Coverings 2014, the tile + stone industry’s largest international exposition in North America, offers an exceptionally wide-ranging conference program comprising more than 80 free sessions, many aimed specifically at fabricators. Coverings returns to Las Vegas for its 25th Anniversary, April 29–May 2, at the Las Vegas Convention Center, with the education program beginning April 28 — adding a fifth day of conference programming.
In addition to the more than 900 exhibitors, fabricators often cite the free conference sessions, which are categorized by professional experience ranging from novice to corporate leader, as a primary reason for attending the tile + stone super show. Coverings is an AIA/CES Provider, an NKBA CEU Provider Partner and is IDCEC approved. For the complete list of IDCEC and AIA approved sessions, please visit coverings.com/education.
In addition to the Keynote and Featured Speakers previously announced, other conference topics of particular interest to fabricators include best practices for the installation, maintenance and restoration of tile and stone; collaborative sessions on the challenges faced daily in the field; the critical importance of industry standards; and best methods for bringing one’s business to a new level of success, including thoughtful budgeting and strategizing, and the incorporation of modern technology in the field.
Here are the details to some of these not-to-be-missed sessions:
· Metrics for the Automated & Unautomated Fabrication Shop. Understanding your metrics, and being able to price work for profitability is key for the automated shop to produce a profit at the end of the day. GK Naquin, Stone Interiors, and Paul Menninger, Capitol Granite, will present a comprehensive view of the fixed and variable costs, contribution margins, and per activity man-hours that are critical to extrapolating large bids. Monday, April 28, 2:15–3:15 p.m.
· To Tell The Truth: Will The Real Granite Please Stand Up?! Chuck Muehlbauer asks, “How many of the granites on the market are actually granite?” If a quartzite is etched by acid, does that mean it’s not really quartzite? How many names can you think of for Uba Tuba? If you’re confused about these issues, this session will unlock some of the mysteries surrounding stone definition and nomenclature for stone sales. Monday, April 28, 3:30–4:30 p.m.
· How to Write a Care & Maintenance Plan for Stone Applications. Speaker Ted McFadden advises modern and traditional techniques used in caring for and maintaining natural stone from the author of Stone Care Guide. Develop a care and maintenance plan for your stone application by learning about how the chemical composition of a stone affects its performance, what sealers and cleaning products are on the market today, and what products are recommended for different applications. Tuesday, April 29, 8–9 a.m.
· Fabricators Forum. This open forum for residential countertop fabricators is an excellent opportunity for fabricators to connect with colleagues to discuss the challenges involved in the residential countertop market. Led by a panel of leading residential countertop fabricators, including moderator Tony Malisani, Brandon Maldonado, Dave Syerson and Marco Duran, the forum will address a range of topics from fabrication methods, equipment needs and materials to customer expectations, personnel and sales strategies. Attendees are encouraged to come prepared to share ideas, discuss opportunities and challenges faced every day. Tuesday, April 29, 8:30–10:00 a.m.
· David vs. Goliath – How Does the Little Guy Compete? Big contractors start out as small contractors, and this presentation by Josiah Lilly of Epic Ceramic and Stone will discuss the challenges in bidding, bonding, personnel, cash flow and the best ways to handle those challenges. Tuesday, April 29, 3:00–4:00 p.m.
· The Restoration and Maintenance of Stone & Terrazzo Using No Chemicals. There are many perspectives about floor maintenance and this session with Fred Huestone presents the viewpoint that stone and terrazzo floors do not need a topical coating of any kind. His case will explore how waxes and sealers act as a sacrificial coating grinding the grit and dirt into the surface, meaning every time a force is applied to the floor, it is scratched and damaged. In addition, the session will discuss the hazardous nature of the chemicals necessary to strip and wax, and how naturally polished stone and/or terrazzo uses ZERO chemicals, using diamond abrasives and water to achieve high shine in a natural state. Wednesday, April 30, 8:00–9:00 a.m.
· The Essentials of Stone Restoration. Join Rawi Tabbah, of International Stoneworks, along with stone and tile professionals to discuss the varying views on restoration. This informative session is designed for attendee participation, and all attendees are encourage to share ideas, challenges, and solutions, in addition to hearing experts share their own field experiences in tile and stone restoration. Thursday, May 1, 9:15–10:45 a.m.