Looking with hopeful anticipation to turning the page and welcoming 2021

“An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.” 

– William E. Vaughan

It is October 30, and I am taking a breather between the Virtual Exhibits on the final day of the Total Solutions Plus (TSP) Virtual Conference, and the closing keynote by Peter Zeihan to write my Editor’s Letter. It’s been an interesting week. In many ways, the virtual conference has been useful, allowing me to type notes and story ideas during discussions and presentations, and finish up work on the December issue in between sessions. It’s been fun to see company reps during the Exhibit Hour or request info, albeit not “in person.” The Virtual Happy Hour led to some really connecting discussion in the Coverings room, and it almost felt like we were there live. Industry peeps who I talked to expressed the unsurprising desire to want to be around people: hug, handshake, meet in person away from virtual conferencing fatigue that many are experiencing. Yet there was also a widespread acknowledgment of the health challenges that we are all facing and the need – and maybe even gratitude – for this technology that still allows us to learn, be exposed to new ideas (even yoga!), engage in discussion and have face-to-face interactions of a sort.

The big take away is that whether in person or virtually, this is an industry that does what it takes to work together and move forward despite the challenges. And we already do that in many ways – the first Certified Tile Installer testing event for 2021 was announced this week (go to ceramictilefoundation.org for details), and companies are angling to carefully institute in-person trainings as early as spring 2021. The venue for TSP 2021 was announced this week – Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront, Jacksonville, Fla., from October 24-27, 2021. People are hopeful. 

In the meantime, we adapt to survive – we stay connected the ways we can, via webinars, online training, discussion, videos on the NTCA YouTube Channel, or NTCA TileTV. There’s a robust schedule of NTCA Roundtables Live! at tile-assn.com under the Education & Certification tab that allows for animated discussion: visit the site to find out more about roundtables scheduled this month. There are virtual trainings offered by individual manufacturers. There’s nothing like getting your hands dirty learning new methods and working with new products, but these virtual events can lay the groundwork so that when in-person opens up again, you can hit the ground running.

And of course, there is always the TileLetter resource that brings information, and hopefully inspiration monthly and also online daily at tileletter.com, now with a new more accessible format across platforms and devices. This December issue has a wealth of information that can enhance your business operations and up your technical game. 

This issue also contains news of an entrance and an exit. Martin Brookes has penned his first President’s Letter for TileLetter and you can read about his vision for NTCA and the industry in this issue. Also, it is our sad duty to report the passing of Dan Hecox, of Hecox Construction, Inc., in York, Neb. He left a giant hole in the fabric of the industry, where he was known for his enthusiasm, positive outlook, generous attitude and constant willingness to help out and to share information with others. Read more about our late friend in this issue.

Since it’s December, and the month of many holidays, please do take some time to value and uphold each other, especially during a time that is unlike any other most of us have lived through. There are still safe ways to celebrate and express love for each other that don’t put health in danger – don’t let the challenge of doing so prevent you from doing so. We are a creative lot! We can do this. And let’s look with hopeful anticipation to turning the page on this calendar year and welcoming in 2021, and the many opportunities it brings. Happy, merry, blessed to all!

God bless,
Lesley 
[email protected]

NTCA – giving you a voice and a presence

“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” 
– Malala Yousafzai

November is a watershed time for our country. Unless you are living under a rock (and even then!), it will have been nearly impossible to avoid the political cacophony that precedes a general election. It’s my personal hope that you made your voice heard by casting your vote on November 3, by early voting, mail or absentee ballot. You may feel that only one vote doesn’t matter, but scores and hundreds and thousands and millions of “one votes” help dictate the course of history. It’s our privilege, right and responsibility as Americans to vote – so hoping you haven’t let your chance to have a voice slip by.

Speaking of having a voice, NTCA is a way you can have a voice in your industry. Though we still are not meeting in person for the most part, NTCA has a number of opportunities for learning and sharing input, ideas, suggestions – and even gripes – with the industry as a whole. Head over to the Education & Certification tab at www.tile-assn.com and see the lineup of virtual training opportunities, especially the NTCA Roundtable Live. These roundtables give the industry an opportunity to converse in a relaxed setting, sometimes with a topic in mind and sometimes in an open forum. Check it out, read our Training and Education feature this month, which focuses on CUSTOM’s sponsorship of the roundtables, and join us in the coming months.

Another way to have a voice – and a presence – is by being profiled in our monthly NTCA Member Spotlight. This is one of the most read features of TileLetter because it shows beautiful member work, provides insight into what members are doing, and illustrates how they are achieving success. We’re lining up spotlights for 2021 so, if you’re interested in being profiled, reach out to me at [email protected].

Chris Walker of David Allen Company has had a prominent voice in NTCA, TileLetter, and the industry for the past two years as NTCA President; this month marks his last President’s Letter as he turns the NTCA reins over to Martin Brookes of Heritage Marble and Tile. Chris has offered experienced, thoughtful, insightful guidance in his letters each month and to the association as a whole. We welcome future guest columns from him in TileLetter and his continued dedication to the industry as NTCA Chairman of the Board and his involvement with essential industry committees.

Member Jim Upton of Tiger Mountain Tile voiced his opinion over a recent technical article by fellow member Joseph Mattice, On the Level, in our Letter to the Editor this month. Got an opinion you want to share? Send me a letter!

Enjoy perusing the other features in this issue and the information they bring, from understanding how behavior style impacts construction culture in our Business feature, to learning how using templates can make your job easier in our Technical feature by NTCA Trainer Robb Roderick, to a synopsis of the Coverings Connected session on using pedestal systems and pavers, to a unique take on our One-to-One feature, in which NTCA Executive Director /TileLetter Publisher Bart Bettiga tackles five topics related to the direction the NTCA is taking to remain relevant as a leading trade association in the flooring industry.  

And remember to visit tileletter.com to read the monthly TileLetter Digital magazine in a new interactive, mobile responsive format. Whether you read TileLetter in print or online, we hope you find something that makes your business run more smoothly and more profitably!

God bless,
Lesley 
[email protected]

TECH – keeping you on top of technological trends

“Our future success is directly proportional to our ability to understand, adopt and integrate new technology into our work.” 
– Sukant Ratnakar, author


For my letter for this TECH issue, I want to lean heavily on some thoughts penned about the tile industry by Gianna Vallefuoco of NTCA Five-Star Contractor Vallefuoco Contractors, LLC of Rockville, Md. 

Vallefuoco notes, “As one of few fields still heavily reliant on a human skill set, the tile industry is renowned for its indelible hands-on craftsmanship. This has proven to be a huge asset for us as a tile contractor during the pandemic. Being among the scarce industries deemed ‘essential,’ we’ve managed to work throughout the darkest days of this year’s struggling economy. Much of our capacity to stay employed has hinged on the incredible effort and innovation of our supply chain. Our manufacturers and vendors have not only kept us stocked with staple setting materials, but they’ve pivoted to create new and adaptive products to address our changing needs.”

She adds, “Social distancing requirements have prohibited us from working side by side with other trades as we did before. This has greatly prolonged overall project length for the client. Any means of reducing our installation time has become essential. Another priority has been to help clients choose tile accessories without having to leave their homes. Tile industry technology – as well as targeted marketing campaigns – have readily accommodated our need for two categories of products in 2020; those that reduce installation time and those that satisfy our clients’ needs.”

These thoughts set the stage for the TECH 2020 issue, that explores emerging and popular technologies in use in the industry, provides an overview of those advances, and presents thoughts by contractors in select categories about the need and positive contribution these technologies offer to the trade of tile setting. Some of these technologies in this issue also do double duty, which saves time and money as you plan your timeline and budget.

Also in this issue, we present a number of feature stories, including insights on installing encaustic, cement or hydraulic tile, authored by John Cox, with support from some industry experts, an overview of what the virtual Total Solutions Plus (TSP) will offer you later this month, and an announcement of the NTCA Five-Star Project of the Year winners. On the latter, check TileLetter.com for expanded information and supporting videos of these outstanding projects by expert contractors. 

It’s our hope that this issue helps you to get on top of the technological trends and harness the advantages they offer to make your projects more efficient, well-performing, and beautiful. We hope you find a nugget of information that helps your encaustic installs, become inspired by the award winners, or find a session to support your business on the virtual TSP agenda. If you walk away with one insight that benefits your work flow, or one new product that makes your life easier, our job is done! 

God bless, 
Lesley
[email protected]

Championing women

“To love what you do and feel like it matters, how could anything be more fun?” – Katherine Graham, publisher of the Washington Post, first American female Fortune 500 CEO


Ten years ago, in 2010, we at TileLetter made the decision to shine a light on the role, leadership and influence of women in what is traditionally thought of as the male-dominated industry of tile installation and contracting. Thus the “Women in Tile” feature was born.

In our 10th anniversary year, we continue this tradition, profiling three prominent women, including NTCA’s own illustrious Art Director Michelle Chapman – who in addition to wearing a slew of hats over the years – is celebrating her very own 20th anniversary with NTCA.

We continue championing women in this issue with our cover story, in which LATICRETE visits with Angie Halford Ré, who was originally included in TileLetter’s WIT feature in 2017. Bart Bettiga talks with Heidi Martin of United Tile, learning about her perspective on a range of topics that the Pacific Northwest distributor must face, from strategic decisions or changes that needed to be made due to COVID-19, to the importance of involvement in industry affiliations and associations. 

And our Member Spotlight focuses on Linette Brown of Able Tile in Knoxville, Tenn., exploring how a family-owned business has redefined its niche in the market over the years. 

The Tile Setter Craftsperson of the Year Awards have been announced – and you can read more about the Commercial Winner, Ferid Hasic of Grazzini Brothers & Company in Eagan, Minn., and the Residential Winner, Leonardo Reynaga, of Visalia Ceramic Tile in Visalia, Calif. 

Joseph Mattice of On The Level in Greenville, S.C., reprises his take on technical issues in the industry by exploring the difference between solely installing tile and building a tile assembly designed to perform and last for the long haul. 

Finally, Dean R. Adams, Associate/Project Manager, CCSMTT, CTLGroup, a consulting engineering and materials science firm that provides engineering, testing and scientific services in a range of markets, pens an article on the importance of accurate record keeping. 

Next year (oh, and we all ARE longing for next year, aren’t we?), look for our Women in Tile feature in the March issue. We’re relocating this story to coincide with Women in Construction Week, which takes place March 7 – 13, 2021, by the National Association of Women in Construction. 

Until then, let’s appreciate the value every member of the industry brings to it, and support each other to elevate the trade and its excellence and artistry. And since this year is the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment that opened the door for women to have the vote – and we are coming up on the election next month – let me take this opportunity to urge women and men alike to exercise your rights to VOTE in November!

God bless,
Lesley
[email protected]

Where there’s tile, there’s beauty

Life can be beautiful. Maybe you’re not feeling that so much this year, but it’s my observation that where there’s tile, there’s beauty!

This month’s issue focuses on artisan tile installations and decorative tile – breathtaking installations that bring form and color and poetry to settings, sometimes literally. For instance, you’ll find a story in this issue about the ALMA (Apprenticeships for Leaders in Mosaic Arts) Summer Institute, that employs youth aged 16-25 each summer to conceptualize, design, create and glaze mosaic tiles, then install them in public sites around Albuquerque and other cities in New Mexico. 

Another stunning project detailed in this issue is the Corte Madera Pool Grotto, a spectacular example of tile setting by Heritage Marble & Tile, Inc., from Mill Valley, Calif., which won the Coverings Installation & Design Award for Residential Tile Installation. In addition to the level of precision required in this design, challenges along the way required complex on-site adjustments to complete the job within the desired time frame. 

Any trade needs new blood to keep things fresh, and the tile trade is no exception. In our Business section, tile artisans Lee Callewaert of Dragonfly Tile & StoneWorks and Joshua Nordstrom from Tierra Tile talk about how to attract young people to the tile trade, and why it is a great option for those seeking a career that allows them to exercise their creativity. 

Our Member Spotlight, Shawn King of Shawn King, Inc., exemplifies this principle. A true artist, he chose the world of tile setting to practice his art in a new way, executing kitchen and bathroom remodels from his New Port Richie, Fla., location. 

Bart Bettiga wraps up his One-to-One interview with legendary industry expert Dave Gobis in this issue. And if you are feeling a hankering for all that great education and training that NTCA is known for, fear not – our Training and Education feature details fabulous online opportunities for you to learn from NTCA Workshops and take part in NTCA Roundtables Live. Plus, learn about a new NTCA VIP Text Messaging Program that alerts you to educational opportunities in your area, virtually and – God willing – when our trainers get back on the road. Just text NTCA to 31996 from your mobile phone to get connected!

Hope you find some content in this issue to inspire you, lift your spirits, and remind you that you are part of a timeline of stunning workmanship and craftsmanship, with a rich history and a bright future.

God bless,
Lesley
[email protected]

Green issue focuses on sustainability, eco-friendly and pro-health issues in our industry

Welcome to the August GREEN issue, where we focus on the sustainability, eco-friendly and – especially now – pro-health issues in our industry. 

To that end, NTCA Technical Director Mark Heinlein explores the current state of OSHA’s Respirable Airborne Silica regulation, and how to adhere to the regulation and safeguard your lungs from irreversible silicosis.

Bill Griese, TCNA Director of Standards Development and Sustainability Initiatives, has contributed a story that examines the role ceramic tile floors, walls, and countertops play in green building and health initiatives. He discusses how disinfectants play into the picture, as well as the addition of antiviral testing to the suite of services offered by TCNA’s Product Performance Testing Laboratory.

In our A&D Corner, we talk about demands from the marketplace for products like ceramic tile and quartz surfacing materials that support easy sanitization and contribute to cleaner settings, especially in the pandemic era.

This issue offers a second technical article for your consideration – Joseph Mattice of On The Level Flooring in Greenville, S.C. has penned an article about the travails of using hybrid shower systems. You may be tempted to concoct a Franken-shower, but it could turn out to be more of a monster than you bargained for. 

In our Training & Education section, we explore a learning opportunity you may not know about on Facebook: one-to-one mentoring. NTCA member Brad Denny of Nichols Tile & Terrazzo in Joelton, Tenn., who is a mentor in both NTCA Members Only and Tile Geeks Facebook groups, discusses how the programs work and how to take advantage of industry mentors to support your business. 

Did you notice something different on the cover of TileLetter? Last month we added a new selling/tag line: “The industry’s leading tile installation magazine.” This official statement proclaims TileLetter’s prominence and strength among installation-related publications in our industry. When it comes to all things installation, TileLetter is YOUR magazine!

How have you been faring through the pandemic? Do you know contractors and suppliers are sharing their thoughts in our Contractor Perspective and Supplier Perspective stories, posted regularly on tileletter.com? This is a collection of first-person musings about business conditions, work challenges, and the emotional roller coaster the pandemic has been for many of us. Chances are, whatever you are feeling and experiencing, you’re not alone. Visit the site for some online camaraderie – and share your own stories with us by emailing [email protected].

As summer is winding down, take some time to enjoy the long, warm days and catch your breath before the challenges of autumn arrive. 

God bless, Lesley

No mistakes – only happy accidents

“We don’t make mistakes. We make happy accidents.”  – Bob Ross

Here we are in midsummer – time for a check in. How is everyone doing?

I’m writing the last week of May, and I don’t have a crystal ball that will tell me how conditions will be when you receive this magazine in July. Like many of you, I’ve experienced a lot of my social interactions online, including an inspirational church service I enjoyed just last week via Facebook Live. Minister Debbie O’Connor of the Unity Church of Albuquerque and Rio Rancho delivered a sermon that touched on the rules of improvisational comedy as a guide to getting through these times, which are unprecedented in our lifetime. And I just so happened to have a copy of Tina Fey’s Bossypants in my library, which includes a dog-eared section that addresses these self-same rules of improvisation. These “rules” spoke to me, since more than anything these days, I feel like we are making up life as we go along.

So, in a nutshell, the rules are:

  1. Agree, say yes – never say no. If the improvisational actor says, “I’m on fire,” it grinds the skit to a halt to say, “No you’re not.” Fey says this rule invites you to start from an open-minded place. Basically, we are talking about acceptance. “Yes, we are in a pandemic, with a business to run.” It gives us more room to move than rigidly shutting down. O’Connor says to think of it as “Given this, now what?”
  2. Say “Yes, AND” – “You’re on fire, AND I have these marshmallows to roast! Awesome!” ADD to the situation. “Yes, we are in a pandemic, with a business to run AND I can use this time to hone that marketing plan I’ve been putting off.” Fey says, “YES, AND means don’t be afraid to contribute…always make sure you’re adding something to the discussion.”
  3. Make STATEMENTS. “Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles.” She also says just asking questions just puts pressure on OTHERS to come up with the answers. Be definitive and claim your power with what you declare.
  4. There are no mistakes – Maybe this is the most important rule, and one we probably never learned in school. You may start out in one direction (honing your marketing plan due to the looming pandemic), which may lead you to another path (attending a virtual training that helps you tackle a stubborn problem you’ve always had with installation). Leave room for “happy accidents,” Fey says. Those who may be familiar with PBS artist Bob Ross knows he is famous for turning smudges or unplanned marks on his canvas into part of the scenery. “Ever make mistakes in life?” he asked. “Let’s turn them into birds. Yeah, they’re birds now.” 

At the heart of it, this is encouragement to accept what’s before you and be creative, strong and gentle with yourself as you move through the current situation. We can strain and stress, but that’s not going to be good for us physically or mentally and it stops the flow of creativity. Try these rules of improv and see if they don’t improve your outlook or your approach to this phase of your business, and help you keep up – with more grace – in this fast-changing world.

In the meantime, check out our TileLetter content this month, from Scott Carothers’ easy-as-pie recipe for creating expansion joints to Pavlo Starykov’s findings on staining in marble showers, to Robb Roderick’s chronicle of a day in the life of an NTCA trainer, to a profile of the husband-and-wife team of Eric and Jennifer Blumer of NTCA Member EJ Flooring. Also take a look at a recap of the historic, first-ever, virtual Coverings Connected. 

Whatever you do, keep the faith. 

God bless,
Lesley
[email protected]

Change can be beautiful

“The caterpillar does all the work, but the butterfly gets all the publicity.”  – George Carlin

It’s obvious that when a caterpillar goes into its chrysalis on its way to being a butterfly, lots of changes take place. Squirmy little caterpillars don’t become lithe, beautiful, winged beings overnight – and not without struggle. What actually happens inside the chrysalis is that the caterpillar body dissolves into mush. “Imaginal cells” – cells that had been dormant in the caterpillar form –activate and start to create the process of reforming all the organic material into the stunning butterfly that will emerge. 

Imaginal cells don’t initially cooperate – they exist and operate independently, and are even attacked by the immune system when it doesn’t recognize them as being an integral part of the being. Over time, they multiply, and start to entrain with each other, cooperating and communicating to work in tandem and emerge as a brand new being. 

This analogy is often used in spiritual and psychological circles to explain the changes that take place in individuals during periods of growth and struggle. But how much more does it apply right now to our country and our industry? Coronavirus has dissolved our usual structures and behaviors into an amorphous soup of sorts. We are in a holding pattern in the “chrysalis” of our own homes – some of us working, some of us unemployed with time on our hands, some of us receiving government relief; some of us struggling mightily to pay our bills and care for our families with lack of income; some of us taking on different jobs to make ends meet in the interim; some of us managing this emotional and economic limbo with patience and grace (with the help of chocolate or alcohol), and some of us acting with impatience and aggression, insisting we get back to being caterpillars!

Now in June, where do we stand? How far along to becoming butterflies do we find ourselves? Has your state “opened up?” Partially? Completely? What is the caseload of infections like in your area? How have you changed your work process to operate safely during the crisis, and how will you engage in public gatherings as the summer wears on? Have you received government relief to assist your business or has red tape or inadequate funding grounded you? 

It seems to me that we are still in chrysalis mode (as of this writing on April 27), and the new “being” that will emerge is still forming. We are adopting new features. Our major trade show was cancelled, but 4,000 people attended or participated in the virtual trade show Coverings Connected at coverings.com. People are connecting professionally and personally via Facebook, Zoom, GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts and other virtual conferencing services for meetings, classes, worship services and even dinners and cocktail parties. I recently got to virtually meet people I had only emailed with during a Tile Chix zoom cocktail party. You’ll read about some of these creative technologies in this month’s Business story, written by Contributing Editor Louis Iannoco. 

NTCA has partnered with workshop hosts to convert in-person events into virtual training events, to continue bringing important information to tile contractors. And because NTCA trainers are not traveling to NTCA Workshops, they have some time to author excellent technical articles for TileLetter, like the piece on layout this month, written by Robb Roderick.

No one knows the exact trajectory for this metamorphosis. The hope is that we begin to entrain and work together – as an industry and a country – to emerge with new skills, technologies and economic structures that characterize a new incarnation of what has existed before. It could be a beautiful thing. Let’s do what we can to make it so. 

Blessings,
Lesley
[email protected]

Your focus determines your reality

Your focus determines your reality.” – Qui Gon Jinn, Star Wars

Happy May. How is everyone doing? We have had quite the wild ride for the last few months. We’ve seen the cancellation of Coverings, and other events – and heavens knows what else between March 20, when I am writing this – and by the time you receive your issue. We are all doing our best to manage the tremendous challenges that we are facing personally and professionally. Since this is a fast-changing situation, we are addressing things as they come up on tileletter.com and in our digital newsletters which allow us to post pertinent information for you as it arises and as it shifts. We also are posting links and resources on www.tile-assn.com. But look to Tileletter print edition for evergreen topics and informative, educational and inspirational articles with information you can incorporate into your business and successes in the industry we can all celebrate, even while social distancing.

For your reading pleasure in this issue, check out Bart Bettiga’s interview with Robert Roberson of David Allen Company. As this company celebrates its 100-year anniversary, Mr. Roberson, a legend in his industry, shares a long-term perspective of the industry, the company and involvement with NTCA.

Are you a qualified installer who yearns to work with Cosentino’s Dekton ultracompact panels? Now’s your chance. Learn about the emergence of Dekton University, which Cosentino has fully committed to and invested in to train tile contractors to handle and install this material, blowing the market wide open for Cosentino and adding to the skill set of dedicated contractors across the country.

We get to know Michelle Blomquist Hamilton – originator of the Tile Chix group on Facebook – in this issue’s Member Spotlight, that focuses on how her passion and desire to excel and create are powering the business she shares with her husband.

Stumped by the estimating process? Luke Miller of Tile Money walks you through a clear, concise process of determining cost and profit in our Business article. And in our Technical section, ARDEX’s Mark Pennine explores proper substrate preparation, even more important these days with large-format and gauged porcelain slabs growing in popularity. 

A special report takes a look at the news coming out of the Cevisama show, held in Spain in early February. 

Finally, if you’re a Star Wars fan, you’ll want to read our Case Study this month. Jonathan Stanton transforms the old broken-down bathroom in his company’s new shop into a mosaic masterpiece and homage to Star Wars, complete with a shower mural of Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader and Yoda, and other intentional finishing and accessory touches that make the space a true delight.

Whatever you do this month, be kind and gentle to yourself and to those around you. These are some crazy times. But our industry – and our country – can get through them if we work together, respect each other, and stay mindful of what’s needed to emerge healthy from this current adventure. May the Force be with you.

God bless,

Lesley
[email protected]

Happy Spring TileLetter readers!

Greetings readers! By now, hopefully spring will have sprung in your town and you are enjoying warm weather, balmy breezes and blooming flowers. No matter how mild your winter, the colors and warmth of spring are always welcome.

Did you attend TISE back in January? If you didn’t (and even if you did), check out our product section that brings you news of some fresh finds on the show floor in Vegas. And NTCA – along with CTEF – was out in force at the show. See what was percolating in booths, in the conference programs and demo sessions. I don’t think there’s a tile contractor in our industry that isn’t grateful for the amazing advances in setting materials that have developed over the years. But sometimes, doing it the “old fashioned way” – namely with mud or mortar beds – is the only way to achieve your desired result. Peruse the mud story in our Technical section, authored by Martin Brookes, with help from some mud experts. And if you want to learn more about mud – or mentor others new to the medium – put Mario Garcia’s Mud4 event on your calendar for February 27, 2021; new California location to be announced. The Mud3 event that just took place at the end of February drew 300 people from 17 states and Canada to demos, classes and the opportunity for installers to meet and network. And 13 people took the Certified Tile Installer program the day before, too! Stay informed at themudevent.com  

The Mud3 Event that took place at the end of February in Fresno, Calif. 

Healthcare is on everyone’s minds these days. Writer Phillip M. Perry gives us a tour through currently available options, with some insights that might help you navigate the labyrinth of healthcare options more easily and find affordable, broad coverage that can help you sleep easier at night.

Are you an NTCA Five-Star Contractor or thinking about becoming one? In this issue, NTCA Five-Star Program Director Amber Fox provides an overview of the program, what’s on the horizon and information about upcoming re-certification. 

Bart Bettiga interviews MAPEI President and CEO Luigi Di Geso in this issue’s One-to-One section. Di Geso talks about the huge influence of Dr. Giorgio Squinzi and the direction the new leadership is taking, an overview of MAPEI markets, what’s coming up in the tile and stone installation products category, and how MAPEI supports qualified labor. 

We lost a few industry greats in recent months. TileLetter pays tribute to Jerry Zakim and Albert Thompson, sharing some remembrances of these two legendary forces in our industry. Let’s take this chance, as we remember these two industry greats, to appreciate each other and what we all bring to this industry and each other’s lives. And maybe tell each other what you appreciate about them, while you can. 

God bless,

Lesley
[email protected] 

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