Qualified Labor – March 2017

The Benefits of Certification

By Terryn Rutford, Social Structure Marketing

The Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program run by the Certified Tile Education Foundation (CTEF)  encourages installers to test their skills against industry standards. It offers industry members the chance to establish their place among the best and brightest installers. During Total Solutions Plus in

Dirk Sullivan

Palm Desert last October, several NTCA members were interviewed about the benefits of certification.

 

 “It really is a way for me to categorize my installers as well as let them know where they stand,” said Dirk Sullivan, NTCA state ambassador for Oregon and owner of Hawthorne Tile, and State Ambassador. “It helps them want to move forward in the industry and to know what they have to do to get there.”

Martin Brookes

 

 

The CTI program leads to better installations and increased wages across the industry. Martin Brookes, with Heritage Marble and Tile in Mill Valley, Calif., and NTCA 2nd Vice president said, “We’ve had great success using the program to elevate workmanship,  to elevate the confidence of our guys to do higher-end installations, and higher commitment to the standard of quality of

Brad Denny

work. It’s been really advantageous to Heritage Marble and Tile.”

 

 

As the industry rises in reputation and reliability, its members benefit. “The CTI program allows me to offer something to my customers that not everyone else can,” said Brad Denny, NTCA regional director and State Ambassador, and project manager at Nichols Tile & Terrazzo Co. Inc., Joelton, Tenn.

Erin Albrecht

 

In addition to being a benefit to the installer, the CTI program is a boon to the installation company. “We’ve been located by people across the country using the database through the CTEF and NTCA websites,” said Erin Albrecht, chief operations officer of J&R Tile in San Antonio, Texas. And every year the construction industry is recognizing certification as more important.

James Woelfel

Artcraft Granite, Marble & Tile Co. saw a huge financial benefit after receiving a request for certified installers. “Five years ago we had an owner call us and say, we’re looking for CTEF-certified installers and we can’t find anyone who knows what they’re doing,” said James Woelfel, Artcraft vice president and NTCA chairman of the board. “It generated at least a billion dollars worth of work over the last six years,” he said.

Overall, certification raises the industry standard and encourages quality installation. “I think what we have seen is a different culture of

Kevin Fox

professionalism in the trade,” said Kevin Fox, president and owner of Fox Ceramic Tile, Inc., in St. Marys, Kan., and chairman of the NTCA Methods and Standards Committee. “It took us a while to get a buy in on it. We have a lot of installers that have been doing [installation] for 20 to 30 years, so it took me a while to convince them to validate their skills. We need those skills validated as a company as we’re talking to general contractors, especially those who aren’t familiar with us. And we also need it validated for even repeat customers that are looking for clients that will provide a consistent product.”

Martin Howard

The tile industry is moving toward certification as a standard. Martin Howard of David Allen Company in Raleigh, N.C., and current NTCA president observed, “It really does set you apart from your competitors and it also validates your skill and it validates the knowledge that you have and the hard work you’ve put in to get where you are.” The more installers who are certified the better off the industry is as a whole.

Jan Hohn

Jan Hohn of Hohn & Hohn, Inc., in St. Paul, Minn., said, “It was a selling point I could talk to general contractors about, to architects, and designers to let them know we had passed a national test and it said we were qualified to install tile.” As more contractors, architects, and designers recognize certification as evidence of quality installers, certification will become ever more important to the industry and its members.

For more information, visit https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/certified-tile-installer-cti-program.

30 Openings available for CTI test at Coverings; Registration fee reduced during the show

Are you – or someone you know – ready to become a Certified Tile Installer (CTI)?

CTEF is making it easy for you to add this credential to your business. At at Coverings17 in Orlando, Florida, there are 30 openings over three days for the hands-on test. Choose between Tuesday, April 4, Wednesday, April 5 or Thursday, April 6.

In addition, during Coverings 17, you can register for the CTI exam for only $295 — that’s a $200 savings over the standard $495 exam fee.

To learn more about the CTI program, click on Becoming a Certified Tile Installer: What’s Involved?

The future of the tile industry depends on having trusted professionals who are nationally recognized as qualified labor. Sign up today – and invite a colleague — to become part of the future!

Register here:http://bit.ly/2nxqNro.

 

New Regional Evaluators expand CTI Certification opportunities

New Regional Evaluators expand CTI Certification opportunities

As of TISE West/Surfaces, there are 10 new Regional Evaluators at your service for the Ceramic  Tile Education Foundation’s (CTEF)  Certified Tile Installer (CTI)  Certification program. That means that installers no longer need wait until classes reach 10 or more students before they are able to take the hands-on portion of the exam and achieve industry-recognized certification and validation of skills and knowledge.

Qualified labor, like CTI Certification and the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT), has been included in the MasterSpec and is being specified by more members of the A&D community.

Brad Denny (l.) and Dave Rogers are two new CTI Regional Evaluators.

The CTI test consists of a written, open-book, 155 question, multiple-choice exam that can be taken online and a live, in-person, hands-on test, which is monitored and assessed by Regional Evaluators. In it, installers must demonstrate their ability to execute a complex layout and proper installation of vapor retarder membrane, backer board, tile (walls and floors), cementitious grout, and flexible sealant (caulk). For each installation material, the applicant is scored on the various aspects of workmanship relevant to producing an installation that will endure use and satisfy the discriminating client.

Those who pass both parts of the exam receive a CTI certificate, plastic wallet ID card, CTI logo for use on cards, vehicles, websites and other marketing materials, consumer brochures and a listing on the CTEF website.  Any installer who has had at least two years of verifiable experience as the lead installer setting ceramic tile on a full-time basis is eligible to take the CTI exam. Study materials are supplied for those undergoing the test.

Led by Regional Evaluator coordinator Kevin Insalato, this troupe of Regional Evaluators now includes:

  • Brad Denny, Nichols Tile & Terrazzo – Joelton, Tenn.
  • Dan Hecox, Hecox Construction – York, Neb.
  • Joe Kerber at Kerber Tile – Shakopee, Minn.
  • Matt Newbold, Elite tile Setters – Lehi Utah.
  • Dave Rogers, Welch Tile – Kent City, Mich.
  • Tom Cravillion, Cravillion Tile – Plymouth, Wis.
  • Triniti Vigil, J&R Tile – San Antonio Texas.
  • Rafael Lopez, California Flooring – Manteno, Ill.
  • Mark Heinlein, NTCA trainer
  • Robb Roderick , NTCA trainer

In addition, Scott Carothers, director of Training and Certification for CTEF, is conducting CTI exams, with plans to concentrate on and grow  ACT certifications in the future. This team of evaluators has expanded the opportunities for CTI certification. The current schedule of CTI certifications is as follows:

  • February 21 – Heuler Tile, Pewaukee, WI
  • March 10 –CTEF Facility, Pendleton, SC
  • March 17 –ISC Surfaces, Kansas City, KS
  • March 18 – The Tile Shop, Lombard, Ill.
  • April 4-6 –Coverings ’17, Orlando, FL
  • April 25 – Fire Keepers Casino, Battle Creek, MI.
  • May 12 – CTEF Facility, Pendleton, SC
  • May 19 – ISC Surfaces, Kansas City, KS
  • July 14 – CTEF Facility, Pendleton, SC
  • September 15 – CTEF Facility, Pendleton, SC
  • September 22 – ISC Surfaces, Kansas City, KS
  • November 17 – CTEF Facility, Pendleton, SC
  • December 8 –ISC Surfaces, Kansas City, KS

There are two more March testing dates in regional locales in Utah and San Antonio awaiting approval.

Visit the CTEF website at https://www.ceramictilefoundation.o

CTI Regional Evaluator coordinator Kevin Insalato (r.) with NTCA assistant executive director Jim Olson during TISE West/Surfaces 2017.

rg/events to check the calendar for new locations and CTI test opportunities as they become available; and this site to https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/certified-tile-installer-cti-program to learn more about becoming a Certified Tile Installer.

QUALIFIED LABOR – JANUARY 2017

CTEF, NTCA develop Regional Evaluator program to facilitate CTI testing

By Kevin Insalato,
Regional Evaluator Coordinator

The CTEF and the NTCA are listening. The demand for qualified labor is RED HOT. If you are a talented and quality-oriented tile installer, you are in demand. The best way to prove to a dealer, tile contractor or consumer that you are a qualified installer is to pass the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) test.
In the past, the demand for CTI testing outpaced the supply. But NTCA’s Bart Bettiga and Jim Olson and CTEF’s Scott Carothers heard the screams to be tested and took action. The NTCA has tasked me to develop a plan to meet the demand for testing installers across the United States.

Invested in training
My name is Kevin Insalato, Region 5 Director and Board Member for the NTCA. I am the owner of California Flooring, which installs all types of flooring and performs full-bathroom remodeling. Our employees believe in training. Five are CTIs, one installer just took the CTI test, and our newest employee is taking the online Apprenticeship Program at the NTCA University (http://www.tile-assn.com/?page=NTCAU). Two of our CTIs are also ACT-Certified in Large Format Tile. California Flooring is a small residential business.

The CTI Evaluator program expands
Originally, the CTEF had one evaluator, but the demand for additional testing grew that number to four evaluators testing new candidates. We started a Regional Evaluator (RE) program to add and localize our REs. The training for this new group of REs began in November 2016. We held a three-day session for eight new evaluators in Chicago. All 12 Regional Evaluators worked together to revamp the original evaluation program and streamline the testing. Our intention is to provide a grading system that is transparent, fair and maintains the integrity of the CTI test.
The future of CTI testing will continue to pair candidates and distributor / manufacturer host sites. The mobility and regional advantages of our new REs will benefit NTCA members and non-members alike. The honor of hosting a CTI test is now available to those dealers and contractors willing to share their facilities. Contact me at [email protected] and we will get you on the list to be tested.

New program details:
Discounts and coupons
The amazing news about the test is the cost is only $495. This covers both the cost of your written test and hands-on skills test. All the materials you will need to prepare for this test are included. There are also videos available that will assist you to prepare for the hands-on test section.
The manufacturers recognize the importance of this test and support it strongly. You will receive $1,200 in manufacturers’ coupons after successfully passing your test.
Great news for dealers or contractors planning to test three or more employees at one time – we have a discount for you. The test price is lowered to $395 and you still receive $950 in coupons for each candidate that passes the CTI test. If you are a large dealer or contractor and we test 10 or more of your employees at one time, your test price is only $295 each, with coupons worth $ 700 for every candidate that passes the CTI tests.
The CTEF wants to continue to thank past supporters of the CTI program. For this reason, after you pay for 10 candidates to take the CTI test, every additional candidate will qualify for the top discount price of $295 with a return of $700 in coupons for every successful test candidate. We will meet your demands and get you tested. The tile industry wants you to become a Certified Tile Installer and they are willing to prove it!

Qualified Labor – December 2016

ctiCertification: providing a bridge to the larger tile community for Charles Nolen, Miller’s Flooring America

By Terryn Rutford, Social Structure Marketing

Charles Nolen was recently named an Indiana State Ambassador for the National Tile Contractor’s Association (NTCA), an adjunct role to his position with Miller’s Flooring America, which does all types of flooring installation in Lafayette, Ind. In 2016, after more than 20 years in the industry, Nolen became a Certified Tile Installer (CTI) at Coverings 16 this past April.

nolen-1Nolen said, “The written test was very interesting for me. It made me really get into my books. I have had all the books for years, but I just didn’t get that deep into the coefficient of friction side of things.” Nolen’s tile installations have always closely followed the TCNA Handbook, but he said, “Clients seem to really like the [CTI] logo and confirmation they made the right decision.”

Nolen said being certified is, “A way to say I’m different. I don’t just tile, I make a project come to life, bringing people’s dreams to reality, not just at the surface. What is underneath is done just as correctly as what you see visually. Tile isn’t just a designer object, it’s a tile assembly that must function with the consumer in mind for years to come.”

Tile certification is a way to confirm to consumers the quality of a company’s craftsmanship and workmanship. Nolen’s company already has a great reputation for “coming in, demoing, and redoing work,” he said. “Certification lets them know they have come to the right place and they definitely seem to relax and breathe knowing they will get better results.”

The biggest change for Nolen since becoming certified has been his connection to the larger tile community. Nolen said, “I have reached out to many peers in the business, joining [the] Tile Geeks [Facebook Group] and networking with those who have truly paved the way in the tile world.”

Certification is one of the most important advances being made in the industry as a whole, Nolen said. It is a way for the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation, “to put the stamp on [the industry] and say, ‘Hey look, there are great installers out there’.” Certification opened up a lot of doors for Nolen, only the most recent of which was becoming the NTCA’s Indiana State Ambassador. “Being able to display the logo and holding the card is priceless,” Nolen said.

nolen-3

 

Qualified Labor – November 2016

ctiNTCA Nebraska State Ambassador establishes local CTI testing

In January 2016, National Tile Contractor’s Association (NTCA) Nebraska State Ambassador Dan Hecox attended ARDEX Academy in Mansfield, Texas. When he arrived he found the majority of the students were from Nebraska and Iowa. “I started talking with everyone about the NTCA,” Hecox said. “That led to a discussion about holding Certified Tile Installer testing in Nebraska.” At the time, there had never been a Certified Tile Installer (CTI) testing in Nebraska.

At Sark Tile, Lincoln, Neb., are (l. to r.): Oleg Ketrar; Tyson Skinner; John Calderwood; Tim Hufman; Randy Stroud; James Chamberlain – all of Rainwood Interiors; Mark Becher (owner of Sark Tile); Dan Hecox; and Scott Carothers.

At Sark Tile, Lincoln, Neb., are (l. to r.): Oleg Ketrar; Tyson Skinner; John Calderwood; Tim Hufman; Randy Stroud; James Chamberlain – all of Rainwood Interiors; Mark Becher (owner of Sark Tile); Dan Hecox; and Scott Carothers.

The CTI class at Sark Tile, in process.

The CTI class at Sark Tile, in process.

Hecox himself was the first CTI in Nebraska. He took the CTI at Coverings in April 2016. After that, Hecox could not have succeeded without NTCA executive director Bart Bettiga and Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) director of certification and training Scott Carothers. “When I mentioned wanting to become an evaluator, Bart said that Scott had a lot on his plate and it would be good to take pressure off of him,” Hecox said. Hecox went to South Carolina and trained with Carothers to become a CTI evaluator.

Mike Sima from Midtown Tile in Papillion, Neb., took the test at Sunderland Brothers Company and said the best thing about the experience was “the information and the education...Learning is a huge part of this industry.”

Mike Sima from Midtown Tile in Papillion, Neb., took the test at Sunderland Brothers Company and said the best thing about the experience was “the information and the education…Learning is a huge part of this industry.”

“In March, the NTCA held a workshop at Daltile in Omaha with Mark Heinlein, and we officially started signing people up,” Hecox said. “Then it was just a lot of phone calls to get everyone motivated to take the test.” Nebraska’s first CTI testing  saw six local installers test at Sark Tile in Lincoln, Neb., on August 19th. The second CTI testing was held at Sunderland Brothers Company on August 26th in Omaha, with five installers from Omaha and Lincoln. Mike Sima from Midtown Tile in Papillion, Neb., took the test at Sunderland Brothers Company. Sima said the best thing about the experience was “the information and the education…Learning is a huge part of this industry.”

Sark Tile, Sunderland Brothers Company, Florida Tile, Bostik, and Dan Hecox donated material for both events. LATICRETE provided refreshments for the event at Sunderland Brothers Company. Hecox extended special thanks to Bart Bettiga, Scott Carothers, Sark Tile owner Mark Becher, Sark Tile operations manager Serina Buchanan, Sunderland Brothers Company trade accounts manager Mat Pruitt, and Sunderland Brothers Company operations manager Erin Bergevin.

Manuel Eagan, and Kelly Krueger of Rainwood Interiors (owner); Brian Annoye, Jurassic Tile & Stone, Craig Harimon, Craig Harimon Tile Setters, all took the CTI test at Sunderland Brothers Company in Omaha, Neb., in August.

Manuel Eagan, and Kelly Krueger of Rainwood Interiors (owner); Brian Annoye, Jurassic Tile & Stone, Craig Harimon, Craig Harimon Tile Setters, all took the CTI test at Sunderland Brothers Company in Omaha, Neb., in August.

Qualified Labor – October 2016

1_CTI_20x20CTEF, NTCA partner to produce CTI orientation video

Nineteen-minute video addresses common questions for CTI process; available by end of 2016

By Terryn Rutford, Social Structure Marketing

Since Coverings 2008, tile installers across the country have been gathering at industry trade shows, product manufacturers, distributors, and installation contractors. Why? To take part in a hands-on test that demonstrates they have the skills to deliver an installation that meets industry performance and workmanship standards. This hands-on test is the second portion of the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) test conducted by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF). It follows a 155-question multiple choice technical proficiency exam typically taken online.

Over the last eight years since the inception of the Certified Tile Installer test, the program has expanded, with more installers seeking certification. In fact, to date 1,252 installers from 46 states have been certified through the CTI process. As a result, the CTEF is taking steps to expand the number of test evaluators available to proctor the hands-on test. These test evaluators will be in place the last quarter of 2016.

1-QL-1116To enhance this expansion process, CTEF director of Certification and Training Scott Carothers and National Tile Contractors Association Training and Education coordinator Becky Serbin partnered to create a video of the in-person orientation usually conducted by Carothers before the hands-on test. According to Carothers, this orientation video will tell soon-to-be tested installers “what they need to know about the test and answer common questions for the entire group. With our expansion plans for additional test evaluators, every potential CTI will view the same orientation and receive the same information to keep it consistent.”

In 2015, CTEF certified 101 tile installers and thus far in 2016, CTEF has already certified 83. Carothers “spent a lot of time during the orientation going over questions,” Serbin said. “Now the test takers will have an opportunity to review the orientation before arriving on test day, and they can ask any and all questions prior to test day.”

The video is about 19 minutes long. The video is still in beta testing and may undergo changes before being released on the CTEF YouTube channel by the end of the year.

Qualified Labor: Edwardo Martinez

ctiCertification provides confidence; shows commitment and excellence

By Terryn Rutford, Social Structure Marketing

Edwardo Martinez and Surfaces 15, the residential remodeling/renovation and commercial company he co-founded two years ago with Greg Twarog in the Chicago area, are committed to standing out in the tile industry. Martinez discovered Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) certification through the online Tile Geeks Facebook group and jumped right into the deep end.

ql-02Martinez, a second-generation installer who’s been a tile setter practically from birth, took the Certified Tile Installer test at Coverings 2016, front and center on the Coverings stage. “I did it backwards,” Martinez said, “No studying, no prep work. I filled a spot last minute. I did it to test my skill and knowledge.” There is a book to study for the certification and while most people take some time to look it over, Martinez jumped at the last minute opportunity. “I was not planning on taking it, but a post on Tile Geeks by (NTCA State Director, Tennessee) Bradford Denny changed the course of history,” he said.

Martinez decided to become certified, “to challenge my personal skill set. I wanted to stand out and be different from any other contractor and show commitment and excellence in my field,” he said. Martinez described certification as “the next best option other than being union, in the non-union world.”

The tile industry lacks a universal, national licensing regulation. Some states don’t have any licensing requirements at all for tile installers. The CTEF certification provides a universal standard, recognized by the tile industry, by which tile companies can prove their merits and consumers can find reliable, skilled installers.

ql-01In addition to these benefits, Martinez points out, “[certification] has made making new networking relationships a lot easier.” Becoming certified has also provided Martinez with more confidence in his skill set and his status  “as a true professional and industry leader.” With certification in hand, Martinez has the justification for charging more for his services, because it sets him apart from the norm. According to Martinez, “By being certified, we are able to impact the labor trade in a way it has not been done before.” Having grown up in the trade, Martinez has been in the industry for more than twenty years, but still finds great value in being a Certified Tile Installer. Certification is “well worth the investment and makes you a part of a whole new network,” Martinez said.

Qualified Labor – August 2016

1_CTI_20x20Jeremy Waldorf: owner/operator Legacy Floors

Certification offers customer extra value, bolstered by education and experience

By Terryn Rutford, Social Structure Marketing

Jeremy Waldorf, owner/operator of Legacy Floors in Howell, Mich., recalled setting wall tile with a slice of pizza in one hand during his Certified Tile Installer (CTI) exam at the end of 2015. “There was absolutely no room for breaks, at least in my case,” Waldorf said. “[The hands-on test] was pretty stressful, and much more challenging than I thought it would be.”

ql-02The context of the CTI hands-on test might be intimidating as described by Waldorf, “In a room with seven other guys, with seven other tool setups, methods, and approaches…I was tempted to peek over and see what kinds of things other guys were doing.” But now that he’s certified, Waldorf has more confidence that he will make the right choices. “With the manuals, resources, and most importantly, the industry connections I now have, I am always able to get answers from more experienced and more skilled tile setters and industry representatives,” Waldorf said.

ql-01

 

In fact, becoming a CTI gave Waldorf an unexpected gift. Since getting certified, Waldorf said, “I am a lot more active in networking with other professionals, and attending clinics and workshops to stay educated about the tile industry. [And] I am plugged into the TileGeeks Facebook group, where I am regularly inspired by absolutely amazing craftsmen, and also get to laugh at the things we all come across in our work days.”

Although Waldorf was certified only six months ago, he was raised in the industry and has been a hard-surface specialist for 18 years. Early on in his career Waldorf committed himself to education. “My company philosophy has been to educate myself in my trade whenever possible, and to deliver the absolute best job I can give them,” Waldorf said.

ql-03According to Waldorf, certification is an opportunity “to really understand how much you have to learn. If you’re willing to take correction and listen to others so that you can brand yourself better, offering your clients advantages that most of your competition won’t, then certification will be an amazing step for you to take.” In addition to humbling you, Waldorf emphasizes that “certification will give you confidence in your abilities and help you make connections with others that can make you a better tile setter.”

Since becoming a CTI, Waldorf completes every tile installation under the assumption that it will be subject to inspection just like when he took the hands-on exam. “I naturally consider what it would be like to have someone take apart my finished work, examining every aspect of it,” Waldorf said. And as a result, Waldorf believes every project he completes is the absolute best he can give. According to Waldorf, certification allows you to “offer your customers more value because you’re not just hands that use tools. You are selling them your education and experience, and that is more important than anything else in this business. That’s how you will build your reputation.”

Qualified Labor – July 2016

ql-01Mike McLawhorn: CTI credentials are confirmation of tile setter knowledge that money can’t buy

By Terryn Rutford, Social Structure Marketing

In 2009, during Mike McLawhorn’s 12 years as a self-employed tile setter, he became a Certified Tile Installer (CTI) in Charleston, SC. “I wanted to do everything I could to set myself apart from the thundering herd of setters,” McLawhorn said. And “I wanted to support our industry’s efforts to legitimize the tile setters that truly care about doing things right. I saw it as an opportunity to market my company as a company that was trustworthy and to possibly increase my profitability.”

1_CTI_20x20McLawhorn was certified as number 188 in the early days of the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) CTI program. “In my opinion, [the test] must have been designed to fail the student that didn’t have time in the field and to reward the student that was experienced,” McLawhorn said. “If one didn’t think ahead, the hands-on tasks would lead to a dead end, and then there was no time to finish it, which would lead to failure.” The most valuable part of being a CTI, McLawhorn said, “is that no one can buy into [it]. Money or the absence thereof, simply is not a factor. Certification is a confirmation of a tile setter’s industry knowledge, hands-on expertise, and more importantly, time in the field with a trowel in one’s hand.”

McLawhorn described why certification is so important. “Decades ago, technology changes in the tile trade happened more slowly,” he said. “In today’s tile world, there are multiple tile companies and multiple setting material companies pumping out new technology nearly every quarter! In order to be considered a knowledgeable service provider, we must maintain a familiarity with the new technologies as they become available.”
Every year certification is becoming more valuable, he continued. Twenty years ago project specifications were generic and tile installers used techniques passed down over the years. Now, McLawhorn said, “officials are clearly stating techniques and methods to accommodate the newer tile trends, which call for more sophisticated installation systems. And finally, they are mandating/specifying the use of CTI tile crews to provide a better chance of a successful installation of their project.”

Certification has proved invaluable for McLawhorn. “I’ve been given the opportunity to utilize my CTI certification on multiple fronts,” McLawhorn said. “Obviously, I used the certification to promote my own business in the past. And, I continue to use my CTI certification in the corporate world for HB Fuller as a professional rep of TEC tile setting products. Nearly every day, my discussions with customers and other tile contractors are supported and validated by my certification.”

In addition to these opportunities, McLawhorn was also given the opportunity to help CTEF. “After my certification and due to my prior corporate experience, I was asked by Scott Carothers of CTEF to proctor a few examinations when he was unable to do so. It was an incredible opportunity to proctor an industry-accepted exam. Through the different fronts I’ve utilized my CTI, the certification has been the common denominator and continues to pay dividends for me, both tangible and intangible.”

Now, in his role at HB Fuller, McLawhorn said he still uses his certification. “There is no doubt that my CTI certification is an integral part of my reputation as a source of knowledge to my customer base. There is absolutely no level of corporate savvy that can replace the credibility that the certification gives me in the market place. The certification absolutely trumps any brand or corporate influence regarding my abilities as a rep.”

Certification is paramount to the industry. “We live in a world that allows mediocrity to self-destruct those who accept mediocrity,” McLawhorn said. But beyond the personal benefits of certification, McLawhorn said, “Our industry is changing annually and only the professional, progressive-minded applicators will benefit and grow.”

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