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Coverings makes history with Coverings Connected virtual trade show

This is the story that would traditionally bring you highlights from the Coverings trade show, which would have been held this year in New Orleans, La., in April. 

But as everyone is well aware, that physical show did not happen, and instead the event moved to a virtual format, known as Coverings Connected, which took place April 20-23, the same time frame as the planned physical show. The online digital experience was the first of its kind and provided nearly 4,000 industry professionals with four days of valuable educational webinars and online networking opportunities. 

TCNA announced during its Coverings Connected press conference that it is adding viral testing to the antifungal and antibacterial testing it’s offered for many years.

What’s a challenge – and a benefit – about reporting on a virtual event, is that the information that we reporters would glean at the event was – and still is – available for you to visit online at coverings.com. This includes the Coverings Connected content and handouts, recorded sessions and webinars, a trend review by Alena Capra, and the CID Award winners and 2020 Coverings Rock Stars. In addition, there are Exhibitor Galleries and the New Product Showcase to browse through. 

The show itself makes news

That said, maybe the biggest news about the show was the show itself, and this new virtual format that we find ourselves immersed in these days. With the uncertainty posed by COVID-19, this may have been the first industry virtual trade show, but it likely won’t be the last, even though, as one contractor pointed out, “Coverings is really about meeting the people face to face.”

So what worked and what didn’t? Here’s some feedback from those who “attended” the event – and links to announcements made in April. 

First off, from the perspective of an editor at the show, I thought it was an amazing effort pulled together in a short period of time with a huge amount of products and some good educational sessions. 

Ryan Fasan explored influences on tile trends and emerging looks in his presentation during the Tile of Spain press conference.

I couldn’t get to all the ones I wanted to view due to three hours of press conferences from Ceramics of Italy, Tiles of Spain, Ceramic Tile Distributors Association, Tile Council of North America and National Tile Contractors Association on the opening day, but I can go back and view the ones I missed. I LOVED the efficiency of 30-minute press conferences and would like to see that continued when we are live and in person again. (Visit tileletter.com and search “Coverings Connected” for announcements released and posted during the show.)

I noticed that amidst the Product Galleries and Exhibitor Profiles, some companies went the extra mile. Lamosa comes to mind. The Mexican company developed a virtual booth tour, where you could actually navigate through four rooms of product and get detailed info on the tile “installed” on the walls, floors, and surfaces. This was a stellar effort to use technology to create an in-person-like environment.

Mexican tile maker Lamosa created a virtual booth for Coverings Connected. 

Martin Brookes, NTCA Five-Star Contractor Heritage Marble & Tile in Mill Valley, Calif., both presented a seminar on Application and Specification of Tile for Outdoor Use, with DW Sander’s Woody Sanders, and attended the event. He remarked, “What a fantastic job the Coverings event team did in creating content with little time on hand.”

Joseph Mattice of On The Level, Simpsonville, S.C., viewed some of the sessions and “was super impressed with what the show was able to accomplish in such a short time. The sessions were well thought out and presented as always, and the networking was great as well.”

Jane Callewaert, who runs Dragonfly Tile & Stone Works in Grafton, Wis., with her artisan tilesetter husband Lee, said, “I thought it was very well executed and an excellent opportunity to be virtually connected and learn given the ‘loss’ of the actual Coverings event.” 

The Callewaerts found the virtual sessions provided more than instruction – it opened up the opportunity for group viewing and subsequent discussion. “Lee and our staff attended Mark Heinlein’s session on water control, and I attended the Digital Marketing/Branding session, as well as the Acting on NTCA Culture,” Jane said. Lee wanted the staff “to see it and remind them that he is learning something new all the time. He really enjoyed that he could ‘attend’ with our staff, as it prompts discussion among the group. I think this is an important use of these sessions.”

Jane would like to see future iterations of a virtual show offer a chance for discussion after the presentation for those who viewed it. Though Dragonfly staff got to explore the material themselves after viewing sessions as a group, she mused, “Wouldn’t it be cool if after the sessions there was an option to join live group discussion with others who attended? Obviously attendees would need to be broken into small groups for this.” (Edit—Zoom does offer the option of small breakout groups.

Steve Sprung of RTC Products concurred. “In a world full of instant gratification, I think some sort of live chat feature would have been much better than the typical email contact form,” he said. “This way you could have had more of the ‘personal interaction’ like you would with the live show, and would be able to chat with someone instantly about the product you are looking at.”

Sara Hurtado of iQ Power Tools viewed a number of sessions, and especially enjoyed the speaker for the Young Professionals Program: Leadership – The Right and Wrong of It. “That class also offered a bonus happy hour networking event which created a much more personal aspect than your typical webinar,” she said. “With the real show being cancelled, we all lost the networking opportunities many of us look forward to. Virtual education, new products and demo videos were expected, but to be able to bring in the networking aspect was a great surprise.” 

Pros and cons

Not everyone had a great experience at the virtual show. “I tried twice to access anything that seemed to be like a company booth or new product info or live event and got frustrated with the website both times and ultimately gave up,” said Dan Marvin of Ironrock. “I did attend Eric Astrachan’s press conference (since an email with a direct link made it pretty easy), which went well.”

“I would definitely like to see a more robust exhibitor profile,” Sprung suggested. 

iQ’s Sarah Hurtado said the Product Gallery had pros and cons, with an overwhelming format. “As a vendor, I felt like only the products on the first page were viewed, and those of us whose products were further down the alphabetic order, were missed. 

“I think the biggest challenge Coverings had was its advertising,” she added. “The event as a whole was advertised, but each piece was not. For example – the Live Demo stage. I did not see any direct advertisements for that piece of the show. As a vendor, we paid extra to be featured on that stage. In person, we can see the attendance and rate the demo. However, being digital, we did not have the same visibility. It would be nice to have the demo stage, specific webinars and even the new products get more specific attention and promotion. In addition, it would be great to see the analytics and data from the promotions and digital assets.”

Going forward

Even with some challenges with this first-try virtual conference, attendees and participants would like to see it continue in some form. 

“While I don’t think it will replace physical shows, the format of the booths and having remote sessions would be a great supplement to the traditional show in the future,” On The Level’s Mattice said.

RTC’s Sprung said, “With the expense of Coverings, I feel that this virtual booth should be included in the cost. I would also like to see a re-evaluation of the amount of products an exhibitor gets per level.”

Dragonfly’s Jane Callewaert said, “I think there is value for multiple obvious reasons: some people can’t attend, some ‘virus’ stops us all in our tracks, ability to reach more people.” But she still favors an in-person event. “There are many offerings that can’t be experienced with a remote platform. Even products are best experienced when you can touch and feel and when a ‘monitor’ isn’t interpreting color and texture. And that sharing that organically happens when people experience things together can’t be replicated.”

Hurtado said, “The webinars and videos of the contractor stage were great. I think these could be turned into great advertising pieces used to encourage people to come to the real show. A digital event could encourage a virtual community who maybe cannot afford to attend the show in person. Mini webinars and virtual networking events would be a great way for people to connect pre-show and really get engaged within the tile community.”

Hurtado had some suggestions for future shows, virtual or physical. “The overall promotion of Coverings could improve,” she said. “There is a big space for Coverings/NTCA to fill on social media and other channels. There could have been more stories, live feeds, and posts prior to the event as well as during. It would have been super interesting to see more of the behind-the-scenes of some of the webinars or training seminars. More promotional posts of the tools, products and people behind the tile – versus just all the pretty kinds of tile – would have been great to see.” 

In addition to the resources you can find at coverings.com, we want to focus on a few special highlights. Navigate to tileletter.com and enter “CID Awards 2020” or “2020 Rock Stars” to get full details. 

CID Awards

The Coverings Installation & Design Awards recognized 18 amazing projects this year. The Design Category included Commercial Tile Design, Commercial Stone Design, Residential Tile Design, Residential Stone Design (with subcategories), and Residential Tile & Stone Design. 

The Installation Category included: 

Commercial Stone Installation: Christ Cathedral Carnevale & Lohr, Inc. Garden Grove, Calif.
Commercial Tile Installation: Hotel Bennett David Allen Company Charleston, S.C.
Residential Stone Installation: Portland White House Columbia River Tile & Stone Inc. Portland, Ore.
Residential Tile Installation: Corte Madera Pool Grotto Heritage Marble & Tile Inc. Corte Madera, Calif.

Rock Stars

Fourteen of the best and brightest young talent were named as Coverings Rock Stars.

Among the Rock Stars who were honored for 2020, all five installers were from NTCA member companies. These included: 

In addition, Ryan Marino, Standards Development and Research Manager, TCNA, Anderson, S.C., took the trade association honor, and Kristin Coleman, Vice President of Novita Communication, NYC – the public relations firm for Ceramics of Italy – won as best and brightest talent in the Other (PR Firm) category. 

Robert Roberson, David Allen Company

David Allen Company Chairman (DAC) Robert Roberson is a two-time President of the National Tile Contractors Association and has been with the firm for 63 years. DAC celebrates its 100th Anniversary in 2020. 

David G. Allen established his tile, marble, and terrazzo company in 1920. Allen, an exceptionally-skilled craftsman in the masonry arts, was often called on to perform the most difficult, challenging, and complex projects. His commitment to excellent quality and ethical business practices quickly drove his small company to become the preferred tile, marble, and terrazzo company in the region.

Robert Roberson, the current Chairman of the Board, began his career with David Allen in 1957, and purchased the company in 1967. Knowing the value of David Allen’s foundation of high standards and ethical business practices, Roberson and his leadership team remain committed to David Allen’s beginning principles, the result of which has placed the company as one of the largest and most-respected tile, marble and terrazzo companies in the nation, with offices in Raleigh, N.C., Washington, D.C., South Florida, Columbia, S.C., Birmingham, Ala., and Charlotte, N.C. 

The company’s work – in airports, museums, hotels, hospitals, coliseums, schools and universities – has received more industry awards for workmanship and professionalism than any similar firm in the U.S. Today, David Allen Company continues its commitment to excellence as an ESOP (employee stock ownership plan) company, instilling pride and ownership at every level. 

David Allen Company has a long standing history of supporting industry associations and affiliations. It is one of the few remaining charter members of the National Tile Contractors Association, joining what was then the Southern Tile Contractors Association in 1947. In fact, Robert Roberson is the only person in NTCA history to be named President of the association at two different times, serving in 1971-1973 and again in 1989-1991. 

As the company celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2020 as a leading tile industry contractor, we caught up with Mr. Roberson in an exclusive TileLetter One-to-One interview. 

What are the main factors that have allowed the David Allen Company to thrive as a leading tile installation contractor for 100 years? 

Roberson: From the beginning, the high standards of integrity, professionalism, craftmanship, and customer service practiced by Mr. David Allen himself attracted loyal customers and talented employees. 

During the first 10 years of my 63-year career with the company, I was able to witness how those values were truly lived out in Mr. Allen’s personal life as well as in his business life. 

As we continued to be authentic in those areas, the company attracted talented leaders and craftsmen. Being a trusted, responsible resource is important to contractors, developers, architects, and owners. Being a trusted employer is certainly valued by team members and potential team members. 

Beyond living our core values, I think several things have contributed to our successful longevity: 

1. We are future-focused – to see both short- and long-term opportunities and risk. 

2. We have attracted capable team members on all levels. 

3. Our ongoing education and training emphasis, on all levels, causes good team members to become great team members. 

4. We believe being financially sound is a major asset. It eliminates stress so we can focus on opportunities. We have purposely been overcapitalized.

 5. We demonstrate genuine concern for the welfare and success of all DAC team players, not just the owners and leadership. 

What steps are the leaders of David Allen Company taking to ensure that they will continue to succeed both now and into the future? 

Roberson: As it has so appropriately been said, “What got you HERE, won’t get you THERE!” 

Aware that society and business, like everything in life, are constantly changing and evolving, we not only accommodate change – we advocate and capitalize on change. We respect and stay true to the core values while continuing to stay focused and prepared for the opportunities, challenges and changes that are coming tomorrow and next year. Our next generation of leadership is in place and being mentored for senior leadership. Forty-five percent of DAC (David Allen Company) ownership is ESOP owned – making everyone an owner. 

The David Allen Company has a long history of support of trade associations in the tile and construction industry, including support of the National Tile Contractors Association. How has having the leaders of your company get involved in national and local associations benefitted David Allen Company? 

Roberson: Beginning with David Allen himself as a charter member of NTCA, the company has actively participated in the associations that represent tile, marble, terrazzo, and the construction industry. We would never have achieved the level of success and professionalism that we enjoy today had it not been for our significant involvement with those associations. Much of our standing in the industry and certainly much of our knowledge resulted from our association involvement and from our interaction with association members. 

To illustrate, DAC has provided four of NTCA’s presidents. I served as president on two occasions, Don Scott and Martin Howard are past presidents, and Chris Walker is the current president. 

In 1985, I was appointed Chairman of what had been a three-person technical committee that had reported no activity for the previous three years. I immediately appointed 20 technically-knowledgeable industry members and scheduled quarterly meetings. We promptly started producing documents designed to guide the contractor through the maze of new and challenging installation methods and products. Those efforts resulted in the highly-popular NTCA Reference Manual. I served as Chairman of this committee for 13 years and was followed by Don Scott, who served for another six years. Martin Howard and Chris Walker are current members of that committee. Our team members, on all levels, have been and continue to be “association addicts.” Yes, we know the value of association involvement and recognize that we are largely who we are because of our association involvement. 

David Allen Company currently has two representatives serving on the NTCA Executive Committee. Martin Howard (third from left) is the current Chairman of the Board and Chris Walker, (far right) is President. 

In comparing today’s construction environment and tile trade to the beginning of your career, tell us a little about the changing world we live in. What was easier about being a tile contractor in the beginning of your career? What was more challenging back then as compared to now? 

Roberson: Change is often uncomfortable, but I believe change sustains. None of us wish to return to what we often call the “good old days” when we soaked glazed wall tile in galvanized tubs of water for hours before installing, applying a scratch coat, a leveling coat, and a bond coat, each with its own formula, and rushed to apply the tile before the mortar hardened – and considered installing 60-80 square feet a day as good production. Tile installations were very labor intense. 

In those times, the required craft skill was much higher, and the technical skill was much less than today. If one claimed to be a journeyman tile setter with less than a four-year apprenticeship, he would be laughed off the job. There was a high sense of pride among the most gifted craftsmen. It wouldn’t be unusual to see a craftsman, as he finished his work, step back and observe his work, just as an artist may do in critiquing his painting. 

Relationships were more likely to be personal and far less likely to end in a legal contest. Contracts were also more likely to be verbal or just one page. Many of my contractor customers were also my friends. 

Most commercial tile contractors purchased tile directly from the manufacturer since distributors didn’t exist in most areas. In the 1950s, it was not unusual for tile – especially trim pieces – to be shipped in barrels packed in sawdust. 

For many of my earlier years, much of our installations were confined to toilets, bathrooms, and commercial kitchens. As a result of changing and improving installation methods, ever-increasing innovative tile designs and sizes, and effective marketing, we now often are the feature of many buildings. We have moved from the toilet to the lobby! 

Communication with the job site usually required a visit since only a few of the larger jobs had phones on site. There was far more conversation about workmanship than about scheduling and production. 

There were no copy machines, fax machines, computers, electronic devices, or Makita saws. The closest thing to an electronic device was a mechanical calculator with more than one hundred keys. The solution to most issues and problems back then was just “plain common sense.” 

Share with us a few of your favorite or most challenging projects you were involved with during your illustrious career. 

David Allen Company headquarters construction and its tile and stone installations are favorite projects of Mr. Roberson’s career.

Roberson: In today’s construction arena, all large projects are very challenging with demanding schedules, short time frames, tight budgets, difficult coordination of trades, and accessible work areas. We master all of those challenges every day. 

The project I enjoyed most was our own 25,000-square-foot office building. We were fortunate that it occurred when we didn’t have a time frame or a budget. I took the architect on a 10-day trip to Italy to be sure he understood what I was trying to accomplish. The contractor built the building in nine months, and it took me over a year and a half to do the finishes. From the day we started construction, the job site became my office. I enjoyed working alongside our artist, Vickie Wilson – creating mosaics and marble patterns, resourcing materials, and watching the building that I had built in my head come to life. 

You have been leading the David Allen Company for many decades. What are you most proud of as you look back on the success of the company? 

Roberson: In 1957, my first year with the company, our annual billings were $358,000. During the first 10 years, I was working 12 hours or more a day, and six days a week. In 1967 – the year I purchased the company – billings had not reached $600,000. 

David Allen Company is one of the few remaining charter members of the National Tile Contractors Association. Robert Roberson (l.) worked closely with NTCA Executive Director Emeritus Joe Tarver (r.) to form the NTCA Technical Committee. He chaired this committee for 13 years, followed by Don Scott (seated) for the next six years. Mr. Roberson and Mr. Scott are both previous recipients of the NTCA Ring of Honor Award. 

In 1969, Don Scott joined my one-person team in our tile operations. Don was an education major and had just finished his first year of teaching high school math. He had no previous experience in tile, marble, terrazzo, or business. His impressive character was obvious, and I thought he had tremendous potential. Then, in 1971, David Roberson joined our leadership team in our terrazzo operations. Like Don, David was fresh out of college but had no prior working experience. They were fast learners and hard workers, reinforcing everything that was valuable to our company’s success – a strong commitment to our core values, long hours, sacrifices, and 100% loyal and productive leaders. Don became the President and David is now the CEO. 

For me, that was a turning point. Don and David liberated me. I began focusing more on vision and leadership. As things began to change, I was able to attract more very talented and committed people who enhanced our values. 

Phil Halcomb joined the team in 1986 and established our highly-successful D.C. office. In 1992, Art Odom, a CPA, became our company CFO. Art is now the President of the company. Following Art, Martin Howard became an important part of our leadership team and is now Executive Vice President and a past president of NTCA. Martin oversees our tile and stone operations and our seven branches. 

In 2010, Chris Walker joined the DAC team as Vice President, Northeast Region. Chris is the current president of NTCA, and many others along our 100-year journey have left their indelible and valuable mark. 

But back to your question: What am I most proud of? It is not the most monumentally challenging job we ever successfully completed. Nor is it some artistically created masterpiece. Rather, it is the leadership and the team of quality, talented, and committed individuals who have made our company what it is today and who will continue to keep our company exceptional and relevant. It is the people who are David Allen Company – yes, that is what I am most proud of

Coverings Announces Installation & Design Award Winners for 2020

April 20, 2020 – ARLINGTON, Va. – Coverings (coverings.com), the largest international tile and stone exhibition and conference in North America, today announced the 18 projects receiving the coveted Coverings Installation & Design (CID) Awards for 2020. The CID Awards celebrate outstanding achievements in the design and installation of tile and stone in both residential and commercial projects.

“We were truly impressed with all of the project submissions we received for this year’s CID Awards program,” said Jennifer Hoff, president of Taffy Event Strategies, LLC, the event management company for Coverings. “However, there were 18 projects that superbly demonstrated the versatility of tile and stone. Coverings is honored to award and recognize their creative and sophisticated applications of tile and stone, each of which showcases the latest industry advances and trends.”  

A panel of editors and industry leaders evaluated the project submissions. The submissions were based on tile and stone execution, original usage and overall design and purpose. Special recognition was given to those projects exemplifying spectacular tile and stone applications.

Projects were awarded using eight categorical designations: Residential Tile Installation, Residential Tile Design, Residential Stone Installation, Residential Stone Design, Commercial Tile Installation, Commercial Tile Design, Commercial Stone Installation, and Commercial Stone Design. The CID Awards are sponsored by TileLetter, Tile Magazine and Contemporary Stone & Tile Design Magazine.

2020 CID Award winners and special recognition honorees are as follows:

2020 CID Award Winners: Design

Commercial Stone Design:

Redefining the Classic Brownstone
Materials Marketing
Chicago, Ill. 

Commercial Tile Design, Hospitality:

Mercado Little Spain
Juli Capella
New York, N.Y.

Commercial Tile Design:

Valley Plaza
Architecture Design Collaborative
Bakersfield, Calif. 

Residential Stone Design, Small:

Lux Modern Master Suite
Angela Todd Studios
Hood River, Ore. 

Residential Stone Design, Large:

One Man’s Home is Another Man’s Castle
Materials Marketing
Madison, Va.

Residential Tile Design, Large:

Ocean Reef
Armina Interiors
Ocean Reef Club, Fla. 

Residential Tile Design, Small:

New York Inspired Bathroom
Details Tile and Remodeling
McKinney, Texas

Residential Tile & Stone Design:

Bespoke Renovation
Empire Kitchen & Bath
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

2020 CID Award Winners: Installation

Commercial Stone Installation:

Christ Cathedral
Carnevale & Lohr, Inc.
Garden Grove, Calif. 

Commercial Tile Installation:

Hotel Bennett
David Allen Company
Charleston, S.C. 

Hotel Bennett David Allen Company Charleston, S.C.

Residential Stone Installation:

Corte Madera Pool Grotto Heritage Marble & Tile Inc. Corte Madera, Calif.

Portland White House 
Columbia River Tile & Stone Inc.
Portland, Ore. 

Residential Tile Installation:

Corte Madera Pool Grotto
Heritage Marble & Tile Inc.
Corte Madera, Calif. 

2020 CID Award Special Recognitions

Innovation in Tile:

12×12 Porcelain Tile as Roof Tile
Ironstone Strong, Ltd.
Sunset, S.C. 

International:

Museo de las Colecciones Naturales
COR Asociados
Alicante, Spain

Artistic:

Hand-Cut Kachemak Bay Steam Shower Tierra Tile Homer, Alaska

Hand-Cut Kachemak Bay Steam Shower
Tierra Tile
Homer, Alaska

Artistic:

RiverHouse – Bring the Outside In
KatiaTiles
Point Pleasant, Pa. 

Artistic:

Six Beautiful Butterflies
Custom Mosaic Creations, Inc.
Silverton, Ore. 

Artisan Installation:

Hand Cut Octopus Mosaic
Tierra Tile
Homer, Alaska

Each 2020 CID Award winner received $2,000. The honorees will be celebrated with an awards ceremony at Coverings 2021 and have their projects displayed via a specially designed flipbook and video at coverings.com

The CID Awards judging panel included Chris Abbate, Novità Communications; Eric Astrachan, Tile Council of North America; Scott Carothers, Ceramic Tile Education Foundation; Kristin Coleman, Novità Communications; John Cox, Cox Tile; Kelly Doyle, Frank Advertising; Dean Horowitz, commARCH; Kathy Meyer, Tile Council of North America; Jennifer Quail, i+D; Jennifer Richinelli, BNP Media/Stone World; James Woelfel, Artcraft Granite, Marble and Tile Co.; and Dacia Woodworth, Natural Stone Institute.

TISE highlights

NTCA came out in force at The International Surface Expo in Las Vegas in January. Following are a few highlights of our time there. 

Many contractors wanted to learn and join NTCA at TISE. Here, NTCA member Chanel Carrizosa talks to prospective members at the NTCA booth, situated between the CTEF booth and the DISH stage.
TileLetter Editor Lesley Goddin gets her hands dirty playing in the mud, under Randy Fleming’s patient instruction!
NTCA knows how to have fun! Hats off to the NTCA crew, stopping at the hat shop at Mandalay Place for a photo shoot. With (l. to r.) Randy Fleming, Avia Haynes, Mark Heinlein, Lesley Goddin and Robb Roderick. 
NTCA offered a number of demos on the DISH stage, beside our booth. Here’s the critical wall lighting demo with Randy Fleming (l.) and Dan Hecox.
At the CTEF booth, Certified Tile Installer demos and modules were set up for inquiring contractors to learn more about. 
NTCA gave numerous presentations at the Converge conference program. Here NTCA Technical Director Mark Heinlein gives a preview of the new NTCA Workshop on creating centered and balanced tile layouts, according to industry standards.

In memory of Gerald Zakim

Gerald (Jerry) Zakim, age 91, of Wanaque, N.J., formerly of Paterson and Wayne, passed away peacefully on the night of January 4, 2020, at his home. He was the beloved husband of Phyllis H. (nee Hamburg) Zakim for 68 years, devoted father of Stuart Zakim of Montclair, N.J., Elayna Kirschtel and her husband David of New City, N.Y., and the late Leonard Zakim of Newton, Mass., cherished and proud grandfather of Andrew, Alex, Jonathan, Joshua (Grace), Shari (Philip), Deena (Jesse), Aaron (Michal), Jason and Naomi, dear great grandfather of Leo, Lev and Lyla, dear brother of the late Sam Zakim and the late Esther Zakim Fox. Prior to his retirement, “Jerry” was the owner of a construction and consulting firm in Northern New Jersey and had a patent for a waterproof coating system. He was a graduate of Clemson University, in South Carolina where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree and was a Navy veteran of WWII. 

Jerry Zakim (l.) with NTCA’s Mark Heinlein.

Jerry was a lifetime member of the National Tile Contractors Association and an NTCA Recognized Consultant. 

Gerald was a longtime member of Temple Beth Tikvah, in Wayne since 1966, and was a member of the Veritans and the YM-YWHA of Northern New Jersey, in Wayne, where he was inducted in the Sports Hall of Fame for his time as a basketball referee in the 1940s. 

“I didn’t get my annual birthday call on January 10th this year from Jerry Zakim, and I didn’t get to make my birthday call to him on January 11th,” said Joe Tarver, Executive Director Emeritus of NTCA. “This was a ritual that started many years ago and was uninterrupted just by a few days. Jerry was a unique person in our industry with an insatiable quest for education and training and a willingness to share his knowledge with everyone. His history in the industry covered everything from inventor to consultant. He was a long-time member of the NTCA Technical Committee and participated in many NTCA Workshop programs. There was never a dull moment with Jerry around. RIP my friend.”

Services were at the Louis Suburban Chapel 13-01 Broadway (Route 4 West) Fair Lawn, N.J., and burial followed at Independent United Jersey Verein Cemetery, McBride Avenue, Woodland Park, N.J.. Memorial donations in memory of Gerald Zakim may be made to the Lenny Zakim Fund, 33 Arch Street, 26th Floor, Boston, Mass., 02110.

In memory of Albert Thompson

Albert Maurice Thompson, 81, of Eufaula, Okla., passed away Thursday, January 9, 2020, at his home. Albert was born on August 21, 1938, in Edmond, Okla., the son of Henry and Adelia Thompson, and graduated from Edmond High School. On March 1, 1996, Albert married Joann Bates at the Quail Springs Church of Christ in Oklahoma City. They were happily married for 23 years. Albert enjoyed playing guitar, helping people, and singing at the Plumb Theater.

Albert and Joann Thompson at the 2000 NTCA Annual Convention. 

He owned and operated Thompson Tile and Marble of Edmond and later owned Artistic Tile & Marble of Guthrie for over 25 years. He was a master tile man and was a member of the National Contractors Tile Association where he received the Tile Person of the Year Award in 2001. 

He is survived by: his wife, Joann; his sons, Jim Bates of Washington, Okla., and Chris Thompson of Mo.; his daughters, Karra Sparks of Bentonville, Ark., and Rachel Thompson; his grandchildren, Ashley Deskin, Kynsey Bates, Shelby Bates, Luke Barton, Noah Sparks, Cole Thompson, Christopher Thompson, Jesse Thompson, Taylor Thompson, Noah Thompson and Dallas Thompson; his great grandchildren, Delayney Deskin, Dallas Deskin and Henry Ford Thompson. He is preceded in death by his parents, and his siblings.

NTCA’S Executive Director Emeritus Joe Tarver also counted Thompson among his friends. “Albert Thompson was a dear friend and a staunch supporter of NTCA,” he said. “His talents reached far beyond the ceramic tile industry. Albert was also a guitarist, a singer and played regularly in a band. He was never too busy to answer a call for assistance from anyone related to the entertainment or tile industries. 

“When the decision was made to clad the NTCA building with new tile, Jim Isaminger of DMI Tile and Marble came in from Birmingham and did the installation,” Tarver added. “Albert answered the call and came to Jackson and grouted the installation with silicone. That was a unique talent that Albert possessed, and he did the entire building by himself. You will be missed my friend by all who knew and respected you.”

Coverings Announces “Coverings Connected,” A Digital Experience

April 3, 2020 – ARLINGTON, Va. Coverings (coverings.com), the largest international tile and stone exhibition and conference in North America, today announced a brand-new digital experience called Coverings Connected. The multi-session online event will take place April 20-23, 2020, via coverings.com, to provide attendees with digital access to learning opportunities via live webinars, tile and stone trends presentations, on-demand content, and an online showcase of Coverings tile and stone exhibitors from around the world.

Coverings Connected will further Coverings’ mission to grow the vibrant tile and stone industry and provide selected educational opportunities given the recently canceled Coverings 2020. 

“Our goal is to support Coverings 2020 exhibiting companies by providing them with an opportunity to feature their products and announcements in a digital environment,” said Jennifer Hoff, president of Taffy Event Strategies, LLC, the event management firm for Coverings. “Similarly, attendees of Coverings Connected will be presented a variety of online offerings, such as live webinars, on-demand content, live chats, and the opportunity to set up appointments with exhibitors.”

Coverings show organizers have learning opportunities for all segments of Coverings attendees. They will cover a range of topics and be presented by notable thought-leaders and leading industry organizations. CEUs will be available for architects and interior designers for selected sessions.

Highlights of the webinar series include, “Innovation: The Key to Success Through Color and Design Trends,” by Leatrice Eiseman, CSA, executive director for the Pantone Color Institute and the Eiseman Center for Color Information and Training; “Acting on the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) Culture Survey – Leadership in the Face of COVID-19,” by Wally Adamchik, president, FireStarter Speaking and Consulting; and “Economics 20/20,” by Elliot Eisenberg, PhD, and economist. 

Attendees of Coverings Connected are also able to engage with 900+ exhibitors through online Exhibitor Galleries and the New Product Showcase. Exhibitor information will be made available during and after the Coverings Connected event dates for attendees to search products, view exhibitor press releases, set appointments, watch exhibitor videos, and learn the latest trends in the industry.

For more information about Coverings Connected and to view the schedule, visit coverings.com.

Tile of Spain Remains Active in Sales and Service Network to Customers

Miami, FL April 2, 2020 – Despite the exceptional situation caused by COVID-19 and the restrictions set in Spain, the Spanish ceramic tile manufacturers will continue to meet their customers’ needs and international orders dispatch times. 

Tile of Spain companies are present in more than 180 countries all over the world and their commitment is to keep meeting their clients and customers’ needs with the same quality and service guaranteed by the Spanish ceramic tile industry in international markets.
 
In response to the international health crisis caused by COVID-19, the Spanish ceramic tile industry has taken the measures needed to protect the health and safety of all workers, adopting, in some cases, even stricter actions than the rules and obligations established by the Health Authorities. The well-being of the workers and their families is above anything else. 

This health and economic crisis is affecting everyone and thus, the industry is establishing the necessary mechanisms to return, once this complex situation has been resolved, to usual activity as quickly and normal as possible.

LATICRETE Appoints Joseph Rizzo as Associate Director of Sales, Concrete Remediation

Seasoned sales leader brings more than 30 years of experience to the fast growing NXT®, SUPERCAP®and Specialty Mortar product brands

April 1, 2020, Bethany, Conn. – LATICRETE, a leading manufacturer of globally-proven construction solutions for the building industry, has named Joseph Rizzo as Associate Director of Sales, Concrete Remediation. In this role, Rizzo will lead the LATICRETE sales team in the creation and execution of strategy for all aspects of concrete remediation sales, which includes the NXT®, SUPERCAP® and Specialty Mortar product brands. With the research and development, marketing, technical and product management teams, Rizzo will ensure LATICRETE customers are offered leading, innovative solutions for concrete slabs that exceed the expectations of the owner, designer and contractor.

“Concrete remediation is one of the fastest moving business segments for LATICRETE. Joseph’s established experience in generating sales growth and maximizing profits are essential for us to continue that momentum. His role will be instrumental in creating and enhancing our relationships with distributors and applicators, as well as ensuring they know they are our top priority,” said Ron Nash, LATICRETE Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, North America.

Rizzo most recently served as regional manager and achieved sales growth for PENETRON, a manufacturer of crystalline waterproofing products. Prior to PENETRON, Rizzo worked as the Vice President of Sales for US Concrete Products, where he helped accelerate business for the producer of concrete, grout, shotcrete and repair products. He earned his Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering at Polytechnic University, which is now known as NYU Tandon School of Engineering.

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