Coverings Deadline for Submissions, Nominations for Coveted 2020 Awards: December 20

Largest Tile and Stone Event in North America Kicks-off Two Annual Awards Competitions to Celebrate Outstanding Projects and Young Innovators. 

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Coverings is now accepting applications for awards

ARLINGTON, Va. – Coverings (coverings.com), the largest international tile and stone exhibition and conference in North America, is accepting submissions for both the 2020 Coverings Installation & Design (CID) Awards and Rock Star Awards. Submissions of tile and stone projects for entry to the CID Awards, and nominations of young professionals for Rock Star Awards, will be accepted online through Friday, Dec. 20, 2019, at 5 p.m. EST. Winners of both programs will be honored at award ceremonies during Coverings 2020, April 20-23, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The two esteemed awards programs collectively acknowledge the tile and stone industry’s exceptional design and installation projects of the year, while celebrating the talent and innovation of emerging, young leaders in the profession.

“Both the CID Awards and Rock Stars showcase the dedication, creativity and leadership seen throughout the tile and stone industry,” said Jennifer Hoff, president of Taffy Event Strategies, the management company for Coverings. “The awards programs underscore Coverings’ ongoing commitment to support the growth and success of the industry.”

Coverings Installation & Design Awards 

The CID Awards celebrate outstanding design and installation in residential and commercial tile and stone projects. Architects, designers, builders, contractors, distributors, retailers, installers, and other industry professionals may submit their projects through the CID project submittal portal by or before the Dec. 20, 2019, 5 p.m. EST deadline.

Projects submitted for review will be judged and 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. Project entries are free of charge, and multiple entries are encouraged.

Each project will be evaluated by an independent panel of judges who will assess levels of creativity, craftsmanship and use of materials. The projects can be located internationally but must have been completed between January 2018 and December 2019 for review eligibility.

The eight category winners will be determined when the judging process has concluded in early 2020. Winners will receive a prize of $2,000 and their choice of a one-night stay in New Orleans during Coverings 2020, or an equivalent gift card. CID winners will also have their work recognized onsite at Coverings 2020 and on the Coverings website.

TileLetter, TILE Magazine, and Contemporary Stone & Tile Design are CID Awards sponsors.

Coverings Rock Stars 

The Coverings Rock Star program will again recognize emerging, young professional industry leaders. Nominations may be submitted by or before the Dec. 20, 2019, deadline using Coverings’ Rock Stars nomination form.

Qualifying nominees must be 35 years of age or younger and employed as one of the following professions: architect, designer, distributor, retailer, contractor/installer, fabricator, specifier, manufacturer, and/or trade association personnel.

Nominees are reviewed by a committee of industry leaders who evaluate the contenders’ experience levels; professional certifications or affiliations; previous awards or accolades; prior speaking engagements at industry events; quantity of published works; impact in the tile and stone industry; and what sets them apart as emerging leaders in the industry.

The winners will be recognized onsite at the annual Coverings Rock Stars Luncheon and receive their choice of a one-night stay in New Orleans during Coverings 2020, or an equivalent gift card; inclusion to a Coverings press release distributed to dozens of publications; an exclusive Rock Star badge ribbon; several programming opportunities at the show; and a year- long professional feature on Coverings’ website. A full list of 2019 winners can be seen on Coverings’ Rock Stars winners feature page.

For more information and to register for Coverings 2020, visit coverings.com.

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About Coverings: Coverings is the largest and most-significant ceramic tile and natural stone trade fair and exposition in the United States and North America. It features exhibitors from more than 40 countries and is the stage for introducing some of the most innovative tile and stone products in the world. 

The exposition and conference serve as a valuable and complimentary continuing education resource for all segments of the industry, with more than 50 educational opportunities throughout the show. Coverings attracts thousands of distributors, retailers, fabricators, contractors, specifies, architectural and design professionals, builders, real estate developers, as well as journalists, reporters and bloggers who cover the vital tile and stone industry. 

Sponsors of the show are Ceramics of Italy/Confindustria Ceramica, Ceramic Tile Manufacturers Association of Spain (ASCER), Tile Council of North America (TCNA), National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), and Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA)

The show is managed by Taffy Event Strategies, LLC. 

Coverings 2020 takes place April 20-23, 2020, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. 

For more information about attending, sponsoring or exhibiting at Coverings 2020, contact Taffy Event Strategies at 571-313-5801 or [email protected]

 

Announcing the Pantone Color of the Year 2020: PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue

Pantone color of the year classic blue

Instilling calm, confidence, and connection, this enduring blue hue highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.

Pantone color of the year classic blue

Pantone Color of the Year 2020: Classic Blue 19-4052

A timeless and enduring blue hue, PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue is elegant in its simplicity. Suggestive of the sky at dusk, the reassuring qualities of the thought-provoking PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue highlight our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.

Imprinted in our psyches as a restful color, PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue brings a sense of peace and tranquility to the human spirit, offering refuge. Aiding concentration and bringing laser like clarity, PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue re-centers our thoughts. A reflective blue tone, Classic Blue fosters resilience. A red undertone imbues this tone with a feeling of energy and vibrancy. This universal color is relatable around the world and in different cultures.

“We are living in a time that requires trust and faith,” said Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute. “It is this kind of constancy and confidence that is expressed by PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue, a solid and dependable blue hue we can always rely on. Imbued with a deep resonance, Classic Blue provides an anchoring foundation. A boundless blue evocative of the vast and infinite evening sky, Classic Blue encourages us to look beyond the obvious to expand our thinking; challenging us to think more deeply, increase our perspective and open the flow of communication. ”

As technology continues to race ahead of the human ability to process it all, it is easy to understand why we gravitate to colors that are honest and offer the promise of protection. Non-aggressive and easily relatable, the trusted PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue lends itself to relaxed interaction. Associated with the return of another day, this universal favorite is comfortably embraced.

About Pantone Color of the Year

For over 20 years, Pantone’s Color of the Year has influenced product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries, including fashion, home furnishings, and industrial design, as well as product packaging and graphic design.

The Pantone Color of the Year selection process requires thoughtful consideration and trend analysis. To arrive at the selection each year, Pantone’s color experts at the Pantone Color Institute comb the world looking for new color influences. This can include the entertainment industry and films in production, traveling art collections and new artists, fashion, all areas of design, popular travel destinations, as well as new lifestyles, playstyles, and socio-economic conditions. Influences may also stem from new technologies, materials, textures, and effects that impact color, relevant social media platforms and even upcoming sporting events that capture worldwide attention.

THF recognizes Grazzini Brothers & Company for assistance with Global Hand Print Mural

NTCA Five Star Contractor Grazzini Brothers & Company of St. Paul, Minn.,  had a hand print-making workshop for its staff this past autumn for the Global Monumental Hand Print Mural project, spearheaded by the Tile Heritage Foundation (THF).

In preparation, volunteers from Grazzini spent Saturday, Sept. 21st with ceramist Josh Blanc at his studio (Clay Squared to Infinity) in Minneapolis where he volunteered to make the 9″x9″x3/4″ wet clay blanks with them for the project. Josh also fired the finished tiles. The Grazzini staff made hand prints during company-wide workshops for the Global Mural between the end of September and early October.

Grazzini hand print workshop

Grazzini Brothers & Company participates in the Global Monumental Hand Print Mural project with a hand-print making workshop at its location last fall.

These tiles will eventually join the hundreds more staged at TCNA (Tile Council of North America). Eventually all of the Global Hand Print tiles from all over the country and beyond will be installed at TCNA for posterity. The Global Tile Industry, “You Have a Hand In It,” supports the ongoing tile industry archiving work of the Tile Heritage Foundation, which greatly appreciate EVERYONE’s support who has participated.

It is STILL possible to have “a hand in it” through 2020. here is an opportunity for companies to have a legacy Hand Print Tile produced FOR their company!  Visit

https://www.tileheritage.org/pdfs/HPWebpost9-19.pdf for details.

Louisville Tile Distributors receive recognition at TSP

The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) recognized long-time supporter Louisville Tile Distributors at Total Solutions Plus (TSP), held at the end of October in Nashville, Tenn.

During the TSP award ceremony, NTCA Executive Director Bart Bettiga presented Robert DeAngelis, President of Louisville Tile, with an award recognizing the distributor’s support of tile industry training and education programs.

Robert DeAngelis (l) with Bart Bettiga at the Total Solutions Plus award ceremony.

Robert DeAngelis (l) with Bart Bettiga at the Total Solutions Plus award ceremony.

Louisville Tile, headquartered in Louisville, Ky., is a leading distributor of tile installation products and sundry items for tile installers. Currently, the distributor has 13 showrooms, located in Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan.

“NTCA realizes that without the support of distributors and manufacturers we would be limited in what we do to positively impact the industry,” Bettiga said. “It’s because of this reason we decided to thank and honor the leaders at Louisville Tile Distributors for their continued support of our programs.”

For several years, Louisville Tile has hosted and sponsored NTCA workshops at all of its locations. At many of these events, the distributor goes a step further by purchasing copies of the NTCA Reference Manual and the TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass, and Stone Tile Installation and the offering them to attendees. DeAngelis said he felt it was important that attendees left with these resources saying, “That puts the power of first-hand knowledge in their hands.”  

DeAngelis said while it was nice to be recognized for Louisville Tile’s efforts support NTCA, he felt in reality it was NTCA that was supporting Louisville Tile in its education efforts. Two years ago, Louisville Tile leaders decided that in addition to being a workshop sponsor, they would also sponsor and host NTCA Regional Training Programs in effort to expand the ways they provided specialized training to local installers and their customers. Louisville Tile even added an additional member to its team in order to be able to offer more training. “By adding Marc Mularoni –our Director of Technical Sales– as a full time technical person, we added a person with the dedicated ability to step up our educational offerings in partnership with NTCA, CTEF, and other industry resources,” DeAngelis said.

Bettiga offered the distributor his sincere thanks for its support and efforts over the years and hopes its example will encourage other distributors to do the same. “Louisville Tile offers us an example of the difference an independent distributor can make in the industry through its support of installer certification, training and education,” he remarked.

DeAngelis also commented about the importance of being an industry education sponsor. “Our business is driven by the tile installation trade and businesses,” DeAngelis noted.  “It is more than a contribution to our industry; it is a necessity for continued health, growth and improvement of the tile trades that support our industry.”

Total Solutions Plus – An industry educational and networking event

(l. to r.) Josh Meadows of JE Dunn Construction, Sam Bruce of Visalia Ceramic Tile, Inc., and Roger Baum of Core Construction during a technical breakout session covering the general contractor’s view of the industry.

This year, Total Solutions Plus (TSP) was held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn. This is the tenth year for the conference known for bringing the tile industry together. More than 600 attendees benefited from the networking, educational sessions and keynote presentations that this year’s conference offered.

TSP was sponsored by the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA), the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), the Tile Council of North America (TCNA), and Tile Contractors’ Association of America (TCAA).

NTCA President Chris Walker of David Allen Company noted that TSP is an event where industry association members come together to collaborate and help the tile industry. He stressed the importance of this collaboration saying, “The more involvement we have, the stronger our associations become and the more capable we are supporting our industry.”

Mark Shannon (l.), of Crossville Inc. with Tom Ade of Filling Marble & Tile.

The first day and a half of the conference was filled with technical and association meetings. Then many attendees participated in Nashville tours that included behind-the-scenes looks at the iconic Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium, as well as a tour of the Dal-Tile Dickson Plant.

The conference was filled with an array of business and technical breakout sessions all aimed at helping industry professionals and their businesses. In his opening address, TCAA President and Chairman of the Board Brad Trostrud, of Trostrud Mosaic & Tile Co., Inc., mentioned that 2019 had been a challenging year for the tile industry. He urged attendees to participate in the sessions because they will provide attendees with information that will be useful in daily business activities. He said he was confident attendees will benefit from their TSP participation because it shows the commitment they are making to learn and improve.

 

Elizabeth Lambert (l.), of Lambert Tile & Stone, Inc. with Mary Shaw-Olson of NTCA.

This year’s conference was the first for many attendees, including Jane and Lee Callewaert of Dragonfly Tile & Stone Works, Inc. Lee was honored as NTCA’s Tile Setter Craftsperson of the Year. Jane said she was glad they had the opportunity to come. “Our TSP experience was so positive all the way around,” she said. “Doesn’t this industry have the most amazing group of people? We were so honored to meet so many of you.” Callewaert’s husband received his award at the NTCA Awards Lunch on October 29. At the same ceremony, James Woelfel, president of Artcraft Granite Marble and Tile Co. in Mesa, Ariz., was honored as the 2019 NTCA Ring of Honor recipient, and Louisville Tile received special recognition for distributor support of NTCA Education and Training Programs. The conference concluded with a country western-themed dinner and dance, where attendees were treated to lasso and line-dancing lessons.

 

Total Solutions Plus 2020 will take place Oct. 24th – 27 at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells in Indian Wells, California.

 

Woelfel Receives NTCA Ring of Honor Award

Nyle Wadford (r.) presented Woelfel with the NTCA Ring of Honor during the Awards Lunch at Total Solutions Plus in Nashville.

During the tenth annual Total Solution Plus conference in Nashville, Tenn., the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) awarded James Woelfel, President of Artcraft Granite Marble and Tile Company in Mesa, Ariz., the NTCA Ring of Honor.

The NTCA Ring of Honor is a lifetime achievement award that recognizes NTCA contractors and associate members whose efforts have helped grow the association and assisted in achieving its objectives. Recipients are chosen by NTCA executive officers. 

Bart Bettiga, Executive Director of the NTCA, said Woelfel was chosen because of his dedication to the association and the tile installation trade. “James has provided leadership and passion to our association. He has been a constant advocate for the professional tile contractor in the development of standards and methods and is a staunch proponent of qualified labor. He has served on the executive committee for many years and is most deserving of this prestigious recognition.”

Along with Bettiga, industry leaders such as Butch Woelfel of Artcraft Granite Marble and Tile Company, John Cousins of Dal-Tile, Noah Chitty and Mark Shannon of Crossville, Inc., Mary Yocum of Schluter Systems, Rod Sigman of Custom Building Products, John Cox of Cox Tile, Eric Astrachan of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA), Nyle Wadford of Neuse Tile Service, and Martin Brookes of Heritage Marble & Tile participated in the video honoring Woelfel for his achievements and this prestigious honor.

In the video, Bettiga, who was last year’s NTCA Ring of Honor recipient, commended Woelfel’s service to the association. “I can’t think of anyone in my 18 years of being with the NTCA that has done a better job as a volunteer than James Woelfel of Artcraft Granite Marble and Tile Company. James has chaired our technical committee for many years, has been our president, and has represented us all over the country in presentations and in training and education programs.”

Among his accomplishments, Woelfel has been the chairman of the NTCA Technical Committee since 2007 and is a voting member of the TCNA Handbook and ANSI A108, 118, and 137.1 Committees. He served as president of the NTCA from 2015-2017 and was the 2011 recipient of the NTCA Tile Person of the Year Award. Woelfel is also an NTCA Recognized Consultant and a highly rated speaker at industry shows such as Coverings, The International Surface Event (TISE), and Total Solutions Plus.

“Receiving the Ring of Honor shows that James’ peers have recognized the years of meaningful work he has done for the NTCA,” said Bettiga. “There is nothing more honorable and laudable than what this award represents.”

Woelfel credits his wife, Chris, for much of his success. “I owe a ton of credit to my wife; she pumped me up when I was down and kicked my butt when I needed it. She showed me how to set and attain goals. She made me spend time in the industry and she took on all of the responsibilities for our family and work while I was out of town. She has an incredible professional background but she immersed herself in our industry and took it upon herself to learn everything she could so that she could support me and our family in making our business stronger. I love and appreciate my wife so much; she is the main reason I have achieved this dream.”

Woelfel said being chosen as this year’s recipient was humbling. “My first thought was how lucky I am to be associated with the other Ring of Honor recipients, people like Tom Ade, Bob Roberson, John Cox, Dan Welch, Bart Bettiga and, of course, my father Butch Woelfel.”

Woelfel’s father was the 2007 NTCA Ring of Honor recipient recognized for his career contributions to the association. The Woelfels are the only father and son to both receive the NTCA Ring of Honor recognition. 

“In 2007, when I presented the ring to my father, Butch Woelfel, I was amazed at the work he had put into the industry over many years that led to him getting the honor,” Woelfel said. “My wife, Chris, asked me if it was a goal of mine, as well, to earn the Ring of Honor. I told her that my reasons for being involved in the NTCA were to make the industry stronger and support tile contractors who often don’t have the necessary and strong voice at the table…and in doing that, if I ever received the Ring of Honor, it would be amazing.”

The importance and value of qualified labor

In the world of design, like so many other arenas of business, getting the job done right the first time is critical. The success or failure of a design company depends greatly on the people in the trenches in order to translate the vision the design team has for any given project. 

“With this project, the client loved a large format tile that I had installed in my showroom in Hudson, Ohio. We incorporated this into the project. The tile needed to have less grout lines and act as a backdrop for the custom made hood. The tile had a beautiful ‘stamped floral’ design that was all one uniform color and allowed the hood to shine but yet still introduce a uniqueness in its design and format that was unusual at the time it was installed in our area,” said Dostal.

As the professional liaison to her clients, Amber Clore, owner, A. Clore Interiors, Sanford, Fla., said there are several reasons her firm hires qualified installers to perform the trade work needed for its projects. The first is to effectively communicate and translate her design ideas, whether verbal or digital. 

The second, she explained, is the end result and quality of installation. “The methods used are important to the project budget and timeline. Using a qualified and trained contractor who continues educating is a must when working with our clients.”

Rose Dostal, principal, RMD Designs, Hudson, Ohio, is also concerned about who works on her projects. ”It is critical to know if they are qualified laborers so that I know they will adhere to our requirements to build the project, know the local codes and most current methodology, and are up to speed with the latest standards.”

Chanda Seymour, owner, Chanda Seymour Design, San Francisco, agreed with Dostal, and noted designers include qualified labor in their specs to avoid costly mistakes, and ensure correct implementation of their designs.

Clore knew early on in her career it was important to have a high-quality team of professionals who “add value to our services and cater to our clients the same way we do in preliminary design phase.”

The bathroom shower pictured here was part of a full gut remodel undertaken by Chanda Seymour Design, San Francisco. The original space was from 1982, according to Seymour, who also noted the product used in the bathroom shower consists of Ashen Grey marble, 6″ x 24″ honed tiles by Bedrosians Tile & Stone.

In the world of design, she added, there are many challenges when it comes to the built environment. “There have been many difficult design dilemmas we’ve faced, but with the right contractors, creative solutions can be created.”

As for Dostal, working with those she knows is a must. “Since I only use who I know, the contractor and I are in constant communication with what is current in the market place. I go to tradeshows once a year. If I have any takeaways from the tilesetter’s point of view, I always share them with my trades. 

“Before we start a project,” she explained, “there’s always a conversation about what’s new, what’s not, what is the most applicable product before it is written on the drawings. This process is very different from when I used to do commercial projects.”

For Seymour, after working in commercial design where qualified labor is typically required, she began doing more residential design in the early 2000s. “Many general contractors were hiring sub-contractors who weren’t licensed or certified,” she said. “As a result, mistakes were made, the wrong product was used, and the quality of the work was lacking.”

With the finished product being the most important element of any project, all believe using qualified people makes a difference. “Your project depends on qualified labor,” said Dostal. “Your design is only as good as its proper installation. Clients remember the end results. It’s in my best interest to have a critical eye in terms of who is working on my projects, as the trades who work on my project are a reflection on my work.”

Part of the same Chanda Seymour Design project, the kitchen backsplash shown here features honed Skyline marble, cut to size 3″ x 9″ by Country Floors.

Since the designer isn’t always on the jobsite to oversee the installation, explained Seymour, if a sub-contractor isn’t reviewing the specs or drawings, tile can get installed incorrectly, and the wrong technique or product can get used. Incorrect work often needs to be redone. Tile, needs to be re-ordered, resulting in increased costs and delays.  

“Qualified labor matters because they read and follow the specs and plans,” she explained. “They work collaboratively, and question the design intent if something isn’t clearly called out. They take pride in their work. It makes all the difference as to whether a project runs smoothly, is completed on time, correctly, within budget, and looks great.”

Clore believes working with skilled professionals sets her design firm apart from others. “When we’re able help a client from inception to completion, they’re assured the design intent will be carried through and any issues will be mitigated in a timely manner. This shows…that we are able to create a home or space to live in and love.”

NTCA 2019 Review and Industry Forecast

As we look to close out 2019 and look forward to a new decade starting in 2020, I would like to use one word to express how I feel as NTCA Executive Director about our industry and our association – GRATITUDE. There is so much to be thankful for, and it starts with a dedicated board of directors and executive committee and ends with enthusiastic support from members around the country and a dedicated staff of association and industry leaders. Thanks to all of your efforts, NTCA continues to make a positive impact on the ceramic tile industry. 

NTCA’s formal acceptance into the National Apprenticeship System from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

Highlighting NTCA’s 2019 year was the announcement that the U.S. Department of Labor approved our application for Federal Apprenticeship Guidelines, allowing us to assist our members in training and recruiting new workers. These same guidelines can potentially enable members to apply for workforce development funding assistance in their state. To help in recruitment efforts, NTCA introduced several new videos and promotional materials to support members to promote the ceramic tile trade in their community.  

The biggest impact NTCA makes in our industry usually centers around the training programs we provide for our members. In 2019, we embarked on our most ambitious effort in our association’s history, adding multiple regional training events and roundtable membership meetings, in addition to continuing our traditional workshop seminars. The trainers at NTCA do an incredible job in educating installers and industry professionals, and in 2019, NTCA pledged to help grow the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation Certified Tile Installer (CTI) and Advanced Certified Tile Installer (ACT) programs.  

Membership growth continues to be a focal point of our association. NTCA Training Director Mark Heinlein with new member Gabriel Hanceri at a NTCA workshop in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

2019 was not without challenges. Leading the way this year is a growing concern that plastic-based materials, like LVT and others, are taking industry market share. Rising tariff costs, concerns that economic growth is slowing down, and the continued lack of trained and certified tile installers are still at the forefront of challenges our industry faces. NTCA is committed to addressing these concerns but is additionally forging ahead to promote new opportunities that will help our members continue to thrive in the years ahead. We see the ceramic tile market as one with endless potential, with products helping us to grow per capita consumption for walls and floors and in interior and exterior applications.  

Membership continues to grow thanks to strong support from an active board of directors who helps to spread the word about the value of NTCA to their peers in their region. We will continue to add value by introducing new programs and benefits, and we hope to continue on our path towards 2,000 members in the next few years. 

In an effort to increase value for membership and serve our industry, NTCA added benefits programs for health, life and supplemental insurance, dental and vision plans, 401(k) plans, and more. We urge you to check out the NTCA website for detailed information on all of these programs.  

As NTCA Executive Director since 2002, I am honored to continue to serve this vibrant and growing association. 

NTCA Board Advisor Dan Welch in Michigan taking part in recruitment and training efforts to high school students.

NTCA has committed to a stronger level of support to the CTEF. NTCA and CTEF staff with CTI test takers.

Callewaert accepts Tile Setter Craftsperson of the Year Award

Lee Callewaert (l.) with NTCA Executive Director Bart Bettiga at the Awards Lunch.

During the Awards Lunch at the 10th annual Total Solutions Plus in Nashville, Tenn., the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) awarded Lee Callewaert of Dragonfly Tile & Stone Works, Inc. the Tile Setter Craftsperson of the Year Award.

As part of his award, Callewaert received an all-expenses-paid trip to Total Solutions Plus. He and his wife, Jane, were also recognized at the NTCA Annual Meeting.

Over 20 candidates were nominated for the award. Requirements included a letter of nomination, a career summary, and descriptions of three to five projects the nominee has worked on. Nominees were required to be NTCA members, have a minimum of 15 years of installation experience, and still be active tile setters at time of nomination. Judges evaluated nominees based on their artistry, technical accuracy, problem solving skills, continuing education, and mentorship or leadership of others. 

In his nomination letter, Dragonfly customers and apprentices stressed Lee’s commitment to the next generation of tile setters, saying he leads by example and teaches his students the importance of continually obtaining more knowledge in order to improve their skills.

During the NTCA Annual Meeting, Jan Hohn of Hohn & Hohn, Inc., talked about the Dragonfly apprentices’ nomination. “Lee did not know that he been nominated for this award. His apprentices took it upon themselves to nominate him, and they worked with his wife, Jane, to get the application in. Lee did not know until the phone call came. That’s how dedicated his apprentices are to him, the industry and the craft that they took it upon themselves [to nominate him].”

Examples of Callewaert’s custom work.

Callewaert, who has been setting tile for over 35 years, is the co-owner and senior craftsman of Dragonfly Tile located in Grafton, Wis. He began his career as an apprentice in Tennessee. Later, he moved to Wisconsin and where he started as a journeyman tile setter and later became foreman. In 2003, Callewaert founded Dragonfly Tile with Jane. By this time, he found his niche in custom tile and stone designs and installations. 

Callewaert said he started his own business in order to make a difference. He believes the trade is more than just setting tile. “There are a lot of people like me who want to bring the professionalism and the artistry back to this trade. It isn’t about just setting tile. It’s a craft with a proud history and that history should be preserved and built upon,” Callewaert said.

He also stressed that his success would not the possible without the help of his wife. “I could not do what I do in the field without my business partner and wife, Jane. She is as committed to this journey as I am. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have someone who can handle the other side of the business. There is no way without her that I could have achieved what we have achieved. She is as valued as I am by our employees and clients.”

Jane said she was honored that Callewaert and Dragonfly Tile were being recognized by NTCA. “Being recognized by industry leaders and peers is a great honor. But it’s also very motivational. It feeds your passion and commitment. I’ve seen this first hand.”

NTCA Executive Director Bart Bettiga echoed Callewaert’s sentiments about he and his wife working as a team. “I’ve been executive director for 18 years and I’ve been working with tile contractors for 35 years and what [Callewaert] just said is exactly what this industry is all about. We have a great association of husbands and wives that run family-owned businesses.” 

Currently, Callewaert specializes in highly technical and challenging commercial and residential tile and stone installations. Additionally, he is a Certified Tile Installer (CTI) and dedicates a portion of his time mentoring the emerging setters on his team.  

Lee vowed to continue to pass his knowledge and the craft on to the next generation of industry professionals. “All of us started somewhere and we are indebted to those who launched our careers and supported us throughout the years. I’m so honored and will continue to pass it on.”

CTEF joins global GivingTuesday movement to highlight CTI program

This GivingTuesday, CTEF will celebrate giving by highlighting the passionate community it has touched as a result of providing education and installer certification for ceramic tile and stone industry professionals. GivingTuesday 2019 takes place on December 3rd.

What is GivingTuesday?

GivingTuesday represents a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities, and organizations to encourage giving and to celebrate generosity worldwide. Every year, on GivingTuesday, millions of people across the globe (almost 60 countries) mobilize to show up, give back, and change their communities. The goal is to create a massive wave of generosity that lasts well beyond that day and touches every person on the planet.

Why GivingTuesday for CTEF?

For CTEF, GivingTuesday is about raising awareness and financial support not just for the ceramic tile and stone industry professional programs it offers, but also appreciation for the strong community of passionately dedicated ceramic tile artisans, installers, suppliers and specifiers committed to elevating the standards and expectations for tile installations and the importance of Qualified Labor.

As it specifically relates to the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program, this community sponsors, volunteers for, promotes, educates, hosts hands-on testing events, encourages participation, celebrates successes and generally supports ongoing tile industry learning and excellence.

“For all who help make CTEF and the CTI program the tile industry game-changer it is, I encourage you to participate in GivingTuesday,” says Heidi Cronin, CTEF Industry Liaison and Promotions Director. “Share with your communities why you participate; explain what being a CTI means to you and encourage others to do the same by including #BecomeaCTI and #GivingTuesday in your updates.”

The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) is Joining the Global GivingTuesday Movement to Raise Awareness for the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) Program
GivingTuesday History

Founded in 2012, GivingTuesday has inspired millions of people to give back and support the causes they believe in. Over $400 million was raised online in 2018 to benefit a tremendously broad range of organizations, and much more was given in volunteer hours, donations of food and clothing, and acts of kindness.

“When GT launched in the US in 2012, we believed that technology and social media could be used to make generosity go viral;” said Asha Curran, GivingTuesday’s CEO and co-founder. “We believed in the idea that people fundamentally want to give and to talk about giving; and that the social sector had the capacity to show more innovative leadership, creativity, and collaboration. People and organizations around the world proved us right. As we prepare for December 3, we’re energized and encouraged by the community’s generosity. The levels of creativity, effort and the quality of the new ideas people have contributed and shared are phenomenal.”

Learn More About GivingTuesday and CTEF

Those who are interested in joining CTEF’s GivingTuesday initiative can visit https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/donate-now. For more details about the GivingTuesday movement, visit https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/blog/support-ctef-on-givingtuesday.

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About the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation

The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) provides education and installer certification for professionals working in the ceramic tile and stone industry. Certification programs include the CTEF Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program which is the only third-party assessment of installer skill and knowledge to be recognized by the tile industry, and the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT).

CTEF is headquartered in Pendleton, South Carolina, near Clemson University and the offices of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA).

For more information, visit https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org. Follow CTEF on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ctilef, and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CeramicTileEducationFoundation/

 

About GivingTuesday

GivingTuesday is a global giving movement that has been built by individuals, families, organizations, businesses and communities in all 50 states and in countries around the world. GivingTuesday harnesses the collective power of a unique blend of partners to transform how people think about, talk about, and participate in the giving season. It inspires people to take collective action to improve their communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they believe in, and help create a better world. GivingTuesday demonstrates how every act of generosity counts, and that they mean even more when we give together.

To learn more about GivingTuesday participants and activities or to join the celebration of giving, please visit www.givingtuesday.org or on Facebook: www.facebook.com/GivingTuesday, Twitter: Twitter.com/GivingTuesday and Instagram: instagram.com/GivingTuesday.

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