NTCA Preview for December 2016

A job description has been developed for a Five Star Program Coordinator and has been posted on tile-assn.com. NTCA has already received resumes and phone calls about the position.

NTCA has just reached its 1300th member! (See New Member section of this issue to see who it is.)

Chris Dalene, new Membership Committee chair, will work with Jim Olson on committee iniatives. Meetings and appointments took place at TSP.

NTCA and CTEF had a presence at the Starnet Annual Fall Meeting. Les Lippert of Five Star Contractor Lippert Tile introduced NTCA’s Jim Olson to their shareholders; Daltile and NTCA sponsored a lunch and members toured the new Daltile manufacturing plant in Dickson, Tenn. Board member Jesse Deason was instrumental in getting NTCA objectives to help raise tile education for Starnet members.

Over 650 attendees came to Total Solutions Plus in Palm Springs. This was probably the best event to date since NTCA partnered with CTDA, TCNA and TCAA. Next TSP is November 4-7, 2017 at the Marriott Washington Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Plans are in the works for TISE West/ \The International Surfaces Exhibition in Las Vegas, January 18-20, 2017. NTCA and CTEF will share a large booth and will conduct live demonstrations on the show floor. NTCA meetings will also be held these dates:

Monday, January 16: Committee Meetings

Tuesday, January 17: Board of Directors/State Ambassador Meeting; reception follows

A new business training seminar is scheduled for February 23 – 24 in Dallas, for Five Star, Board Members and State Ambassadors, and open to the first 30 people to who sign up. Michael Stone will present this class called Making the Numbers Work. Info coming soon on details. A near-airport location will be established, and NTCA will offset some travel costs.

Training and Education trailer sponsorships for all three vehicles have been sold out. Dave Rogers of Welch Tile and Marble is the chair of the Training and Education Committee, working with Jim Olson to reorganize the committee and subcommittees to reach goals.

The first six months of the Apprenticeship Program are complete. Year one should be complete by Coverings. Becky Serbin is exploring how to incorporate this program into technical and trade school curricula.

Planning for Coverings in Orlando, Fla., April 4-7, 2017 is in full swing. On tap are installer and contractor conference programing, NTCA Awards Night, Contractor Days, Live Demonstrations and more. Consider submitting high-quality tile or stone tile installations to the Coverings Installation Design (CID) Awards at www.coverings.com/content/CID-Awards. Five Star Contractors can submit projects for Five Star Commercial or Residential Awards to Jim Olson at [email protected]

Introducing NTCA State Directors Shirts





At the recent Coverings show, several NTCA State Directors populated the NTCA booth, proudly outfitted in shirts emblazoned not only with their names, but also with the NTCA logo and their State Director affiliation. Shown are Dave Karp (l.) of Tile Fusion, Shakopee, Minn., State Director of Minnesota, and Steve Brace of SB Flooring, Manchesney Park, Ill., State Director of Illinois. Shirts can be purchased and customized at the NTCA Store, online at https://tile-assn.site-ym.com/store/default.aspx?

“Trowel and Error” Now Available In Spanish

The National Tile Contractors Association’s “Trowel and Error” video has been an indispensable training tool since it was first released in 1996. The video highlights common errors in mortar application when installing large-format tiles – and as larger tiles become more popular, this knowledge becomes more important to ensure high-quality, long-lasting installation.

Last year, thanks to a generous sponsorship from Custom Building Products, the NTCA was able to revamp and update this popular video. The new version has been available for some time in the NTCA Store at www.tile-assn.com, as well as in membership packets and on the NTCA YouTube channel.

In the video, the NTCA emphasizes the proper use and application of mortar to meet minimum coverage requirements and ensure long-term adhesion and stability of tile to substrate. It clearly demonstrates how common improper techniques such as swirled mortar and spot bonding can reduce coverage.

Due to the importance of this information, and to improve overall installation quality in the U.S., Custom Building Products has also sponsored the creation of a Spanish version of the video. “Llana y Error” is now available on the NTCA’s YouTube channel.

“We updated and modernized this video last year,” said Bart Bettiga, NTCA Executive Director. “Now, because it is such an important training mechanism, Custom Building Products has sponsored a Spanish version as well.”

The NTCA YouTube channel can be reached from the NTCA website at www.tile-assn.com.

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.

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