President’s Letter – August 2016

JWoelfel_headshotThose of you who know me know I am not a tree-hugger, but I also believe that we should be responsible stewards of our environment. At our house we put the recycle bin out at the curb full of plastic and paper and we also collect aluminum cans.

As a tile contractor, how can we create a sustainable jobsite? We can use our water more wisely, we can recycle the cardboard and paper we use, we can tile with recycled materials and mortars and grouts that have some recycled contents as well. These are all good ways to be sustainable, but as a tile contractor, there is one thing we can do that I consider the ultimate in sustainability. And that is to install tile correctly the first time. When we install tile correctly the first time we have created a finish that can last 30, 40, 50, up to and over 100 years. The lifecycle cost of tile is the lowest in the flooring industry when installed correctly. By not having to replace poor or failing tile installations we save valuable resources like new tile, new mortar and new grout. It also means we are not trucking in additional materials, which saves fuel.

Tile is also the most environmentally friendly flooring finish. Tile itself contains no VOCs, and tile mortars usually do not contain VOCs either. This means that the interior air that our customers breathe is cleaner and better for you than most of our flooring competitors’ air.

Tile is also more hygienic than carpet, as fluids do not absorb into porcelain tiles like they do with carpet. I have seen tile finishes that are being developed that actually kill bacteria and make our air cleaner. These technologies can be used to make a great product even healthier.

When I speak to architects, I explain to them that if they want truly sustainable projects, then the tile needs to be installed properly. As I explain to our members, we make the most money and have the least amount of headaches when we install tile properly. You don’t have to be a tree-hugger to help the environment. By using quality, qualified labor and a little common sense, you can go a long way in protecting both the environment and your bottom line.

Regards, James

Editor’s Letter – August 2016

Lesley psf head shotNever doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead

Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. – Vince Lombardi

Every month or so, all the NTCA staff members, together with Scott Carothers and Cathey McAlister of CTEF, come together in a phone conference to update each other on what we are working on and progress made since the last meeting.

Yesterday (June 28) was one such staff meeting. I am always amazed at all the things everyone is working on – updates and additions to our NTCA University; expansion of our on-the-road and webinar educational opportunities and private training sessions; NTCA presence at Surfaces, Coverings and A&D events; the expanded reach of the NTCA Reference Manual, which by next year will be published in Australia and Canada in addition to the U.S., with the intent of translating it to Spanish for dissemination in Mexico; more timely publishing of TileLetter and its associated publications TRENDS and TECH.

One fact that always strikes me is the update on our membership, and this is always something I want to share with our members and our readers as a testament to the strength and reach of our association. So I will do so with the latest figures here:

As assistant executive director Jim Olson (who oversees our membership activities) reported yesterday, NTCA gained 22 new members in June, largely through the efforts of our technical trainer/presenters Mark Heinlein, Robb Roderick and CTEF’s Scott Carothers on the road. At the end of May 2015, NTCA had 974 members, but this year we have 1170 members. Overall this year, we are up 200 members, about 100 new members and 100 retained members.

Why is this important? The more members we have, the greater the body of knowledge, expertise, involvement and energy to influence the industry in the direction of what benefits tile installers, and the more people have a voice. And what benefits tile installers ultimately benefits the entire industry – tile and stone and all the amazingly engineered setting materials are wonderful products, but without an installer who knows which products to use for which application, the entire project can be reduced to a massive, costly failure.

I’ve said this before, but there are many situations in our lives where we feel relatively powerless (or we scratch our heads – witness the presidential election process this year: yowza.). But the NTCA offers a true opportunity to make a difference and to shape the future for the trade. The brilliance of NTCA members, working together, has made huge strides in methods, standards, certifications, publications and products that – when heeded – spell the difference between the unskilled and the professionals.

If you are passionate about your industry – and your own business – consider investigating what NTCA offers you. Visiting is a great place to start.

God bless,

[email protected]

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