NTCA Apprenticeship Guidelines Program Approved by U.S. Department of Labor

The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), the world’s largest tile contractor association, is pleased to announce it has received formal acceptance into the National Apprenticeship System from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). In a letter dated May 23rd, 2019, the DOL informed NTCA that its National Guidelines for Apprenticeship had been reviewed and found to be in compliance.   

The NTCA Apprenticeship Guidelines Program, which combines field experience with online learning and designated classroom training, is designed to provide members an opportunity to attract new skilled labor into the ceramic tile industry. The program will offer guidance to NTCA members in developing their own tile finishers and tile setters apprenticeship programs.  

NTCA Apprenticeship Guidelines Program

“A primary strategic goal of the NTCA is to provide our membership with resources to recruit and train new and existing employees,” said NTCA Executive Director Bart Bettiga.  “These apprenticeship guidelines are so important because without a formal career path outline to a prospective worker, it is hard to compete with other industries who are vying for these same individuals.”   

Becky Serbin, NTCA Education and Curriculum Director, has been working with volunteer leaders and supporters to develop NTCA’s apprenticeship guidelines program. “This program will allow us to navigate our members through their individual apprenticeship application process. We are looking forward to working with our members to attract and train new talent into the industry,” said Serbin.   

Currently, assistance in developing apprenticeship programs is available only to NTCA members. Potential apprentices do not have to be members. 

For more information on the NTCA Apprenticeship Guidelines Program, visit www.tile-assn.com/page/ntcaapprenticeship. For details on how to apply or to attain more information about the program, contact Becky Serbin. Serbin can be reached at [email protected] 

 

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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].com, via telephone at (601) 939-2071, or visit www.tile-assn.com.  

Tom Vaughn retires from NTCA Technical Committee

Vaughn served the committee as the longest-standing member, for over 30 years


Tom Vaughn, the longest standing member of the NTCA Technical Committee, serving for well over 30 years, has announced his retirement from the Committee, and attended his final Technical Committee meeting at TISE in Las Vegas this past January. 

“Tom Vaughn has been a valuable and productive member of the NTCA Technical Committee since its reactivation in 1985,” said NTCA Executive Director Emeritus Joe Tarver, a contemporary of Vaughn, who along with David Allen Company’s Bob Roberson was one of a group of about 10 individuals who worked to form the Technical Committee, which was responsible for the development of the NTCA Reference Manual.

“There is no way to evaluate his contributions not only to NTCA but to the entire industry,” Tarver continued. “Always there; first to volunteer; calmly and accurately providing information on a broad spectrum of subjects. Tom truly is a role model for what a Technical Committee member should strive for. It takes a special person to remain non-proprietary while pursuing solutions that will benefit the entire industry without regard for an individual or an individual entity. I never knew Tom to do anything other than that. Present and future members of all NTCA committees can’t go wrong by emulating the passion, commitment, dedication and concern for his proprietary concerns, NTCA and the total industry.”

NTCA Executive Director Bart Bettiga added, “Tom served on this committee for over 30 years, and was the longest standing active member. NTCA is sincerely in Tom’s debt.”

Some of Vaughn’s many articles and/or contributions include:

  • Latex-modified grouts
  • Cement grouting procedures
  • Inconsistent grout color
  • How to use water-cleanable epoxy grouts
  • Dealing with efflorescence
  • Considerations to reduce tile tenting
  • Exterior tiling and panelized exterior tile systems
  • Tiling over engineered wood systems
  • How to incorporate radiant heat into tile and stone installations
  • How to use self-leveling underlayment with tile and stone
  • Overview: Underlayments, trowelable and poured

Historic projects

Tom Vaughn circa 1985 as Technical Director, Building Products Division of H.B. Fuller Company.

In addition to his work on the NTCA Technical Committee, Vaughn had a pivotal role in his work as Technical Director, Building Products Division of the H.B. Fuller Company in the 1985 construction and tiling of the Baltimore Fort McHenry Tunnel, which according to Vaughn was the largest single project that the National Interstate and Defense system had built at the time. 

“With over 1.3 million sq. ft. of tile, it was also the largest project I had worked on at the time,” he said. “This project led me to being involved in coming up with a bonding system for the Holland Tunnel reconstruction in New York and the tallest panelized tile project in Seattle, Wa., called Watermark Tower. The building is 22 stories or about 276 feet high.”

Early beginnings

Vaughn got involved in the tile industry in 1973 and became a member of the Southern Tile, Terrazzo Marble Contractors Association (STTMCA – one of the previous monikers of NTCA) in about 1975. He recalled, “It wasn’t long before I met people like Joe Tarver, Paul Dinkel, Leigh Hightower, Brannon Murray, Bob Young and Virgil Smith. All of these people were interested in helping the industry grow and shared their technical expertise to all who would listen.

“Joe Tarver tried to harness as much technical power as he could to help spread the word to the tile and stone industry,” he added. “Soon, others like Butch Woelfel, Jess McIvain, Steve Young, Rich Deutsch, Bob Roberson, Harvey Powell, Gerry Zakim, as well as others joined the group.

“With a lot of work, the Technical Committee was well on its way creating and distributing information to the entire industry. Over the years, more members were added and the committee went from distributing a handful of documents to nearly 300 pages of information today. I’ve been very fortunate to be a part of this group for so many years. I continue to be amazed at how the tile industry has changed, but I’m so impressed with the technical expertise the committee currently processes.”

Vaughn also served on the NTCA Board of Directors as an Affiliate Distributor member in the early ’90s, representing Minnesota Tile Supply. Both NTCA Executive Director Bart Bettiga and Assistant Executive Director Jim Olson worked for him there in the late ’80s to mid ’90s. “I believe Tom was instrumental in helping me to become Executive Director at NTCA,” Bettiga added.

He called his involvement with NTCA back in the ’70s “one of the most rewarding decisions I made in my career. Not only did I learn a great deal over the year, I met many lifelong friends along the way.

“I’m glad to have been able to participate in the Technical Committee and watch the ceramic and stone industry grow immensely,” he said. “In the beginning, the industry was much simpler and one could have a pretty good understanding of nearly all the products and installation procedures. In fact, the tile Handbook only had about 16 pages of details.

“I’m grateful to those that helped me learn about our great industry and hope I was able to help others improve their understanding of installation methods and practices,” he said. “Looking back, I’m totally amazed at how many documents and papers have come from the group. The hours spent both in meetings and on our own time have help shaped the direction of how tile is being installed. With the number of really talented members the committee currently has, I’m confident the committee will continue to make significant contributions in the months and years ahead.”

The NTCA Technical Committee bids a fond farewell to Tom Vaughn in Las Vegas after its final meeting.

NIOSH Silica Webinar Planned for May 14

Oberlin, OH, March 27, 2019—The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) will be hosting a free silica safety webinar on Tuesday, May 14 at 11am PST. Designed for stone countertop fabrication employers, the webinar will describe the dangers of silica exposure, outline employer requirements to comply with OSHA’s Respirable Crystalline Silica Rule, and offer methods employers can use to protect workers.

During the webinar, representatives from OSHA, NIOSH, and the California Department of Public Health will provide information related to silica exposure, including health risks, methods to protect employees from silica dust, and OSHA requirements. Two Natural Stone Institute Accredited members, Jonathan Mitnick (CCS Stone) and David Scott (Slabworks of Montana) will provide practical tips on controlling worker exposure to silica dust and share the steps they took to ensure their shops were OSHA compliant.

Mark Meriaux, Accreditation and Technical Manager for the Natural Stone Institute commented: “It is important for fabricators to comprehend the health risks involved with silicosis, both personally and for employees, and to understand what can be done to minimize the risks. There is currently at least one documented case of silicosis in California tied to a fabrication shop, so now is the time to get this message out to fabricators. We look forward to working with NIOSH to share this message.”

To register for this free webinar, contact [email protected] or visit www.naturalstoneinstitute.org/NIOSH.

 

 

 

Creating a Coverings strategy to make the show work for you

By now, your Coverings planning should be in full swing. Do you have a strategy for navigating the thousands of square feet in the Orange County Convention Center, and seeing all the education sessions, demos, features and products you desire, while leaving time to attend parties and network with your peers? How do you do it? We asked several NTCA contractors about their approach to the show to help you go about creating a Coverings strategy of your own.


John Mourelatos of Mourelatos

Mourelatos

John Mourelatos of Mourelatos Tile Pro in Tucson, Ariz., keeps it simple by making a beeline for classes and demos and other educational opportunities. “I like to talk to other contractors about technical and business topics, too,” he said. “I schedule my time around education.”

Josh Castelli of Christian Brothers Flooring

Castelli

Josh Castelli of Christian Brothers Flooring in Lakeside, Calif., said he scours Coverings for “something that will make me or my company more efficient – a tool, software, or more information on fabrication, since I’m looking to grow into this. I’m considering the longevity of my career as my knees give out.”

Jason Jones of Jones Tile

Jones

Jason Jones of Jones Tile, Columbia, Ala., went to his first Coverings last year, with the intent of meeting “as many of the crazy characters I’ve met online in person.” He hopes that was only the first of many.

“Secondly, I enjoy soaking in the new tools and materials available to me,” Jones said. “It’s eye opening, especially to an installer such as myself, who lives in the boondocks.”  

His only strategy? Wearing comfortable shoes and wandering around meeting and talking with people. “Also, I enjoy getting free stuff,” he admitted. 

Jones, Brad Denny, Vice President/COO of Nichols Tile & Terrazzo Co. Inc

Denny

While meandering works well for Jones, Brad Denny, Vice President/COO of Nichols Tile & Terrazzo Co. Inc. in Joelton, Tenn., said, “having a plan is essential.” He recommended having an honest introspective look at your company while going through the list of sessions available to decide what to attend. 

But he admits that “having designated ‘wander’ time, usually later in the week, is strategic too and allows you to explore the fresh ideas you have had throughout the show.”

The Installation & Design Experience (last year it was the Installation Design Showcase), NTCA, and CTEF booths have always been draws for Denny. This year he’ll be even more keen on the showcase since his company will be installing a vignette in the Installation & Design Experience booth, paired with designer Glenda Wright of HHCP. 

He also likes to visit all of his tool vendors and their competitors to continue to cultivate relationships. “When time allows, I like to view the complexity of the vignettes and stay up on the latest trends in the manufacturers’ booths,” he said.

Bringing information to staff is a key part of the show experience. “We typically have a meeting before the show to plan out our show in advance,” he said. “Knowledge gained is relayed during regularly scheduled meetings after the show, as much of what we learn helps guide our direction.” 

Because the show is so huge, Denny makes use of the Coverings app. “But we also like to circle, note, and carry a paper copy of the schedule in our bags, he said. “The show floor IS enormous, so a roadmap and destination points are wise. Quick references and knowing where we are going in advance is a good time management tool.”

Strategies to see show features are essential, but one’s body can take a beating during the show. “Let’s face it, the nights can be as busy as the days, but getting as much sleep as possible, eating good meals, and taking rest stops as you need them helps make the show easy work!” he claimed. “It seems every day I need to stretch before getting out in the world, and days at the show are no different. I wear clothes and shoes I know will still feel good after all the miles logged during the day. In the past few years, I admit that a good massage has been helpful at the end of the show, and serves as a reward for the energy put in to better ourselves!”

NTCA Training Experience 2019: a new approach to educate, train and inform

In 2018, our training department, led by NTCA Training Director Mark Heinlein and supported by NTCA Technical Trainers Robb Roderick, Scott Carothers and Luis Bautista, presented more than 20 NTCA Regional Training programs. These events were day-long training sessions, offered to NTCA members and their employees, as a response to years of requests for this type of educational content. As the year progressed, our program improved, so much so that at the end of 2018, our members were not only singing the praises of the content of the education, they were calling for more. More programs, more opportunity to network and share ideas and techniques together, more hands-on experience, etc. 

NTCA Assistant Executive Director Jim Olson is responsible for the scheduling and overall management of the process related to workshops, and regional training. Workshops – as a reminder – are what the NTCA became known for the past 40 or so years. These were evening educational events offered as an overview of installation best practices, product standards awareness, and introduction of new technology to the trade. Last year, NTCA trainers offered both the traditional workshop sessions, and we also introduced the NTCA Regional Training program. In 2019, although we will continue down this path (in fact there will still be more than 100 traditional NTCA Workshops offered in 2019), we will expand and combine these two programs into a one-week long experience in many cities across the nation. 

Titled the “NTCA Training Xperience,” our trainers will work with a local regional host to offer a threefold week-long program. This will include a traditional Workshop that will be open and free to all interested industry professionals. This will be followed by a free regional training event available to NTCA members and their employees, and will close with a free open round table discussion for NTCA members to allow sharing of ideas, challenges, business tips, problem solving tips and more. Did I mention all these offerings are free? (NTCA Regional Training programs require a nominal fee to hold the space, which is refunded upon attendance). Offering education without charge is one more way NTCA is making training and professional excellence available to the industry at large, and to its members. 

Here is a little more information on the content you can expect from The NTCA Training Experience in 2019.  

Regional Training

GPTP Training programs will be based on ANSI A108.19. Programs will be held at Crossville and Daltile locations and will focus on all aspects of standards-based installation and best practices for installing gauged porcelain tile panels (GPTP) on floors and walls in interior applications. These programs will be supported by material and system experts from the GPTP, setting material and specialty tool manufacturers. The training day begins promptly at 8 am with a 90-minute classroom session followed by six hours of hands on training. This training meets the requirements of ANSI A108.19. Participating attendees will receive a certificate of course completion.

Substrate Prep/Large-Format Tile programs are based on installation standards, methods and best practices from ANSI A108, TCNA Handbook and the NTCA Reference Manual. Proper substrate installation, analysis and preparation is absolutely critical to every tile installation. This program focuses on a variety of substrate preparation techniques for floors and walls to meet the industry standard requirements for large-format tiles (LFT). After substrates have been properly prepared, attendees will focus on proper selection and mixing of mortar for LFT and correct trowel selection and usage to achieve industry-required rates of coverage to support tile installations on floors and walls in dry and wet areas. 

These may sound like common day-to-day tasks for any tile setter, and they are. This course is recommended for anyone involved in the tile industry. Seasoned experts may learn new techniques while those new to the trade will receive a solid grounding in best practices to achieve industry standards and long-lasting, beautiful installations. These programs are a benefit to NTCA Members.

NTCA Workshops

In 2019, NTCA Trainers are returning to the highways and byways and heading to the heartland and all corners of the United States. This year, we have broadened the programming in our free workshops to include:

  • Backerboard for Tile Installations
  • Shower Environment/Water Management
  • Membranes
  • Movement Joints
  • We will also be bringing our classic programs “Tile Matters – Best Practices for Pros” and “Failures – Could It Be Me?” to select locations that may not yet be familiar with these exceptional hands-on based presentations.

Many of our programs in 2019 are AIA and IDCEC accredited. Professionals from all walks of the tile industry are welcome and encouraged to attend. Our attendees always have a good time. Many tell us they learn something new every time they attend. It is also a great place to make new professional acquaintances, be exposed to new products from manufacturers, learn how NTCA membership can contribute to one’s professional growth – and maybe even take a door prize home at the end of the evening.

NTCA Round Tables

At select locations, NTCA members are invited to join a round table discussion hosted by their regional director and ambassadors and facilitated by NTCA staff. Topics will vary by location and may include: taking advantage of member benefits; networking with other members and peers; current issues affecting methods, standards, best practices, safety, training, finding and retaining employees; discussion of local and regional issues of concern. Dates and locations for NTCA roundtables will be announced soon.

We are very excited about the NTCA Training Xperience. We feel that there is no replacement to the benefits offered by presenting physical skills training in as many areas of the country as possible. It is our hope that the synergy created in these events will result in a trickle-down positive effect: installers who are present at the training will share this knowledge with their peers who were not able to be there, resulting in improved installation performance and reduction of installation error.  

For a complete schedule for 2019, visit the NTCA website. If you would like even more information about the NTCA Training Xperience, contact Jim Olson or Mark Heinlein. 

Bettiga to Receive NTCA Ring of Honor Award

NTCA logo

Bart Bettiga, Executive Director of the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), has been chosen to be the 2018 recipient of the NTCA Ring of Honor Award.

The NTCA Ring of Honor Award 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.

Martin Brookes, president of Heritage Marble & Tile Inc. and second vice president of the NTCA Board of Directors, said Bettiga was chosen because of his dedication to the tile industry and the tile installation trade. “Bart has demonstrated both leadership and friendship that has advanced the NTCA into a world-class trade association. His relentless energy and passion for the tile and stone trade is remarkable and he is a true asset to the industry.”

Bettiga has been NTCA’s Executive Director since 2002 and also serves as publisher of its publication, TileLetter. Having over 30 years of experience in the tile and stone industry, he is also a well-known speaker and author on the distribution and installation of ceramic tile and natural stone. During his tenure at the NTCA, the association has gained over 1,000 members.

Bart Bettiga

He [Bettiga] has grown the NTCA to an incredible size, most importantly in value to the membership,” said John Cox, president of Cox Tile, Inc. and NTCA Board Advisor. “Joe Tarver took the NTCA to one level and Bart has certainly taken it to heights well beyond anyone’s expectations.”

Jim Olson, assistant executive director of the NTCA emphasized how Bettiga’s leadership style and forward-thinking have been integral to the growth of the association over the last 16 years. “Bart has led the NTCA with ideas that bring value to our members and grow the association. He is constantly thinking of ideas and ways to give back to the contractors who make this industry so great.”

Bettiga will be the first active NTCA executive director to receive the honor in the award’s 14-year history. In 2007, the award was bestowed upon past NTCA executive director emeritus Joe Tarver. Tarver was executive director from 1972-2002 and the creator of NTCA Reference Manual and the NTCA workshops. Other past recipients include John Cox of Cox Tile, Scott Carothers of CTEF, Don Scott and Robert “Bob” Robertson of David Allen Company, and Harold Turk of Dal-Tile.

“His inclusion in the Ring of Honor is an award showing that his peers have recognized how hard he has worked and there is nothing more honorable and prideful than what this award represents,” said Cox.

Bettiga will receive the award on October 30, 2018 during the Industry Awards Gala at Total Solution Plus in Grapevine, Texas.

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 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!

NTCAU – Regional Training Event mid-year wrap up

Members are always asking me about training opportunities. Well, this month I wanted to promote regional training. 

At the start of the year, NTCA announced that it would offer regional day-long events in each of its 12 regions throughout 2018. As we close in on the midway point of the year, NTCA Training Director Mark Heinlein has been traveling the country training NTCA members on one of two topics. Depending on location, he could be leading a day-long training in Industry Standards/Substrate Prep/Large-Format Tile or Gauged Porcelain Tile/Panels. 

Industry Standards/Surface Prep Large-Format Tile

The Industry Standards/Surface Prep/Large-Format Tile session starts with classroom lessons on tile industry methods and standards using ANSI resources. From there, class members learn how to use and navigate the TCNA Handbook. The attendees spend the rest of the day in a physical, hands-on working setting. Heinlein works with the class to check substrate flatness on floors and walls, general examination of framing systems, and proper installation of cementitious backer units. He then reviews various surface prep methods before releasing the attendees to work with the prep materials. 

Attendees are teamed into small groups to explore proper materials and tools for patching and rendering a vertical substrate to meet industry tolerance for large-format tile. The small groups then experiment with and pour self-leveling underlayment (SLU). 

When all substrates have been properly prepared and flattened, the class advances to proper mortar selection, mixing, trowel selection, mortar coverage, and installation techniques for large-format tile. When this event was held in Portland, Ore., Dirk Sullivan, owner of Hawthorne Tile, sent 10 installers with various levels of knowledge. Sullivan stated, “Training and education are key to the success of my company, and more importantly, the industry as a whole. The regional training event that was held here in Portland this past March was a fantastic opportunity for our installers as well as community here in Portland to see firsthand the hands-on [demonstrations], standards, techniques and materials used for successful, by-the-book installations. More please!” 

Gauged Porcelain Tile Panels

The Gauged Porcelain Tile/Panels (GPTP) course begins with streamlined overview of industry standards, then delves into ANSI A137.3 and ANSI A108.19, which have recently been approved and are specific to this new product.

After the classroom work, attendees relocate to the work area to learn about the tools that they will use during the day. Every attendee will join a small team to set a full-sized panel on either on a floor or wall substrate. As the teams work through the process, Heinlein offers tips and tricks to lead to a successful installation.

Visalia Ceramic Tile, Inc., was one of the first locations to hold the GPTP course. Sam Bruce, president, stated, “As a company, a handful of our crews have installed GPTP, but this training gave us the opportunity to have every tile setter get a high level of education and instruction of what GPTP is and how different the installation can be. The training put Visalia Ceramic Tile in a position to confidently send any tile setter to a project where GPTPs would be installed.”

Testimonials

Still not convinced that you should consider attending or sending your team? Well, here is some feedback from others who have attended:

Woody Sanders, Owner, D.W. Sanders Tile & Stone Contracting: “The regional event was a tremendous opportunity that we took full advantage of. The efforts and preparation of the NTCA, along with the workshop sponsors could not go without being noticed and applauded. With the popularity of GPTP growing and the recent completed standards being published, this training focused on GPTP from start to finish. Furthermore, the event focused on proper techniques with hands-on training. This is why a few of my apprentice setters and I attended. Looking back, I should have brought my entire staff, but coming out of Coverings’ Tiny House [Installation Design Showcase] last week, we needed to get back to work.”

Rod Owen, Owner, C.C. Owen Tile, stated: “We had the opportunity to send a diverse group of our men for the Gauged Porcelain Tile Panels training. They ranged from master journeymen to first-year students in our Apprentice Training Program here at C.C. Owen Tile Co.

“The training gave the opportunity to discover new, exciting materials and methods of installation while emphasizing the absolute necessity for a strong core foundation of time proven methods,” Owen continued. “While our veterans were realizing the importance of staying in the know of their ever-changing industry, the apprentices were digesting the many aspects of an industry they have just begun a career in. 

“It’s great to see these guys the several days after the training session because there is a synergy that comes from these sessions: the guys learning something new, and the guys realizing the company cares about their professional growth and development as well,” Owen said. “It’s also intriguing when we tell the general contractor we are pulling guys off their jobsite for the day. As a specialty contractor, logic would tell you that the GC will have a fit but to our disbelief most are in support when you tell them it’s a training session.

“More importantly, the NTCA regional event was an opportunity for our tile setters to experience the tile industry in a different way than they are used to,” Owen concluded. “Meeting Mark, Robb and David Gillespie of Crossville and other superstars in the industry who have a passion for tile was a little astonishing. Receiving the high level of training and event type atmosphere was in a way a version of Total Solutions Plus or Coverings. Our tile setters left this event motivated, refreshed and eager to enhance their skills in the trade, the same way that the national events do for me.”

Due to the magnitude of hands-on work and training by Heinlein, class sizes are limited to the first 20 registrants. In many cases, we are also unable to accept attendees without a registration and don’t have room in the training area to allow people to just stay and watch. If you decide to register, no matter which training event you attend, you are going to learn something even if you think you are an expert already. The next regional training event is in Elk Grove, Ill., on July 13th. To learn more about regional events available in your area, visit  https://bit.ly/2Lccbq6.

NTCA Announces Winners of the 2018 Five Star Contractor Project of the Year

The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), the world’s largest tile contractor association announced the winners of its sixth annual NTCA Five Star Contractor Project of the Year Awards at Coverings 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.

NTCA’s Five Star Contractor Awards were presented for both Commercial and Residential Tile Installations. Many submissions were received and judged via the following criteria: Scope (size of project), Complexity (challenges), Technical Soundness (resolution of challenges) and Design & Presentation (overall appearance, layout and artistic value). 

This year’s judges included: 

  • Kent Klaser of Ceramic Tile and Stone Consultants, Inc., San Diego, CA
  • Gregory Mowat of Forensic Tile Consultants, San Diego, CA
  • Richard P. Goldberg of Professional Consultants International, LLC, Avon, CT

Sponsored by Daltile, NTCA Five Star Contractor Grand Prize Award winners received a custom plaque and were awarded two round-trip airfare tickets and a two-nights hotel stay in Atlanta for the Coverings Show.

GRAND PRIZE – COMMERCIAL
By Christian Brothers Flooring & Interiors, Lakeside, Calif.

The Mesa Commons installation in Irvine, CA resulted in a striking visual appearance, design and layout, and the complex environmental challenges overcome during construction are those a NTCA Five Star Contractor could solve easily with its specialized training. To bring this spec to life, Christian Brothers had to overcome constraints caused by weather conditions up to 100 degrees and soaring exterior heights.  The project was also exemplary in the use of porcelain tile to integrate interior and exterior design with common palette of colors, textures and features.

GRAND PRIZE RESIDENTIAL
by Visalia Ceramic Tile, Visalia, Calif.

Workmanship and artistic qualities brought the Hoffman Residence in Fresno, CA to life. A challenging mixture of both natural stone and ceramic presented the opportunity for Visalia to showcase its Five Star Contractor skills. This residential project showcased new product and installation technologies, as well as the unique capability of tile assemblies to integrate other underlying building systems such as radiant heat and building envelope waterproofing.

 

GRAND PRIZE
COMMERCIAL ELITE
By David Allen Company

David Allen Company of Raleigh, NC was the recipient of the Five Star Grand Prize Award for Commercial Elite Project of the Year (over $1 million). Nearly 80,000 square feet of marble and tile were meticulously installed in the new Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel in Charlotte, NC. Of the many complexities which presented themselves working in a metropolitan area, the narrow doorways offered a unique opportunity for this contractor to showcase its innovative thinking. The team built custom narrow crates and stocked all of the materials required for each guest room into a single crate; saving time and labor on the job.

A trusted Five Star Contractor was preferred and required to partner with the General Contractor to address these many challenges, because the technical challenges associated with this project would need the involvement of an industry-leading trained expert.

NTCA Five Star Contractor Residential and Commercial Project of the Year Achievement of Excellence Awards were also presented. These included:

Residential

  • Floorology for Nature-Made Bathroom
  • W. Sanders Tile & Stone Contracting for Classic Inspiration with Modern Luxury for Her Bathroom Remodel

Commercial

  • David Allen Company for Chancery of Morocco
  • J&R Tile for the Hotel Valencia Riverwalk
  • Artcraft Granite, Marble & Tile Co., for Arizona State University Memorial Union

Commercial Elite:

  • ProFast Commercial Flooring for Sagamore Hotel
  • California Tile Installers for Apple Campus 2 Gateway Tunnel

 “We would like to thank our contest judges and sponsor for their support and of course, all of the Five Star Contractor Members who submitted incredible projects.” stated Bart Bettiga, Executive Director of the NTCA. “Each of these winning installations, as well as the other submitted projects, clearly demonstrates the value of engaging an NTCA Five Star Contractor in such complex arenas. Job site issues such as a confined urban site, mixed product media, material delivery and staging restrictions, new technologies, creative coordination with other trades, and solving problems quickly are exemplary traits of our Five Star Contractors.”

Call for Entries for the 2019 Five Star Contractor Awards will begin January 15, 2019.

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