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Nemo Tile + Stone Launches E-Commerce Business; Unveils Revamped Website

New Interface and Refreshed Site are Designed to Make Shopping for Tile Easier Than Ever

New York, New York — Last month, Nemo Tile + Stone, a New York City-based provider of top-performing surface materials, was excited to unveil its new e-commerce store and revamped website, nemotile.com. Advanced in capability and contemporary in aesthetic, Nemo Tile + Stone’s new online presence and interface provides consumers and the interior design and architecture community with a new way to shop for and specify products from the brand’s extensive library of tile and stone offerings. Providing an additional avenue to Nemo Tile + Stone’s five showrooms located throughout the Northeast, customers can now explore the latest styles in surfacing online for residential, commercial, and hospitality projects. 

website screen shot of Nemo Tile
Nemo Tile + Stone launched a new e-commerce site and website last month.

The launch of the e-commerce platform emerged in tandem with the arrival of an entirely refreshed website for the family-owned, 99-year-old brand. In addition to the new online capabilities for buyers, the reimagined website is equipped with improved navigation, imagery, and visualization tools aimed at enhancing the overall user experience. The updated website boasts a plethora of user-centric features highlighted through interactive development tools now available at the click of a mouse. Amongst the new features, users will find personalized search tools that refine a search by size, shape, color, and material. This personalized approach is then expanded upon once a product page is selected. Each individual product page holds numerous images in silhouette and lifestyle frames to allow the user to easily visualize the potential of the product in the space they are designing. 

screen shot of Nemo Tile + Stone Visualizer
Nemo Tile + Stone’s Visualizer allows users to select a tile and instantly see it rendered in up to sixteen different residential and commercial spaces.

Nemo Tile + Stone’s commitment to the user’s experience is at the heart of another new feature, the Visualizer, which allows users to select a tile and instantly see it rendered in up to sixteen different spaces, inclusive of both residential and commercial options that range from kitchens, bathrooms, and foyers to retail and restaurant settings. Users are also able to upload an image of their very own space and render design possibilities in a truly bespoke fashion. Overall, the 3D visualization tool provides a virtual view of a product’s design potential and offers a digestible way for users to see the variety of applications possible with each product. 

“The idea behind the new interface and the launch of e-commerce for Nemo, was and is to provide our customers a premier experience beyond the walls of our showrooms,” said Matthew Coburger, Director of Product Merchandising, Nemo Tile + Stone. “Each new feature offered on the website is designed to provide users with a way to thoughtfully and productively specify the products they’re interested in for any number of project types.” 

The new platform is designed to evolve with Nemo Tile + Stone’s ever-growing product offerings and allow users to easily connect with the brand’s rich product portfolio, including new additions such as the Dash collection, a series of modern porcelain floor and wall tiles rooted in muted earth tones and pastels. Sleek, contemporary style and uniformity were also given immense attention in the refresh of the website and its dedicated design inspiration pages. Equipped with an active blog featuring Nemo Tile + Stone installations and set alongside a section designed to showcase the brand’s Instagram page, @nemotile, users will be able to further understand the vast array of design possibilities afforded by Nemo Tile + Stone’s product offerings and company know-how.  

To see the website first hand, please visit www.nemotile.com

Crossville Tile Featured in Southern Living Idea Home 2020, Feature on Newsstands Now

Southern Dream Team Brings Mountain-House Vision to Life in Asheville

Crossville, Tennessee – Domestic tile manufacturer Crossville, Inc. is a tile supplier and sponsor of this year’s Southern Living Idea Home located in Asheville, NC. The current issue of Southern Living Magazine features the story of this house, including images and information about the Crossville collections chosen for three of the home’s bathrooms.

Southern Living Home in  a woody setting in Asheville NC
Domestic tile manufacturer Crossville, Inc. is a tile supplier and sponsor of this year’s Southern Living Idea Home located in Asheville, NC.

Southern Living “called on Southern dream team” to undertake the project: interior designer Lauren Liess, architect Beau Clowney, and homebuilder Buchanan Construction. Located in The Ramble community in Biltmore Forest, the 3,500-square-foot home features the latest in innovative design and architecture and boasts expansive porches and outdoor living space. The residence is designed to appeal to modern sensibilities while aesthetically blending into the natural beauty of the western North Carolina mountains.

Southern Living has been building its Idea Houses for more than 30 years. According to Deirdre Finnegan, VP/Group Publisher of Southern Living, “Our Idea Houses always provide incredible inspiration for anyone who is looking for a new home or is making updates to an existing home. We’re thrilled to have so many great partners to bring this year’s house to life showcasing some of our favorite design trends in fresh and inviting ways.”

Crossville collections were specified for three of the bathrooms in the stunning residence.

white mosaic tiles installed in shower floor and walls
Crossvile supplied the tile for the bathrooms in the house.

In one of the two upstairs bathrooms, designer Lauren Liess chose Crossville’s new Cursive collection for the shower walls, utilizing the 3”x6” tiles in an intricate basketweave pattern in the Ghost hue. For the shower and bathroom floors, she selected Crossville’s Jazz Age collection in the Louis colorway. This wood-look porcelain has the appearance of distressed, aged hardwood with authentic patina. The durable porcelain tile body is suited for wet areas, since true wood would not be an alternative. Liess took the design in an inventive direction by choosing the 2”x2” mosaic in a herringbone pattern to create a visually interesting and slip-resistant solution for the shower and bathroom floors.

Basketweave white tiles on shower wall, white wood look tiles on floor
A range of beautiful porcelain and ceramic tiles from Crossville were selected for the three bathrooms in the home.

For the second upstairs bathroom, Liess again chose Crossville’s Jazz Age in the Louis colorway but mixed up the installation with the 2”x2” mosaic in a straight pattern for the shower walls and floors. Transitioning to the bathroom floor, she opted for Crossville’s Familiar Territory in Crème. This sophisticated collection features multidirectional striations that are inspired by the look of quartzite and shifting sands and offer a lovely complement to Jazz Age’s wood look.

In the main level guest bathroom, Crossville’s stunning State of Grace collection was installed on the shower floor. Liess selected the 2”x2” mosaic in a straight pattern to bring a nuanced, marble-inspired style to this mountain dream house.

The full story is covered in the October issue of Southern Living Magazine on newsstands now.

CONSTRUCTION EMPLOYMENT DECLINED IN 39 STATES BETWEEN AUGUST 2019 AND 2020 WHILE 31 STATES AND DC ADDED JOBS BETWEEN JULY AND AUGUST

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California & Vermont Lost the Most Jobs for the Year, Utah & South Dakota Added the Most; Hawaii & Nevada Lost the Most Jobs Between July and August, New Mexico & California Added the Most

Thirty-nine states lost construction jobs between August 2019 and August 2020 while 31 states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs between July and August according to a new analysis of Labor Department data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. The new annual figures detail how the coronavirus pandemic has undermined demand for construction projects after a strong start to the year.

“The ongoing pandemic is prompting ever more private owners, developers, and public agencies to delay and cancel projects,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, citing the association’s mid-June survey and a more recent survey it produced in August. “The share of contractors that reported postponed or canceled projects nearly doubled while the share who reported winning new or expanded work dropped nearly in half.”

California lost the most construction jobs (-52,000, -5.8 percent) between August 2019 and August 2020, followed by New York (-46,000, -11.3 percent); Texas (-39,300 jobs, -5.0 percent); Massachusetts (-20,200 jobs, -12.4 percent) and Illinois (-17,200 jobs, -7.5 percent). Vermont lost the highest percent of construction jobs for the year (-29.6 percent, -4,500 jobs), followed by Massachusetts; Iowa (-11.8 percent, -9,300 jobs); Louisiana (-11.4 percent, -15,700 jobs) and New York.

Ten states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs between August 2019 and August 2020 while construction employment was unchanged in Montana. Utah added the most new construction jobs (8,800 jobs, 8.0 percent), followed by Virginia (4,400 jobs, 2.2 percent); Maryland (3,800 jobs, 2.3 percent); Indiana (3,100 jobs, 2.1 percent) and Missouri (2,700 jobs, 2.1 percent). South Dakota added the highest percent (10.9 percent, 2,600 jobs), followed by Utah; Idaho (2.4 percent, 1,300 jobs); Maryland and Virginia.

California added the most new construction jobs (6,700 jobs, 0.8 percent) between July and August, followed by New York (5,200 jobs, 1.5 percent); Pennsylvania (4,100 jobs, 1.7 percent); Texas (3,300 jobs, 0.4 percent) and Oregon (3,200 jobs, 3.1 percent). New Mexico added the highest percentage (6.7 percent, 3,100) of jobs for the month, followed by Mississippi (3.4 percent, 1,400 jobs); Oregon and Kentucky (2.0 percent, 1,600 jobs).

Nineteen states lost construction jobs for the month with Nevada losing the most (-2,600 jobs, -2.8 percent). Other states losing a high number of construction jobs for the month include Florida (-2,200 jobs, -0.4 percent); Nebraska (-1,800 jobs, -3.3 percent) and North Carolina (-1,800 jobs, -0.8 percent). Hawaii lost the highest percentage (-3.5 percent, -1,300 jobs) of construction jobs for the month, followed by West Virginia (-3.3 percent, -1,100 jobs); Nebraska and Nevada.

Association officials said the best thing Washington leaders can do to boost demand for construction and employment in the sector is to increase investments in infrastructure and provide liability protections for firms taking steps to protect workers from the coronavirus. They added that extending the current surface transportation bill for one-year – which appears likely to occur – will provide needed short-term certainty for the transportation construction market.

“The best way to create jobs and boost economic activity is to rebuild aging infrastructure, provide market certainty and protect firms from needless suits,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer.

View state employment data, 12-mo, 1-mo rankings, map and high and lows. View the workforce survey results.

NTCA names Tile Setter Craftsperson of the Year winners

The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) has announced its 2020 Tile Setter Craftspersons of the Year Award in both the residential and commercial categories. 

On the commercial side, the winner is Ferid Hasic of Grazzini Brothers & Company, Eagan, Minn., while the recipient in the residential category is Leo Reynaga of Visalia Tile in Visalia, California. 

Florida-bound

The winners receive round-trip airfare for two to Coverings 2021, scheduled to take place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., next April, as well as hotel accommodations for a three-night stay. They will be recognized at the annual NTCA Awards Night during the show. 

“Since Total Solutions Plus was  changed to a virtual event this year due to COVID-19,” explained Bart Bettiga, NTCA’s executive director, “we will be presenting the award to Ferid and Leo at Coverings 2021.”

Praiseworthy achievement

Nyle Wadford, a residential category judge and industry consultant, noted, “I am honored to be chosen to judge these entries. Viewing their work and their dedication to their craft was an uplifting experience. When this fast-paced world in which we live demands that it be done more rapidly with ‘get by’ quality, these entrants eschew that notion and proved their dedication to quality on each of the installations reviewed. 

“It is both pleasing and humbling to know that there are still tile installers today that adhere to these practices,” he added. “Congratulations to all the entrants. They’re all winners in my book.”

Rod Owen, C.C. Owen Co., Mike Micalizzi of Custom Building Products, and James Woelfel, consultant, scored the commercial entries. Jan Hohn of Hohn & Hohn, Inc., William White, ARDEX, and consultant Nyle Wadford judged the residential entries. 

Judging criteria for the awards included the following factors: 

  • 15 years or more setting tile, and continuing to set tile as part of the job today (Yes/No)
  • Technical Correctness of tile installations – 25%
  • Craftsmanship/Artistry – 30%
  • Ability to Resolve Tile Installation Problems – 20%
  • Self-Improvement/Continuing Education – 15%
  • Mentoring/Leading Others – 10%

How they got here 

Hasic was nominated for the award by Greg Grazzini, CEO and president, Grazzini Brothers and Company, while Reynaga was nominated by Teresa Inglehart, residential operations assistant, Visalia Tile. Both winners hailed from NTCA Five-Star contractor member companies. 

Ferid Hasic from Grazzini Brothers and Company

Hasic grew up in Bosnia and learned the tile trade from a third-generation tile setter in Germany. He and his family moved to the U.S. in January 1998 and he became a naturalized U.S. citizen. His training in Germany allowed him to obtain his Tile Setter Journeyman card with the local union. He also holds a Stone Mason Journeyman card. 

He supervises up to 45 workers with Grazzini Brothers and Company, while mentoring crew and overseeing projects, and has become a role model for his crew members. 

“If I show the people by my working hard, they will work hard,” Hasic said. “I take pride in my work and want to set a good example. I strive for no punch list on every job. It is important for the people to see that I put myself in their shoes – both my crew and the company. I want to do a good job, so the company gets more jobs. If the company prospers, I will prosper.”

The 1.75 million square foot U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings, located in Minneapolis, is the largest construction project in Minnesota. Ferid Hasic was chosen to install the large format thin porcelain panels, a new form of tile in 2015, which required training/mentoring 10 additional tile setters for this installation. Ferid and his crew installed 35,000 square feet in 3 months on 6 different concourse levels.
Leo Reynaga & VCT owners Robby Martinho (L) Eddie Martinho  (R).jpg – Leo Reynaga is flanked by Visalia Ceramic Tile owners, Robby Martinho (l) and Eddie Martinho.

As a young father who started working before finishing high school, Reynaga came to Visalia Ceramic Tile with no experience, and learned his craft through training with owner Robert Martinho, discovering that this career could provide a good living for his growing family. Inglehart said his go-getter attitude propelled him to success.

“Today, with over 24 years in the trade, Leo has become a top setter for commercial and residential applications,” Inglehart said, in her nomination letter. “It is rare to have one guy the best at projects requiring vast differences from small to large areas, simple to custom details- and he’s got it.” His positive attitude, product knowledge, continuing quest for education, and experience and willingness to motivate and encourage others has distinguished him as a leader. 

Reynaga said that receiving the award demonstrates that “no matter what age or time in your career you could always achieve. This award shows my family and coworkers that if you have dedication, hard work, and love for your craft you will succeed.”

Leo Reynaga headed the exterior portion of this project, the Hoffman residence in Fresno, Calif., consisting of Versailles Pattern 3CM travertine pavers running through the edges of the pool deck. His expert ability to prep the substrate made it an easy call to put him on the job. The homeowner wanted as tight of joints as possible, despite the size and variation of the stone.

PUBLIC AND PRIVATE NONRESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION SPENDING SLUMP IN JULY AS INDUSTRY EMPLOYMENT DECLINES FROM JULY 2019 IN TWO-THIRDS OF METROS

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New York City, Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton, Mass. have worst job losses, while Walla Walla, Wash. and Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Md. post largest year-over-year construction employment increases.

Steep monthly declines in public and private nonresidential construction spending offset a surge in homebuilding in July, while industry employment decreased compared to July 2019 levels in two-thirds of the nation’s metro areas, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of government data released today. Association officials said many commercial construction firms were likely to continue shedding jobs without needed federal coronavirus relief measures.

“The dichotomy between slumping nonresidential projects—both public and private—and robust homebuilding seems sure to widen as the pandemic continues to devastate state and local finances and much of the private sector,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Without new federal investments in infrastructure and other measures to boost demand for nonresidential construction, contractors will be forced to let more workers go.”

Construction spending in July totaled $1.36 trillion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, a gain of 0.1 percent from June. A 1.2 percent drop in nonresidential spending nearly canceled out a 2.1 percent jump in residential spending, which was boosted by growth in both single-family (3.1 percent) and multifamily construction (4.9 percent).

Public construction spending decreased by 1.3 percent, dragged down by a 3.1 percent drop in highway and street construction spending and a 3.0 percent decline in educational construction spending, the two largest public segments. The next-largest segment, transportation facilities, also contracted, by 1.6 percent.

Private nonresidential construction spending slid 1.0 percent from June to July. The largest segment, power construction, dipped 0.1 percent. Among other large private spending categories, commercial construction—comprising retail, warehouse and farm structures—slumped 3.2 percent, while manufacturing construction rose 0.2 percent and office construction fell 0.7 percent.

Construction employment declined from July 2019 to July 2020 in 238, or 66 percent, out of 358 metro areas, increased in 90 areas (25 percent) and held steady in 30. New York City lost the most construction jobs (-26,500, -16 percent), while the steepest percentage loss occurred in Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton, Mass. (-36 percent, -2,100 jobs). Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Md. added the most construction jobs over the year (4,800, 6 percent), while Walla Walla, Wash. had the largest percentage gain (25 percent, 300 jobs).

Association officials said that in addition to the new spending and metro employment data, the association is releasing the results of its annual workforce survey tomorrow that will underscore the need for new federal recovery measures. The construction officials called on Congress and the Trump administration to enact new infrastructure investments, pass a one-year extension to the current surface transportation law with additional transportation construction funding and enact liability reforms to shied firms that are protecting workers from the coronavirus from needless lawsuits.

“Without new federal relief measures, the industry’s limited recovery will likely be short lived,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Congress and the President should be taking advantage of current market conditions to rebuild our infrastructure, restore lost jobs and reinvigorate the economy.”

View the metro employment data, rankings, highs and lows, and top 10.

Schluter Systems Opens Additional Distribution, Office, and Training Center in Dallas-Fort Worth

New building is over 500,000 square feet

Schluter-Systems opened a new distribution center, office and training facility in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas on September 1.  The 500,000 square foot center will carry the majority of Schluter’s 8,000 SKUs available in North America. This will significantly enhance service levels especially in the central and southern U.S. states. 

aerial shot of 500,000 sf Schluter warehouse in the Dallas-Fort Worth area
Schluter’s new DFW facility is more than 500,000 square feet

“The location of this warehouse, office and training center was chosen very strategically,” Schluter Systems NA President and CEO, Marco Ludwig announced. “We already have warehouses in Plattsburgh, NY and Reno, NV, so adding this third facility in the major hub of Dallas-Fort Worth will drastically improve our service levels and shipping times to our customers. We are proud and honored to be able to make this investment for our North American customers. In addition to further improving fast and reliable accessibility to Schluter products, this facility will act as another central, convenient, and attractive training location for our customers including both the architectural and installation communities.”

“We anticipate a very quick turnaround on all orders in this region, which will help Schluter products reach the end user much quicker,” stated Henry DeGooyer, Schluter Systems U.S. Senior Vice President of Sales.

“In fact, with this addition to our shipping hubs, we will be able to reach the majority of the country within 72 hours after receiving the purchase order,” Ludwig added.

exterior entrance shot of the new DFW site
This DFW facility is the global leader in implementing a completely new,
leading-edge warehouse management system

This DFW facility is the global leader in implementing a completely new, leading-edge warehouse management system. This new system will be used to optimize all warehouse and distribution processes, making the picking and packing procedures considerably more efficient.

Project Manager & Process Change Manager, Rebecca Packwood, worked closely with company leaders in North America and Germany to ensure the system can be integrated into all Schluter Systems operations. “While in the midst of this complex project we had to overcome many unusual challenges because of the rising pandemic,” Rebecca said. “We weren’t able to physically visit the site as much as we wanted, but despite the obstacles, our team adapted and successfully achieved all milestones. We started receiving inventory in May and expect to be at full capacity by October.”  

“We use our current and future Schluter Systems products as an integral part when it comes to innovative building installations,” Ludwig expressed.

As an example, Schluter Systems decided to install DITRA-HEAT-DUO membrane with a built-in thermal break over the concrete slab with over 15 miles of Schluter heating cables. This DITRA-HEAT system is over 25,000 square feet and managed by 140 thermostats and power modules and warms both the porcelain tile and LVT floors, making it presumably the largest project of electrical floor warming in the world.

“We want to make our warehouse staff, office employees and customers comfortable at this facility and enjoy the experience,” explained Ludwig.

“We can’t overstate the value of having another fixed training hub for our workshops. Installers appreciate the experience and increased level of knowledge they gain by attending our Schluter innovation workshops,” revealed Henry DeGooyer.

Schluter also invested in a cutting edge, energy efficient, lighting system that is highly adaptable to the ever changing business needs and floor space utilization.

“We are always focused on how we can make the tile installer’s job easier and that’s exactly what this project is all about,” Marco Ludwig said. “By improving our service levels and lead times to the market, we will make it even easier for the installer to access and use our Schluter products on a daily basis.”

CORONAVIRUS CREATED MAJOR CONSTRUCTION PROJECT DELAYS AND CANCELLATIONS, YET DEMAND FOR SKILLED LABOR IS HIGH, NEW SURVEY FINDS

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Sixty percent of firms report future projects have been canceled or delayed, but 52 percent of firms struggle to find craft workers amid worker fears of COVID and unemployment supplement

The coronavirus has harmed the construction industry, prompting project delays and cancellations, layoffs and furloughs, yet it remains difficult for a majority of firms to find craft workers to hire, according to the results of a workforce survey conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America and Autodesk. The survey paints a picture of an industry in need of immediate recovery measures and longer-term workforce development support, association officials added.

“Few firms have survived unscathed from the pandemic amid widespread project delays and cancellations,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Ironically, even as the pandemic undermines demand for construction services, it is reinforcing conditions that have historically made it hard for many firms to find qualified craft workers to hire.”

Sixty percent of responding firms report having at least one future project postponed or canceled because of the coronavirus, while 33 percent report having projects that were already underway halted because of the pandemic. The share of firms reporting canceled projects has nearly doubled since the survey AGC conducted in June, when 32 percent of respondents reported cancellations.

The coronavirus has also undermined the sector’s productivity levels as firms across the country change the way they operate to protect workers and the public from the disease. Forty-four percent of responding firms report that it has taken longer to complete projects and 32 percent say it has cost more to complete ongoing projects because of the coronavirus. As a result, 40 percent report they have adopted new hardware or software to alleviate labor shortages they have experienced.

“The results of the AGC and Autodesk workforce study reveal that the construction industry is still grappling with the changes and consequences of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Allison Scott, director of construction thought leadership and customer marketing at Autodesk. “The long-term effects of the current crisis have yet to play out, and firms that double down on innovation efforts, whether an increased focus on lean construction, workforce training or technology that facilitates remote collaboration will be well poised for enduring resilience.”

The coronavirus has also negatively affected many firms’ confidence in future demand for projects. Only 42 percent of firms report their volume of business has returned to year-ago levels or is expected to do so in the next six months, compared to 52 percent who held this view in AGC’s June survey. Another 37 percent expect returning to normal levels of business will take more than six months, while the remainder don’t know.

While the pandemic has led to project delays and cancellations nationwide, contractor expectations of recovery do vary by region. Forty-five percent of respondents in the Northeast expect it will take more than six months for their firm’s volume of business to return to normal, compared to only 34 percent of respondents in the West, 35 percent in the South, and 41 percent in the Midwest.

There are also some differences by project type and revenue size. For instance, highway and transportation contractors report the greatest difficulty in filling hourly craft positions, with nearly three out of four (73 percent) reporting an unfilled craft position on June 30. About two-thirds (69 percent) of utility infrastructure and federal and heavy construction firms had unfilled craft positions then, along with 58 percent of building construction firms.

Small firms were less likely to have experienced cancellations of upcoming projects. Fifty-six percent of firms with revenues of $50 million or less report a project has been postponed or canceled, compared with 71 percent of mid-sized firms (revenue between $50.1 million and $500 million) and 69 percent of large firms (revenue exceeding $500 million).

Roughly a third of responding firms furloughed or terminated employees as a result of the pandemic and shutdowns ordered by government officials or project owners. Most of those firms have asked at least some laid-off workers to return to work. But 44 percent of firms that recalled employees report that some have refused to return, citing a preference for unemployment benefits, virus concerns, or family responsibilities, among other reasons.

The pandemic has also made it difficult for many firms to fill open positions, especially for hourly craft jobs. A majority (52 percent) of respondents report having a hard time filling some or all hourly craft positions, especially openings for laborers, carpenters and equipment operators. Sixty percent of firms had at least one unfilled hourly craft position as of June 30. In addition, 28 percent of respondents report difficulty filling salaried positions—in particular, project managers and supervisors.

In addition to turning to diverse technologies to alleviate labor shortages, 38 percent of firms report having increased base pay rates to attract and retain workers. In contrast, only 3 percent of firms have reduced pay, in spite of the downturn in business.

Construction firms also identified a series of measures that Washington officials could take to help the industry. Fifty-five percent of responding firms, for example, said they were looking to Congress to increase funding for all forms of public infrastructure and facilities. Fifty-three percent of firms want Congress and the Trump administration to enact liability reforms to shield companies who are protecting workers from the coronavirus from needless lawsuits. And 41 percent want Congress to address unemployment benefits that serve as artificial barriers to returning people to work.

Association officials unveiled new plans to encourage more people to pursue high-paying careers in construction to ease hiring challenges and find a way to attract recently unemployed people into the construction industry. Among other steps, the association is launching a new “Construction is Essential” campaign to highlight the many benefits of construction careers.

“There is a lot that Washington officials can do to help boost demand for construction projects and get more people back to work rebuilding the economy,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer, noting the association was pushing Congress and the administration to enact new recovery measures. “The challenge is that the coronavirus has put many contractors in the position of looking for work and workers at the same time.”

The association and Autodesk conducted the Workforce Survey between August 4 and 26. Over 2000 firms completed the survey from a broad cross-section of the construction industry, including union and open shop firms of all sizes. The 2020 Workforce Survey is the association’s eighth annual workforce-related survey.

Click here for survey materials including national, regional and state fact sheets, survey analysis and event remarks.

LATICRETE Appoints Veteran Finance Executive Thomas Tullo to Board of Directors

Bringing four decades of corporate finance experience 

August 17, 2020, Bethany, Conn. — LATICRETE, a leading manufacturer of globally-proven construction solutions, has elected Thomas Tullo as its 7th and newest member to their Board of outside Directors. LATICRETE is unusual for a family-owned business, in having an independent fiduciary Board.

Thomas Tullo, smiling man in blue shirt with arms crossed
Thomas Tullo

As the Founder and Managing Director of investment bank Range Light Capital, Inc., Tullo joins LATICRETE with 40 years of experience in finance. In this new role, Tullo will enhance the lives of LATICRETE customers and employees by using his extensive experience serving many industries.

“Mr. Tullo joins LATICRETE at a critical inflection point in our company’s 64-year history, as we appointed our first non-family member CEO this year,” said David A. Rothberg, LATICRETE Chairman. “The Board’s role will involve keeping LATICRETE true to our founder’s values of trust, integrity, innovation, passion and customer centricity, while continuing our global expansion. I feel blessed to have Thomas helping us on this journey.”

“Thomas comes to LATICRETE with a wealth of knowledge for company success and strategic vision of our organization. These will be pivotal in our ability to scale and meet the increasing demand for the constantly evolving tile , stone and flooring marketplace,” said Patrick Millot, the newly- appointed CEO of LATICRETE. “With his impressive work and academic background, Thomas will be a strong asset to our Board of Directors and a great support to the Laticrete team. I look forward to benefit personally from his guidance, and from the positive impact he will make on LATICRETE’s business and people.” 

Prior to founding Range Light Capital, Tullo was a Partner in Rossoff & Company where he led the firm’s industrial practice. Tullo also headed the industrial and diversified services group at RBC Capital Markets, served as a Vice President at Goldman Sachs, and a Managing Director at  S. G. Warburg & Co. At  McKinsey & Company he advised clients on financings and recapitalizations, both in the U.S. and overseas. Tullo is a lifelong competitive sailor. He is  a member of the Board of Directors of Taco Comfort Solutions. Tullo holds a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School and an economics degree, Summa Cum Laude, from Dartmouth College.

Starnet Design Awards to Host Virtual Awards Ceremony on June 2, 2020


COLUMBUS OHIO (May 27, 2020) – On June 2nd Starnet will reveal the nominees and winners of the 22nd Annual Starnet Design Awards during a virtual celebration.  Annually the awards recognize the best and brightest in commercial interiors, conceived by the architectural and design community in partnership with Starnet Members and their vendor partner network.

Presenting the awards will be a distinguished panel of judges and representatives from Starnet:

–  Tracy Herzer, Senior Interior Designer The S/L/A/M Collaborative

–  Chi-Thien (CT) Nguyen, Chair of Preservation Design for Savannah College of Art & Design

–  Jane M. Rohde, Principal JSR Associates, Inc.

–  Chuck Bode, Starnet Chairman of the Board

–  Rob Starr, Starnet Director of Marketing and Member Services

Participants may register for the awards ceremony at the following link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1649417382303051024

A recorded playback will be available to registered attendees after the ceremony. To learn more about the Starnet Design Awards visit:
https://designawards.starnetflooring.com/

WarmlyYours Report Finds Radiant Heating Sales In Q2 2020 Were Strong with Homeowners and Trade Professionals

Lake Zurich, Ill., August 25, 2020 – According to a recent industry report, sales of radiant heating products were driven by growth in the homeowner and trade professional customer segments despite widespread lockdowns due to COVID-19.

WarmlyYours, a manufacturer specializing in radiant heating products like electric floor warming systems, released their “2020 Q2 & Annual Industry Report” recently. This report analyzes the sales of radiant heating products within the wider context of the national housing and remodeling markets. One of the primary conclusions drawn in the report was that WarmlyYours saw significant upticks in sales for the homeowner and trade professional customer segments (these 2 customer segments make up over 50% of WarmlyYours sales volume). Homeowner sales were up 57.3% and trade professional sales were up 4.6% in consolidated sales for Q2 2020 when compared to the prior year period. While the trade professional channels growth was slower than homeowners, the total sales volume increase was very comparable.

Q2 2020 customer segment growth

Julia Billen, the owner and president of WarmlyYours, believes that these customer channels will continue to grow well into Q3 and Q4 of 2020 due to the recent launch of a new line of radiant heating services offered by the company called SmartServices. The services range from a remote installation supervision option (called SmartGuide) to actual onsite installation of the radiant heating system (SmartInstall) and even a troubleshooting service (called SmartFix) for all electric floor heating systems, even competitors. Billen said that these services were developed to help improve the radiant heating installation experience for both homeowners and trade professionals.

“For homeowners, we’re making sure that they have the confidence that their heating system will be installed correctly and that it will function properly for many years to come. For our professional customers, these SmartServices help train them and their teams onsite and in the field with our Radiant Experts,” said Billen.

Billen also said that in the very near future, WarmlyYours plans on launching a new certification program for professionals. Once certified, these professional installers will be connected to homeowners in their area that have quoted WarmlyYours products.

“For us, it’s a win-win because we’re ultimately training an army of new, professional experts all across the country and we’re able to connect them with our homeowner customers for the installation because we’re as confident in the installation as if we did it ourselves,” said Billen.

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