Riding Shotgun: two weeks on the NTCA Workshop trail

An occasional series by Connie Heinlein

This month, we launch a new section: Training & Education. The intent of this section is to let you know about the ongoing efforts in the industry towards bringing the trade to a new generation of tile setters, recaps or announcements of workshops and regional trainings and how some contractors are devising their own apprenticeship programs, often using materials from NTCA. Are you teaching a class or developing a program or supporting the trade in some way with outside-the-box training, education or outreach? Contact me at [email protected] to let me know!


April 2018 was a busy month for the NTCA van that carries Mark and Connie Heinlein along the workshop trail. Here Connie shares her insider view on workshops and regional training that month. – Ed.


Connie Heinlein

We left home in Michigan’s U.P. on April 10th for a 2,300-mile round trip to New York and New Jersey for workshops and regional training. A trip like that brings many challenges: packing all the necessary equipment from trowels to tablecloths, finding comfortable and affordable hotels, eating healthy, performing a great training even when we are road weary, and discovering some fun along the way. On this particular trip the fun involved Broadway tickets and a birthday celebration. 

Another thing that keeps things fun and exciting is that each workshop is different and has its own unique personality and atmosphere. Location, season, attendance, topic, even the dinner menu affect the individuality of an NTCA workshop.

Here is a sampling of just a few of our many amazing NTCA workshop experiences, and a view of a Regional Training Program. 

Daltile, Albany, NY

The first event of this trip was at Daltile in Albany, NY. Manager Tom Drucker and his staff did a tremendous job of planning and putting on an excellent event. Seventy-plus attendees that included representatives of all tile-related professions – architects, designers, general contractors, and of course, tile contractors, project managers, installers, mechanics and finishers – participated in the event, not to mention the Daltile staff and the manufacturer representatives who supported the effort. More than 20 people took advantage of the CEUs available for the two presentations that Mark performed – Failures: Could It Be Me? and Tile Industry Standards.

The workshop was lively and vibrant, fueled by the celebratory atmosphere that comes with a dozen product vendors, a delicious barbecue buffet, enthusiastic learners, a great Daltile support staff, the vision that our host Tom Drucker had for the evening and our tremendous state ambassadors John Mendenhall and Eric Tetreault. 

At the conclusion of the night we celebrated with several new NTCA members, reviewed plenty of standards-based installation questions, and enjoyed the awarding of gift card prizes donated by the manufacturers and vendors. It was amusing to watch Mark run off his barbecue and corn bread calories delivering the prizes to the winners.

Nemo Tile, Red Bank, NJ

Another stop on this trip was Nemo Tile in Red Bank, New Jersey. We had no idea what a tremendous day we had ahead of us as the staff came out to greet us and guide us to our specially reserved parking spot.

The staff at Nemo Tile, led by manager Carrie Bocci and owner Matt Karlin, planned for a full-day event of training for their customers. The early part of the day involved training from manufacturers including Schluter, Bostik LATICRETE, and Alpha Tools. In the comfort and beauty of Nemo’s showroom the attendees learned, networked, and were treated to a delicious breakfast and lunch buffet. They even had a professional technician to make sure that the audio and video ran perfectly, without any glitches.

Mark greatly enjoyed the surprise honor of being introduced by none other than Phil Woodruff of Schluter Systems, who trained Mark as a tile contractor and influenced him to become a Certified Tile Installer and NTCA member contractor.

In attendance were architects, designers, general contractors, distributors, product representatives, and tile installers, including a few true blue NTCA members. Quite a few people were able to earn a CEU for attending an AIA-accredited program. We also had some wise attendees who decided to join the NTCA by the end of the day.

The specifics of the NTCA training for the event included Failures: Could It Be Me?, Introduction to Standards, and the hands-on demonstration segment of the new Tile Matters program. There was genuine excitement for learning how to use ASTM C920 sealant in expansion joints, proper troweling techniques, and the importance of substrate flatness. There were also lively discussion and questions about everything from grout joint sizes to troweling direction for tile set in a herringbone pattern. All in all, many topics were covered, plenty of ideas were shared, and everyone went away with some new learning.

The Tile Shop, Scarsdale and Westbury, NY

And those were only two of the workshops we had on this trip! We also had great workshop events at The Tile Shops in Westbury and Scarsdale, NY with managers Larry Pennica and Krista Van Valkenberg-Green and regional manager Zoe Stewart along with other impressive
professionals.

Daltile Stone Center, Moonachie, NJ

I certainly cannot forget to mention the tremendous member-only regional training at the Daltile Stone Center in Moonachie, NJ. Daltile’s Vinnie Sgro and Rocko Gallotta, along with Jerry Joyce, facilitated an excellent gauged thin porcelain tile training event. The NTCA and its corporate sponsors – Will White and crew of Custom Building Products and tool provider Ben Szell of European Tile Masters – trained 20 NTCA member installers in both classroom theory and practical application that brought together standards-based tile knowledge and this new product that is gauged porcelain tile and slabs.

It was a busy and productive couple of weeks on the road. Stay tuned for more reports from the workshop trail!

NTCA Trainer/Presenter Robb Roderick heading to first 2018 NTCA Workshop in Anaheim

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – NTCA Trainer/Presenter Robb Roderick drove through Albuquerque, NM today on his way to the association’s first 2018 western swing workshop, located at Bedrosian’s in Anaheim, Calif., set for Wednesday night, January 17. He was able to connect with TileLetter editor Lesley Goddin, based here,  for a quick lunch at Albuquerque’s famed Owl Café, before continuing his journey across New Mexico, Arizona and into California for the workshop.

NTCA Trainer/Presenter Robb Roderick with TileLetter editor Lesley Goddin in Albuquerque, NM. Roderick drove through Albuquerque from his Missouri home on his way to present the first NTCA Workshop of 2018 at Bedrosians in Anaheim, Calif., on Wednesday, January 17.

The NTCA Workshop program has a new theme for 2018: Tile Matters: Best Practices for Pros. The three-hour program – most often held from 5 pm – 8 pm – includes an hour of networking and catered meal followed by two hours of all new educational presentations and interactive opportunities.

Each workshop will address:

  • OSHA silica dust regulations
  • Standards review
  • Showers/waterproofing
  • Sealants
  • Mortar coverage

This year, not only will participants to the free workshops benefit from the presentations and product/method demos by NTCA Trainer/Presenters, but there will be more opportunities for attendees to have real hands-on experience with the products and methods being discussed.

The following workshops are being held this week:

January 17  

Bedrosians

1515 Winston Road

Ahaheim, Calif.

714-778-8453

[email protected]

 

January 18

Bedrosians

1725 Hacienda Drive

Vista, Calif.

760-724-6400

[email protected]

 

In addition to Robb Roderick, workshops are being presented by NTCA Training Director/Trainer/Presenter Mark Heinlein and NTCA Trainer/Director Luis Bautista. CTEF’s Scott Carothers is presenting CTEF Educational Workshops as well, and kicked the year off with one at Floor & Decor in Buford, Ga., on January 4th.

For more information about workshops and new members-only Regional Training Programs coming to a location near you, visit http://www.tile-assn.com/events/event_list.asp?show=&group=&start=11%2F4%2F2014&end=&view=&cid=12716

or http://bit.ly/2B4uG9J.

 

 

 

 

Members only: NTCA Regional Training Program schedule set for 2018

In our last issue, we reported on the pilot member-only NTCA Regional Training Program held in October in New Berlin, Wis., developed by NTCA Training Director Mark Heinlein and NTCA Training and Education Coordinator Becky Serbin. The program was a huge success and provided 100% free, hands-on experience and training for a group of 20 attendees, supported by NTCA trainers and staff from manufacturer partners.

As a result of this acclaimed event, many NTCA affiliate members are offering massive support to a full program of events in 2018, with Daltile and Crossville leading the bunch. In addition, ARDEX, Bostik, CUSTOM, LATICRETE, MAPEI, Merkrete and TEC/HB Fuller are supporting the program with financial donations. These donations are making possible a schedule of 20 dates for regional training at all regions across the nation. Thirteen will be open to local NTCA members, with eight events slated for Five Star Members only.

This program differs from the NTCA Workshop program in that they are all-day events, exclusive to NTCA members only. In contrast, NTCA Workshops are evening programs, open for anyone to attend.

The curriculum will address either of the following topics:

Standards-based installation of Gauged Porcelain Tile and Gauged Porcelain Panels/Slabs

Really big, thin tiles are here to stay. In fact if you don’t get on board with learning how to install them based on the brand new tile industry standards, you may soon find yourself on the outside looking in on some wonderful new contracting and installation opportunities. This program is your chance to learn about the basics of the tile industry standards and get an in-depth look at the new standards and methods for installing Gauged Porcelain Tile and Panels (GPTP). You will learn why this tile format is the wave of the future, how it is made, designs it is used for and the special tools, setting materials and techniques required to install it.

Here is a sampling of some of the questions you will have answered during the GPTP program:

  • What is a Gauged Porcelain Tile or a Gauged Porcelain Panel (GPTP)?
  • What is ANSI, TCNA, ASTM?
  • What are ANSI A108.19 and ANSI A137.3?
  • Why do I want to know how to install GPTP?
  • What are all of these specialty tools and why do I need them to install GPTP?
  • Why do I need special training and a trained team to install GPTP?
  • How is this going to help me make money?
  • What is Qualified Labor and why does it matter to me?
Standard Practices: Substrate Preparation and Large Format Tile

This program will take attendees on an introductory journey into the tile industry standards found in ANSI A108 and the TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation. Attendees will learn how to navigate and use the ANSI A108 standards and TCNA Handbook, then will use their new knowledge to address some of real-world challenges in practical hands-on installations focusing on the all-important process of substrate examination and preparation for installing large-format tile.

Here is a sampling of some of the questions you will have answered during the Standard Practices for Substrates and LFT program:

  • What is ANSI, TCNA, ASTM?
  • What are ANSI A108, ANSI A118, A136, A137.1 and A137.2?
  • Why do I need to know about ANSI standards?
  • What is the TCNA Handbook?
  • Why do I need the TCNA Handbook?
  • How do I use the TCNA Handbook?
  • What are the different kinds of substrate and why are there standards for them?
  • Why do I need to know how to examine and prepare a substrate?
  • How do I properly prepare a substrate?
  • Why aren’t some techniques good enough for fixing a substrate and setting tile?
  • How is this going to help me make money?
  • What is Qualified Labor and why does it matter to me?

NTCA Training Director Mark Heinlein will present each program, with occasional assistance from NTCA Trainer/Presenters Robb Roderick or Luis Bautista, and CTEF Director of Training Scott Carothers. Local contractor members may also assist.

To register for the free Regional Training Program in your area, visit www.tile-assn.com. For information about joining NTCA, contact Jim Olson at [email protected].

Workshops and Educational Events

The Tile Shop went above the call of duty for this February 9 event, presented by CTEF director of training and certification Scott Carothers in Dunwoody, Ga. It included over 10 key accounts from all over the country, and a tour of the nearby Blanke and Lackmond manufacturing facilities.  NTCA board advisor Dan Welch, NTCA State Ambassador John Roberts, and NTCA training and education coordinator Becky Serbin were also on hand to support the event, during which one new member signed up and nine installers expressed interest in taking the Certified Tile Installer exam in the future. The Tile Shop manager Henry Paz, technical coordinator Dan Holcomb, and numerous other Tile Shop personnel went all out to make this workshop a huge success.  The group is pictured at Blanke’s manufacturing facility.

Southern California State Ambassador Josh Castelli and son

John Wirtz and Amber Fox spoke about the NTCA Five Star Contractor program

About 40 people attended the San Diego Daltile Design Center NTCA workshop. The Southern California crowd expressed a lot of interest in certification. 

On February 21, the San Diego Daltile Design Center NTCA workshop was a hit, with about 40 attendees. Presented by NTCA’s Robb Roderick, it was supported by Southern California State Ambassador Josh Castelli of Christian Brothers Flooring & Interiors, and  John Wirtz and NTCA Five Star Contractor Coordinator Amber Fox who both spoke briefly about the NTCA Five Star Contractor program. Manufacturers iQ Power Tools, Alpha Professional Products and Custom Building Products were also represented.  The Southern California crowd also expressed a lot of interest in certification. 

Sixteen people attended the Mechanicsburg, Pa., workshop.  CTEF’s Scott Carothers stopped in on his way from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia to lend his support to the workshop effort.  A second surprise visitor was NTCA vice president Chris Walker who happened to be traveling from New York to Washington with his mother-in-law, and made a slight adjustment to his travel plans to attend and support the workshop. Chris and Scott both provided outstanding commentary on successful contractors and installers joining and participating in the NTCA and challenging themselves with the Certified Tile Installer exam. 

On February 23 – National Tile Day – NTCA celebrated at the Daltile in Allentown, Pa. Jerry Dwyer, Dal’s NE Region VP presented manager Shawn Friel with his 25 year service award and the staff with a tile plaque recognizing Dal’s 70 years in business. Lots of great prizes were given away including trip for four and tickets to a game in a skybox at Yankee Stadium!

(L. to r.)  From MAPEI: Todd DeKorte, ; Becky Perry; and Lou Genzlinger, with NTCA technical trainer Mark Heinlein. While assisting with Mark Heinlein’s Conshohocken, Pa., workshop, Todd DeKorte, MAPEI sales representative for Eastern/Central PA & DE graciously offered show him the brand new MAPEI Distribution Center for the Northeastern U.S.  Unit manager Lou Genzslinger and Quality Control manager Becky Perry gave Mark a comprehensive tour and behindthescene insight of the brand new operation. 

The new van in which Mark and Connie Heinlein will tour the country is fully emblazoned with training and education sponsor logos! 

NTCA INCREASES EDUCATIONAL WORKSHOP NUMBERS IN 70TH ANNIVERSARY YEAR

The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) will celebrate 70 successful years as a leading trade association in 2017. Each year, the NTCA reaches over 4,000 industry professionals through a variety of educational programs including hands-on workshops, through which it provides training for installers and tile industry professionals on industry standards and how to prevent and address problems on the job. These educational programs are fundamental to the continued success of the association.

Utilizing four trainers, over 140 educational workshops and training sessions are scheduled for 2017, the most training seminars in NTCA history. In addition to record-breaking workshop numbers, for the first time ever, the association will perform training programs in Spanish, to be held in ten locations across the country, where the language is spoken commonly in the construction industry.

A major sponsor of the workshop program in 2017 is Daltile, who will host over 120 programs alone. Additional sessions will be supported by independent distributors including The Tile Shop and Louisville Tile, who are set to host 14 and eight educational events, respectively. “The success of the educational workshops in the first quarter has been so strong, that several independent distributors are working with NTCA to add more events in more locations this year, making it possible that the number of seminars will increase to more than 150 by the end of 2017,” said Bart Bettiga, NTCA executive director.

In addition to workshops and educational seminars, trainers also perform custom-sponsored programs and will complete several this year. To learn more about hosting an NTCA workshop, please contact NTCA assistant executive director Jim Olson at [email protected], via telephone at (612) 788-4726, or visit www.tile-assn.com.

NTCA Workshops: Visiting Dalene Flooring in Connecticut

Last week, NTCA Technical Trainer Mark Heinlein visited with Five Star Contractor Dalene Flooring in South Windsor, Connecticut.

IMG_5939“NTCA Region 1 Director Chris Dalene gave me a tour of the facility, introduced me to all of the Dalene headquarters staff and and gave me an overview of some of their many past and present projects,” Mark said. “Chris is extremely passionate about the tile industry and Dalene Flooring’s contributions to it and the flooring industry in general. They have a great operation based on a tradition of quality and customer support.”

“Dalene flooring works with many types of floor coverings in addition to tile. I rode along with Chris on an inspection visit to one of their clients, the University of Hartford. The floor has been in for many years and Dalene works with the university on an ongoing basis to analyze the floor for performance and keep it in tip top condition. While I was there, they were locating and correcting “dead spots” where, from use and changing conditions, a floor board needs to be removed, tightened from beneath, and replaced. Dalene recently refinished the floor in the University’s Chase Family Arena including the painting of the court and game lines and logos.”

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Chris Dalene (right) and one of his hardwood flooring experts discussing the tuning of the floor and removing “dead spots” where the basketball has slightly less bounce due to the use and changing conditions of the floor.

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New NTCA trainer holds first three workshops

New NTCA trainer Mark Heinlein presented the first NTCA Tile & Stone Workshop of the 2016 campaign at Daltile in Jackson, Miss., on February 23rd, with very positive results and feedback. Almost 30 Daltile customers enjoyed lunch and a presentation by Heinlein on jobsite failures – and one new member signed up at the workshop.

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The New Orleans crowd enjoyed a crawfish feast by Tasty Tails.

This new program focuses on what causes installation problems and challenges the audience to do the job right the first time. Daltile is hosting 100 NTCA events in 2016.

Next stop was Baton Rouge, where 22 attendees showed up in addition to Daltile staff.

Heinlein then took the show to Emser in New Orleans where a crowd of about 45 were present, plus Duhe and Baker who helped support the event by speaking about qualified labor, specifications, business practices, and technical questions while networking with the crowd. An animated Q&A discussion took place during the PowerPoint presentation with questions coming from architects, designers, contractors, installers and sales – in fact 11 people submitted paperwork for CEU credits.

On the west coast, NTCA trainer Michael Whistler is getting ready to go on the road with several upcoming programs. Go to the www.tile-assn.com for a complete listing of workshops for 2016.

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Almost 30 Daltile customers enjoyed lunch and a presentation by new NTCA trainer Mark Heinlein on jobsite failures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(l. to r.) Mark Heinlein with Daltile staff in Jackson, Miss.: Chuck Mertz; Waymon Thornton; Maceo Simmons and Heather Smith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Two new members joined at the Baton Rouge workshop at Daltile, with vendors that included Protecto-Wrap, LATICRETE, MAPEI, Custom, and Pliteq, along with NTCA Louisiana State Director Todd Duhe and Regional Director Tave Baker.  Duhe and Baker spoke about the benefits of the NTCA and Qualified Labor and CTI.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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With Heinlein (far left) in Baton Rouge are (l. to r.): Norris Whitaker; Thurmond Lytell; Gary Cannon; Jason Harriford; Daisha Parker; Mike Scichowski; Michael Fletcher and Tyrrell Scott

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Shown at Emser New Orleans are: (front row, kneeling l. to r.): Tave Baker; Todd Duhe; Mark Heinlein. (back row, standing l. to r.): Julie Morals; Ashley Salvant; Amy Simmons; Patrick Levy; Simone Giroin; Fenner Sedgebee. Not pictured is Christina Chisolum.

NTCA brings workshops to Tennessee and Oregon

Over the summer months, NTCA presenters Gerald Sloan and Michael Whistler continue road-tripping across the country, bringing the NTCA Tile & Stone Workshops to host sites for an evening of education, camaraderie, raffle prizes, networking and of course, delicious food.

1-workshopLouisville Tile Knoxville

We reported on Sloan’s swing through several Louisville Tile Distributors (LTD) sites in our July issue. This month, we wrap up with the Knoxville installments of the Tile& Stone Workshop at LTD.

 

 

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4-workshopDaltile Oregon

Bend and Salem

In June, NTCA presenter Michael Whistler toured the Pacific Northwest, bringing the NTCA Tile & Stone Workshop to Daltile locations in Bend and Salem, Ore. Whistler focused on bringing information on mosaic installation, glass tile and pre-manufactured shower systems to the attendees at these events.

 

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AO/Marazzi

Portland, Ore.

Whistler also rolled out the NTCA Tile & Stone Workshop program at the Portland home of American Olean and Marazzi, two Daltile brands.

 

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NTCA brings custom workshop to Louisville Tile Distributors

1-louisvilleBy Lesley Goddin

Louisville Tile Distributors (LTD) is deeply invested in education for staff and customers – so much so that the company schedules NTCA Tile & Stone Workshops every other year at several of its locations.

“We believe the workshops are a great opportunity for us to help educate, train and promote the tile industry,” said Don Kincaid, LTD vice president. “The rapid pace of change and introduction of new products and methods makes the workshops more valuable and relevant than ever. Our employees take pride in getting attendance at the events and do not want their branch to be the ‘low man’ on the attendance list.“

Attendance at the June workshop at the Indianapolis/Fisher branch included 80 customers, 15 vendors and 20 employees, said Brian Dillard, operations manager for the location. “The hot topic was the installing of mosaic and the large thin tiles. [NTCA’s Gerald Sloan] is a great guy and always does a good job with these shows.”

J.T. Wenger, general manager of the Evansville, Ind., location, said “We had 19 vendors and 58 contractors in attendance.” Attendees were most interested in cleaning of tile and large-format installation. “This was by far our best seminar to date,” Wenger said.  “We had good participation, excellent fried chicken, and Gerald was very informative as always. We are excited for the next class and thinking of ways to outdo this very successful event!”

2-louisvilleAt this writing, six workshops have been completed with 248 attendees – and two more are scheduled. “We anticipate well over 300 attendees,” Kincaid said.

Kincaid added, “Vendor table tops prior to event and the pertinent subject matter during the workshops allow tile mechanics, architects, estimators and all industry attendees a chance to learn together. In many cases, full-time mechanics who set tile every day never get the opportunity to see the industry. The workshops provide a forum for everyone in the industry to interact with our staff, suppliers and other channel members. The exchange and feedback is invaluable for all attendees.

“Our industry is changing very fast, with bigger and thinner tile , new grouts and thinsets, leveling systems, tools and more,” Kincaid added. “Disseminating information is very challenging, therefore the workshops are a great opportunity for us and the industry to connect and interact.”

3-louisville60 years strong

This year was even more special, since the company, which has grown to eight locations, is celebrating its 60th year in business.

Kincaid said the company is adding its 60th anniversary logo to business cards, stationery, banners and all communication tools this year.

“We will be hosting eight birthday parties, one for each location, in reverse chronological order – newest to oldest,” he added. “The Louisville celebration, September 22, will be a grand finale with attendance of the company founder, Jud Wilcox.”

 

Wednesday, September 9th Knoxville

Thursday, September 10th –      Chattanooga

Wednesday, September 16th Cincinnati

Thursday, September 17th –      Indianapolis

Wednesday, October 14th –       Nashville

Thursday, October 15th –           Evansville

Wednesday, October 21st –       Lexington

Thursday, October 22nd –           Louisville 

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Upcoming NTCA Workshop Events

NtCA workshop banner horizontal

 

 

 

February 5th

Emser Tile – Las Vegas, NV
3655 West Sunset Road
Suite A
David Hille
702-795-8453
[email protected]

February 26th

D & B Tile – Doral, FL
8369 N.W. 36th Street
Maddy Diaz
305-592-9340
[email protected]
Rudy Llerna
[email protected]

February 27th

D & B Tile – Pompano Beach, FL1551 N. Powerline Road
Marlene Koszo
954-972-2066
[email protected]
George Apakian
[email protected]

February 28th
D & B Tile – Port St. Lucie, FL
321 N.W. Peacock Blvd.
Paul Lucas
772-647-7108
[email protected]
Richard Favreau
[email protected]

March 5th

Daltile – Ventura, CA
4840 Market St., Suite A
Marty Lambert
805-642-2122
[email protected]

March 5th

Daltile – Tampa, FL
8508 Benjamin Rd., Suite A
Lenny Gonzalez
813-886-2222
[email protected]

March 6th–Architects & Designers

Daltile – Orlando, FL
2515 Shader Road
Kevin LaBonte
404-857-5884
[email protected]

March 7th–Architects & Designers

Daltile – Jacksonville, FL
9446 Phillips Hwy., Suite 10
Robert Vogt
904-262-0444
[email protected]

May 7th

Daltile – Evansville, IN
1425 N. Cullen Avenue
John Proctor
812-471-0019
[email protected]

May 8th

Daltile – Blue Ash, OH
4650 Lake Forest Drive, Suite 540
Missy Stanfield
513-791-7832
[email protected]

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