Blanke awards trip to Germany to three winners

Join us in congratulating three fantastic finalists for Blanke’s contest to win a trip to Germany with Blanke PERMAT! Here are the winning submissions:



















The trip will take place next month and we are thrilled about the great time that is going to be had by all. They’ll be sharing highlights from the trip to Germany on social media.


Construction Officials Urge Federal Leaders to Double Spending on Career and Technical Education, Reform Immigration and Improve Job Training Programs to Help Address Workforce Shortages Affecting Most Firms

Construction employment increased by 23,000 jobs in August and by 297,000 jobs over the past year, reaching a 10-year high, while the industry’s unemployment rate stood at an all-time low, according to an analysis of new government data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Even as firms continued to expand, a new report finds that most firms are struggling to find enough workers to keep up with demand.

“The construction industry continues to add workers and increase pay at greater rates than the economy as a whole, with job gains spread across both residential and non-residential construction,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “But contractors report widespread difficulty in finding qualified workers for both salaried and hourly craft positions.”

Construction employment totaled 7,259,000 in August, the highest level since May 2008 and a gain of 4.3 percent over the past 12 months. The economist pointed out that the year-over-year growth rate in industry jobs was more than double the 1.6 percent rise in total nonfarm payroll employment. Employment in residential construction – comprising residential building and specialty trade contractors—grew by 12,900 jobs in August and added 136,600 jobs over the past 12 months, a 5.1 percent increase. Employment in nonresidential construction—including building, specialty trades, and heavy and civil engineering construction—grew by 9,600 jobs in August and increased by 160,500 during the past year, a 3.8 percent increase.

Simonson noted that three-quarters of respondents to a survey the association released last week said their firms plan to increase their headcount of both salaried and hourly workers in the next year. However, 80 percent of the firms said they are having trouble filling hourly craft positions. For all but one of the 20 categories of craft positions covered in the survey, a majority of firms that employ those workers said they are harder to find than last year, despite the fact most firms have raised pay to attract and retain workers.

Hourly earnings in the industry averaged $29.95 in August, an increase of 3.3 percent from a year earlier. Average hourly earnings in construction are now 10.3 percent higher than the average for all nonfarm private-sector jobs, which rose 2.9 percent in the past year, to $27.16. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate for workers with construction experience in August was 3.4 percent, matching the all-time low set in July and more than a percentage point lower than the August 2017 rate of 4.7 percent.

In addition to releasing the new workforce shortage survey results, the association also released a new Workforce Development Plan. That plan calls on federal officials to double funding for career and technical education programs over the next five years, reform immigration and improve federal workforce training programs. The plan also outlines steps the association is taking to recruit more people into the industry.

“There is little doubt that construction firms would have added even more new workers if the pool of available, qualified workers was larger,” Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer, said. “By making a few common-sense changes to our current education and workforce training approach, federal officials can help place significantly more people into high-paying construction careers.”

Alp Er named General Manager of Ege Seramik America


Alp Er, new General Manager for Ege Seramik America

Ege Seramik, major global supplier of top-quality ceramic and porcelain tile materials and top Turkish exporter to the United States, recently announced the promotion of Alp Er to General Manager.

Er, a graduate with a master’s degree from Buckinghamshire University in the United Kingdom, boasts a solid 18 years in the tile industry following his military service in Turkey. He started with a smaller Turkish ceramic manufacturer (now defunct) and subsequently joined Ege Seramik in 2002. As its international sales manager, Er was working out of the company’s headquarters in Istanbul, Turkey, before moving to the United States in 2005 to be an executive sales manager.

“Ege Seramik is a very forward-thinking company when it comes to marketing in the states,” stated Er. “We follow what consumer demand is telling us and then, develop products to fill that need. Our products are very high-tech in that our team is not only consistently providing new designs, but new finishing as well. Our product designs go beyond the surface with real-life textures.

“Ege continues to be one of the leading Turkish manufacturers with distribution here in the States. Our goal is to continue to be both an innovator and a leader in this market through service, quality and reliability,” added Er. “We will continue to build our business by exceeding customers’ expectations with state-of-the-art products and service.”

Alp Er will continue to work out of Ege’s stateside headquarters in Norcross, Georgia. For more information about Ege, visit



LATICRETE Founds Henry B. Rothberg Endowed Scholarship to Benefit Future Skilled Workers

Leading manufacturing company commits $25,000 to students enrolled in the masonry craft specialization program at American College of Building Arts


September 5, 2018, Bethany, Conn. — LATICRETE, a leading manufacturer of globally proven construction solutions for the building industry, has established an annual $25,000 merit-based scholarship available for students enrolled in the masonry craft specialization program at the American College of Building Arts in Charleston, South Carolina. Named after LATICRETE Co-Owner and Senior Vice President of Training Henry B. Rothberg, the scholarship is designed to provide financial assistance to students who have demonstrated skill and a commitment to pursuing work in masonry restoration.

David (l.) and Henry B. Rothberg, LATICRETE

“The American College of Business Arts is the only school in the United States to offer a bachelor’s degree in traditional building trades, while also providing a liberal arts education that includes courses such as math and business management to fight the “no college” stigma of skilled workers. With the Henry B. Rothberg Endowed Scholarship, LATICRETE can support future industry workers and have a strong influence on shaping their talent,” said Ed Metcalf, LATICRETE North America President and COO.

In addition to the scholarship, select LATICRETE employees will be guest speakers and regularly lead class discussions about materials and installation methods. Materials will be donated to the college for students to learn new methods and repairs using the industry’s most innovative products on the market, a feat that would not have been possible without LATICRETE. For a more hands-on experience, LATICRETE will also host field trips to the company’s South Carolina factory to learn about production.

“LATICRETE has a direct connection to South Carolina. This is where our company’s founder earned his Chemical Engineering degree from the University of South Carolina, as well as where he married and started his family and his career in the building materials industry,” added Metcalf. “Much the same as founding LATICRETE was his father’s legacy, this scholarship is Henry’s. He has done a tremendous job molding skilled workers throughout his extensive career of more than 50 years with the company and will continue to do so through the American College of Business Arts.”

For more information, visit


Bostik Promotes Adam Abell

Bostik, Inc., a world leader in adhesives and installation systems for building construction, recently announced that Adam Abell has been promoted to the position of Market Manager, Tile & Stone Installation Systems.

Since joining the Bostik team in 2012, Abell has been a Territory Sales Manager, offering the firm’s comprehensive ranges of tile installation and surface preparation products to customers throughout the Ohio Valley.

Abell, a graduate of the University of Kentucky, learned the tile business from ground up, working at Mees Tile & Marble in Lexington, Kentucky. There, he started off in the warehouse, then moved on to contractor sales, A&D sales … ultimately becoming branch manager. He will be relocating from Indianapolis to the Milwaukee area, soon to be working out of Bostik Americas Technology & Business Center headquarters.

“I’m excited about my new position within the organization,” exclaimed Abell. “Put simply, my job will be to ensure that we’re driving the ‘innovation’ factor of all Bostik products. We’ve brought so many ‘firsts’ to the industry, including Bostik’s BEST®, TruColor ® RapidCure™ Grout and most recently, Bosti-Set™… and we plan on bringing even more. We are on a quest to build our marketshare and we have the product pipeline and team to do it.”


Forney LP, manufacturer of cementitious material testing equipment, spotlighted on Manufacturing Marvels® – September 5 and 6

Forney LP – Premier supplier of construction material testing equipment

revolutionizes lab testing processes and documentation

PITTSBURGH, Aug. 30, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Forney LP, the premier supplier of construction material testing equipment, will be spotlighted in a nationally televised production called “Manufacturing Marvels®” airing between 9:30 and 9:44 pm CST on September 5 and September 6, 2018 on The Fox Business Network®. The two minute production showcases the surety Forney  helps bring to the construction process through quality testing products, and innovative systems to help insure quality testing results.  Of particular interest is Forney’s latest innovation – ForneyVault® – a cloud based system that not only improves laboratory productivity, but greatly increases the transparency and value of the testing process.

“We’re excited about this opportunity to tell the world the story of how Forney actually improves construction results through automating and recording laboratory test efforts.  The Test Report is the test lab’s product, but it’s the process that instills confidence.  100 years young, we’ve been in the vanguard developing technology that keeps all of us just a little bit safer,” said Jeff Dziki, CEO, Forney LP.

Founded in 1916, Forney has a long history of transformative innovation, and ForneyVault® is the latest and most dramatic technology.  To learn more about this and other fascinating advances at Forney contact us at 1.800.367.6397 or [email protected]

About Forney LP:

Forney LP is a material testing equipment innovator and distributor based in Zelienople, PA with additional facilities in Aurora, CO.  Forney focuses on material testing equipment for cementitious materials like cement, mortar, grout, and concrete for the construction industry, downhole cement and proppant materials for oil and gas industries, and general metals testing. Forney sells to over 75 countries worldwide. For more information visit:

Crossville donates tile to Specially-Adapted Smart Homes Built by the Gary Sinise Foundation for Wounded Veterans

The Foundation’s R.I.S.E. Program Builds

Specially-Adapted Smart Homes for Severely Wounded Heroes

U.S. Army Sgt. Eric Hunter and his family with their specially-adapted smart home near Atlanta.


Crossville, Tennessee – Crossville is honored to have contributed the tile for three recently-dedicated specially-adapted smart homes constructed by Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. program (Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment) program.

“It’s exciting to know these deserving wounded warriors and their families are enjoying the comforts of brand new, specially-adapted smart homes—and that our tile is a part of their everyday surroundings,” shared Lindsey Waldrep, Crossville’s vice president of marketing. “The tile options specified for these three homes are not only beautiful but also practical for busy families with unique situations.”

U.S. Army Cpt. Nicholas Vogt

U.S. Army Cpt. Nicholas Vogt was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011, Nicholas served as a Platoon Leader. On Nov. 12, 2011, he and his team were on foot patrol when they discovered a weapons cache. While investigating, Nicholas stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED). Immediately Nicholas was rushed to Kandahar, Afghanistan, for treatment, and then transported to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for extensive surgeries. Vogt suffered both leg amputations at his hips, severe brain injury, and a seizure disorder.

Vogt and his wife, Lauren, were welcomed to their new specially-adapted smart home in Ohio on July 14. With more than 1,300 square feet of tile, the Vogts’ new home is not only stylish and modern but also features the superior performance and easy maintenance needed in high traffic residential spaces.

The master bath floor and shower feature Crossville’s Virtue collection, which artfully blends the beauty and elegance of marble with the endurance and strength of porcelain tile. The designer included a stunning mix of shapes utilizing the hexagon mosaic creating an interesting backsplash feature for surrounding walls for the soaker tub. In addition, the installation seamlessly transitions the main bathroom floor of 12” x 24” field tiles to the hexagon mosaic for the shower floor.

In addition to the master bath, the designers chose Virtue for the Vogts’ two other bathrooms – a bathroom for their son and a guest bath space.

Moving from the bathrooms to the kitchen, the designers specified Handwritten in Par Avion for the kitchen backsplash. Offering the look of handmade artisanal tile, the designer added a hint of color in a traditional subway tile installation.

Important in family life is the mudroom and laundry room in which the designer incorporated Crossville’s Vista Americana collection in Plateau providing beautiful earthy tones complementing the pale blue wall and adding style to the functional design of the space.

U.S. Marine Corps Corp. Joshua Brubaker

U.S. Marine Corps Corp. Joshua Brubaker was deployed to Afghanistan in the Musa Qala district, South Helmand Province. His team was sent on a mission where he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) which knocked him unconscious. He lost his left foot in the blast and his right foot was severely injured. Brubaker was flown to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where he continued to fight for his life. Due to infections, both of his legs were eventually amputated.

Brubaker and his wife, Cara, moved into their specially-adapted smart home in Bakersfield, Calif., on July 26, 2018. Keeping in mind the Brubakers have two small children, the design team was able to capture the beauty of a modern home and the features needed for a growing family. The kitchen backsplash prominently features Crossville’s Yin + Yang collection in Snow Flower. The hexagon shape and the white and gray color tones effortlessly balance to unify the kitchen area with the surrounding spaces.

The Brubakers’ master bath features a full walk in shower utilizing Crossville’s Nest collection in Mindful Oak. From the large 8” x 36” field tiles on the floor and wall to the parquet mosaic for the shower floor, the subtle grain lines of oak and neutral color palette provide a tranquil space for the Brubaker’s to relax in their master bath.

U.S. Army Sgt. Eric Hunter

U.S. Army Sgt. Eric Hunter’s first deployment was to Iraq in 2010 and then his second deployment in April 2012 was to Southern Helmand Province, Afghanistan. On May 31, 2012, the day before his one-year wedding anniversary, while patrolling with his unit, Hunter stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED). The bomb took his right leg and shattered his left, along with many other injuries. He was flown to three different hospitals before arriving at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he spent four years at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center undergoing 61 surgeries.

The Gary Sinise Foundation dedicated the Hunters’ specially-adapted smart home near Atlanta, Ga., on Aug. 1, 2018. The Hunters’ home features more than 1,100 square feet of tile throughout the master bath, guest bath areas, kitchen and laundry room.

The master bath is a stellar example of combining multiple tile styles and colors into a cohesive design that showcases form and function. The Hunters’ master bath floor and walls feature Crossville’s Vista Americana collection in Dunes providing a soothing warm earth tone palette. The shower wall is accented with a featured zigzag pattern of Crossville’s Handwritten collection in the Post Card and Dear Sir hues offering an artisanal hand-crafted look to the space. In addition, the niche in the shower area brings together all the color offerings in Crossville’s Ebb and Flow glass and stone mosaic tile.

The designers artfully incorporated a chic element in the Hunters’ powder room as a feature wall with Crossville’s Sideview Glass in Tungsten. These faceted metallic tiles reflect eye-catching style from every angle and add a modern take of razzle-dazzle, art deco grandeur.

Highlighting the Hunters’ kitchen backsplash, Crossville’s Handwritten in Post Card brings more of the hand-crafted look to the busy kitchen area.

And an important space for a busy family, the Hunters’ laundry room is stylish and functional. With Crossville’s Cotta Americana in Red for the laundry room floor, the designers utilized a mix of 12” and 6” tiles creating a stunning pattern and the Red hue complements the light cabinets and dark appliances.


Dallas, TX – August 30, 2018 – Marazzi recently served as co-sponsor of a Chicago A&D event attended by over 500 designers, architects, and builder members of the IIDA’s (Commercial Interior Design Association) Illinois chapter.  The 14th annual event was hosted in conjunction with Marazzi distributor AO Midwest and the USGBC (U.S. Green Building Council).  Attendees were treated to a boat cruise on the majestic Spirit of Chicago, as the yacht cruised by the picturesque Chicago skyline.











“Marazzi was proud to be a sponsor of such a wonderful event,” said Ed Maddalena, regional sales manager, Marazzi.  “Marazzi is a strong product match for the commercial designers, architects, and builders in attendance. These target audiences are always excited about Marazzi products that bring Italian heritage and design flair to any project.  Marazzi’s newest summer launch products have received enthusiastic reception from these professionals who are excited about the fresh, bold designs they can now incorporate into their upcoming projects.”

“As a design-driven brand, Marazzi is a perfect fit for our designer, architect, and builder customers,” said Craig Campbell, president, AO Midwest.


About Marazzi

With a bold vision for the future, Marazzi built the first Italian-owned ceramic manufacturing plant in the U.S. in 1982, assuring domestic access to world-renowned technology and style.  Manufacturing a vast array of quality tile products, including porcelains, glazed ceramics, glass mosaics, natural stones and metallics, the brand continues to evolve for the savvy homeowner and designer.  Bold, daring and occasionally over the top, Marazzi provides captivating designs that integrate Italian style into exciting and imaginative environments. For more information, visit and follow Marazzi on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.


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Bosch to Give Away 2,000 Freak Two-in-One Impact Wrench/Impact Driver Power Tools in Freak ‘N’ CORE18V Contest

Contestants must submit video about why they want to change

their battery platform to advanced Bosch CORE18V


Mt. Prospect, Ill., Aug. 21, 2018 – If you’re in the market for a new power tool battery platform, Bosch has an opportunity for you. The Freak ‘N’ CORE18V Contest launching today gives entrants the chance to submit a video about why they need the new battery platform. Winners receive the Bosch CORE18V 6.3 Ah battery along with the company’s Freak two-in-one impact wrench/impact driver.

The Bosch CORE18V battery offers maximum power and performance while minimizing weight. The battery employs advanced Lithium-ion technology to deliver 80%  more power than previous generation Bosch batteries. The Freak impact driver features the socket ready all-in-one tool holder, which combines a 1/4″ hex and a 1/2″ drive into one tool for ultimate versatility. The all-in-one tool holder eliminates the need for users to own an impact wrench and impact driver, and also eliminates the need for socket adapters

“Bosch is committed to giving away 2,000 Freak impact drivers paired with the CORE18V 6.3 Ah battery,” said Roger Amrol, president, Bosch Power Tools North America. “Participants must enter the contest by posting a short video explaining ‘why I need a whole new Freak ‘n’ cordless platform.’ This is something new for the power tool industry, but speaks to the Busch culture of creativity and fun.”


Entrants must post a short video explaining why they need the new Bosch cordless platform using the hashtag #FreakNContest. The contest will end on September 14. Visit for rules and additional information; contest is open to U.S. residents.

The promotion dovetails with the Bosch CORE18V 4.0 Ah battery becoming available at Lowe’s in September. Winners of the Freak contest will be encouraged to post another video with their impact driver and CORE18V battery for a chance to win more prizes.

To learn more about the Bosch, the Freak impact wrench/driver or the CORE18V 6.3 Ah battery, visit or call 877-BOSCH-99. Check out for additional tips and videos.



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