CERAMICS OF ITALY LAUNCHES A&D VIP TOUR AT COVERINGS 2013

CoI_COV13_300x250(Atlanta, GA – April 2013) Ceramics of Italy is pleased to announce a new program targeted at the architectural and design community in the Southeast. In conjunction with the first Coverings show to be held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia, from April 29–May 2, 2013, Ceramics of Italy has created an interactive A&D VIP program to supercharge the design industry show experience. In addition to a
pavilion packed with the newest tiles from nearly 80 different tile brands, the Italian tile industry will offer their architect and design guests daily guided trend tours and a traditional Italian lunch. VIP attendees will also receive a special A&D Goody Bag – filled with helpful information and some fun treats from Italy – and be entered to receive a free trip to Bologna, Italy to attend Cersaie 2013 (the world’s largest exhibition of ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings) from September 23-27, 2013. www.cersaie.it

After registering for attendance at Coverings, interested designers and architects can register at bit.ly/coveringsvip and select their lunch and tour dates. Upon arrival in the Italian Pavilion, they should check in at the Ceramics of Italy Info Desk in Piazza Ceramica (Booth #2231). Located in the heart of the Italian Pavilion, Piazza Ceramica, designed by NY-based architectural firm e+i studio, will feature a large open gathering space, piazza-like steps, and a dedicated Italian culinary team in the popular café and coffee bar. It will also include an interactive exhibit for the 20th Anniversary of the Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition.

For more information, interested and qualified attendees can contact the Italian Ceramic Tile Industry through Novita` Communications at 212.528.3160 or [email protected]

Coverings 2013 Call for Entries

Coverings 2013, The Ultimate Tile + Stone Experience,  has announced a call for entries for two of its most acclaimed programs,    PROJECT: Green and the Coverings Installation & Design (CID) Awards.

“With these two programs, Coverings is proud to recognize excellence in the entire tile and stone community by saluting professionals for their design creativity, craftsmanship and environmental stewardship,” said Karin Fendrich, Coverings show director. “Recognition of the projects selected for PROJECT: Green and winners for CID Awards has become a much-anticipated highlight of the show.”

PROJECT: Green  recognizes sustainable new and remodeled commercial, institutional and residential projects featuring tile and stone.  The program, now in its fourth year, is

open to architects, designers, builders, contractors, distributors, retailers, manufacturers and installers. Projects must have been completed within the past two years and may be located within the United States or internationally.

The independent panel of judges will evaluate projects based on such criteria as positive environmental impact, environmental innovation, aesthetic design, and use of tile/stone products with environmental benefits such as recycled or low VOC materials.  Deadline for entries is Jan. 18, 2013.  Selected projects will be showcased at Coverings in Atlanta, April 29-May 2, 2013.

The CID Awards honor achievements in outstanding design and installation of tile and stone in residential and commercial projects.  Architects, designers, builders, contractors, distributors, retailers, installers and other professionals are invited to enter projects located within, or outside of, North America.  New for 2013 a category has been established for international firms submitting projects.

Projects are judged on design and installation excellence, giving special recognition to unusual, creative and innovative uses of stone and tile.

The deadline for entries is February 8, 2013. Winners will be announced at the CID Awards Reception & Ceremony on Monday, April 29 at Coverings at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia. If winners are unable to attend, the project will be disqualified and a new winner will be awarded.  International category entrants are encouraged to attend but attendance is not mandatory.

To enter PROJECT: Green  and the  CID Awards   go to http://www.coverings.com/coverings2013/Public/enter.aspx?ID=6229

There is no fee to visit Coverings or to enter either of these awards.  And unlike many other shows, there is no charge to attend almost 70 informative educational sessions either.  Professionals can register online at www.coverings.com .

About Coverings

Coverings is the largest and most important ceramic tile and natural stone trade fair and expo in the United States.  It features exhibitors from more than 50 countries and is the stage for introducing some of the most innovative tile and stone products in the world.

The exposition also serves as a valuable resource for continuing education for all segments of the industry, with almost 70 informative, accredited seminars and live demonstration sessions throughout the show, all free of charge

Coverings attracts thousands of distributors, retailers, fabricators, contractors, specifiers, architectural and design professionals, builders and real estate developers, as well as journalists and bloggers who cover this vital and dynamic industry.

Sponsors of the show are The Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA), Tile of Spain/Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturer’s Association (ASCER) , Ceramics of Italy/Confindustria Ceramica , National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) and The Tile Council of North America (TCNA).  The show is managed by National Trade Productions.

Coverings 2013 will be held April 29-May 2, at Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, Georgia. For more information visit www.coverings.com or contact National Trade Productions, Coverings Show Management, 703-683-8500.

Coverings

Sustainability was celebrated and recognized for the third year running with the PROJECT:Green competition, held at Coverings 2012 in Orlando this spring. Three projects walked away as winners, and three other submissions were also deemed noteworthy in their use of sustainable materials. Winners were represented in the new Coverings Central social media hub. All three winners are defining achievements in design and architecture where sustainability was a core mission and tile and stone were integral to that end. The editors of Environmental Design + Construction (ED+C) magazine joined with Coverings to sponsor and judge the initiative.

Schlüter Systems
Reno distribution and training center

Schlüter Systems’ newly-built 90,000-square-foot distribution and training center in Reno, Nevada was honored with the “Best in Show” Award for Commercial/New Construction (see the cover story of TileLetter, September 2011 for full details of this project – visit http://tinyurl.com/cldnsgg online). More than 41,000 square feet of tile were installed throughout the facility on floors, interior walls and the exterior façade, with 24”x24” porcelain tile applied over a combination of Schlüter®-KERDI-BOARD and Schluter-DITRA-DRAIN.

The washroom sinks demonstrate one of the unique applications of tile. Using Kerdi-Board panels to build the structure and the sloped surface for the sink basin and the Kerdi-Line linear drain for drainage, the vanity and sink are covered entirely in tile.

In an atrium, porcelain tile provided the backing for a “living wall” where the plants that thrive on this vertical surface add oxygen and humidity and act as a bio-filter for the air inside the building. Even the warehouse features 8,000 square feet of tiles, innovatively applied to walls over a radiant cooling system. Schlüter – BEKOTEC modular screened panel formed the platform for the system and integrates with the tile covering to produce a system that reacts very quickly to changes in temperature, and consumes 70% to 80% less energy than traditional systems.

Judges remarked that the project is “a living laboratory, research center and museum for what is possible with ceramic tile and how it can contribute to a healthy, sustainable and lifelong design.”

Crossville
San Francisco Airport

Taking the Commercial/Remodel “Best in Show” Award was San Francisco International Airport Terminal Two, where Crossville’s Color Blox EC tiles – with a minimum of 20% recycled content – were extensively incorporated into the design. This renovation of the airport’s circa 1950s terminal by Gensler earned a LEED Gold rating, the first air terminal in the U.S. to achieve this certification level. Tile, installed by De Anza Tile using setting materials from Custom Building Products, was the featured flooring and wall surface in each of 16 public restrooms, four post-security and four pre-security areas in the terminal. All together, more than 36,160 square feet of the material were used.

The Color Blox EC porcelain tile – supplied by Butler-Johnson Corporation – made up 95% of the tile used in the project, with a band of glass mosaic tile running along the ceiling edge above the vanity/mirror areas comprising the other 5% of tile used. The recycled content in Color Blox EC comes from varying percentages of Crossville’s own waste and from its Tile Take-BackTM Program, which recycles reclaimed, previously-installed tile.

The terminal’s design uses 15% less energy than California’s stringent building code and the reuse of the existing building’s structure saved approximately 12,300 tons of CO2. Low-flow fixtures with a dual plumbing system  take advantage of reclaimed water, and use of daylight reduces the need for electric light in many areas. Aggressive recycling policies for all tenants reduce the airport’s waste generation and carbon footprint.

Crossville
Chicago Federal Building

Named “Best in Show” for Institutional/Remodel was the John C. Kluczynski Federal Building in Chicago. Crossville again was the lead resource for tile featured in all 78 renovated bathrooms in this Mies van der Rohe-designed architectural landmark. The 57,000 square feet of new tiles installed in the project by Trostud incorporated recycled tiles, toilets, sinks, urinals and drinking fountains that were removed from the building as part of the renovation, then subsequently crushed and made into new, custom porcelain tile. An estimated 102,000 pounds of end-of-use porcelain material were diverted from this building and recycled by Crossville for this closed-loop project. There was 13,750 square feet of white 12”x24” tile with 50% pre-consumer recycled content and 43,464 square feet  of grey 24”x24” tile with approximately 48% post-consumer recycled content. The project was the inspiration for the new line of Shades by Crossville porcelain tile, launched this year. Crossville is the first tile manufacturer to be certified by SCS for its waste recycling processes for fired and filtrate waste.

No-VOC and low-VOC MAPEI setting materials were used; tile was supplied via Virginia Tile.

Inspiration and Ideas 

Three additional project submissions were acknowledged for offering inspiration on sustainability via use of tile or stone. These noteworthy projects celebrated in the PROJECT: Green Ideas Center include:

Subway Restaurant, Kokomo Town Center, Kokomo, IN.
Idea 1: Use recycled/reclaimed materials

Reclaimed/recycled limestone salvaged from a central Indiana school and church and other former projects was used for both interior and exterior surfaces, providing a distinctive aesthetic while eliminating need for newly quarried stone.

Floor & Décor, Norwood, NJ
Idea 2: Consider manufacturers you are sourcing from and their sustainable practices

This 2011 PROJECT: Green Honorable Mention was cited this time around for a residential bathroom renovation where the utmost consideration was given to the manufacturers who were sourced as much for their sustainable practices as for their sustainable products. Eco-friendly Porcelanosa 12”x25” tile products from the Lino Blanco line were used for surface finishes. Porcelanosa has been an ISO 14001 certified organization since 2004 and employs a range of sustainable practices in its operations, from recycling cardboard packaging, recycling plastic wrap, converting heat from its kilns to electricity and using filters to reduce dust emissions.

Matt Kline Associates, Alexandria, Va.
Idea 3: Be sensitive to the environment of the space

This distributor of tile, stone and other surfaces renovated the family’s own kitchen, cleaning and reusing bricks from the back wall in the project. There was very little demolition waste in the project due to its reuse or recycling back into the project. In addition, highly sustainable products were selected such as hand-painted tiles surrounding the brick oven and backsplashes from a California studio employing low-tech processes and excellent environmental practices. Long-wearing, eternally fashionable, practical, and easily-recycled Blue Eyes granite was used on the counter work surfaces and a special cut of Calacatta Gold marble was used on the islands.

For full  details, visit www.coverings.com and click on Attendees & Press, then on Special Programs  or enter http://tinyurl.com/6necdtw into your browser.

Coverings Installation Design Awards

 

At Coverings this past April, the industry saluted designers and contractors of outstanding tile and stone projects in the first-ever Coverings Installation Design Awards. This competition is the evolution of the prestigious Coverings Prism and Spectrum Awards that recognized excellence in design in tile and stone projects and the TileLetter Awards that honored technical excellence in craftsmanship and installation. The Coverings Installation Design (CID) Awards shined a light on both aspects of a project, acknowledging the critical role collaboration plays in successful and stunning projects. The CID Awards were sponsored by Coverings, TileLetter and NTCA’s newest publication, TADA, Tile for Architects, Designers and Affiliates.

Judges sifted through nearly 75 entries to determine the 12 winners. Judges included Christine Abbate – Ceramics of Italy, Lori Dolnick – Tile of Spain, Jennifer Adams – Contemporary Stone & Tile Design/TILE Magazine/Stone World, Jennifer Renzi – Interior Design, Robin Wilson – Robin Wilson Home, Eric Astrachan  – Tile Council of North America,  and Bart Bettiga – NTCA.

The list of winners are as follows:

Residential ––––––––––

Grand Prize Residential:
Rosenthal Residence
Walled Lake, Mich.
Designer: David Ellison
Installer: RJH Tile and Stone

Residential Stone:
2012 New American Home
Winter Park, Fla.
Designer: Phil Kean Designs, Inc.
Installer: Girem Tile Work, Inc.

Residential Mosaic/Glass:
Bella Leoni
Ada, Mich.
Designer: Signature Outdoor Concepts/Inspired Installations
Installer: Inspired Installations

Residential Tile:
Turck Residence
Decatur, Mich.
Designer: Motawi Tileworks
Installer: Harry Underdah

Commercial ––––––––––

Grand Prize Commercial:
El Andaluz
Santa Barbara, Calif.
Designer: Jeff Shelton Architect
Installer: Dan Upton Construction

Commercial Stone:
Atrium
Miami, Fla.
Designer: Insight Design
Installer: Gemini Tile Service

Commercial Mosaic/Glass:
Smith Aquatic and Fitness Center
Charlottesville, Va.
Designer: BH+A
Installer: The Ceiling and Floor Shop

Commercial Tile:
Palomar Medical Center West
Escondido, Calif.
Designer: Anshen + Allen Architects/CO Architects
Installer: Wirtz Quality Installations

Special Recognition ––––––––––

Historic Renovation:
Monroe Skyscraper
Chicago, Ill.
Designer: Holabird & Root/Rookwood Pottery
Installer: DTI

Art in Public Space:
The Four Stages of Higher Learning Chandelier
GHSU College of Dental Medicine, Augusta, Ga.
Designer/Installer: Paul Pearman

Tile & Stone:
Mohegan Sun, Casino of the
Earth expansionUncasville, Ct.
Designer: Rockwell Group
Installer: Kenneth Castellucci & Associates

Tile & Stone:
Hyatt Olive 8 Condominium
Seattle, Wash.
Designer: Mulvanny Architecture G2, Seattle Branch
Installer: Antony Architectural Stone

Following are the details of the Grand Prize Residential and Commercial winners:

Grand Prize Residential: Rosenthal Residence
Walled Lake, Mich.
Designer: David Ellison
Installer: RJH Tile and Stone

The owner of this 7,500 square-foot lakeside home hadn’t been on hand for much of the construction. So upon his arrival at the nearly-complete residence, horror ensued at the shoddy construction throughout the five bathrooms and stone floors.

Enter contractor RJH Tile and Stone, and designer David Ellison. Since the previous work had to be demolished, the designer-contractor team now had a blank slate from which to work. One man’s nightmare is another man’s blessing, and the vast footage in question offered the team the ability to stretch creatively, using stock showroom stone cut to size on site to keep costs down on this admittedly lavish project. But by reducing material costs, more could be invested in details and ornaments.

Stone floors were chosen for beauty, low maintenance, and wheelchair maneuverability.

Careful layout was key for every element of this project, with installers giving special attention to detail, such as external corners that were mitered, epoxied, and filled to give them the look of quarried full-thickness stone rather than a veneer. This sumptuous project made the most of materials and stayed on budget.

Grand Prize Commercial:
El Andaluz
Santa Barbara, Calif.
Designer: Jeff Shelton Architect
Installer: Dan Upton Construction

This mixed-use project contains seven residential units nestled around a large tiled courtyard on the upper two floors. At street level on the first floor, two commercial units anchor the project and a tiled roof deck on the fourth floor overlooks the city. Santa Barbara’s architectural guidelines are based on Mediterranean and Spanish motifs and, as such, plentiful tile use is encouraged. Designer Jeff Shelton took full advantage of this, dedicating a tenth of the budget to ceramic, cement and marble tile.

Eight elliptical arches sport 1”x8” custom ceramic tiles that were splattered with glaze, then mixed up and installed to give depth and a sense of Moorish writing flowing throughout the arches. Exterior walls of the commercial units are covered in 12”x12” patterned cement tile: one with a bird pattern reminiscent of Escher, another with a giant swarming ant motif.

Falling Fuscia cement riser tiles bloom on the main stairs leading to the flowering courtyard on the second floor. The courtyard itself is an explosion of tile, from the planters to fountains, benches and the zigzag bricks on the floor. Nasturtium cement riser tiles lead to the third floor; loggia tiles are floral cement on one side and a fish motif on the other.

All units are flowing with vibrant 12”x12” tiles on the floors, and marble-covered bathroom walls and kitchen counters. Exterior decks sport 1/4” ceramic tile. From the commercial-level arches to the residential units, great care in design and excellence in installation imparts a sense of warmth, timelessness and character to the entire project.

TCAA, NTCA historic partnership accomplishes first goal to elevate the tile trade.

The Tile Contractors Association of America (TCAA) and the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), as previously reported in TileLetter, submitted a proposal for language to be included in the TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation stressing the importance of considering qualified tile contractors and installers when specifying tile and stone.

Stephanie Samulski, TCNA, announced February 8, 2012 that committee members approved the ballot with a significant affirmative vote. Carole Damon, executive director of TCAA, noted, “We are very pleased and gratified by the ballot outcome. The Handbook has long been an authoritative guide to materials usage and installation techniques. Expanding that guidance to the equally important consideration of contractor qualifications is a watershed moment in our industry.”

Nyle Wadford, NTCA president, added, “It was said concerning this new language that „everyone involved has worked to lay a bedrock foundation in which trust and partnerships can develop and thrive for the good of our industry.‟ I could not agree more and would like to thank everyone involved. It is really exciting to see the important industry relationships that are developing as a result of this venture.”

The approved TCNA Handbook language recommends including installer and contractor specifications, stating, “How good the finished installation looks, how well it performs, and how long it lasts are in [the hands of] installers who have demonstrated their commitment to their craft and take the time to remain current with the latest materials and methods.” The Handbook further stresses, “Requiring a portfolio and references reflecting the installer‟s/contractor‟s experience, along with a bid or estimate, is a good way to ensure work of similar size, scope, and complexity has been completed. [Varied installations] require different skills. Matching installer ability to the project at hand requires close evaluation of their experience, training, state licensing…and certifications/credentials.”

Programs administered by non-profits, associations, and unions serve the tile industry by providing education, hands-on training, and evaluation of the skills and competency of installers and contractors. The Handbook recognizes the following well-established non-profit programs:

Tile Contractors Association of America (TCAA) Trowel of Excellence Program: TCAA is a contractors association for BAC signatory contractors. Its Trowel of Excellence Program recognizes TCAA members who have demonstrated a record of successful installations. To earn the Trowel of Excellence designation, a member must submit letters of reference, submission of a detailed project description and photos, employee participation in educational programs and proof of financial responsibility. See www.tcaainc.org to learn more.

National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) Five Star Contractor Program: The Five Star Program is peer review program recognizing NTCA members who demonstrate a record of successful installations. To earn this coveted designation, a contractor must complete a rigorous evaluation including customers‟ recommendations, supplier references, and participation in continuing education, training, and safety programs. For more information, see www.tile-assn.com.

Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) Certified Tile Installer Program: CTEF tests hands-on installation skills and knowledge. Installers must achieve the minimum required score on both tests to earn the “CTEF Certified Installer” designation. See www.tilecareer.com for more information.

International Masonry Institute (IMI) Contractor College Program: IMI conducts professional and technical courses for union masonry and tile contractors. For more information, see www.imiweb.org.

Journeyman Tile Layer Apprenticeship Programs are recognized by the U. S. Department of Labor and require several years of documented training as apprentices. Qualified Journeyman Tile Setters may be located through union locals, primarily the Bricklayer and Allied Craftworkers (www.bacweb.org) and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC, www.carpenters.org).

NTCA Celebrates 65 Years

Celebrating its 65th year as a leading trade association, the National Tile Contractors Association now has added this beautiful Mercedes Benz customized van to its traveling road show program. Michael Whistler, NTCA trainer who resides in Montana, will be spotted in the van as he travels throughout the United States this year, performing educational programs at over 35 NTCA symposium programs for the trade and the architectural and design community. The logos on the van are proudly displayed as support from our associate members for the NTCA symposium program. NTCA trainer Gerald Sloan, who resides in Birmingham, Alabama, utilizes a Ford F250 pickup truck with an attached trailer with associate member logos displayed as well. Sloan will also be traveling in the U.S. this year, hosting a similar number of programs as Whistler.

The NTCA symposium program is being hosted and sponsored exclusively by Dal-Tile Corporation for 2012. The NTCA Board of Directors voted unanimously to authorize the purchase of the van at its Board of Directors meeting in November. A better gas mileage performance will help offset the costs of the investment over time. Whistler says the van “drives like a dream”. Check out the upcoming schedule of NTCA Symposium programs at www.tile-assn.com/workshops and pencil in your time to attend an event in 2012.

Start the New Year with the Partnering For Success Program

Now in its seventh year, the Partnering for Success program from NTCA rewards contractors for membership in the world’s largest association dedicated to the tile contractor.

Participating manufacturer sponsors in the “Partnering for Success Program” feel so strongly about the value the NTCA provides its members, that they have committed to contribute free vouchers that more than offset investment in NTCA membership. That’s $1,500.00 in vouchers for products you use every day, just for joining NTCA! The value of these vouchers is above and beyond the investment in NTCA dues, so in addition to experiencing all NTCA has to 2012 Sponsorsoffer through membership, the Partnering for Success vouchers may actually enable you to make money as an NTCA member!

Participating manufacturers have authorized NTCA to provide vouchers for their products to be redeemed by NTCA Contractor Members, directly from the manufacturer or through participating distributors. Vouchers from each available product category will be provided to NTCA contractor members who have paid their dues. The combined value of all vouchers may be equal to, but not exceed, $1500. New and renewing Contractor Members will receive the vouchers they have selected; including technical information on the products being marketed.

Product categories may include the following: Backer board, setting and grouting materials, membranes, cleaning and sealing materials, tools, floor heating systems, and ceramic/porcelain tile.

Visit https://www.tile-assn.com/Voucher/Default.aspx?mid=107 for details on vouchers from participating members Aqua Mix, Daltile, Dependable Bagging, Dural, Florida Tile, Georgia Pacific, LATICRETE, MagBacker, MAPEI, Mark E. Industries, Metropolitan Ceramics, National Gypsum/Permabase, Noble Company, Nuheat, Pearl Abrasive Co., Proflex, QEP, Rubi Tool, Schulter Systems, SunTouch, TEC Specialty (H.B. Fuller), Texrite, The Tile Doctor, Tuscan Leveling System and others.

NTCA to Hold Winter Meetings in New Orleans, Louisiana

With an aggressive agenda designed to increase membership and industry outreach, and to develop and revise new standards, the National Tile Contractors Association will hold its winter Board of Directors and Committee Meetings February 28th-March 2nd. Sponsorship opportunities are available for various activities taking place in conjunction with the meetings, which are being held at the beautiful Royal Sonesta hotel in the French Quarter. NTCA will host its Executive and Board of Directors officers, as well as members of the Technical, Standards and Methods, Convention Planning, Membership and Training and Education Committees. In addition, the NTCA Five Star Contractor Program will hold its own meeting for its members, as well as a reception and dinner. Spouses and guests are encouraged to attend. For more information, contact Executive Director Bart Bettiga at [email protected]

Laticrete and Crossville Generously Donate to NTCA and Tile Partners for Humanity

For many years, Nativity Lutheran Church of Brandon, Mississippi has served the local community through social ministry. Volunteers from the church have worked with Habitat For Humanity, victims from Hurricane Katrina, and the Center for Violence and Protection, as well as other community programs. Recently, the leaders of the church were faced with a dilemma. Because of unexpected damage to the structure and interior of their building, the leaders of this small congregation were faced with monetary needs that were beyond their capability. Thanks to the NTCA and its contractor member Kelty Tile and Marble, and especially, to Tile Partners For Humanity, Crossville Ceramics and Laticrete International, the church will have a beautiful new porcelain tile floor by Mid-February. Crossville donated over 3,000 square feet of porcelain tile and Laticrete has supplied the thinset mortar, grout, and leveling materials for the church floor. A full story on this project will be featured in an upcoming TileLetter in the Helping Hands section. The NTCA is indebted to our suppliers and their generosity.

NTCA Year In Review

The NTCA Board of Directors met in Phoenix, Arizona recently while attending Total Solutions Plus. As the meeting came to an end, everyone was standing and clapping, celebrating the success of the Association, its staff and its volunteer officers. The mood quite simply was refreshing and optimistic. Here is why:

Membership

Revenue for NTCA in membership is up for the fifth straight year. Despite increasing challenging economic times, contractors, distributors and manufacturers continued to see the value of belonging to the NTCA. Overall membership remains at approximately 800 companies, and the Member Committee recently added an opportunity for architectural and design firms to join as an associate member.

Coverings

The Installation Design Showcase is back for its third year in a row, with a new program focusing on highlighting key market opportunities, such as exterior living spaces, hotel bedrooms, and custom showers. NTCA contractor members will once again partner with top designers in one of the most popular features at the show.

The newly created Coverings Installation and Design Awards will replace the TileLetter Awards, and will be managed by the show. NTCA publications TileLetter and TADA will sponsor the awards program, which will recognize both the designer and installer of the projects.

Special programs to promote tile contractors and installers will be a new feature at the show this year, and once again the NTCA will manage the installation seminars at the show.

Total Solutions Plus

This leading educational and networking conference, managed by the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association, NTCA and Tile Council of North America, will be back in the fall for the third year in a row. This is a unique opportunity for leaders of the entire industry to unite under one roof. A fall date for 2012 is expected soon.

TADA

The NTCA is proud to announce the production of a new publication, geared specifically to architects and design professionals, for the purpose of providing important information for the successful specification of tile and stone. TADA (Tile and Stone for architects, designers and affiliates) will be unveiled at Coverings in April of 2012, with subsequent issues to be featured at NeoCon, Total Solutions Plus and Surfaces. A new website for the publication will be live in January, 2012.

TileLetter

Over 15,000 industry professionals continue to receive TileLetter on a monthly basis, and advertising revenue increased by 15% in 2011. Keeping in pat with its strategic plan, the Association will continue to niche TileLetter as the vehicle to promote proper installation of tile and stone, while TADA will focus on proper specification of the same products.

Five Star Program

2011 may well go down as the Year of the Five Star Contractor Program at NTCA. The Five Star Program recognizes companies for a proven track record of success. In response to a meeting held at their corporate facilities in Crossville, Tennessee in June of 2011, Crossville recently announced a Five Star volume rebate program as a way of recognizing the Five Star members commitment to training and education. One requirement will be that all Five Star Members need to participate in the Certified Tile Installer Program offered by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation.

Look for more programs for Five Star Contractors in 2012, and the Association staff is working diligently to create opportunities for its members to be specified on certain projects with this company recognition.

NTCA Symposium Program

With the support of Dal Tile and several independent distributors, NTCA trainers Michael Whistler and Gerald Sloan performed over 75 programs in front of tile industry professionals throughout the country. In fact, one of the programs took place in Hawaii, making it the 50th and final state to be host to a FREE NTCA event. Dal-Tile is back in 2012 as the Exclusive sponsor of over 70 programs around the United States.

Reference Manual and Member Directory

A printed Membership Directory will be produced for the first time in several years, and will be mailed to all members in good standing of the Association. New this year will be a mailing to over 1,000 of the top architectural and design firms, with a letter urging them to consider hiring NTCA Contractor Members and specifying with products from NTCA Associate Partners.

The NTCA Reference Manual, one of the most valuable components of membership in NTCA, will become even more so when it is printed in an easy to use format in 2012. For the past several years, the NTCA Reference Manual has been available only in a CD Rom version. The book will be published every two years.

Conclusion

There are so many things going on at the NTCA, there is not enough room to talk about it in the pages of TileLetter. So check us out on www.tile-assn.com. Better yet, call us at 601-939-2071. Perhaps the most valuable asset of our Association is the wealth of experience we have to offer to our members. We have two technical trainers and consultants available at all times. And our Executive Staff has over 100 years of experience combined in the trade. Simply stated, our staff will go above and beyond the call of duty to assist our members on any subject.

As Executive Director of the NTCA for the past ten years, I invite you to contact us to learn more about what we can do for you as a member of one of the fastest growing tile contractors associations in the world.

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