Louisville Tile Distributors receive recognition at TSP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Woelfel Receives NTCA Ring of Honor Award

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NTCA 2019 Review and Industry Forecast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Callewaert accepts Tile Setter Craftsperson of the Year Award

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

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

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

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

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

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

Examples of Callewaert’s custom work.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

James Woelfel to Receive NTCA Ring of Honor Award

The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) has chosen James Woelfel, president of Artcraft Granite Marble and Tile Company in Mesa, Ariz., as its 2019 recipient of the NTCA Ring of Honor.

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

James Woelfel

Woelfel

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

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

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

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

Woelfel will receive the award on October 29th, 2019 during the Awards Luncheon at the Total Solution Plus conference in Nashville, Tenn.

NTCA Names First Tile Setter Craftsperson of the Year

The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), the world’s largest tile contractor association, is pleased to announce the winner of the 2019 Tile Setter Craftsperson of the Year Award is Lee Callewaert.

Lee Callewaert headshot

Lee Callewaert

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

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

In his nomination letter, Dragonfly customers and apprentices stressed Lee’s commitment to the next generation of tile setters, saying he leads by example and teaches his students the importance of continually obtaining more knowledge in order to improve their skills. “He isn’t just teaching the trade, but self-worth, patience, gratitude and so much more,” said Kate Shortall, owner and senior designer of Blackstone International.

Dragonfly Lee Callewaert project - showerThis is the inaugural year for the Tile Setter Craftsperson of the Year Award. Becky Serbin, NTCA Director of Education and Curriculum, said she worked with NTCA Training Director Mark Heinlein to establish a NTCA member award that celebrated and recognized the career tile setter and his/her achievements. “This is our lifetime achievement award for tile setters,” Serbin said. “It recognizes craftsmanship, training, and legacy of some of our members’ contributions to the industry.”

Over 20 candidates were nominated for the award. Requirements included a letter of nomination, a career summary, and descriptions of the three to five projects the nominee has worked on. Nominees were required to be NTCA members, have a minimum of 15 years of installation experience, and still be active tile setters at time of nomination. Judges evaluated nominees based on their artistry, technical accuracy, problem solving skills, continuing education, and mentorship or leadership of others. Mike Micalizzi, Technical Leader at Custom Building Products and one of this year’s judges, was impressed by Callewaert’s craftsmanship. “Lee Callewaert’s exceptional craftsmanship is immediately evident as you look at his creations!” he said. “He and his team pay extreme attention to details with meticulous cuts and shapes in embedded patterns. He designs beautifully-balanced layouts that appear super flat with all of the care taken during prep and installations. He is a real industry professional, proficient in his work!”

Dragonfly Lee Callewaert project - snakeAs part of his award, Callewaert will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Total Solutions Plus, taking place October 26th-29th in Nashville, Tennessee. He will be recognized at the NTCA Annual Meeting while attending the event.

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The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) is a non-profit trade association serving every segment of the industry, spearheading education for the professional installation of ceramic tile, natural stone and allied products.  For more information, please contact NTCA executive director Bart Bettiga at [email protected], via telephone at (601) 939-2071, or visit www.tile-assn.com.

NTCA Five-Star Summer Meeting Offers Education and Connections

NTCA Five-Star Contractors Summer Meeting attendees sharing insights.

The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), the world’s largest tile contractor association, hosted its 2019 NTCA Five-Star Contractor Annual Summer Meeting in Montreal, Canada. The objective of this year’s meeting, hosted by Schluter Systems, was not only to provide valuable education, but also to help the attendees form connections so they would feel comfortable reaching out to one another when advice or support is needed.  

“The NTCA Five-Star Contractor group is grateful to Schluter Systems for their support in this endeavor,” said NTCA Five Star Program Director Amber Fox. “They helped us create a unique experience to connect and to refine and grow our businesses together.” 

The NTCA Five-Star Contractor designation recognizes NTCA members who have demonstrated integrity, professionalism, and craftmanship and has a proven track record of success in tile and stone installation and business management.  

“One of the great benefits of being an NTCA Five-Star Contractor is the custom educational opportunities that come from generous supporters, said Fox. “This meeting creates multiple opportunities for NTCA Five-Star contractor members to come together and work on their business through speakers and from each other.”   

Keynote speaker Mike Moore speaking to NTCA Five-Star Summer Meeting attendees.

Keynote speaker Mike Moore speaking to attendees.

Keynote speaker Mike Moore opened the event with a session on how to approach the task of attracting, developing, and retaining inspired motivated employees. Moore’s process will help the NTCA Five-Star Contractors separate themselves from their competitors by creating an organizational culture that delivers a higher quality of work and customer experience. Besides being a professional keynote speaker, Moore is the author of Build Trust and a leadership, sales and peak performance coach. 

While at the meeting, attendees had two opportunities to attend sessions that focused on addressing current challenges they were facing. The first consisted of small peer groups that tackled specific obstacles attendees were experiencing. Attendees benefitted from insights and solutions offered by their group members. The second session was structured as an in-depth roundtable discussion that covered topics attendees had pre-selected via a poll that was distributed before the meeting. The four topics chosen were: 

  1. Growing and improving your labor force 
  2. Customer and employee engagement/communication 
  3. Vendor relationships 
  4. Profitability 

“This year’s attendees returned home with new plans and strategies designed to help them start, manage, and successfully finish their jobs and reinforced connections that will offer them support they need to help their business to continue to be prosperous,” Fox said. 

To learn more about the NTCA Five-Star Contractor Program, visit www.tile-assn.com/page/FiveStar 

Doing things right the first time pays off for Omaha installer

Swoboda Tile & Stone melds family tradition, industry training into successful business


This shower is part of a bathroom renovation with all natural stone. “A challenge that I faced with this install was squaring up the walls and making sure my substrate underneath was super flat,” Swoboda said. “Being able to wet shim behind the foam board really helped speed up this part of the project.”

Six years ago near Omaha, Neb., budding tile setter Jake Swoboda (www.facebook.com/SwobodaTileStone) was learning how to “always do things right, the first time,” as his uncle taught him the basics of the trade. Swoboda now specializes in residential renovation and new construction, specifically tiled showers and bathrooms. To achieve the excellence he sought, he supplemented the foundation laid down by his uncle with manufacturers’ trainings, online resources and interaction with other installers in the Omaha area.

Two years ago, Swoboda took his tile setting career up another notch, by joining the NTCA and successfully passing his Certified Tile Installer test, becoming CTI #1398. 

“I joined the NTCA to help further my own knowledge and skills of the industry,” Swoboda said. “What really makes it worth it, for a younger installer like myself, to join the NTCA is the online resources and amazing technical support that is available to every member. Any tile question I have on the job, I know I can call the NTCA for an answer and solution.”

His CTI status adds another boon to his business. “Being certified has helped me and my business immensely,” he said. “I explain the certification to my customers, and I think it puts a lot of minds at ease that I know what I am doing. It shows them that it’s not just me saying that I know how to install tile properly, but that I have been tested and certified to install tile to industry standards.”

The biggest challenge on this project was the large-format tile on the walls. It is a 32”x48” tile. Proper substrate prep and the appropriate thinset helped Swoboda deliver a rock solid install for this customer.

 

 

 

 

Swoboda Tile & Stone projects

Swoboda has a passion for the artistry and technical excellence in his work. “The greatest joy that I get from being a tile contractor is working with customers to make their vision for their projects come to life, and knowing that the prep work underneath the tile will be rock solid for many years to come,” he said.

This kitchen renovation had many challenges that Swoboda had to overcome. The floor tile is a 8”x48” plank tile with electric heat underneath. Swoboda had to pour self leveler over the cable to get the floor flat enough for such a long tile.

This tub surround, completed early in Swoboda’s tile career, posed unique challenges. He had to frame in and tile the arched ceiling. Swoboda said, “The customer was ecstatic with how it turned out.”

Dal-Tile launches “unique in the industry” exceptional warranty program for customers who use NTCA Five-Star Contractors

Daltile tile being installed

Dallas, TX – Dal-Tile Corporation is currently launching a new program nationwide to benefit tile installers who have attained the coveted NTCA “Five-Star Contractor” level of achievement in their craft and to also benefit their customers.  The NTCA Five-Star Contractor title is granted by the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) to those NTCA members who have objectively demonstrated a proven track record of success in tile and stone installation and business management.  Although Dal-Tile already offers strong warranties to all customers on all of their quality products regardless of who installs, Dal-Tile believes so strongly in the quality of workmanship offered by NTCA Five-Star Contractors that Dal-Tile is now choosing to provide longer warranties to customers on products that are installed by NTCA Five-Star Contractors.  The new warranty program is just one more way that as the leading manufacturer in the industry, Dal-Tile is supporting qualified, superior installers.

“Dal-Tile is now offering end-users a 5-year ceramic tile warranty and a 10-year warranty on porcelain products installed by a NTCA Five-Star Contractor,” said John Cousins, Senior Vice President, Dal-Tile Corporation.  “These are outstanding warranties that no other tile manufacturer in the industry is offering to our industry’s NTCA Five-Star Contractors.  The warranties apply to Daltile, Marazzi, and American Olean products when installed in accordance with approved installation systems.”

“One of the greatest challenges for the tile industry is the shortage of qualified installers,” said Cousins.  “As the industry stalwart, Dal-Tile believes in setting up our industry’s installation leaders for even greater success.  These warranties not only make today’s NTCA Five-Star Contractors’ businesses more profitable, but they incentivize other installers to earn the NTCA Five-Star Contractor designation that represents proven excellence in craftsmanship.  Dal-Tile is committed to continuing our legacy of equipping the installer community for success.”

“NTCA is excited about Dal-Tile’s warranty program,” said Amber Fox, NTCA Five-Star Program Director.  “It not only demonstrates Dal-Tile’s pledge to promote qualified labor; it shows they recognize labors’ contribution to the success of construction projects.”

Dal-Tile’s Hilary Frank will be presenting all details of the new warranty program to contractors attending the upcoming NTCA Five-Star Contractor summer meeting in Canada.  Frank is a Dal-Tile Midwest Regional Vice President as well as a NTCA Board Member. 

“The warranty program is already up and running,” added Cousins.  “For more information, visit daltilewarranty.com.”

To learn more about the NTCA Five-Star Contractor Program, visit www.tile-assn.com/page/FiveStar.

 

About Dal-Tile

Dal-Tile is the largest manufacturer and marketer of ceramic tile, natural stone, and countertop products used in residential and commercial spaces across North America. Under its powerhouse brands — Daltile, Marazzi, and American Olean — Dal-Tile leads the industry in both design and product innovation, and is committed to incorporating environmentally-friendly materials, processes, and products throughout its organization. 

Dal-Tile has more than 9,000 employees in North America and sells its products through a network of more than 300 company-owned sales service centers, stone slabyards, design galleries, and design studios, as well as through independent distributors and leading home center retailers nationwide. 

Founded in 1947 and headquartered in Dallas, Dal-Tile is a division of Mohawk Industries, the leading global flooring manufacturer that creates products to enhance residential and commercial spaces around the world.  For more information on Dal-Tile and Mohawk Industries, please visit mohawkind.com.  For product information, visit daltile.com, marazziusa.com, and americanolean.com. 

Total Solutions Plus comes to Nashville

All-industry conference offers business-building program amidst Music City backdrop


Each year, Total Solutions Plus (TSP) brings the ceramic tile industry together to network and learn from each other. This year, the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA), Tile Council of North America (TCNA), Tile Contractors Association of America (TCAA) and National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) have designed an itinerary to boost your business, hone your technical expertise, recognize outstanding individuals in the industry and allow plenty of time to network with friends and colleagues old and new. 

Though the conference itself takes place October 27-30, committee and board meetings take place on Saturday and Sunday, October 26-27, with a golf tournament at the Gaylord Springs Golf Links that starts noon on Sunday, and various tours of the area available. The conference officially kicks off with an opening reception Sunday night at 6 pm. 

The Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn., is home to TSP 2019. In addition to its proximity to the heart of Nashville and all the music venues the city has to offer – including the Grand Ole Opry and the historic Ryman Auditorium – the nine-acre property offers SoundWaves, an upscale water experience featuring four acres of combined indoor and outdoor water attractions, which opened at the end of last year. 

The annual golf tournament commences Sunday, October 27 at noon.

Keynotes

Dean Minuto

After a hearty breakfast Monday morning, the program commences with the “Get to Yes Faster” keynote from Dean Minuto of Yescalate. Minuto is an expert in the art of persuasion, that he believes is good communication and understanding. He’s personally coached more than 9,000 CEOs, tens of thousands of other executives, and countless employees in his 25 years as a leading expert in sales. In 2015, he received Vistage International’s 2015 Speaker of the Year award. He loves to weave neurobiology, sales techniques, marketing, history, psychology, and other sciences together in order to create a full tapestry of human behavior. It is only in understanding this that you can learn how to get to yes. He believes that success isn’t about a commission: it’s about making a difference. 

Chris McChesney

The closing keynote on Tuesday morning is delivered by Chris McChesney, addressing “The 4 Disciplines of Execution,” the title of his best-selling book. McChesney is the Global Practice Leader of Execution for Franklin Covey and one of Franklin Covey’s most in-demand speakers worldwide. Over his 20 years with the organization, McChesney has led change efforts that have become many of Franklin Covey’s most noted case studies and include working directly with Georgia Governor Sonny Purdue and the president of Marriott for the Americas, Shaw Industries, Kroger Supermarkets, Coca-Cola, Comcast, Home Depot, Frito-Lay, Lockheed Martin, Gaylord Entertainment and Northrop Grumman. In addition to his keynote, McChesney will also lead a Business Breakout on Tuesday morning, titled “A Deeper Dive Into The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals.”

Al Bates

Breakout groups, tabletops and networking

Education programming continues with an outstanding lineup of speakers and industry experts on Monday and Tuesday. Monday includes a business breakout with Al Bates; Donato Pompo talks about building a bulletproof spec, and there are two technical breakouts before the Awards Lunch. Post-lunch activities include two technical breakouts and Distributor forum. Also scheduled on Monday is a TCNA Board meeting and annual meetings for both CTDA and NTCA.

Donato Pompo

Monday afternoon from 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., the Tabletop Event begins, with opportunities to meet with suppliers and other attendees. 

Tuesday following the McChesney keynote is his breakout group, as well as two technical breakouts plus a session on “How to effectively use Why Tile to benefit your business.” After the Awards Lunch, there’s a Business Breakout titled, “Future of Distribution in the Tile Industry – NAW Fellow Panel/Presentation,” as well as another technical breakout, and a joint panel discussion. A closing reception leads into a closing country-western themed party and dinner. 

NTCA Tile Setter Craftsperson of the Year winner announced

The inaugural NTCA Tile Setter Craftsperson of the Year Award will be announced at TSP. This award will recognize a NTCA member who has proven to be invaluable in the field due to his or her outstanding installations, is passionate and actively engaged in continual self-improvement, leads and/or mentors others, and is devoted to the art of setting tile.  

Off-site fun

If you’re looking to take in a bit of local flavor, visit the TSP website for the schedule of activities. In addition to the golf tournament, other outings include “A Musical Journey through Nashville, Ryman Auditorium and Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum,” a behind-the-scenes tour of the Grand Ole Opry and Ryman Auditorium, a tour through the Hermitage, the former home of Andrew Jackson, visit to Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and Historic RCA Studio B, home to over 200 Elvis Presley recordings, a culinary tour and a chance to try your hand at making Goo Goo Clusters, the iconic Nashville candy that satisfies your sweet tooth with a combination of caramel, marshmallow nougat, fresh roasted peanuts and milk chocolate. 

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