NTCA Participating in Installation Summit 2016

The National Tile Contractors Association is proud to be participating in the first annual Installation Summit of the flooring industry. The Installation Summit will provide a forum for discussing the key issues surrounding installation of flooring, stone and tile products — bringing together the best of the industry’s varied market segments to find solutions to problems faced by the flooring installation industry as a whole.

The Installation Summit will feature a Town Hall question-and-answer panel, featuring industry veterans such as Keith Campbell of Mannington, Tom Lape of Mohawk, Mike Welch of EJ Welch, Fred Williamson of Starnet, Tom Cartmell of the Blakley Corporation, Jon Namba of BNP, and more — moderated by Scott Humphrey, CEO of the World Floor Covering Association. This panel will be followed by breakout sessions by product segment, including stone and tile.

Topics covered will include the shortage of qualified installers, both in the tile industry and other flooring categories, and finding ways to recruit or encourage young people to learn more about these trades, including further development of apprenticeship programs. Also on the agenda is a session on the deterioration of installation quality, and ideas on how companies and associations can collaborate on training and certification programs for the best return on investment.

The Installation Summit 2016 will be held at the Omni Dallas Hotel in Dallas, Texas on August 2-3, 2016. Attendance is by invitation only. If you are interested in attending, please contact Bart Bettiga of NTCA at [email protected]

NTCA To Exceed Record Membership Numbers in 2016

NTCA_logo_100pixelsNTCA is proud to announce it expects to exceed total record membership in 2016. As of the end of May, the association has already matched its previous record of 1,150 active members. By the end of 2016, NTCA executive director Bart Bettiga expects membership to reach 1,300 active members.

“We continue to have an active board of directors and a growing group of state directors who have helped to raise awareness of the association in their respective markets,” said Bettiga.  “This has helped us to grow membership on a local level.”  Bettiga also cites the success of the association’s partnerships with flooring groups like Starnet and CCA Global Partners, which has allowed the association to provide education and training at their national events.

Another powerful driver of membership growth has been the Partnering for Success program, developed with NTCA’s affiliate members. The program provides for product vouchers from manufacturers, importers, and distributors, to help members offset the cost of membership. Word of mouth has also played an important role, with communication on popular online networks such as the John Bridge Forum and Tile Geeks spreading the word of the benefits of NTCA membership.

“Awareness of the NTCA and our promotion of qualified labor has increased across the country through social media, our State Directors program, the NTCA Workshop programs and at national conventions,” said Jim Olson, assistant executive director. “We are reaching tile and stone craftspeople who believe in what the NTCA is doing to promote them and qualified labor, and because of that, the NTCA is growing.”

Joining the NTCA is easy – there’s a simple form on the association website at www.tile-assn.com. Members have immediate access to all the knowledge, education, and industry connections of the largest tile contractors association in the world.

NTCA establishes Tom Ade ceramic tile scholarship – application deadline extended to March 15, 2016

The NTCA “Tom Ade” Ceramic Tile Scholarship has been established by the National Tile Contractors Association to provide educational opportunities in college or trade for children or grandchildren of NTCA contractor members. It’s named after Tom Ade, a former NTCA regional director and a previous recipient of NTCA’s Ring of Honor and Tile Person of the Year Awards. Through his generosity and support of training and education, funds have been earmarked to launch this scholarship.

Tom and Rose Ade of Filling Marble Company

Tom and Rose Ade of Filling Marble Company

Through the scholarship, a one-time $5,000 contribution will be made to the applicant’s educational institution of choice. In addition, the NTCA will provide travel and registration costs to attend Coverings, the tile industry’s premier annual exhibition and educational event, held April 18-21, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The scholarship recipient will be recognized at the NTCA Awards reception on April 20th. It is mandatory for the recipient to be present at the awards ceremony. If the scholarship winner is not able to attend, an alternate recipient will be named.

Funds are made possible through the generous donations of NTCA members: total donations will determine the number of scholarship recipients each year. Additional $2,500 scholarships may be awarded based on association donations. Applications will be reviewed by a committee of the NTCA Board of Directors and members of the NTCA staff. Application deadline is March 15, 2016.

Scholarship selection criteria includes:

  1. Applicant must be a child or grandchild of an NTCA contractor member or their employee and be in good standing with the association.
  2. Applicant must submit an application form and essay detailing their career goals and what they will do with the scholarship funds, along with a letter of recommendation from an individual not in the applicant’s immediate family.
  3. Funds can be used for college, apprenticeship, vocational school, technical school, etc.
  4. Funds will be allocated to the school or institution named in the application, and not to the individual.
  5. The scholarship is a one-time award and will be paid in one allocation of funds.

Members can sign in and visit Tom Ade Scholarship for the application, which can be mailed to NTCA at the indicated address or emailed to [email protected] Those interested in becoming a sponsor of this scholarship program can get more details and donate at NTCA Youth Leader Scholarship Fund. This site accepts donations to fund the Tom Ade Scholarship and future youth scholarships as well.

NTCA contractor member and former board member debuts Lippage & Grout Tool at Coverings 

Just hours after filing with the U.S. Patent Office, NTCA contractor member Davis Holland Leichsenring unveiled his Lippage & Grout Tool to an audience of tile contractors and related professionals on the opening day of Coverings.

lippagetoolMade of soft PVC plastic, the multi-function tool helps tile professionals and the general public to instantly evaluate if a tile installation meets industry standards at the level of ‘flatness,’ – otherwise known as “lippage” – between adjacent tiles. It also helps measure and demonstrate grout widths and grout color, and has a handy ruler to help measure thickness of tile substrates and other on-the-job measuring needs. The small tool fits a wallet and is fully customizable to double as a business card.

NTCA has teamed up with Leichsenring to offer the Lippage & Grout Tool to members at a special discounted rate, featuring the NTCA logo. The “NTCA Lippage & Grout Tool” is available on the association’s website www.tile-assn.com, and at www.ntcatiletool.com.

The card can be purchased as the “Lippage & Grout Tool” by the general public, or the “I’m a Proud Member of the NTCA” version exclusive to NTCA members. The customized version can be created by downloading an easy step-by-step template file. Visit www.ntcatiletool.com for details.

The entire Holland Bath & Spa team worked around the clock to produce the tool by Coverings. Erkel Associates (www.erkel.com) finalized the branding and launch of shop.hollspa.com, an online store selling the Lippage & Grout Tool, Eras Noel prepared the patent application, and Allen Irwin created a short video featuring NTCA’s Maryland State Director, Mike Corona, of Corona Marble & Tile (www.coronamarbleandtile.com), presenting the tool.

“The tool is expected to increase the quality and standards by which tile is selected and installed,” said Leichsenring. For more information, visit www.ntcatiletool.com, or contact Leichsenring directly at [email protected] / 240-372-0513.

Best Practice Awards – Kerber & Slutzah

kerberJoe Kerber of Kerber Tile, Marble & Stone of Shakopee, Minnesota, received the first of two Best Practice Awards for his instrumental role in developing and having the Barrier Free Shower Method accepted by the Methods & Standards Commit-tee at Coverings 2014. This method was approved for inclusion in the 2015 TCNA Handbook. A member of the NTCA since 2003, Kerber has served as a State Director and now as a Regional Director. He also flourishes as a voting member on the NTCA Technical Committee and Methods & Standards Committee.

Steve Slutzah of Westside Tile & Stone in Canoga Park, Calif., also received a NTCA Best Practice award. His strong belief in the slutzahimportance of NTCA contractors has been the driving force for increased membership in the state of California. A member since 2007 as a distributor and soon thereafter as a State Director, Slutzah and his company have sponsored numerous NTCA workshops and signed up over 25 new members, even going as far as to pay for their first year membership.


Joe A. Tarver Lifetime Achievement Award – Eric Astrachan

Eric Astrachan, executive director of the Tile Council of North America, received the prestigious Joe A Tarver Lifetime Achievement Award, offered to a leader in the tile and stone industry who dedicates his/her career to advancing our trade. Astrachan has made significant contributions to the industry including incorporating both Canada and Mexico into the Association, the development of the Green Squared program and the expansion of the TCNA Handbook and ANSI Standards. An example of his passion for creating unity is exemplified by the Tile Council becoming an even stronger partner in the NTCA, CTDA, TCAA, CTEF and the Tile Heritage Foundation. Astrachan is an integral part of Total Solutions Plus, which brings together all industry associations for their respective meetings, creating unique industry networking events and leadership conferences. Joe Tarver himself was in attendance to participate in Astrachan’s recognition.


NTCA Tile Person of the Year – Jan Hohn

hohn-awardThis year, the NTCA’s Tile Person of the Year Award was presented to Jan Hohn of Hohn & Hohn, Inc., of St. Paul, Minnesota. Hohn is only the third woman to receive this award during the six decades it has been presented. For over 20 years, Hohn has worked tirelessly as a one person, high-end residential tile and stone installation company. She has dedicated herself to the trade, serving as president of CASTA (Twin Cities Local Tile Contractors Association), NTCA board member, NTCA Technical and Methods and Standards Committee member and most recently, as chairperson of the NTCA’s Training and Education Committee. Hohn also became the first woman to become a Certified Tile Installer by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation in 2009. Hohn’s attention to detail, artisanship, knowledge and commitment to the industry have also earned her the prestigious NTCA Five Star Contractor certificate.


James newJames Woelfel, Vice President of Artcraft Granite, Marble and Tile of Mesa, Arizona has been elected President by the National Tile Contractors Association’s membership. His election was officially announced at this year’s Total Solutions Plus Conference which was held in San Antonio, Texas, October 25-28, 2014.

Woelfel will serve a two-year term which will run until November 2016. He succeeds outgoing president Dan Welch, President of Welch Tile & Marble in Michigan. With his unique leadership and passion for the tile industry, Welch will become the Chairman of the Board for the NTCA. He is currently on the Board of Directors for the CTEF (Ceramic Tile Education Foundation), on the NTCA Technical Committee and was the 2014 NTCA Tile Person of the Year.

After his election, James Woelfel stated, “I am honored to become the next President of the NTCA. It is humbling for me to become the first son of a former president of our association’s history.  My father, Butch Woelfel, served in this capacity from 1985-1987.  In my tenure, I hope to raise the awareness of our association to even stronger international recognition, as we continue to play a leading role in the development of installation standards for tile & stone installations.  We want to celebrate our past and embrace the future of a global tile industry.”

James Woelfel is the current NTCA Technical Committee Chairman, a member of the TCNA Handbook Committee and the ANSI A108 Committee. In 2011, Woelfel was the recipient of the NTCA Tile Person of the Year award.

The National Tile Contractors Association Board of Directors is elected by members at its Annual Meeting. It is comprised of the Executive Officers of the Association, representatives of twelve geographic regions, and allied members from distribution and tile and installation material manufacturers. Terms for the Board of Directors are for two years.

Executive Officers Include:

  • Bart Bettiga: NTCA Executive Director and Chairman of Convention Planning and Finance Committee..

Bart is also on the Coverings Board of Governors and is the Executive Director of the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation.

  • Jim Olson: Assistant Executive Director: NTCA
  • Dan Welch: Chairman of the Board, NTCA
  • James Woelfel:  President, NTCA
  • Martin Howard: David Allen Company ~ 1st Vice President
  • Chris Walker: David Allen Company ~ 2nd Vice President*
  • Nyle Wadford: Neuse Tile Service ~ Executive Officer and Past President
  • John Cox: Cox Tile ~ Executive Officer and Past President

*New addition to the Executive Committee is Chris Walker of David Allen Company. He will serve as the NTCA’s Second Vice President as well as continue to serve on the ANSI A108 Committee and as the Chairman of the NTCA Methods and Standards Committee.

Board members participate in scheduled meetings and conference calls, and serve on several standing committees.  The NTCA Board of Directors is actively involved in the overall management of the Association, and works closely with the NTCA staff to carry out a clearly defined strategic plan in order to meet its goals and objectives.

State directors work closely with NTCA’s staff to promote membership in their region and to support NTCA local events.

This Executive team is comprised of some of the most successful tile contractors and leaders in our industry” announced Bart Bettiga, NTCA Executive Director. “They represent both commercial and residential contractors, participate in every single important standards committee in our trade… and, they have dedicated many years to the growth of our association. Their support of the direction and efforts of our staff has been instrumental in the incredible growth NTCA has experienced the past several years. Our future is secure under their leadership and guidance.”

NTCA Five Star Contractor participates in 12th Annual Minnesota Tile Festival

The Twelfth Annual Handmade Tile Festival dawned on a sunny September 21 at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis. The outdoor event hosted a combination of 30 handmade tile makers/artists and related industry exhibitors from across the country.

With the retirement of longtime festival coordinator Norma Hanlon last year, Handmade Tile Association (HTA) executive director Josh Blanc stepped in to manage the event with the help of Mercedes Austin of Mercury Mosaics and Trebuchet Communications.

Five hundred and forty seven people came to the event, which featured some new concepts: The Installation Booth, where artists could purchase a wall to showcase their installation, and the Tile Boutique, managed by Seattle’s Carol Dean, which displayed work from artists from other parts of the country who couldn’t afford to travel could participate in the show.

Jan_at_handmadetileFive Star NTCA Contractor Jan Hohn of Hohn & Hohn, Inc., and Region 7 NTCA board member had a booth promoting NTCA as well as quality tile installation (CTEF-CTI) for all the handmade tiles that people were buying.

The fashion show was a bigger draw in this, its second year, with many artists and fashion designers collaborating and creating unique tile and fashion garments for the runway. Tiles were attached to the garments, with most custom-made for the garments and accessories, which were professional and consumer-ready. The tile fashion show gives tile artists and fashion designers the ability to transcend their everyday focus and experiment with challenges and new forms. Besides allowing the exploration of new ideas and craftsmanship, the fashion show also helped to bring in a new type of audience to learn about tile.

1-tile-dress“Six clothing designers teamed up with handmade tile makers to create fashions that incorporated tile into the design of the clothing, making tile wearable; the results were wonderful,” Hohn said.  “Most people wouldn’t think of tile sewn into clothing, but the range of designs and the use of tile was quite innovative. The designs ranged from  ‘tile jewelry’ to casual wear to evening dresses and even a walker that incorporated tile.”

The American Swedish Institute’s Karin Krull and staff helped put on and sponsor the event as well as many volunteers including: Layl McDill, Jack Kazrowski, JoAnn Hendricks, Deb George, Elliot McDill and Eric Moe.

Due to a number of factors the Handmade Tile Association is evaluating whether the annual event will continue to be the best way to raise awareness of handmade tile and celebrate tile artists and tile makers.


“The Tile Festival’s main goal is to introduce and promote handmade tile to the public,” Hohn said.  “Because of the nature of handmade tiles, they are not for everyone, but when a person chooses handmade tiles, the projects can be customized much more than any machine-made tile. It allows a person to put their own stamp of artistic influence on a tile installation.”


Visit www.handmadetileassociation.org for more information on the association, handmade tile and the tile festival.

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).

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