been cautious ones, slowly emerging from the struggling economy of the recession into more palpably optimistic times. There has been a lot of loss and chaos, pruning away and planning as we hung in the balance between a crashed economy and one poised to bloom. Those who took this time to get prepared are smart, because the Chinese astrologers say this is about to change – and hang onto your hats when it does, because it will be a wild ride.

And oh – because my mind works this way – wood is a huge style trend in the tile world right now. As I mentioned in a previous issue’s report on CERSAIE – you couldn’t turn around at that Italian show without seeing wood represented in some way in ceramic or porcelain. I expect that to continue at all the shows I attend this year as well. And I’ll take it as a good sign, symbolizing growth and the blossoming of opportunity, action, energy and prosperity for us all!



In memory: Michael Reis, Stone World associate publisher

Michael ReisOn Friday, February 7, 2014, long-time editor, colleague and friend, Michael Reis, 43, of Ringwood, N.J.,  passed away suddenly while vacationing with close friends in Jamaica.

Raised in Little Ferry, NJ, Michael graduated from the journalism school at Rutgers University in 1992. He started with Stone World in March of 1993. He immediately dug in, learned the industry and soon began to cover it in his unique style that has come to shape the publication throughout the last two decades. When Stone World began to shift its focus to the fabrication segment of the industry, and the fabricators themselves, Michael immediately set out to meet with fabricators from around the world, visiting their shops, and attending workshops and seminars. He became the industry expert we all came to know and rely upon for the latest news from our industry.

Named editor in  1995 , Michael became a fixture at trade shows around the world; Verona, Carrara, Nuremberg, Orlando, Vegas, Brazil, Atlanta and just about anywhere else there was a stone industry event to cover. It was Michael’s initial idea to start the Stone World Fabrication Workshops and his knowledge and leadership that kept them going.

In 1997, Michael was named associate publisher, to reflect the evolution of his role which extended beyond the editor function.  He was Stone World’s spokesman, but he was also the industry’s fiercest advocate, most vocal supporter and in many ways, a leader of this entire industry.

Michael has moderated countless fabricator forums at trade shows over the years, and he has been flown in to speak at events all over the globe. He was incredibly proud to receive The Stone Master (Mastro della Pietra)  award in 2005 at a ceremony in Verona, Italy, one of his favorite destinations in the world. Michael was also especially proud of an award he received in 2001, in Macael, Spain: the Premios Comarca del Marmol, XVII Edicion.

He launched several important products for Stone World, including the magazine’s eNewsletter, which is now bi-weekly, and he managed several  custom publications, including his favorite project, the Building Stone Magazine, published with the Building Stone Institute.

Never remaining still, he brought his love of life and people around the world, starting as a star baseball player.  He became an avid outdoorsman hiking the tallest peaks in North America, exploring the most exotic locations on earth,  completing the full trek of his favorite Long Trail in Vermont, taking in a Phish concert along the way or hitting Jazz Fest in New Orleans.

Beloved husband of Theresa Reis (nee Smith), son to Robert and Regina Reis, brother to Robert and David, son-in-law to Steven and Christine Smith, brother-in-law to Amy and Paul Sorrentino, Doris and Edward Kriso, Evelyn Reis, and Patricia Reis, and uncle to Sean, Brianna, Paul, Sydney, Campbell, Audrey, and Ephraim. His final resting place will be among the mountains of Vermont, which brought him so much peace and joy during his time.

Funeral from Vorhees-Ingwersen Funeral Home 59 Main St. Ridgefield Park on Monday, February 17 at 9:00am. A Funeral Mass will be offered at. St. Francis RC Church, at 9:30am. Visitation Sunday, February 16 2-6pm. If desired donations may be made in his memory to: the Valley Hospital Foundation, 223 North Van Dien Avenue, Ridgewood NJ 07450. vorheesingwersen.com

There will be a more complete tribute worthy of his memory in a future issue of Stone World and on the magazine’s web site (www.stoneworld.com), but this tribute from the staff of Stone World conveys a little about Michael as a friend and colleague of the Stone World family (http://www.stoneworld.com/articles/87883-michael-reis-tribute).  Deepest sympathies go out to his family and loved ones, of which there are many.


2014 Ceramics of Italy Tile Compeition deadline extended to February 12, 2014


The submission deadline for the 2014 Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition has been extended to February 12, 2014. The competition seeks original and imaginative spaces by North American architects and designers using Italian ceramic tile, for the chance to win $4,000 + a five-day trip to Italy.

Sponsored by the Italian Trade Commission and Confindustria Ceramica (the Italian Association of Ceramics, comprised of 150+ ceramic tile manufacturers), the Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition is the longest running competition of its kind. The 2014 edition is open to architects and designers based in North America who have used Italian ceramic or porcelain tile in their residential, institutional and commercial/hospitality projects compeleted in the past five years (January 2009 – January 2014).

The competition is completely digital and FREE to enter! The winning architect or designer in each category will be awarded $4,000 and a five-day trip to Bologna, Italy to attend Cersaie – the world’s largest exhibition of ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings. An additional $1,000 will be awarded to the winning tile contractor/distributor team.For more information, visit www.tilecompetition.com

Editor’s Letter – January 2014

“Do what you love to do and give it your very best. Whether it’s business or baseball, or the theater, or any field. If you don’t love what you’re doing and can’t give it your best get out of it. Life is too short. You’ll be an old man before you know it.”
– Al Lopez

Lesley psf head shotHappy New Year one and all!

We find ourselves with a blank canvas stretching before us – 12 months of 2014. What are your plans to make it a good year, both personally and professionally? With what attitude will you enter the new year?

I’d like to draw your attention to one new section in TileLetter: Qualified Labor. We are dedicating some ink each month to bringing you news about certification events that are upcoming – or notable ones that have been held recently, like the Albuquerque certification for TWENTY local installers held last month.

Now that qualified labor language is in both the TCNA Handbook and is part of Master Spec, it will be easier for the A&D community to recommend qualified labor on their jobs. And why wouldn’t they? With highly technical products in the marketplace, like huge porcelain panels, A&D professionals aren’t going to want to specify beautiful product and leave its installation to the unskilled. Be sure you are taking full advantage of educational opportunities sponsored by manufacturers and suppliers as well as taking part of the NTCA workshops in your area. We list the upcoming ones in each issue of TileLetter, or you can go to https://tile-assn.com/Training/EducationOpportunities.aspx?mid=41 to see a list of workshops planned for the year, as well as a list of upcoming webinars.

0114_qualified_installerAnd if the workshops weren’t enough value in themselves, this year, NTCA is giving away a free NTCA membership at each workshop and giving you a chance to win a free trip to Coverings in April or Total Solutions Plus in October. We offer 70 workshops this year, so you have a one in 70 chance of winning – you can’t beat those odds! If a workshop is in your area, be sure to attend!

Also consider VALIDATING your skill with a Certified Tile Installer evaluation or if you are already a CTI, with ACT – or Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers – credentials. This is a tool that sets you apart from the competition and brands you immediately as the cream of the crop to potential clients. To help prepare you for the tests, this year there are a number of pre-test programs in select cities around the country that give you a sense of what will be asked for and expected on the test to increase your chances of passing. Look for more information in the Qualified Labor section of this issue.

It may only be January, but I have Vegas on my mind – that’s the site of the 25th edition of Coverings this year, from April 29-May 2. Those of you in the West who have longed to visit Coverings, now’s your chance. It promises to be a winning experience!

It’s my privilege and pleasure to begin this new year with you and journey along its winding paths together. Here’s to a prosperous, passionate and powerful year for us all!

God bless!
[email protected]

NTCA debuts new 20′ booth at Surfaces

JACKSON, Miss. — Fresh and ready for the 2014 trade show season is the new 20′ booth for the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA). The booth,  designed by NTCA’s Michelle Chapman, presents NTCA programs in a dynamic, graphic format.

The booth will debut at Surfaces, in space B4276, beside the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation’s space, where  hands-on Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT) evaluations will be conducted. Stop by and find out more about NTCA programs and benefits and  the Certified Tile Installer and ACT credentials . For more information www.tile-assn.com.

NTCA will debut a new 20' booth at Surfaces, space B4276

NTCA will debut a new 20′ booth at Surfaces, space B4276


NTCA's new booth, designed by NTCA's Michelle Chapman, shows NTCA programs in a dynamic, graphic format.

NTCA’s new booth, designed by NTCA’s Michelle Chapman, shows NTCA programs in a dynamic, graphic format.

OSHA Holding Jan. 14 Silica Web Session

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 9.14.05 AMWASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will host a live web session to discuss the agency’s proposed rule on occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica tomorrow.

As reported at www.stoneupdate.com, the web chat, from 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, will offer an opportunity to ask questions, get clarification from OSHA on the proposed silica rule, and learn how to participate in the regulatory process. OSHA staff will be available to clarify the proposed standards related to silica for general industry, maritime and construction.

OSHA staff will also answer questions on the agency’s underlying analysis of health risks, potential costs and benefits, and economic impacts associated with the proposed rule and how to submit comments to the rulemaking record.

Access to the web chat will be online only at www.osha.gov/silica. No advanced registration is required for participation.

The deadline to submit written comments and testimony on the proposal is Jan. 27. Members of the public may submit comments by visiting http://www.regulations.gov.

Additional information on the proposed rule can be found at http://www.osha.gov/silica.

Nuheat launches North America’s 1st WiFi Floor Heating Thermostat

Nuheat SIGNATURE WiFi thermostat.

Nuheat SIGNATURE WiFi thermostat.

Las Vegas, Nevada – January 7, 2014—Nuheat announced this morning at the Consumer Electronics Show, that it will launch North America’s first WiFi floor heating thermostat, the Nuheat SIGNATURE.

The Nuheat SIGNATURE will give homeowners full access to all thermostat settings with wireless remote access through a smartphone app (iOS or Android) or a web browser.  Changing the temperature or schedule, or viewing energy usage will all be at the homeowners’ fingertips.

The Nuheat SIGNATURE is like no other in our industry,” said Wally Lo, Nuheat’s Product Manager. “It has been designed and developed exclusively for Nuheat by OJ Electronics and after over a year of development, we are extremely excited to bring it to market. Extensive market research from homeowners and contractors alike confirmed the market is expecting connectivity for remote access.  A myriad of household products ranging from locks to lights to heating systems offer the ease of on-the-go control. Our new thermostat allows the user to activate the floor heat for vacation properties or, to simply turn up the heat for a cozy return home.”

The Nuheat SIGNATURE will available for sales in spring 2014.

Product Features:

  • WiFi – Easily connects to Wi-Fi network;  802.11 b/g/n compatible and a fully secure network WEP, WPA and WPA2
  • Screen – 3.5”, 320×480 pixel color backlit LCD touchscreen
  • Remote access – Control via free smartphone apps (iOS and Android) or a web browser
  • Programmable – 7-day programmability
  • Weather – Outdoor temperature and weather forecast information available according to zip/postal code; supported by The Weather Channel
  • Energy Usage –View hourly, weekly and monthly usage on the thermostat unit
  • Nuheat User Portal – Control thermostats in multiple zones/rooms/homes and input local kilowatt charges and heated area square footage for more detailed energy costs
  • Universally compatible – Compatible with most electric floor heating systems (those with a 10K Ω sensor)
  • Easy to Use – “Set-up Wizard” and Test Mode for proper installation
  • Flooring – Suitable for tile and stone and has a temperature limiting (82°F) feature for laminate and engineered wood floors
  • GFCI – Built-in Class A GFCI
  • Custom Preferences – Users can set custom preferences ranging from languages (Eng/Fre/Spa), 12 or 24 hour clock, C° or F°, to screen brightness
  • Design Element – Boasts a high gloss frame with a modern borderless clear acrylic overlay
  • Specifications – UL approved, dual-voltage; compatible for 120V and 240V systems. 15-amp relay to control up to 150 square feet in 120V and 300 square feet in 240V
  • Warranty – 3-year manufacturer’s warranty
  • Sensor – Can be controlled by floor or room temperature sensor
  • Clock – Automatic daylight savings time. Back-up power for up to 12 hours
  • Adaptive – Adapts turn-on time to ensure floor is always warm at your scheduled time

About Nuheat

 Based in Vancouver, Canada, Nuheat is North America’s leading manufacturer of electric floor heating systems and a distributor of heat trace for pipes, roof & gutters and slab. Nuheat products have been included in such celebrated projects as the Shangri-La Tower in Vancouver, the Hyatt Grand in Aspen, the Plaza Hotel in New York and Montreal’s city hall. www.nuheat.com

About OJ Electronics

OJ Electronics was established in 1964 and is today one of the world’s leading manufacturers of under floor heating and HVAC controls. Headquartered in Sønderborg, Denmark, OJ’s products are available through distributors worldwide. OJ holds a strong international position with subsidiaries and sales offices placed in global markets, including US, UK, Russia, and Poland.

Q.E.P. Co., Inc. Plays Santa’s Elves this Year!

Boca Raton, FL – December 12, 2013– This holiday season Q.E.P. Co., Inc. participated in an innovative community collaboration with the Spirit of Giving Networks Holiday Gift Drive.
The Holiday Gift Drive is a community-wide holiday gift drive and distribution for 4,000 youth ages 1-18 served by 37 nonprofit agencies. Children are invited to participate by invitation only (to prevent duplication among agencies). The children fill out a gift wish and the tags are placed on trees around town. Q.E.P. Co., Inc. took a sleigh full of gift tags that filled up its corporate tree. Employees at Q.E.P. Co., Inc. selected a tag off the tree and went to town playing Santa’s elves making for a magical holiday.

q.e.p. co., inc. holiday tree (3)“It always means a lot to be able to give back throughout the year and especially around the holidays to make sure that every child in our community has a magical holiday, ” said Jamie Clingan, senior vice president of marketing.  “I am amazed and pleased with the response from our QEP employees. The support and caring in participating in fulfilling these children’s wishes was overwhelming.”
Q.E.P. Co., Inc., founded in 1979, is a world class, worldwide provider of innovative, quality and value-driven flooring and industrial solutions. As a leading worldwide manufacturer, marketer and distributor QEP delivers a comprehensive line of hardwood flooring, flooring installation tools, adhesives and flooring related products targeted for the professional installer as well as the do-it-yourselfer. In addition the company provides industrial tools with cutting edge technology to all of the industrial trades. Under brand names including QEP®, ROBERTS®, Capitol®, Harris®Wood, Nupla®, HISCO®, Ludell, Vitrex®, PRCI®, Porta-Nail® and Elastiment®, the Company markets over 5,000 products. The Company sells its products to home improvement retail centers, specialty distribution outlets, municipalities and industrial solution providers in 50 states and throughout the world

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