NTCA names winners of Tom Ade Scholarship Awards

The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) recently announced its 2020 Tom Ade Scholarship Award winners for academic achievement.

This year’s program features one $5,000 Grand Prize scholarship winner, as well as several $1,000 winners. 

Kimberly Callahan with stepfather Woody Sanders, president of DW Sanders Tile & Stone Contracting in Marietta, Ga. Callahan is NTCA’s $5,000 Grand Prize Tom Ade Scholarship Award winner for 2020. 

The Grand Prize Winner is Kimberly Callahan, daughter of Wei Callahan and stepdaughter of Woody Sanders, president of DW Sanders Tile & Stone Contracting in Marietta, Ga. Kimberly has just completed her first year toward a Master’s degree in Social Work, with an emphasis in Clinical Psychology.

The $1,000 scholarship winners include the following: 

  • Sadee Perez, daughter of Sally Perez, Human Resources, of Visalia Ceramic Tile in Visalia, Calif. She also works at Visalia Ceramic Tile on a part-time basis.
  • Meghan Lowery, daughter of William and Emily Lowery. William Lowery is an NTCA member and owner of Lowery Tile in Alsip, Ill.
  • Hailey Peffer, daughter of Meredith Peffer, general manager of NAC Products, Akron, Ohio.
  • Alera Welch, who is the daughter of Dan and Doreen Welch of Welch Tile & Marble, Kent City, Michigan.
  • Emily Martinho, daughter of Edward Martinho, vice president of Visalia Ceramic Tile.
  • Keaton Boerema, grandson of Gary Battaglia, owner of Michigan Tile, and son of Elizabeth Boerema, who also works at Michigan Tile.

Congratulations from the industry

Bart Bettiga, NTCA Executive Director said of the Grand Prize Winner, “I wish Kim the best of luck and good health as she endeavors to make a difference. This world needs her talent.”

Ron Nash, senior vice president of sales and marketing for LATICRETE, an NTCA member and supporter of the scholarship program, said, “This is fantastic. I couldn’t be happier to be part of an organization that supports our industry and, even more importantly, the people who make our industry great.”

Woody Sanders added, “Kim has such a very special heart for people who need help,” he added, “She has an ability to step into another’s shoes and see their perspective and is driven to help while holding onto her values. She is an inspiration that gives me hope for our future. She is so very special.”

COVID delays

The Tom Ade Scholarship Awards were delayed this year due to complications of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bettiga said, which led to having only one Grand Prize winner. “However,” he explained, “we have decided to choose several $1,000 scholarship award recipients, as the quality of the applicants and their deservedness for financial support was outstanding.

“We all need a little good news right now,” added Bettiga, “so celebrating these young people is coming at the right time.”

Funds for the Tom Ade Scholarship Awards are made possible through the generous donations of NTCA members: total donations determine the number of scholarship recipients each year. Scholarship applications are reviewed by a committee of NTCA’s Board of Directors, as well as members of the NTCA staff.

The Tom Ade ceramic tile scholarship was established by the NTCA to provide educational opportunities for children or grandchildren of NTCA Contractor Members. Tom Ade is a former NTCA regional director and a previous recipient of the organization’s Ring Of Honor and Tile Person of the Year Awards. The scholarship also encompasses a contribution to the educational institution of choice for the applicant.


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Federal Infrastructure Measure Can Help Offset Private-Sector Demand that is Likely to Remain Below Pre-Coronavirus Levels amid Economic Uncertainty, While State and Local Budgets Also Appear Sure to Shrink

Construction spending declined for the third month in a row in May as a sharp slowdown in private projects more than offset a rise in public work, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of government data released today. Association officials warned that the pickup in public projects is likely to reverse soon unless the federal government acts quickly to invest in needed infrastructure and shore up crumbling state and local budgets.

“Three short-lived factors may have boosted construction spending in May: emergency healthcare projects, acceleration of highway work to make use of the drop in road traffic, and the end to some state government shutdown orders,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Unfortunately, these stimuli have now worn off, and there is a high risk that construction spending will soon shrink as state and local governments start a new fiscal year today with large budget gaps that they must close. Too often, they turn to postponing and canceling construction.”

Construction spending in May totaled $1.36 trillion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, a decline of 2.1 percent from April and the lowest total since June 2019. Since February, total spending has slumped by 5.9 percent, the steepest three-month contraction since 2009, the economist noted.

The decrease in May was widespread across private construction categories, which recorded a spending decline of 3.3 percent from April, following a 3.8 percent slide from March to April. Public construction spending rose by 1.2 percent in May, an increase that only partially reversed a drop of 2.7 percent the month before.

“It is likely that the pickup in highway construction and other public spending that occurred in May will fade as soon as current projects are completed,” Simonson said. “Our latest survey of contractors, conducted June 9-17, found only about one-fifth of respondents had won new or expanded work—unchanged from early May. In addition, nearly one-third of respondents reported that an owner had canceled an upcoming project.”

Association officials said that private-sector funding is likely to continue to remain below pre-coronavirus levels for some time as many owners opt to delay investments amid pandemic-induced uncertainty. Meanwhile, many state and local investments in infrastructure and construction are likely to decline amid falling tax revenues. What is needed is a federal infrastructure measure that can attract broad, bipartisan support in the House and Senate, the association officials noted.

“The best way to get people back to work and to make our economy more efficient and effective for the long run is by improving the nation’s vital infrastructure,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Leaders in both parties need to understand that messaging measures may excite the base, but they do nothing to improve roads, fix bridges or modernize water systems.”

Coverings makes history with Coverings Connected virtual trade show

This is the story that would traditionally bring you highlights from the Coverings trade show, which would have been held this year in New Orleans, La., in April. 

But as everyone is well aware, that physical show did not happen, and instead the event moved to a virtual format, known as Coverings Connected, which took place April 20-23, the same time frame as the planned physical show. The online digital experience was the first of its kind and provided nearly 4,000 industry professionals with four days of valuable educational webinars and online networking opportunities. 

TCNA announced during its Coverings Connected press conference that it is adding viral testing to the antifungal and antibacterial testing it’s offered for many years.

What’s a challenge – and a benefit – about reporting on a virtual event, is that the information that we reporters would glean at the event was – and still is – available for you to visit online at coverings.com. This includes the Coverings Connected content and handouts, recorded sessions and webinars, a trend review by Alena Capra, and the CID Award winners and 2020 Coverings Rock Stars. In addition, there are Exhibitor Galleries and the New Product Showcase to browse through. 

The show itself makes news

That said, maybe the biggest news about the show was the show itself, and this new virtual format that we find ourselves immersed in these days. With the uncertainty posed by COVID-19, this may have been the first industry virtual trade show, but it likely won’t be the last, even though, as one contractor pointed out, “Coverings is really about meeting the people face to face.”

So what worked and what didn’t? Here’s some feedback from those who “attended” the event – and links to announcements made in April. 

First off, from the perspective of an editor at the show, I thought it was an amazing effort pulled together in a short period of time with a huge amount of products and some good educational sessions. 

Ryan Fasan explored influences on tile trends and emerging looks in his presentation during the Tile of Spain press conference.

I couldn’t get to all the ones I wanted to view due to three hours of press conferences from Ceramics of Italy, Tiles of Spain, Ceramic Tile Distributors Association, Tile Council of North America and National Tile Contractors Association on the opening day, but I can go back and view the ones I missed. I LOVED the efficiency of 30-minute press conferences and would like to see that continued when we are live and in person again. (Visit tileletter.com and search “Coverings Connected” for announcements released and posted during the show.)

I noticed that amidst the Product Galleries and Exhibitor Profiles, some companies went the extra mile. Lamosa comes to mind. The Mexican company developed a virtual booth tour, where you could actually navigate through four rooms of product and get detailed info on the tile “installed” on the walls, floors, and surfaces. This was a stellar effort to use technology to create an in-person-like environment.

Mexican tile maker Lamosa created a virtual booth for Coverings Connected. 

Martin Brookes, NTCA Five-Star Contractor Heritage Marble & Tile in Mill Valley, Calif., both presented a seminar on Application and Specification of Tile for Outdoor Use, with DW Sander’s Woody Sanders, and attended the event. He remarked, “What a fantastic job the Coverings event team did in creating content with little time on hand.”

Joseph Mattice of On The Level, Simpsonville, S.C., viewed some of the sessions and “was super impressed with what the show was able to accomplish in such a short time. The sessions were well thought out and presented as always, and the networking was great as well.”

Jane Callewaert, who runs Dragonfly Tile & Stone Works in Grafton, Wis., with her artisan tilesetter husband Lee, said, “I thought it was very well executed and an excellent opportunity to be virtually connected and learn given the ‘loss’ of the actual Coverings event.” 

The Callewaerts found the virtual sessions provided more than instruction – it opened up the opportunity for group viewing and subsequent discussion. “Lee and our staff attended Mark Heinlein’s session on water control, and I attended the Digital Marketing/Branding session, as well as the Acting on NTCA Culture,” Jane said. Lee wanted the staff “to see it and remind them that he is learning something new all the time. He really enjoyed that he could ‘attend’ with our staff, as it prompts discussion among the group. I think this is an important use of these sessions.”

Jane would like to see future iterations of a virtual show offer a chance for discussion after the presentation for those who viewed it. Though Dragonfly staff got to explore the material themselves after viewing sessions as a group, she mused, “Wouldn’t it be cool if after the sessions there was an option to join live group discussion with others who attended? Obviously attendees would need to be broken into small groups for this.” (Edit—Zoom does offer the option of small breakout groups.

Steve Sprung of RTC Products concurred. “In a world full of instant gratification, I think some sort of live chat feature would have been much better than the typical email contact form,” he said. “This way you could have had more of the ‘personal interaction’ like you would with the live show, and would be able to chat with someone instantly about the product you are looking at.”

Sara Hurtado of iQ Power Tools viewed a number of sessions, and especially enjoyed the speaker for the Young Professionals Program: Leadership – The Right and Wrong of It. “That class also offered a bonus happy hour networking event which created a much more personal aspect than your typical webinar,” she said. “With the real show being cancelled, we all lost the networking opportunities many of us look forward to. Virtual education, new products and demo videos were expected, but to be able to bring in the networking aspect was a great surprise.” 

Pros and cons

Not everyone had a great experience at the virtual show. “I tried twice to access anything that seemed to be like a company booth or new product info or live event and got frustrated with the website both times and ultimately gave up,” said Dan Marvin of Ironrock. “I did attend Eric Astrachan’s press conference (since an email with a direct link made it pretty easy), which went well.”

“I would definitely like to see a more robust exhibitor profile,” Sprung suggested. 

iQ’s Sarah Hurtado said the Product Gallery had pros and cons, with an overwhelming format. “As a vendor, I felt like only the products on the first page were viewed, and those of us whose products were further down the alphabetic order, were missed. 

“I think the biggest challenge Coverings had was its advertising,” she added. “The event as a whole was advertised, but each piece was not. For example – the Live Demo stage. I did not see any direct advertisements for that piece of the show. As a vendor, we paid extra to be featured on that stage. In person, we can see the attendance and rate the demo. However, being digital, we did not have the same visibility. It would be nice to have the demo stage, specific webinars and even the new products get more specific attention and promotion. In addition, it would be great to see the analytics and data from the promotions and digital assets.”

Going forward

Even with some challenges with this first-try virtual conference, attendees and participants would like to see it continue in some form. 

“While I don’t think it will replace physical shows, the format of the booths and having remote sessions would be a great supplement to the traditional show in the future,” On The Level’s Mattice said.

RTC’s Sprung said, “With the expense of Coverings, I feel that this virtual booth should be included in the cost. I would also like to see a re-evaluation of the amount of products an exhibitor gets per level.”

Dragonfly’s Jane Callewaert said, “I think there is value for multiple obvious reasons: some people can’t attend, some ‘virus’ stops us all in our tracks, ability to reach more people.” But she still favors an in-person event. “There are many offerings that can’t be experienced with a remote platform. Even products are best experienced when you can touch and feel and when a ‘monitor’ isn’t interpreting color and texture. And that sharing that organically happens when people experience things together can’t be replicated.”

Hurtado said, “The webinars and videos of the contractor stage were great. I think these could be turned into great advertising pieces used to encourage people to come to the real show. A digital event could encourage a virtual community who maybe cannot afford to attend the show in person. Mini webinars and virtual networking events would be a great way for people to connect pre-show and really get engaged within the tile community.”

Hurtado had some suggestions for future shows, virtual or physical. “The overall promotion of Coverings could improve,” she said. “There is a big space for Coverings/NTCA to fill on social media and other channels. There could have been more stories, live feeds, and posts prior to the event as well as during. It would have been super interesting to see more of the behind-the-scenes of some of the webinars or training seminars. More promotional posts of the tools, products and people behind the tile – versus just all the pretty kinds of tile – would have been great to see.” 

In addition to the resources you can find at coverings.com, we want to focus on a few special highlights. Navigate to tileletter.com and enter “CID Awards 2020” or “2020 Rock Stars” to get full details. 

CID Awards

The Coverings Installation & Design Awards recognized 18 amazing projects this year. The Design Category included Commercial Tile Design, Commercial Stone Design, Residential Tile Design, Residential Stone Design (with subcategories), and Residential Tile & Stone Design. 

The Installation Category included: 

Commercial Stone Installation: Christ Cathedral Carnevale & Lohr, Inc. Garden Grove, Calif.
Commercial Tile Installation: Hotel Bennett David Allen Company Charleston, S.C.
Residential Stone Installation: Portland White House Columbia River Tile & Stone Inc. Portland, Ore.
Residential Tile Installation: Corte Madera Pool Grotto Heritage Marble & Tile Inc. Corte Madera, Calif.

Rock Stars

Fourteen of the best and brightest young talent were named as Coverings Rock Stars.

Among the Rock Stars who were honored for 2020, all five installers were from NTCA member companies. These included: 

In addition, Ryan Marino, Standards Development and Research Manager, TCNA, Anderson, S.C., took the trade association honor, and Kristin Coleman, Vice President of Novita Communication, NYC – the public relations firm for Ceramics of Italy – won as best and brightest talent in the Other (PR Firm) category. 

Starnet Cancels 2020 Fall Membership Meeting

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COLUMBUS OHIO (June 2020) – The Starnet board of directors has elected to cancel the 2020 Starnet Fall Membership Meeting scheduled for October 7-8, 2020 in Louisville, Ky.  The decision was made based on limitations in large group gatherings and corporate travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Starnet will transform the planned live programs into virtual events throughout the month of October. 

“Despite our change of plans, Starnet offers numerous programs for our member and vendor partners to improve their business success,” said Mark Bischoff, president and CEO. “Over the next few weeks, the Starnet staff will be providing a thorough review of our ‘Partnering for Success’ infrastructure to preferred vendors as well as new innovative programs designed to enhance the success and profitability of members.  Despite the challenges in the marketplace, the Starnet members are focused on delivering results for our aligned manufacturing and service partners while meeting the needs of clients.”

For more information, visit www.starnetflooring.com

CERSAIE Postpones 2020 Fair to September 2021; Launches Schedule of In-Person and Virtual Events Starting this Fall

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The organizers of Cersaie have worked hard to explore the possibility of holding an international level trade fair, but they have had to recognize that the general conditions determined by the COVID-19 emergency make it impossible to organisz an event that would come up to the show’s usual quality standards.

One of the key strengths of Cersaie is its international profile. One third of exhibitors are non-Italian companies from 40 different countries; more than 47% of attendees in 2019 (around 50,000) were international visitors. But although business activities have gradually been reopening in many countries during the two months since the original deadline for participation established in the program for 2020, many exhibitors and professional visitors have indicated that the global situation does not yet allow them to commit to the levels of investment and planning required to take part in Cersaie. Attention and respect for the interests of the global clientele who represent the show’s most important asset therefore prompted the decision to skip the 2020 edition.

Given the desire to continue to improve the quality and international value of the exhibition, attention is now focused on the next appointment of Cersaie 2021, which will be held in Bologna from 27 September to 1 October.

A packed program of events will be held during the fifteen months between now and the next edition of the show. Among the various physical initiatives, the Press Cafés will be presented on Monday, September 28 in Sassuolo, then on November 9, the Palazzo dei Congressi in Bologna will host a conference dedicated to the healthiness of ceramics in the design of residential and architectural spaces. These events will be accompanied by online activities focusing on topical issues for the world of ceramics and bathroom furnishings.

Ahead of the 2021 edition of the show, construction work is continuing on the Contract Hall, the space in Hall 18 dedicated to creating links between the world of ceramics and new product areas such as kitchens, outdoor design, indoor and outdoor finishes, lighting technology and home automation. It will also be the setting for Archincont(r)act, the area dedicated to high-quality world-class architectural firms.

Cersaie 2021 is also at work on another important new initiative: combining a renewed physical exhibition with an immersive digital experience aimed at promoting and expanding participation by exhibitors and visitors.

LATICRETE Kicks Off SPECTRALOCKⓇ 1 “Pick 1” Sweepstakes

One lucky winner will have the grand prize choice of a truck, a boat with a trailer or a once in a lifetime vacation

June 29, 2020, Bethany, Conn. — LATICRETE, a leading manufacturer of globally proven construction solutions for the building industry, has launched a prize promotion for its U.S. and Canadian customers (excluding Quebec) to celebrate the launch of SPECTRALOCK 1, the industry’s first pre-mixed, stain-proof grout with true epoxy performance. Now through the end of Dec. 2020, verified tile and stone installation contractors may enter the SPECTRALOCK 1 “Pick 1” Sweepstakes for a chance to win the grand prize to choose between a truck, a boat with a trailer or a once in a lifetime vacation. Monthly prizes will also be awarded, including a home theater, a Weber grill and a Patagonia prize package.

“Since launching SPECTRALOCK 1 earlier this year, it’s been of the utmost importance to LATICRETE that we give back to our loyal customers who helped us make SPECTRALOCK Grout the #1 preferred epoxy grout for over a decade*. The SPECTRALOCK 1 “Pick 1” Sweepstakes also allows us to give the grand prize of the winner’s choice, which makes it all the more special,” said Ryan Blair, LATICRETE Senior Product Manager – Grouts & Sealants. “SPECTRALOCK 1 offers all the benefits from the original SPECTRALOCK, but without the hassle of mixing, so we know our customers will like it just as much as, if not more than, its previous iteration.”

Launched in Feb. 2020, SPECTRALOCK 1 is the only pre-mixed grout in the market that meets and/or exceeds the ANSI A118.3 specification. It offers superior strength at 3,500 psi, the ability to be submerged and an extremely fast cure rate that allows customers to complete durable projects in less time than ever before. The grout also provides exceptional versatility and excellent color consistency, even with the most demanding applications. The easy-to-use, stain-proof formula is available in a wide variety of colors to match any design.

Prize Schedule: 

  • July – Stand Up Paddle Board
  • August – Wine of the Month Club Membership
  • September – Cutco Knife Set
  • October – Weber Grill
  • November – Patagonia Prize Package
  • December – Home Theater
  • January – “Pick 1” truck, boat with a trailer or once in a lifetime vacation

For entry and official rules with complete eligibility, prize descriptions, odds disclosure and other details, visit www.spectralock1.com.

*According to Clear Seas Research study findings.

Eugenio Megna founds ELM Surfaces, offering one-stop shopping and customized production for architectural surfaces

(Chicago, IL  June 2020) – Launched by Eugenio Megna, a former Fiandre executive, ELM Surfaces is a one-stop resource for tile that transcends residential and commercial, interior and exterior surface applications for today’s modern living spaces. ELM Surfaces thrives to assist and support the architectural and design community by providing multiple solutions with only one point of communication. 

Eugenio Megna, ELM Surfaces

With experience and knowledge of the architecture, design and construction industry, Chicago-based ELM Surfaces is a newly established tile distributor that offers a customer-centric approach to tile applications and product expertise. The company offers unique sources for custom manufactured products, interior and exterior finishes for both vertical and horizontal applications.

Led by the dynamic Eugenio Luigi Megna, ELM Surfaces offers distinctive tile resources for architectural projects that enhance lifestyle spaces, combining artistic design and high-tech surfaces with outstanding products and customer service. Megna has earned the reputation for building brand awareness and market share for Italian porcelain giant Fiandre in the U.S. where he served more than 10 years leading Sales & Marketing for Fiandre and its internal sales distribution team, Transceramica. 

Megna’s expertise in architectural surfaces, ceramic and porcelain Italian tile, market trends, product sustainability and anti-bacterial properties, ventilated facades, gauged panel installation solutions, and direct contacts with manufacturers provides him with the perfect foundation to establish his own tile distribution company.

ELM Surfaces features an array of innovative product portfolios from its world-class partners, including:

  • Iris Ceramica’s large format high-tech porcelain panels and porcelain ventilated facades
  • Stile engineered wood flooring
  • Cerasarda handmade terra-cotta tiles from the coast of Sardinia, Italy
  • Artistic porcelain and ceramics from CIR- Gruppo Romani
  • Ranieri natural lava stone sourced from the Amalfi coast
  • Handmade concrete tiles from Miami-based Architectile, and
  • Commercial -rade LVT from Trinity Surfaces.

ELM Surfaces incorporates tile design and specification, installation know-how, and project management services as part of a new business model to provide in demand tiles and services all under one location.

“What sets us apart, is our expert advice to the A&D community in specifying the right material for a specific application based on the tile’s physical properties,” said Megna. “I’m confident that our clients will be supported with the highest level of product expertise and customer service.”

One of the company’s hallmarks is developing strong connections with the A&D community.

“ELM Surfaces is built on our loyal client relationships, dedication and rapport that we have built together with our long-standing customers,” said Megna. The ELM Surfaces team includes: Kelsey Arrington, Customer Service and Operations Manager, and three Architectural Sales representatives: Nicole Grieco, Ed Gadomski and Tristin Eck. 

About Eugenio Megna

Previously the U.S. Director of Sales & Marketing for Fiandre and Transceramica, Megna has a 15-year successful track record working with an impressive list of architects, interior designers, general contractors and commercial real estate developers. He received a Master’s degree in Sales & Marketing from IULM University in Milan. 

About ELM Surfaces

ELM Surfaces supports the creative vision of architects and designers with an expansive array of design possibilities and material selection, along with field support, managing quality control, ordering, logistics and delivery. ELM Surfaces represents tile manufacturers both in Italy and the U.S. Founded in 2019, ELM Surfaces focuses on the specification of architectural surfaces for new construction, remodels, commercial real estate projects including, hospitality, healthcare, office buildings and educational facilities. The company’s services and product distribution are available across the U.S. For more information or to request an appointment visit www.elmsurfaces.com and follow us on Instagram and Pinterest @elmsurfaces

LATICRETE’s “Rapid Recovery” Awareness Campaign Provides Fast-Acting Solutions for a Rebounding Construction Industry

Leading manufacturer provides the recovering economy with nearly 100 rapid curing and multi-function solutions to finish construction jobs faster with less manpower

June 24, 2020, Bethany, Conn. — LATICRETE, a leading manufacturer of globally proven construction solutions for the building industry, has launched a new awareness campaign to combat the tightening timelines of a construction market working toward recovery. Through a focused effort toward educating installers and contractors on a broad array of the company’s high-performance rapid solutions, LATICRETE will help to get construction and following trades back to work and delayed projects back on track. Approximately 100 installation accelerating products for tile and stone, surface preparation, resinous and decorative flooring, shower installation systems and more have been carefully compiled and categorized in a central online hub for easier access and selection.

“Now more than ever, speed and the safe return to work are required to help us all rebound from the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the construction industry is being forced to play catch-up with compressed schedules and controlled jobsite access, LATICRETE is providing enhanced education and awareness of its rapid solutions to allow our customers to finish jobs faster and with less manpower. LATICRETE has rapid curing versions of many of our most popular products that help accelerate installation steps and multifunction products that eliminate some steps altogether,” said Spencer P. Maheu, LATICRETE Director, Product Management.

Fast-acting solutions include the SUPERCAP system, a premium self-leveling underlayment (SLU) that delivers perfectly flat floors three to four times faster than with small bag, small pump mixing. When moisture mitigation is needed before placing an SLU, VAPOR BAN™ Primer ER is both a premium moisture barrier and primer for SLUs, turning two steps into one. It is the fastest product on the market, helping contractors shave days off schedules and allowing following trades to get back to work faster. Pre-formed shower systems, which can save days on shower installations, are also available. HYDRO BAN Quick Cure Waterproofing Membrane, for instance, is a waterproofing membrane that boasts an impressive 30-minute dry time. For tile and stone applications, 253R Gold Rapid is a fast setting grout mix that can reduce a comparable installation from 24 hours to two to four hours. Another option is PERMACOLOR Select, an advanced high performance cement grout that offers the industry’s first dispensable dry pigment solution for tile and stone installations and works in three hours.

Multifunction solutions with two-in-one and three-in-one functions can effectively shave days, or even weeks, off schedules. These proven formulations work overtime and include 125 TRI MAX, which is a three-in-one product for crack isolation and sound reduction. The SPARTACOTE™ line of resinous and decorative flooring includes several solutions that offer fast return to service with minimum downtime and customizable, beautiful aesthetics. These seamless, nonslip, durable antimicrobial coatings can withstand heavy foot traffic, require low maintenance and resist stains and chemicals.

In addition to providing full technical and warranty support, LATICRETE offers free e-learning via LATICRETE University. Professional contractors can easily access industry and product information in short segments from the comfort of their home or office anytime. LATICRETE has the broadest range of installation accelerating products in the industry and all are in stock and ready to ship. For more information and a full list of the above and other LATICRETE rapid solutions, visit: laticrete.com/rapidrecovery.

New House Infrastructure Package to Boost Infrastructure, Economic Recovery and Jobs

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The Moving Forward Act’s Proposed $1.5 Trillion in New Investments Will Improve Range of Public Infrastructure, Creating Needed Demand for Construction While Making the Economy More Efficient

The chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America, Stephen E. Sandherr, issued the following statement in reaction to the release today of a proposed House measure, known as The Moving Forward Act, that seeks to invest $1.5 trillion in infrastructure:

“House leaders understand that one of the best ways to promote new economic growth is by investing in the nation’s aging, and often over-burdened, infrastructure. These investments will create needed new construction careers, promote demand for new construction equipment and materials, and ensure that the economy will be more efficient and effective for years to come. The new House infrastructure proposal will provide the kind of tangible benefits our economy needs to recover.

“The new measure also takes the broadest possible definition of infrastructure. In addition to investing in transportation systems, waterways, energy and drinking water, the measure also provides crucial funding for modernizing schools, health care facilities, new housing and environmental mitigation. These broad investments will support demand across many different construction sectors, helping offset expected declines in private sector activity.

“There is a lot to this bill, and there are details in the proposal that must be improved as the measure works its way through the legislative process. Among those is the need to identify additional, sustainable, long-term funding for future infrastructure improvements. However, we support the goal of rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, restoring demand for construction and reinvigorating our economy. That is why we are eager to work with both parties and the Trump administration to improve this proposal, with the goal of ultimately enacting a measure that helps rebuild America.”

SBA Rolls Out Dedicated Tool for Small Businesses to Connect with CDFIs, Small Asset Lenders Participating in PPP

PPP loan

WASHINGTON – Today,U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza announced the launch of a dedicated online tool for small businesses and non-profits to be matched with Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), Certified Development Companies (CDCs), Farm Credit System lenders, Microlenders, as well as traditional smaller asset size lenders in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). 

SBA’s Lender Match is an additional resource for pandemic-affected small businesses who have not applied for or received an approved PPP loan to connect with lenders.  The forgivable PPP loan is emergency relief assistance aimed at sustaining businesses and keeping employees on payroll.  Lender Match does not accept Economic Injury Disaster Loan applications.

“The SBA is focused on assisting eligible borrowers in underserved and disadvantaged communities and connecting them with forgivable PPP loans, especially before the June 30, 2020, application deadline,” said SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza.  “As communities begin to carefully reopen across the country, there are still many more opportunities to provide this assistance to businesses who have yet to access these forgivable loans.  SBA is utilizing these partnerships with CDFIs, MDIs, CDCs, Farm Credit System lenders, Microlenders and many other participating small asset lenders to ensure that access to this emergency funding reaches the most small businesses and their employees in need – a key priority for President Trump.”

Lender Match Background

Within two business days after entering their information into the Lender Match platform,a borrower receives an email from lenders who have been matched with them.  The borrower can see lenders’ requests for them to begin an application.  Borrowers are then able to begin the application process directly from the email they receive.

Lender Match was on pause due to CARES Act implementation priorities and loan volume. It is now being reinstated for CDFIs and other Small Asset Lenders.  Leads will only be forwarded to CDFIs and Lenders with < $10b in assets until the PPP program ends on June 30, 2020, at which time Lender Match will be open to all participating SBA Lenders.  Lender Match not only connects borrowers with accessing PPP loans, but also other SBA lending products, such as 7(a), 504, Microloans, and Community Advantage loans which are currently offering debt relief.

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