Midwest Mosaic: from possibilities to an American dream

A selfie with Malcom Campbell’s favorite tools: Sigma, Black Beauty and Suspenders.

Malcom Campbell said when opening his company, Midwest Mosaic, Inc., it represented possibilities. Now, 15 years later, the Toledo, Ohio-based company is still going strong with loyal clients, a customer-focused strategic business model, and a plan for the future.

Campbell began his tiling career in 1987 as a helper at a local commercial tiling firm. In 1999, he bought into a local tile firm, but became frustrated with the company after it went through years of jurisdictional disputes. Campbell then decided to start his own company. “[Midwest] Mosaic represented what could be possible if I just took what I knew and all the contacts I had and just did it my way.”

“Take Your Kid to Work Day” – Summer ‘18.

Midwest Mosaic, Inc. now has a long list of loyal clients. One of the reasons its clients are attracted to the company is that its installers are part of the selling package. “People hire us because they know what and who they are getting,” Campbell said. He makes sure the residential projects are assigned to the right installer for the job, while commercial clients know that Campbell will be their project lead.

Midwest Mosaic offers both residential and commercial installations and has two different teams that serve the different customer types. Campbell said the teams almost operate as separate divisions in the company, with the residential and commercial teams rarely crossing over. Installers on the commercial team may have the opportunity to work on residential projects if they the adopt certain habits crucial to working in occupied homes, such as cleaning up after themselves, protecting the homeowner’s belongings, and not smoking on property.

Testing the custom tile rack for Lourdes Cloister Walk in Campbell’s Toledo, Ohio backyard.

According to Campbell, operating the teams separately was a strategic decision that benefits the way the two customer types operate. “In commercial, time is of the essence,” he said. “In high-price residential, care is of the essence. The least caring thing you can tell a client while they suffer through disruption in their home is to tell them you are leaving because Kroger called and it’s your turn at the next store two states away.”

Midwest Mosaic has been a member of NTCA for the last 10 years, and became a NTCA Five-Star Contractor earlier this year. Campbell said the membership is worth more than its cost. He cited benefits such as regional training, webinars, professional services, and a pathway to Certified Tile Installer (CTI) certification as a few of the highlights of being an NTCA member. “If you are selling skilled tile installation and not a member at the NTCA, you are leaving money on the table,” he said.

Progress photo of Lourdes University Cloister Walk in Sylvania, Ohio

Campbell is hoping to use his recent NTCA Five-Star Contractor distinction to target more premium work. He said before becoming one, he wasn’t sure what to expect from the distinction, but now it is presenting interesting opportunities. He feels the NTCA Five-Star “grapevine” also provides good fellowship, and noted the targeted e-newsletter the group receives from Amber Fox as an additional benefit of being an NTCA Five-Star Contractor.

Campbell himself is a CTI and encourages his team to also become certified, crediting the test with providing necessary preparation for everyday occurrences in the field. He contends that it not only teaches you to work within ANSI standards, it forces you to perform at a high level even with time constraints. “The written test forces you to get educated about how to avoid a whole host of common failures,” he said. “By the time you finish that, you should have a new understanding about bonding, mixing cement, grouting, backer board, duty rating, ANSI, TCNA, the Robinson test and more. And the practical test you must finish. This presents a psychic challenge for all us. Anybody working at a high level will only do high-level work but [within] the time-management constraint.”

Getting dirty with the crew at a Burger King in Flint, Mich.

Campbell’s drive and hard work are factors of his company’s success, but he was quick to also note his estimator, Adrian Grec, as another factor. Campbell said Grec began working for him in 2013. After working with Grec, an engineering graduate, for a while, Campbell decided to train him in estimating. Campbell said Grec has become a champion of their commercial estimating. “He has taken it over and he does a really good job at it,” he explained

Campbell’s greatest joy about being a tile contractor is that it allowed him the freedom to spend time with his children. He has pictures and memories of them coming to work with him. Because of this, he feels is he is “living the American dream.”

Seven stars at the 2019 NTCA Awards during Coverings: two Rock Stars and one NTCA Five-Star.

MARSHALLTOWN Acquires Bullet Tools, Strengthening Flooring and Tiling Line

MARSHALLTOWN, IA (September 23, 2019): MARSHALLTOWN, an industry-leading manufacturer of construction tools and equipment, today announced it has acquired Bullet Tools, a company specializing in state-of-the-art flooring shears and other tools. The purchase further solidifies MARSHALLTOWN’s position as a leader in the flooring and tiling trades with the additional benefit of offering quality products to the siding and insulation industries.

The acquisition fits into MARSHALLTOWN’s strategy of providing professionals with the best, most innovative products. By purchasing Bullet Tools, MARSHALLTOWN expands its product offerings and reinforces its already strong position in the industry.

“Our purchase of Bullet Tools complements everything we’ve built here at MARSHALLTOWN,” said Joe Carter, President and CEO. “Their brand recognition, customer loyalty, innovation, and above all, quality products, made them a natural fit. We plan to grow that reputation and provide our dealers, distributors, and customers with an even stronger line of flooring and tiling products.”

MARSHALLTOWN plans to keep the Bullet Tools name and brand but add its products to the company’s catalog. The company will continue to maintain Bullet Tools’ quality and innovative spirit.

Allstate Commercial Flooring

“The team approach is simply better.”

According to Gary Sharpe, co-founder and VP of Sales, there’s a guiding principle at work at Allstate Commercial Flooring in Spring, Texas: “The world record 400-meter dash set by an individual is 43 seconds. The world record 400-meter relay set by four people is 37 seconds. The team approach is simply better.” 

The team approach informs all Allstate does, Sharpe says. In fact, one of the company’s cornerstone approaches is to diversify its staff. Estimators focus on estimating. Project managers focus on bringing projects in under budget and on time.

This strategy has helped fuel the company’s success with large commercial projects with an emphasis on new construction. K-12 education is an anchor market for the company, but higher education, hospitals, high-end hotels, assisted living, and high-rise commercial development are among the company’s favorites. Allstate embraces smaller projects too. For example, Allstate does most of the Rudy’s BBQ stores in Texas and the surrounding market ranging into Louisiana, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

The company was born when Sharpe was an estimator for another company and was thinking Tommy Vu would be the perfect complement to his skill set. “Turns out he was thinking the same thing!” Sharpe said. “He actually asked me to partner with him in this new venture back in 2008.” 

Vu himself had a long and luminous history as a tile installer, dating back to 1986 with well-known firms before he started his own, and has been key installer on high profile projects such as the Houston Astros Minute Maid Ballpark, Houston Rockets Toyota Center and Houston Texans NRG Stadium. Sharpe added, “His attention to detail, ability to coordinate with other trades and improve on the overall schedule of a project has won him favor with many customers over the years. In spite of his experience he believes there is always something new to learn.” In 2013, Charlie Adams purchased the company, and is now CEO; Rusty Dennison came on board that same year as VP of operations. 

The passion for learning something new is part of the reason that from day one Allstate was a NTCA member. “Tommy and I knew that the NTCA was the standard setter and bearer for the tile portion of our business,” Sharpe said. “We wanted to stay connected with the latest industry developments. Our budget was small back then but we carved out funds for NTCA membership. 

“Staying up to date on the latest installation trends is a big benefit,” Sharpe said. “Tommy is a stickler for ‘doing it right the first time,’ and the NTCA Five-Star Contractor program provides proof to our customers that we do it right. Going through the process to become one proves to yourself that you are doing it right. We were happy to do that because as it is said, ‘Truth has nothing to hide from inspection.’ There is no shame in finding out you need to tweak something you have done for 20 years when there is a better way to do it.”

Continually credentialing its staff is important to Allstate, which currently has three CTEF Certified Tile Installers (CTIs). Vu was certified in May of 2018. Robert Vasquez and Bill Nguyen were certified in February of 2019.

“We are working with our team to schedule certifying four more before the end of this year,” Sharpe said. “We are proud to include this certification on our proposals and believe – especially in an era where skilled labor is scant around the industry – this is helping our customers and potential customers in their decision-making process about which subcontractor is the best value.”

His company’s work is an ongoing source of pride and joy for Sharpe. “It is a science but it is also an art,” he said. “When you take a project through to completion and get rave reviews from a GC or his customer, there is a lot of satisfaction in that and knowing you didn’t cut corners to get the job or build it – and knowing it will last and your team’s effort is a large part of the reason why. For me personally I felt called to start this business as I was praying about my career.”

See more of Allstate’s work in the February 2019 issue of TileLetter cover story on the University of Houston’s Fertitta Center sports arena.

Allstate projects

Allstate came up with the unique way to lay the restroom wall tile in a pattern that was appealing to the eye yet still achieved the quarter-turn rotation of every three tiles as desired by the architect. Particular attention was given to providing a flat installation to the polished finish large-format tile in the lobby.

Katy Tompkins High School has over 100,000 sq. ft. of tile on it, and – as most schools do – had a tight schedule to work with. Allstate approached this job with utmost efficiency in terms of staging materials and scheduling. Each piece of the 32’ diameter waterjet logo was laid out in a separate location before installing it to make sure it was cut right, then numbered. Each large piece of tile around the logo is trimmed on all four sides in order to provide a clean radial look from the second floor balcony. “There is a reason we have done the last three Katy high schools over the past 10 years,” Sharpe said.

At the Hobby Doubletree, the work Allstate did has stood the test of time. There was a lot of detail to be worked out on the three fountains that incorporated mosaics, thick stone and stack stone. Specific details were needed for waterproofing, level waterfall edge work etc. Allstate also did the granite tops on this project.

The Klein Cain High School project was an over $2,000,000 tile project and included more than 120,000 sf. of tile. Allstate used a combination of in-house employees and subcontractors to get the job done. The project manager, Cecil Zachary of Satterfield & Pontikes, had not worked with Allstate before. Now, because of his experience with Tommy Vu’s attention to detail, Allstate has done four more projects in the last two years with Satterfield & Pontikes.

Introducing Iron Age’s Immortalizer Work Boot Series: “Say No To Crack” with Industry’s First Mortar and Crack-Resistant Leather

St. Louis, MO (July 24, 2019)Iron Age Footwear proudly introduces its innovative Immortalizer work boot series.  The Immortalizer becomes the first and only boot on the planet to feature mortar and lime-resistant leather as well as the Muckraker™ outsole cleaning system.  These innovative durability features revolutionize footwear’s fight against leather and rubber creasing, cracking, delaminating and splitting created by concrete and mortar.

The Immortalizer Composite Toe Work Boot comes in a 6” Lace-up and 10” Wellington version.  Both models offer superior cushion with Iron Age’s own Bootbed™ durable memory-foam footbed.  The Crack-Resistant leather, tested in the lab and on the feet of bricklayers and precast workers at job sites, is attached by a direct-attached construction to a rubber slip-resistant outsole with Easy Clean grooves.  Each version comes with a Muckraker™ metallic cleaning tool that scrapes wet mortar and mud out of the grooves, allowing for a much longer-lasting outsole.

Also helping to keep water away from the feet of tough concrete workers is an abrasion-resistant toe guard that wraps around the top and side of the toe.  On the inside of the boot, a Hydrotex® Waterproof Liner wicks any penetrating moisture away from the foot while also allowing for breathability in the process.  Masons, Precast workers, Construction Tradesmen, and any other worker who deals with lime and fly ash will appreciate this innovative work boot that will keep concrete and mortar out while also elongating the life of their boots to help their boot budgets.

“Iron Age Footwear rolls up its sleeves and hits jobsites to connect with construction workers and masons,” states Brian Carney, VP of Spec Mix, the concrete and construction industry’s market leader for cement-based building materials.  “When you consider the level of commitment Iron Age dedicates to producing these work boots, they clearly respect the expertise of tradespeople and have their best interest at heart.  Their latest breakthrough, The Immortalizer, proves this with a revolutionary crack-resistant leather that rejects the abuses of concrete and mortar.”

Iron Age will be showcasing its Immortalizer series and asking masons from around the nation to “Say No To Crack” by putting Immortalizer boots on their feet throughout the fall at the Spec Mix® Bricklayer 500.  Iron Age is a Gold Sponsor of the 24-event series culminating at the World of Concrete in Las Vegas in February 2020.

For information, videos, and reviews of The Immortalizer, visit www.ironagefootwear.com/immortalizer.

Walker Zanger Earns Three 2019 Kitchen & Bath Business Readers’ Choice Awards

Company receives recognition for kitchen flooring, bath flooring and bath wall coverings category wins

LOS ANGELES — Walker Zanger, the industry’s leading natural stone and tile design resource in North America, has been selected as Kitchen & Bath Business (KBB) 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards winner in three product categories: Kitchen Flooring, Bath Flooring and Bath Wall Coverings. Award winners were determined by over 31,000 voting KBB readers who reviewed each brand’s style/aesthetics and durability when choosing kitchen and bath brand and manufacturing favorites from each category.

“We are thrilled to be selected as the Readers’ Choice Awards winner in several categories,” Erika Egede-Nissen, Director of Marketing at Walker Zanger said. “We’re always looking to discover new innovative materials and create designs for kitchen and bath design trade professionals. It is an honor to be acknowledged and recognized by KBB’s readers for our pursuit to bring what’s new and next in surface design to the market.”

From left to right, Walker Zanger’s Duquesa, Kaleidoscope and Studio Moderne Stone collections represent the beauty of the brand’s handcrafted, high-quality tile designs.

Walker Zanger has been a rich source for both trade professionals and homeowners searching for the right design style and material for their project. As one of the pre-eminent surface design resources in North America, the company releases new eye-catching design styles, innovative materials and unconventional tile and slab products from both their San Miguel factory and exclusive sources abroad.

The KBB RCA winners are featured on kbbonline.com and in the July/August issue of Kitchen & Bath Business magazine, the United States’ first kitchen and bath trade publication. Walker Zanger can be viewed in the winners page under kitchen flooring, bath flooring and bath wall coverings categories: https://www.kbbonline.com/awards-events/readers-choice.

James Hardie Earns 2019 David Weekley Homes’ Prestigious Award

Superior quality and service earns the leader in fiber cement siding the industry Partner of Choice Award

James Hardie wins “A,A” Partners of Choice Award

CHICAGO, July 25, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Today the country’s largest privately-held home builder, David Weekley Homes, announced that its partner James Hardie Building Products Inc. has again earned their nationally-recognized “A,A” Partners of Choice Award for outstanding quality and service.

James Hardie, the world leader in fiber cement siding, is one of only three other companies to have earned this award numerous times. Over the last 13 years, James Hardie has won the “A,A” award 12 times and the “A” award once, highlighting the company’s continued success in delivering quality and service.

“At James Hardie, we strive to deliver durable, high quality products paired with best-in-class service for the David Weekley homebuyers and team members,” said Johnny Cope, Executive Vice President of Sales for James Hardie Building Products. “We are grateful for our partnership and we will continue to strive to create value and efficiencies with David Weekley Homes. Being recognized as a “A,A” Partner of Choice motivates us to continue to improve.”

Of the 160 companies evaluated, only the top ranked companies earn the coveted Partners of Choice Award. Categories include “A,A” demonstrating excellence in both quality and service, or “A” representing excellence in either quality or service.

To assess all partners and pinpoint top performers, more than 1,000 David Weekley Homes team members – from sales to senior leadership – participate in the homebuilder’s unique “Supplier Evaluation Platform.” At the heart of this process is the National Trading Partner Survey. The goal of the quarterly survey is to enhance communication and identify where improvements can be made to ultimately improve customer service, achieving the highest level of homeowner satisfaction.

“Our in-depth survey process helps us select the strongest companies to assist us in delivering an unequaled experience for our homebuyers, and James Hardie has met that challenge head on,” said John Schiegg, director of supply chain services for David Weekley Homes.  “James Hardie has again surpassed the high expectations we set for our partners by continually demonstrating a dedication to delivering world-class quality and service to David Weekley Homes.”

For more information about the award, visit davidweekleyhomes.com. To learn more about James Hardie, visit jameshardie.com.

Larson Electronics offer a variety of handlamps

Larson Electronics Handlamps

When working in hazardous or industrial locations, you need lighting for tight spaces. If you are working in a tunnel, tanks, or interior location, industrial handlamps provides optimum lighting for areas that need concentration.

At Larson Electronics, we offer a variety of handlamps that work in wet, hazardous and industrial locations. These lights come in several styles: fluorescent, incandescent or LED. We offer a wide array of voltage and cord combinations to suit any need. The explosion proof drop lights are rugged and durable to withstand falls, bumps and bruises of demanding hazardous locations. Our string and vapor proof lights can be suspended by the top hooks or used as a handheld task lighting to work in tank cleaning, marine areas, constructions sites, warehouses, refineries, and any demanding application.

We offer the best product on the market. Let our sales team assist you in finding the best solution.

Click here to learn more.


Congratulations to Grand Prize Winner, Don Lewis, for taking home the 1938 Dodge Pickup Truck!

Don and Laura Lewis with Grand Prize of the ROBERTS 80th Anniversary Giveaway Sweepstakes, a 1938 Dodge Pickup

Boca Raton, FL (July 24, 2019) –Roberts Consolidated Industries, Inc. announced today the winners of the ROBERTS 80th Anniversary Giveaway Sweepstakes that ran through the end of 2018 and were awarded earlier this year. ROBERTS congratulates Don Lewis of Lewis Flooring in Hillsboro, Missouri, whose name was picked as the Grand Prize Winner of the ROBERTS 80th Anniversary Giveaway Sweepstakes. As the winner of the grand prize, Don received a restored one of a kind antique 1938 Dodge Pickup Truck, which pays homage to the year ROBERTS was founded. Don submitted his winning entry form with a receipt for ROBERTS tools purchased at the E.J. Welch Company. On June 10th, the ROBERTS team joined Don and his family at a luncheon held at EJ Welch’s Earth City, Missouri location. Don, his family, the Lewis Flooring team and, of course, the 1938 Dodge Pickup Truck were all there to to meet contractors and pose for photos. When recently asked about his new truck, Don stated, “It’s still hard to believe that I won. I have a large group of family members that will enjoy the truck for many years to come. God Bless!!” In addition to Don’s winning entry, ROBERTS also congratulates the ten runner-up winners below who received ROBERTS care packages containing a ROBERTS Limited Edition 10-505 Pro Gel Knee Kicker (only 1,938 manufactured and etched with a unique number and 80th Anniversary logo), a ROBERTS-branded jacket, and a ROBERTS T-Shirt. All winners were submitted to, and drawn by, an independent sweepstakes administrator.

Runner-Up Winners:

1. John Craft of ICR Sales & Service Ldt. – New Brunswick, Canada
2. Joe Huff of Keene Carpet – Honaker, VA
3. Dakota Deardutt of FTI Floor Installation Tech – Imperial, MO
4. Gary O’Briant of O’Briant Flooring & Remolding – Dalton, GA
5. Robert Shamansky of Roberts Carpet – Clinton, OH
6. Doug Gibbs of Touchdown Carpet & Floor – Marlboro, MA
7. Ray Doell of Winkler Floor Fashions Ltd. – Manitoba, Canada
8. Frank Ollian of Ollian Floor Covering – Albany, OR
9. William Boehm of Boehm’s – Three Lakes, WI
10. David Steven of Steven’s Floor Service – Georgetown, KY

Pictured left to right: Tim Fetsch – VP of Branch Operations EJ Welch, Don Lewis of Lewis Flooring (Grand Prize Winner), Leslie Del Pozo – Marketing Director QEP/ROBERTS, Demetris Brown – Customer Service Manager EJ Welch Company, Rodney Alt – Regional Sales Manager QEP/ROBERTS.

Introducing ExcursionHDP by Florida Tile

There is something magical about traveling through the rugged countryside and forests of our national parks. The adventure of seeing mountain vistas and experiencing vast canopies contributes to an unquenchable wanderlust for nature. These journeys are about more than sight-seeing. They are about nourishment and learning, about protecting what sustains us, about building relationships with the outdoors and with each other. This was our quest when developing Excursion HDP from Florida Tile.
This wood-look collection exudes character with an interesting blend of wood species – including reclaimed dead fall wood, knots, splits, and striking ash grain visuals. Creative license was taken to achieve a look that is otherworldly and impossible to create with real woods due to the way stains are absorbed in each individual species. A premium glaze and a light punch create a surface with a smooth matte finish. High durability and beautiful colorations complete the look. Available in an 8×36 plank and five parquet mix mosaics, this line of awe-inspiring wood graphics is well suited for both residential or commercial spaces.
Five distinct colors reflect the beauty and variety found on an excursion through the national parks and bring this collection to life. Zion, the lightest of the five colors, is a bleached taupe with soft gray graining. Denali is a smoky blend of light and dark grays. Rainier features honey browns and deep grays. Sequoia has a sepia background with rich chocolate striations. Badlands is the most dramatic of the colors with a dark roasted coffee tone.
See the complete collection of Florida Tile’s ExcursionHDP
View a ExcursionHDP video on this beautiful new product line!
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