Portobello America, Inc. to locate US headquarters and production facility in Baxter, Tenn.

Ceramic tile manufacturer to create 220 jobs with $150 million investment

BAXTER, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe and Portobello America, Inc. officials announced today that the company will locate its U.S. headquarters and first U.S. production facility in Baxter. The ceramic tile manufacturer will create 220 jobs and invest approximately $150 million in Putnam County, which represents the largest announcement in Baxter during the Haslam administration.

“Portobello’s decision to locate its new production facility and U.S. headquarters and create more than 200 in Baxter will be transformational for the community,” Haslam said. “In Tennessee, we have created a business-friendly environment that promotes growth in all of our communities across the state and I appreciate Portobello for seeing what great assets Tennessee and Putnam County have to offer. I look forward to seeing this company succeed in our state and with investments like this, Tennessee will lead in the creation of high-quality jobs.”

“I appreciate Brazil-based Portobello for selecting Tennessee as the home of its first U.S. production facility and its new U.S. headquarters,” Rolfe said. “Tennessee places a major emphasis on foreign direct investment and Brazilian companies have been a great investment partners in Tennessee. There are 13 Brazilian companies currently located in our state, employing approximately 2,000 Tennesseans. I thank Portobello for making this major announcement in Baxter and for creating 220 new high quality, family-wage jobs in Putnam County.”

Portobello, headquartered in Brazil, is the largest tile manufacturer in Brazil. The company serves countries on five continents and internal markets through multi-brand retailers, the Portobello Shop franchise and sales channel for engineering. Portobello has more than 2,600 employees, responsible for the design and innovation of items that launch trends in architecture and interior design in Brazil.

“Growing and developing in the American market, incorporating the local culture, generating job opportunities and investments through an integrated business model, from production to partnership with distributors, is what guides this new challenge,” Portobello President Cesar Gomes, Junior said. “We are proud to present Portobello America. We believe in the strategy, the market potential and, above all, the combination of our know-how with the American team and culture.”

Portobello will locate its new operations on the Tennessee Motor Speedway site in Putnam County, where the company will build a new facility. Construction on the facility is set to be complete by 2021.

“Portobello represents the largest capital investment for a manufacturing project in our county’s history, and we thank them for becoming our newest economic development partner,” Putnam County Mayor Randy Porter said. “I’m proud of all the work that went into getting us to this point and our team is ready to continue working with Portobello for many years to come.”

“I want to thank Portobello for committing to the future of Baxter,” Baxter Mayor John Martin said. “We have been dedicated to growing our city for a long time and I’m so proud that we’re seeing the fruits of the work that we’ve put in. We look forward to a long partnership that will create tremendous economic impact for our citizens.”

“We thank Portobello for committing to investing in our region and for the over 200 jobs they will be creating. We’ve had our eye on this market segment for some time and we couldn’t think of a better company than Portobello to join our community,” Highlands Economic Partnership President and CEO George Halford said.

“TVA and Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation congratulate Portobello on its decision to locate its first US manufacturing facility in Putnam County,” said TVA Senior Vice President of Economic Development John Bradley. “Helping to facilitate job creation if fundamental to TVA’s mission of service and we are proud to partner with Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, Highlands Economic Development Partnership, City of Baxter, Putnam County, and Portobello to help further that mission.”

Baxter and Putnam County are represented by Sen. Paul Bailey (R – Sparta), Rep. Cameron Sexton (R – Crossville) and Rep. Ryan Williams (R – Cookeville) in the Tennessee General Assembly.

 

In memory: Alexander Peter Tarr, CSI, CDT, March 9, 1941- October 15,2018

Al Tarr

 

Born in South Bend, Indiana, Al attended Purdue University after graduating from high school. While in college he enlisted and served in the United States Air Force from 1960-64.  After completing his service, he moved to Arizona.

Al found his passion in the construction specification industry with MAPEI Corporation for tile and flooring installations.  Al could spice up the presentation of products with clever and entertaining ways that you’d never forget. For instance, once Al wore a giant chef’s hat to talk about the chemistry in grout!

Al worked at MAPEI from the mid-80s to 2000, after which he took the specifying reins and marched all over the USA with Noble Company as Western Region Architectural Manager. He spent nine years there until his retirement to his longtime Scottsdale residence.

The CSI board, with Al Tarr (center right) in 1996-97.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Construction Specification Institute (CSI) was big part of his life, and Al was the life of the party at annual conferences and conventions.  He always stayed to the last at the events and was a great host.  He welcomed many new members, and served a stint as President of the Phoenix Chapter. He was consistently available there to lend a hand, or at least an opinion.

 

 

Al Tarr as the Lone Ranger in 2007

Al Tarr “cutting up” with Pamela Jackson circa 1996-97.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Al was feisty to the end but passed away peacefully on October 15, 2018 with many friends having visited in the last days.

Al is survived by his sister, Judith (Tarr) Mattei and her husband Frank, nephew Russel Mattei, grandniece Ashley, niece Deborah Kolber and grandnephews Kolby and Kory, as well as many cousins and lifelong friends.

Al wishes to spend eternity in his favorite beautiful place in Sedona, so his ashes will be spread at West Fork at a later date.

Al Tarr, 2017

A memorial reception will be held on Tuesday, November 6th from 3:00-6:00 at The Reference Library, 99 E Virginia Ave., #140, Phoenix, AZ  85004. Please RSVP to:  602-258-7499. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to: Funeral Home Angels Cremation & Burial 422 W McClellan, Mesa AZ  85201, to help offset funeral expenses. Contact: Pamela Jackson at [email protected].

In addition, Pamela is collecting stories and photos for a presentation to be made at the reception. Please send photos and stories to her at the email above.

 

 

Tile of Spain Manufacturers Preview Cutting-Edge Trends for 2019 at CERSAIE

Tile of Spain manufacturers returned once again to Italy for CERSAIE, the international exhibition of ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings. The annual 5-day event invited industry professionals to explore international manufacturers at The Europa Auditorium in Bologna.

As one of the major world powers in ceramic tile production and export, Spain is a regular participant in the show. Over 90 Spanish ceramic manufacturers showcased their latest collections as a preview of what is to come for the 2019 year.

 

A Return to Geometry 

Aparici, Tango

A growing trend is to look beyond structure and function when it comes to floors and walls and think decorative.

In 2019, ceramic tiles with geometric designs will play a major role in visual design of virtually every room. Inspired by the Art Deco movement of the 20s and 30s, these geometric shapes create attractive spaces and sophisticated environments while being sensitive to the nostalgia of the past eras.

Up-ing the Color 

Gayafores, Kaleido

 

Doses of color that shy away from the traditional monochromatic hues convert floors and walls into the absolute protagonist of the room.

These new tonalities are capable of completely transforming design by giving the allusion of a larger space while also playing on the reflections of natural light. For 2019 there are no favorite colors, but a commitment to a combination of all colors in the pursuit for more daring designs and stylistic experimentation.

Playing with textures 

Ceramica Gomez, Zante

So long are the days of matte finishes. In 2019, we will see different textures and reliefs introduced in order to enhance the aesthetics of floors and walls. Weathered, high-gloss, volumetric, rugged and embossed finishes break the strict functionality of the material and turn ceramic tile into works of art.

A Classic Bet 

Baldocer, Hannover


Collections that are based on elements from the past will still remain popular in 2019. Marble inspired ceramics that are seen year after year lend a sense of purity and infinitude. This year though, manufacturers have also lost their fear of dark tones and are releasing collections in black, green and gray hues for a more dramatic and sophisticated feel. 

The classically traditional Terrazzo inspired ceramics will also remain strong in 2019, but reinvents itself by experimenting with different colors, shapes and sizes to suit every project. 

LATICRETE hosts MVPs on trip to Washington’s San Juan Islands

On September 29, LATICRETE’s Adam Marks and Backroads Adventure Tour leaders welcomed the company’s Most Valued Partners (MVPs) to the Pacific Northwest Seattle for a five day biking and hiking adventure.  The MVP program is an industry contractor rewards program that offers not only many opportunities to earn and spend points and receive discounts, but also allows members to redeem points for industry dues and memberships, provide access to LATICRETE Support and Training Teams and enjoy exclusive adventure travel opportunities like this one.

LATICRETE’s Adam Marks (l.) and David Rothberg were hosts of the MVP adventure excursion.

The welcome reception with MVP guests.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MVPs from Bedrosians, P.S. Wholesale Floors, Inc., Tiede Zoeller Inc., Spectra Contract Flooring Atlanta and Tampa, LineSync Architecture, Garden State Tile, Western Tile and Marble, Kate-Lo, Dimensional Marble & Tile, Inc., and NTCA took part in the trip.

The group met Backroads trip leaders during an Italian dinner, and received an overview of the coming days.  The group made plans for biking, hiking, kayaking or simply strolling quaint harbor towns.

The group assembles with a guide for a hike.

Setting up on day one for the bike tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those who chose biking (including NTCA’s assistant executive director Jim Olson and wife Mary Shaw-Olson, NTCA ad sales rep), were outfitted with expert biking guides, and bikes with state-of-the-art GPS to help pilot the riders along rolling hills and the back roads of the San Juan Islands.

The biking group began with a shuttle from Seattle to LaConnor, then biked 21 miles to Anacortes.  A one-hour ferry ride brought them to Orcas Island, the most mountainous of the San Juan archipelago.  They shuttled to the historic village Eastsound, a charming community filled with galleries, boutiques, restaurants, cafes and bookstores.

 

Mt. Baker.

Day two began with a challenging bike ride to Moran State Park, followed by a choice of hiking or biking Mount Constitution, an elevation of 2,100’.   Every route provided riders with breathtaking views of Canada’s coastal mountains, snow-covered Mt Baker, the Olympic Peninsula and the islands of the Puget Sound.  The evening included a special event at Red Rabbit Farm — set in a the middle of a field – a unique farm-to-table dinner featuring local produce and meats.

Tuesday biking options began at the edge of Turtleback Mountain, up Enchanted Forest Road, through a thick forest of Douglas fir and western red cedar trees.   After a barbeque lunch, the group boarded a chartered boat in search of seals, porpoises, eagles and the magnificent orcas.

The tour stopped next on the island of San Juan with a stay at Friday Harbor.  Hotel Friday Harbor offered panoramic views of the fabled harbor. LATICRETE’s David Rothberg and his wife Nan graciously hosted a dinner at the Friday Harbor House.  After the farewell dinner, some of the group convinced the restaurant to close the doors and turn up the music so they could to dance in the restaurant lobby!

Friday Harbor

Whale watching

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last day included a ferry ride to Lopez Island, then a tranquil 16-mile ride through picturesque farmland and gentle hills.  After a tasty lunch in Lopez Village the group shuttled to board a ferry to Anacortes, where they said their goodbyes to new and old friends and our skilled Backroads leaders.

 

NTCA goes to Washington for NHCA Legislative Summit

NTCA & NHCA share concerns with Castro

NTCA Technical Trainer Luis Bautista meets with federal legislators to address construction issues

Bautista meets Rendon of Regional Hispanic Contractors Association Board of Directors

Dave Rendon, Regional Hispanic Contractors Association Board of Directors, (L) meets with NTCA Trainer Luis Bautista in Washington D.C.

In late September, NTCA Technical Trainer Luis Bautista, along with wife Susan, took part in a legislative summit of the National Hispanic Construction Association (NHCA) in Washington, D.C. The NHCA is a non-profit 501(c)6 membership organization, representing over 4,500 companies across the country that are directly affiliated with NHCA chapters. Collectively these chapters reach over 35,000 Hispanic-owned construction firms through marketing, newsletters and social media networks.

For two days, NHCA representatives  and attendees met with federal lawmakers and staffers from offices of various representatives and Congressmen to express concerns and request support with several issues, including labor shortages, qualified labor training and education, as well as construction safety, funding and issues regarding small business and immigration.

Bautista meeting with with Representative Joaquin Castro

Bautista and NHCA shared with Representative Joaquin Castro concerns about labor shortage and need for vocational training, recruitment and apprenticeship.

Bautista, along with other Summit attendees, met with the offices of U.S. Representative Joaquin Castro of Texas, Senior U.S. Senator from Texas John Cornyn, U.S. Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina, U.S. Representative from Colorado Jared Polis, and U.S. Representative Diane DeGette of Colorado.

Those attending the legislative luncheon were updated on construction industry issues by representatives from the Hispanic American Construction Industry Association (HACIA), National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), and the National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC), among others.

“We learned of the possibility of higher education scholarship funds being permitted for vocational  training,” Bautista said. “We learned that the top three states construction accidents and fatalities are Texas, California and Florida — in that order. They are also the top states with Hispanic workers and are in need of safety and qualified labor training.”

Bautista (at right) at the Legislative Summit luncheon.

Bautista (at right) at the Legislative Summit luncheon.

NTCA is assessing the possibility of conducting trainings through various local state chapters of the NHCA in Dallas/ Fort Worth, Washington D.C., North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona, Florida, Colorado and California, Bautista said. “Those local chapters in the various states could promote workshops in their area to their Hispanic contractor members,” he added.

In addition, NTCA may partner in future legislative summits and NHCA events to brainstorm with other construction industry players (i.e. roofing) regarding apprenticeship, training and education strategies.

“We plan to contact the NHCA president who lives in Dallas when we return to discuss further how the NTCA may be able to work with the in NHCA,” Bautista said.

NTCA member Evergreen Tile & Stone suffers huge loss: how to help

On September 11, Pavlo (aka Pasha) Starykov of Star Tile & Stone, LLC reported on the “NTCA Members Only” Facebook group that his good friend and NTCA member 39-year old Andrey Zelenko suffered a terrible tragedy. Zelenko went on a boat trip on the Columbia River with his wife, 41-year old Natalia (aka Natasha), on Sunday, September 2. Unfortunately their boat collided with another boat beneath the Camas Slough bridge and Natasha was killed. Andrey sustained serious injuries.   (https://youtu.be/QwfNeQGaqJk).

 

Starykov said that currently, Andrey is in stable condition as he is slowly recovering, and has learned of the loss of his wife, who “who was his best friend on earth.” Starykov said, “He doesn’t know yet how he will live without her. His friends and relatives are with him all the time at the hospital. The full physical recovery will take at least 3-4 months. If you could say a few words of support, I will read it to Andrey.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andrey’s friends and relatives have set up a fundraiser to aid with funeral costs, and all the costs that will incur with medical treatment and time away from work for him, Starykov said. Monetary gifts are very much appreciated but they are asking for everyone to please pray for Andrey to recover and for God to carry him through this the most difficult time in his life. To donate to the fundraiser, visit:

https://www.gofundme.com/memorial-fund-for-natasha-zelenko

Andrey is the owner of Evergreen Tile & Stone, LLC (Gladstone, Ore.), with wife Natasha. The company joined NTCA in April during a workshop hosted by Robb Roderick in Portland. He had been considering taking the CTI test.

Roderick recently visited Andrey in Portland where he is undergoing physical therapy for recovery from broken leg and ribs, shoulder dislocation, punctured lung and several lacerations.

Roderick said, “Andrey has a deep faith which is sustaining him during this dark and terrible time. He is unable to install tile in his present condition. So If any of you have extra money and would like to help support Andrey during this time of recovery there is a gofundme page set up for that very purpose (link above). The NTCA has already donated to this cause. But, more important than financial support, continue to support Andrey with your thoughts and prayers, which could be the greatest gift and the best medicine he could receive during this time of healing.”

TCNA applauds 10% tariff on Chinese tile – seeks 25% tax

The over $16 billion of Chinese goods subject to 10% U.S. tariffs earlier this year were recently joined with a new spate of Chinese products targeted with the tariffs. These taxes are set to go into effect on Monday, September 24. They will increase to 25% in January if no agreement is reached with China.
Among these new $200 billion of Chinese goods are Chinese tile products which include glazed and unglazed ceramic, porcelain and glass.
Eric Astrachan, TCNA Executive Director

Eric Astrachan, TCNA Executive Director

Eric Astrachan, executive director of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA)  joined more than 350 individuals who testified before the Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. in August about the tariffs. Many expressed concern that tariffs would affect downstream prices for consumers. But Astrachan took a pro stance, stating that tariffs would have a protective effect on domestic production, U.S. jobs and imported tile from other countries. In addition, he cited problems with Chinese tile mislabeled as porcelain, intellectual property theft and dumping tiles – selling them at below cost. Listen to the podcast at:

Higher tariffs help U.S. production

On a more recent edition of NPR Marketplace Morning Report on September 18, Astrachan went into greater detail with host Kai Ryssdal, explaining why he’d like even higher tariffs than the current 10% duty. He reiterated the dumping issue with Chinese tiles.Plus he said he’d like to see the 25% tariff enacted to help level the difference in price between Chinese tiles and those produced domestically or imported from other countries. His view is that tariffs on Chinese tile would protect domestic jobs and U.S. industry. He went into detail about copying of designs that has been a hallmark of Chinese intellectual property theft, and how that hurts domestic producers.

No effect at consumer level on tile prices

However, Astrachan reassured Ryssdal and listeners that tariffs on Chinese tile goods would not affect the consumer, due to the tile industry’s  robust domestic production and import stream.
To listen to the full interview, visit https://www.npr.org/podcasts/381444600/marketplace and scroll to the September 18 “The use-it-or-lose-it season” episode, starting at the 3:55 time mark.
In a recent letter to TCNA members and colleagues, Astrachan thanked members who submitted supportive comments as well as the TCNA government relations team in DC.
“We understand and sympathize that 10% duty, and especially the potential 25% duty scheduled for 2019 (if no resolution with China), can negatively impact members’ tile lines being sourced from China, and we regret that impact on members,” he continued. “This was offset by the supermajority position that tariffs were appropriate based on much more than economic issues: specifically, our opposition to false labeling (non-porcelain tiles sold as porcelain), Chinese copying of popular designs, and dumping.”

Return of the National Installation Competition to TISE 2019

Sep 19, 2018 – Dallas, TX

The industry has asked and The International Surface Event (TISE):  SURFACES | StonExpo/Marmomac | TileExpo has answered, as the return of the National Installer of the Year Installation Competition (The Nationals), Wednesday through Friday, January 23-25 in Las Vegas, is announced at TISE 2019. Installers across all aspects of the floor covering, stone, and tile industry are encouraged to submit their installation projects into The Nationals now!

“At CFI, we are deeply connected to the pulse of the installer community. Since 2003 when the installation competition went away, we have received inquiries every year about the desire for this incredible contest to return. It is an amazing opportunity for installers to highlight their knowledge, their training, and the amazing projects they work on all year behind the scenes,” says Robert Varden, Executive Director, International Certified Flooring Installers Association “CFI”. “I am thrilled that TISE has partnered with CFI to make this program return, and we are looking forward to reviewing all the submissions.”

A panel of judges will be reviewing project submissions from around the country and selecting the top 3 finalists in each installation category to compete LIVE in The Nationals competition at TISE. There are three installation categories including carpet, stone/tile, and wood. Submissions close October 15. Finalists will be selected by November 15.  >> installers, submit your entry now

“With the focus on the importance of installation in the industry, we knew this was the perfect timing to bring back the competition. We are honored to highlight the hard working community of installers at The International Surface Event,” says Amie Gilmore, CEM, Director of TISE, “and can’t wait for the exciting LIVE challenge on the show floor. It is our goal that this promotion both showcase the incredible work happening in the industry now while also bringing national exposure to the need for more trained professionals in this career segment.”

The industry is invited to watch the nine selected finalists LIVE right on the show floor as they show off their talent and skills in a set of product installation challenges, each in their own pre-constructed pod. The winner of the LIVE installation contest in Las Vegas will be crowned The National Installer of the Year, receive a prize package, and own incredible bragging rights in the industry and to their customers.

Industry manufacturers interested in sponsoring the National Installer of the Year Installation Competition should complete the TISE marketing activation request form to be contacted by the TISE team. Thank you to our current sponsors, the International Certified Flooring Installers Association “CFI” and ProInstaller Magazine.

PietraArt Premier Marble from Florida Tile

PietraArt Premier Marble from Florida Tile offers an expressive collection of natural stones meant to inspire and empower today’s design leaders

Lexington, KY: September 17, 2018 ¾ Florida Tile introduces PietraArt Premier Marble.

Like the great masters throughout history, today’s interior designers use marble to create stunning masterpieces – spaces that define luxury, quality, and a timeless aesthetic that is at once current, yet made to trend beautifully into the future.

Used as the foundation for both residential and commercial destinations, PietraArt Premier Marble is an extraordinary example of nature’s beauty that will provide matchless versatility and elegance for decades.

According to Florida Tile Director of Marketing, Tressa Samdal “Florida Tile selected this exquisite line of natural stone to offer the most desirable sizes in the most desirable colors.  It fits perfectly within our brand and gives our customers an extensive array of tile choices.”

Graceful movement and unique nuances of the veining found in this line are poetic and distinctive. The broad range of color along with either polished or honed finishes provide options that will set any project apart.

Eight elegant stone choices, each with unique flare and personality, are available in varying field tile sizes.  The line has seven sizes of field tile, nine mosaics, as well as pencil and chair rails. The range of choice and style make this collection the answer to all of your natural stone needs.

Samdal adds, “Natural products are always beautiful and interesting because each piece installed is truly unique.”

To create an environment that exudes sophistication and refinement, only the natural artistry PietraArt Premier Marble from Florida Tile will do.

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Florida Tile is a fully owned subsidiary of Panariagroup, a publicly owned company traded on the Milan Stock Exchange (MILAN: PAN IM). Panariagroup is a leading manufacturer and distributor in over 60 countries around the world with six manufacturing sites in Italy, Portugal and the USA and nine brands positioned in the high-end of the market. 

NTCA Position Statement Library

Are you aware that the NTCA website has a Position Statement Library (formerly known as the Consensus Document Library) at your disposal? To visit this growing resource, enter https://bit.ly/2NKhuxN in your browser or click the Education & Certification link at www.tile-assn.com and scroll down to NTCA Position Statement Library.

This new resource puts critical documents at your fingertips, including position statements and white papers on a range of industry issues on underlayments and subfloors, tile assemblies and grout joints, and types of tile. More papers will be added as they become available.

There’s a continually expanding list of papers and documents in the library, but the ones we want to draw your attention to are the documents that make up the Silica Exposure Control Plan. The recent OSHA ruling on respirable crystalline silica has marked a sea of change in the way many contractors do business in order to meet these new government requirements and ensure safe use of silica-containing materials for themselves and their employees. 

The Silica Exposure Control Plan includes the following informational and compliance-oriented documents and resources:

Silica Exposure Control Plan:

  • Respirable Crystalline Silica
  • OSHA Silica Compliance Overview
  • Silica Exposure Plan
  • OSHA Silica Compliance Guide
  • Silica Compliance Checklist
  • Silica Written Exposure Plan

Visit the NTCA Position Statement Library and view the Silica Exposure Control Plan documents. In the spirit of education and information sharing, NTCA offers this resource as a free service on its association website. Take a look today!

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