Over the summer months, NTCA presenters Gerald Sloan and Michael Whistler continue road-tripping across the country, bringing the NTCA Tile & Stone Workshops to host sites for an evening of education, camaraderie, raffle prizes, networking and of course, delicious food.
Louisville Tile Knoxville
We reported on Sloan’s swing through several Louisville Tile Distributors (LTD) sites in our July issue. This month, we wrap up with the Knoxville installments of the Tile& Stone Workshop at LTD.
Bend and Salem
In June, NTCA presenter Michael Whistler toured the Pacific Northwest, bringing the NTCA Tile & Stone Workshop to Daltile locations in Bend and Salem, Ore. Whistler focused on bringing information on mosaic installation, glass tile and pre-manufactured shower systems to the attendees at these events.
Whistler also rolled out the NTCA Tile & Stone Workshop program at the Portland home of American Olean and Marazzi, two Daltile brands.
Louisville Tile Distributors (LTD) is deeply invested in education for staff and customers – so much so that the company schedules NTCA Tile & Stone Workshops every other year at several of its locations.
“We believe the workshops are a great opportunity for us to help educate, train and promote the tile industry,” said Don Kincaid, LTD vice president. “The rapid pace of change and introduction of new products and methods makes the workshops more valuable and relevant than ever. Our employees take pride in getting attendance at the events and do not want their branch to be the ‘low man’ on the attendance list.“
Attendance at the June workshop at the Indianapolis/Fisher branch included 80 customers, 15 vendors and 20 employees, said Brian Dillard, operations manager for the location. “The hot topic was the installing of mosaic and the large thin tiles. [NTCA’s Gerald Sloan] is a great guy and always does a good job with these shows.”
J.T. Wenger, general manager of the Evansville, Ind., location, said “We had 19 vendors and 58 contractors in attendance.” Attendees were most interested in cleaning of tile and large-format installation. “This was by far our best seminar to date,” Wenger said. “We had good participation, excellent fried chicken, and Gerald was very informative as always. We are excited for the next class and thinking of ways to outdo this very successful event!”
At this writing, six workshops have been completed with 248 attendees – and two more are scheduled. “We anticipate well over 300 attendees,” Kincaid said.
Kincaid added, “Vendor table tops prior to event and the pertinent subject matter during the workshops allow tile mechanics, architects, estimators and all industry attendees a chance to learn together. In many cases, full-time mechanics who set tile every day never get the opportunity to see the industry. The workshops provide a forum for everyone in the industry to interact with our staff, suppliers and other channel members. The exchange and feedback is invaluable for all attendees.
“Our industry is changing very fast, with bigger and thinner tile , new grouts and thinsets, leveling systems, tools and more,” Kincaid added. “Disseminating information is very challenging, therefore the workshops are a great opportunity for us and the industry to connect and interact.”
60 years strong
This year was even more special, since the company, which has grown to eight locations, is celebrating its 60th year in business.
Kincaid said the company is adding its 60th anniversary logo to business cards, stationery, banners and all communication tools this year.
“We will be hosting eight birthday parties, one for each location, in reverse chronological order – newest to oldest,” he added. “The Louisville celebration, September 22, will be a grand finale with attendance of the company founder, Jud Wilcox.”
NTCA began 2012 with an expanded schedule of NTCA Tile & Stone Symposiums with Gerald Sloan, NTCA training director, and Michael Whistler, NTCA trainer and Symposium presenter, imparting their knowledge and experience to installers and other personnel spanning the U.S. Here’s just a sampling of events that took place through May, in an all-new Symposium format and curriculum.
The March 7, 2012 Symposium at Daltile in Plano, Texas, presented by Michael Whistler, was hailed as a great success. Paul Hansen, Daltile senior director of allied products sales, noted, “This was a fantastic production with excellent turnout and tremendous supplier support. We consider this a slam-dunk event!”
Boynton Beach, Fla.
Scott Lang, branch manager of Keys Granite, a Daltile company in Boynton Beach, Florida, complimented Gerald Sloan on the April 25, 2012 Symposium. “You certainly have this road show program presentation engineered to be self-sufficient, productive, and very informative. I received many positive comments during the event, and every participant felt it was valuable time spent. Well done!”
Farmington Hills/Detroit, Mich.
On May 2, Michael Whistler rolled into the Farmington Hills/Detroit area Daltile, where he was welcomed by a crowd of 111. A seven-piece Mariachi band played during the Mexican-themed meal hour to celebrate upcoming Cinco de Mayo.
“The Dal staff did incredible work to transform a mundane warehouse setting into a very nice show area,” Whistler said. “First, they curtained off most of the surrounding pallet racking, hung numerous banners to further cover racks, and then they laid carpeting over the concrete. They even had a carpet runner leading from the showroom area, where the food was set up, to the show area.”
Joining in the event in the newly remodeled showroom were Jeff Glazier, branch manager, Daltile royalty Harold Turk and many Dal upper echelon management in attendance. Also in attendance were Dave Rogers, NTCA Area 5 Board Director, who volunteered as cameraman and erstwhile assistant, Steve Maloney and Frank Fazi, NTCA Five Star contractors, and TCNA’s Stephanie Samulski with her husband Phil, tile contractor.
On May 23, Whistler engaged an attentive crowd of contractors and architects at Daltile in Albuquerque. TileLetter/TADA editor Lesley Goddin, who makes her home in Albuquerque, helped welcome guests and photographed the event, while her sweetie John Vandermey operated the video camera. (This is how Goddin and Vandermey spent their 11th anniversary!)
Angelica Saiz of Creative Touch Interiors called the Symposium “interesting and informative. My big takeaways from the presentation were the coverage example of thin-set with straight trowel lines vs. swirl. The pros of using medium bed thin-set mortar for large format tile made a lot of sense. I enjoyed the presenter – he engaged the audience and was very knowledgeable.”
Architect Ken Cook, AIA, CSI from The Hartman + Majewski Design Group added, “The substrate requirements will probably affect how we do specifications and details.”
On May 29, 35 people joined Gerald Sloan at the Plymouth, Mass., Daltile for a highly interactive and enthusiastically-received Symposium. “People were thrilled to get information from the TCNA Handbook,” Sloan said. Three memberships resulted from this event, spurred on by a huge interest in the NTCA Reference Manual and its highly-useful cause/cure/prevention format. “They were very impressed with information from the Reference Manual, and wanted to know more about it and get involved with NTCA,” he said.
NTCA Tile & Stone Symposiums are an excellent way for installers, designers, specifiers or salespeople to stay abreast of rapidly-changing information and products for the tile and stone community. Each Symposium includes information on the many changes in the TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation, such as installation of large format tile, glass tile and mosaics, membranes, backer boards, and shower receptors, pans and moisture management. Two Symposium programs educate architects and designers on the avoidance of specification pitfalls with tile, stone, and setting materials. All programs provide live demonstrations, with an open forum for discussion and networking, potentially solving installation challenges before they occur.
A schedule of future Symposiums is included in each issue of TileLetter, and the full schedule for the rest of 2012 is also posted on NTCA’s website at www.tile-assn.com. Take advantage of this educational opportunity when you see an event listed in your city; it will be well worth the time and effort invested.