52 HIGH SCHOOL SKILLED TRADES TEACHERS UP FOR $1 MILLION IN PRIZES AS SEMIFINALISTS FOR HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS FOR SCHOOLS 2018 PRIZE FOR TEACHING EXCELLENCE

 

 
CALABASAS, Calif.— Fifty-two skilled trades teachers and teaching teams from across the country and their high schools were named today as semifinalists for the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools 2018 Prize for Teaching Excellence and are in the running for a share of $1 million in total cash awards.

The semifinalists hail from 27 states and specialize in trades ranging from construction and carpentry to automotive repair, welding, advanced manufacturing and agriculture mechanics. Their collective experience includes teaching students to work with solar power systems and hydraulics systems, build tiny houses and rebuild diesel engines, and more.  The semi-finalists—some competing as individuals and some as teacher teams—were selected by an independent panel of judges from among a field of more than 500 skilled trades teachers who applied for the prize. The list of the 52 semifinalists is available here.

Through two more rounds of judging, the field of 52 semi-finalists will be narrowed to 18 first- and second-place winners, who will split $1 million in total cash awards. The three first-place winners will each receive $100,000, with $70,000 going to their public high school skilled trades program and $30,000 to the individual skilled trades teacher or teacher team behind the winning program. The 15 second-place winners will each be awarded $50,000, with $35,000 going to their public high school program and $15,000 to the teacher or team. Semi-finalists whose school, district or state policy prohibits receipt of the individual portion of prize earnings were eligible to apply on behalf of their school’s skilled trades program. The first- and second-place winners are expected to be announced on Nov. 15.

“These semi-finalists represent amazing depth and breadth in high school skilled trades education, and they exhibit incredible enthusiasm for teaching students to work with their hands, to love learning and be prepared for the future,” said Danny Corwin, executive director of Harbor Freight Tools for Schools. “We are thrilled to recognize their exceptional teaching and to raise the profile of their excellent work through these awards.”

For the second round application, the semi-finalists will respond to a series of online expert-led video learning modules that are designed to solicit their insights and creative ideas about their teaching practices and how to inspire their students to achieve excellence in the skilled trades.

Each round of winners is selected by separate panels of judges independent of Harbor Freight Tools for Schools.

This is the second year of the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence, which was started by Harbor Freight Tools Founder Eric Smidt to recognize outstanding instruction in the skilled trades in American public high schools.

“Skilled trades teachers are unsung heroes,” Smidt said. “They teach our students skills that help them in life and in careers. We respect and value the men and women who work with their hands to design, build and repair homes, schools, hospitals and businesses in our towns and cities, as well as our cars, trucks and tractors. These skilled and creative workers keep our communities thriving. At the same time, there are now hundreds of thousands of great skilled trades job openings, and that number is expected to grow. We want to elevate the dignity and importance of this work by recognizing exceptional skilled trades teachers from our country’s public schools who open the door to learning and opportunity.”

News of the prize and other information about skilled trades education will be posted on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

About Harbor Freight Tools for Schools
Harbor Freight Tools for Schools is an initiative of The Smidt Foundation, established by Harbor Freight Tools Founder Eric Smidt, to support the advancement of skilled trades education in America.  With a deep respect for the dignity of these fields and for the intelligence and creativity of people who work with their hands, this program was created to foster and shine a light on excellence in skilled trades education in public high schools. Believing that access to quality skilled trades education gives high school students pathways to graduation, opportunity, good jobs and a workforce our country needs, Harbor Freight Tools for Schools aims to stimulate greater understanding, support and investment by public entities and others in skilled trades education.  Harbor Freight Tools is a major supporter of the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools program. For more information, visit https://harborfreighttoolsforschools.org.

Training & Education – August 2018

Belknap White Group has huge success with thin tile training event

More than 20 installers came out to learn more about thin gauged porcelain tile panels and the new ANSI 108.19 standards of installation at Belknap White Group’s Woburn, Mass., Solution Center.

The Belknap White Group (BWG), one of America’s leading full-service flooring distributors and an NTCA associate member, recently hosted a full day of hands-on, classroom style training at its Woburn, Massachusetts, Solution Center. More than 20 installers came out to learn more about thin gauged porcelain tile panels and the new ANSI 108.19 standards of installation in this classroom environment.

Representatives from Crossville Inc., LATICRETE International and Montolit Tools were on hand to conduct the training, which leads to attendees being named and listed as qualified panel/slab installers on Crossville’s Laminam website (https://crossvilleinc.com/laminam-by-crossville/) and certified under the new ANSI standards. The training event not only taught the origin of Laminam, but attendees were meticulously trained on tools required, how to handle it, how to cut it, appropriate setting materials, work time, and proper installation procedure.

Attendees were meticulously trained on tools required, how to handle Laminam by Crossville gauged porcelain tile panels, how to cut it, appropriate setting materials, work time, and proper installation procedure.

“There is a lot of interest in large-format tiles these days and especially Laminam,” stated Bill Prescott, Executive Vice President of Sales for BWG. “It is a superb product that offers exceptional design and a variety of applications.” 

“Hosting this training event was not only beneficial to local installers but also to the industry as a whole,” stated Paul Castagliuolo, President of BWG. “We strive to provide our customers what they need to be successful, including the latest trainings. The new standards require specialized training for thin gauged porcelain installation and we are committed to providing it. The Belknap White Group has always taken education seriously and will continue to do so as we look forward to future training events.”

The event was well received by attendees, who also enjoyed breakfast, lunch and the opportunity to win fun door prizes, like an iPad, GoPro and Yeti Cooler. 

Representatives from Crossville Inc., LATICRETE International and Montolit Tools were on hand to conduct the training, which leads to attendees being named and listed as qualified panel/slab installers on Crossville’s Laminam website.

NTCA University – August 2018

Estimating courses are in development

Becky Serbin,
Training and Education Coordinator

As I have stated in previous articles, we have a lot of new members and they are looking for help with their businesses. If you take a look at our membership, most of our contractor members employ up to five people including themselves. I’m also assuming that most of these owners are tile contractors first and business owners second so the fact that they need help running their businesses should not come as a surprise to anyone.

That being said, one of the Training and Education subcommittees, led by Dirk Sullivan with Hawthorne Tile, has started developing estimating courses. The team realized that there are several different types of estimating needs based on the customer and size of the project, so they started with a course on estimating small residential projects in which you would be working in a home where a homeowner could be present.

The course starts with explaining what you should do during your initial visit including how to make a good impression and the type of information that you should gather while you are at the potential job site. Here is a tip: never give a price to a potential customer off the top of your head! Always take the information from the job such as substrate prep needs, size of project, potential material needs, and any important details with you, then take the time to write up a formal estimate in your office.

The course then progresses into everything that you should include in your estimate. Many contractors forget about overhead or what to do if the homeowner is adamant about buying the tile themselves. Will it meet ANSI A137.1? Will you be required to do extra work because of this tile? The course gets into these concerns and others. It also identifies what you should do to protect yourself.

Remember, you are a business owner and you must protect your business and be profitable. You are no longer only a tile setter. Do you only have a handshake agreement? Or do you detail deposits and payment schedules with a signed contract? Finally, the course reviews contracts and terms. It also discusses liens and the proper way to notify the homeowner in writing of your process to recoup any unpaid contractual services.

As I stated, this is the first in a series of estimating courses. As they become available I will be updating everyone in TileLetter since these courses are in such high demand.

To purchase your subscription, you can visit the NTCA store. Go to www.tile-assn.com and hover over Education & Certification on the home page, then click NTCA University. Or point your browser to http://bit.ly/2taYmOO to make your purchase. If you have any questions or ideas for courses that we should have available, please give me a call at 770-366-2566 or send me an email at [email protected].

The First Ever CTI Challenge – Coverings 2018

Did you have a chance to witness the first ever CTI Challenge? It took place during Coverings 2018 in the Installation Experience space, pitting two intensely passionate Certified Tile Installer teams to complete an ambitious installation over three days. The installation had to meet tile industry standards and guidelines.

Here’s a recap.

What was the CTI Challenge?

The “CTI Challenge” was a live event designed by CTEF training and certification director Scott Carothers, and took place between rival teams who are both NTCA members and Certified Tile Installers.

It consisted of:

  • Identical 11’ x 13’ areas with 8’ walls common to the Installation Experience
  • The layout was as follows: The 20” x 20” tile was installed on the floor in a straight pattern which continued up two walls to a height of 8’. Within the floor, the plan called for the pebble stones to create a lazy river that connected at the doorway (which remained closed during the tile installation) to the other team’s layout providing a common river flow through both areas.  Combining the pebble stone with the floor tile required very intricate and labor-intensive scribing onto the floor tile. The difficult part of this process lies in the ability to cut the rounded and oval shapes accurately into the large floor tile.  Likewise, the stacked stone on the walls required similar scribing skills to connect it seamlessly to the surrounding tile.
  • Products included: Daltile 20” x 20” Veranda Dune # P527 Porcelain Tile, #DA06 Creamy Sand Pebble Stones, and # S703 Haikou Grey Stacked Stone. All grouted with Custom Building Products Polyblend grout # 386 Oyster Grey. Substrate products included WonderBoard by Custom Building Products and KERDI-BOARD by Schluter Systems.
  • Timeframe: Beginning Monday, May 7th, each team conducted its own assessment of the wall and floor substrates and executed the necessary corrections using trowel-applied patch. KERDI-BOARD was used as the wall substrate while WonderBoard was used on the floor. The Challenge took place on Tuesday, May 8th and 9th. After the teams completed the tile work, the construction fencing and blocked doorway were removed to allow Coverings attendees to view the beautiful and high-quality workmanship of these tile artists.

Alena Capra of Alena Capra Designs provided design assistance and material selections.

How did the CTI Challenge demonstrate the work of Qualified Labor? 

All of the work followed these industry standards and guidelines:

  • Floor tile according to TCNA Handbook Detail F144, Cement Backer Board and Ceramic Tile

“For tiles with at least one edge 15” (381 mm) or longer, the substrate shall have a maximum permissible variation of 1/8”in 10’ (3 mm in 3 m) from the required plane, and no more than 1/16” variation in 24” (2 mm in 610 mm) when measured from the high points in the surface.”

These four craftsmen demonstrated the truest sense of Qualified Labor as defined in Tile Council of North America Handbook. Qualified Labor and true artistic talent combined to provide Coverings attendees with a fine example of tile installed as it should be.

Who participated in the first ever Challenge?

Two teams of two expert installers participated. All four were Certified Tile Installers and active members of the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA).

The Chicago, Illinois team included:

The Portland, Oregon team included:

What sparked the idea of a CTI Challenge?

Definitely a strong competitive spirit, friendly rivalry and great pride in tile workmanship! Not to mention a great deal of enthusiasm that both teams shared in the Global Tile Posse Facebook Group.

As Greg Twarog explains, “Jason and I talked in the beginning about having an installation challenge when we got to Coverings and we didn’t really know what we wanted to do as the challenge, but the main focus was to create a scenario in which we could see and talk with other installers and industry professionals about proper standards and installation techniques that we practice every day as we install our projects in the actual installation setting.”

Jason McDaniel was thrilled when Scott Carothers took the idea seriously; he was ready to do something cool. Since there wasn’t enough time to work out the logistics of the challenge for TISE18, the Challenge was moved to Coverings 2018 and incorporated into the Installation Experience Hall of Excellence.

Expect the Unexpected in a CTI Challenge!

The two teams arrived at Coverings 2018 without a single idea of what to expect for the challenge. Jason envisioned an over-sized CTI hands-on test to specific methods and standards. Neither team expected a 20-foot pebble-scribe installation to be completed in three days!

Greg explains, “Once Scott was on the task, it was all too clear to me that the unexpected was to be expected. So, I prepared by not preparing. There is no point to over think the situation that is an unknown.

The scale of the project was a little ambitious so once we all realized the scale should be paired back we did as in any normal good team project going on across America. We talked openly about the best solutions to get it paired back and keep it moving so we could finish in the 3-day time frame.

We completed as much as we all could within that framework. That was the success of this Challenge: the work itself not so much the full completion of it.

In my eyes, each piece of tile there was cut, shaped and installed by our industry’s top CTI professionals. It would have lasted decades not just days because it was all installed using the proper methods and standards.”

As you can see these photos, the workmanship was outstanding! It generated conversation, awareness and awe. Crowds asked about the pebble stone scribing process . Some thought it was ordered already cut and ready to install, but of course it wasn’t  It was all custom-cut and fit on site.

Other attendees asked about the lippage control systems, trowel sizes, and grouting techniques being used.  They were eager to interact with both teams.

And the Best Part About Participating in the CTI Challenge?

Greg Twarog says: “The best parts were where I did slow down and stop to talk with passersby about how do you do that, or what are you doing there .

It was as if we were installing in a home or business and someone was stopping to ask a question that, if they had been at home, they may not have asked. And that is true enlightenment for some people. They then understand that the lines on the walls have a purpose; the trowel size is important to get proper adhesion, or the lippage control clips keep the tiles into plane with one another to limit the Lippage that’s seen in the large format tiles.

It was those moments that were most enjoyable to me. Aside from ribbing Jason and Shon of course! 

Who won the first ever CTI Challenge?

Judges Mark Heinlein and Scott Carothers agreed that this first ever CTI Challenge was a draw. Both teams worked tirelessly to create great installations! They set a new standard.

As Jason explains, “How could there be a winner or loser? We are the first people to do this. This is too extraordinary a situation!”

Greg adds, “I hope this will be a continued challenge to be celebrated year after year at Coverings. What better tribute is there to our industry than to invite CTI challengers to go to our leading industry event and show how they install using their industry knowledge and craftsmanship in a public group setting.

That’s not happening anywhere else in the world. I feel it was a great honor to tile in that setting next to some of the greatest. I consider all of them friends. John, Jason, Shon and thank you to Keith Barnett who was a great help as well. I look forward to seeing what next year’s Challenge and Challengers bring to all of us watching!” 

Thank You, CTI Challengers 2018!

And thank you to all who came by to encourage the challengers, witness the challenge, celebrate when it was over and generally be amazed by the work they completed.

Here you see many of the top tile industry installers and fans posing with the CTI Challengers of 2018.

What’s your reaction to the first ever CTI Challenge? Did you enjoy what you saw? Are you ready to be challenged?

This story was taken from the CTEF Blog. More information on CTEF can be found by visiting their website at www.ceramictilefoundation.org or visiting the CTEF Blog by clicking this LINK.

Tailoring apprenticeship programs to suit your company

Becky Serbin,
Training and Education Coordinator

If you attended Coverings this year, you may have noticed a common theme was the desire/need for education. So it should come as no surprise that I get a chance to talk with a lot of new members about education and training opportunities available through NTCA.

Obviously, my first discussion item is NTCA University. The follow up question I often get is: “How can I use it in my company?” So, I wanted to take some time to review what other members are already doing so that you can use this information to help develop a program that is best for your company.


DOL-approved programs

The first thing that most contractors need to decide is if they want a Department of Labor (DOL) approved apprenticeship program. Even though NTCA University can be used as related content for an apprenticeship program, currently, the NTCA is not an actual DOL program provider. This means that if your company benefits from an approved apprenticeship program such as prevailing-wage projects, utilizing your state’s workforce commission to assist in finding workers or potentially utilizing a pre-apprenticeship program, or applying for and utilizing grant money to offset training costs, then you will need to work with your state DOL to apply for and register your training program.

Pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs

Currently, we have members who are utilizing pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs. Members who have a pre-apprenticeship program work with local technical schools or workforce commissions to educate potential new hires. At the end of the program, contractor members offer apprenticeship programs within their companies to students they want to hire. Other members hire new employees directly into their apprenticeship program. We even have members in one region coming together to build a regional apprenticeship program and sharing the cost and training of the apprentices (See this month’s Training & Education story for details).

If you don’t think your company would benefit from a DOL-approved program, then you can always use NTCA University to supplement on-the-job learning. Let’s face it, once you are on the job for awhile, it’s easy to develop bad habits that shouldn’t be passed on to a new hire. These courses were developed referencing industry standards and best practices and may be taken by individual employees during or outside of the work day. This means that you can view courses in a group setting and discuss what was learned, or you can allow the individual to take courses and then follow up later to discuss what was learned.

Remember there isn’t just one way to train your staff or one program to employ. NTCA University was designed so that you can create a program that best fits your company’s needs.

Do you already have a training program in place? Please email me at [email protected] or call me at 770-366-2566 and let me know what you are doing. Members are always looking for new and/or different ideas they may be able to incorporate into their company. Remember this is an association for the contractor, and developing the next generation of tile setters is important to all of us.

Inventive Oregon contractors form co-op apprenticeship program

Program kicks off September 2018

By Lesley Goddin

Creativity is afoot when it comes to training the next generation to enter the tile trade. Oregon tile contractors and NTCA members (and some soon-to-be-members) are partnering in a unique co-op concept that provides monthly training for apprentices and different levels of involvement for co-op members. Participants in the co-op – named the Oregon-Columbia Tile Trades Training Trust – are
Hawthorne Tile, Davis Solutions, Stoneman Construction LLC, Campbell’s Custom Tile, Prestige Tile & Stone, Inc., Level Plane Tile & Stone, Columbia River Tile, Classique Floors & Tile, Sustainable Interiors, Designer Floors & Interiors, LLC and AHMS, Inc.

The concept developed when project manager Shon Parker and owner/project manager Dirk Sullivan from NTCA Five Star Contractor Hawthorne Tile in Portland, Ore., started brainstorming about how to get more qualified help in the field. Parker took the lead in conceptualizing an affordable apprenticeship program with industry buy-in and called fellow Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (JATC) members to participate. An education co-op model was formed, with those members who are able to help or participate with training paying a lower fee to belong to the co-op and those who cannot paying a higher fee. 

Participation might mean helping to build training modules or doing set up with classes. “There are those who could pitch in – in some way – and those who are more commercially oriented, and whose office staff can’t do that, but who are willing to pay at a higher rate to have their people trained,” Parker said.

Classroom and hands-on components

The co-op has a NTCA tie-in: each co-op member must be a NTCA member in order to gain access to the online apprenticeship courses through NTCA University, which will form the backbone of the classroom part of the program. And one Friday a month, student apprentices will receive live training from different manufacturer reps about TCNA methods, and specific product knowledge. “[Manufacturer reps] will teach a method and the products that fit inside those methods will get the manufacturer involved,” Parker said. “It will also serve to introduce students to reps, build relationships, and help reinforce good methods and best practices.” He explained that every manufacturer who wants to be involved will have a balanced presence within the program, without any one manufacturer dominating. So far, ARDEX, Daltile, LATICRETE, MAPEI, and Schluter are on board. 

The hands-on portion of the training will take place at The Cronin Company, headquartered in Portland. “Heidi Cronin is allowing us to use a classroom and space in the warehouse for hands-on mockups,” Parker said. Plus, an arrangement between The Cronin Company and Daltile will allow students to buy hand tools at cost while in the program. Students will also be responsible for building the modules – “thin bed, mortar bed, epoxy installations, depending on what we are teaching,” Parker explained.

The schedule

The program will start in 2018. “We currently have state approval for the program, and we will be updating the new classes to reflect current methods and products from some of the methods we’d used from the 2003 NTCA curriculum,” Parker said. Examples of changes include dropping the hands-on demo for mastic over wood assembly to including updated methods, such as an uncoupling assembly, he added. “This will need to be addressed and approved at the state Apprenticeship Board,” he said, suggesting folks call him with questions at 503-708-1737.

Students are recruited via outreach ongoing at job fairs, high schools and Women in Construction. To date 17 students – including a couple of women – have signed up for the program. 

Once a candidate has been found, co-op members aka “Training Agents” are asked if they are interested in bringing them into the program, with the intent of creating a labor pool. Each student apprentice must be employed by a Training Agent. The program is administered by the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). 

Parker explained how apprentice candidates are culled at Hawthorne Tile: “We may have a worker employed at entry level as a driver,” he said. “If they show aptitude, we give them opportunity to join the apprenticeship program. It’s a stepping stool on our team to get there.”

The program is completely free to the student apprentice, funded by a monthly fee per student paid by the Training Agent co-op members. 

As previously noted, the program is based on the NTCA year one apprentice classes, and will utilize years 2 and 3 as they are completed. “By the end of year three , we should have all the bugs worked out.”

Though Parker calls this venture “uncharted waters,” he added that, “It makes sense up here – being part of a community. Dirk has done a great job as State Ambassador and Regional Director getting people excited about this, and Jason [McDaniel of Stoneman Construction LLC] and I are regional evaluators, so we can get people excited.” Hawthorne Tile’s office manager Lara Walker and project manager Ryan Willoughby have been “incredibly helpful” as well, Dirk Sullivan added. 

And Parker praised the industry for its support, saying, “Our industry is so willing to invest money in education.” 

Becky Serbin, NTCA Training and Education Coordinator, added, “It’s great to see tile contractors in a region coming together to develop a co-op training program to help grow the tile industry. I look forward to working with them through NTCA University. I hope that NTCA members are able to take this concept and repeat it in other areas of the country to help start training the next generation of tile setters.”

Last chance to register for the Bostik Qualified Thin Porcelain Panel Installer Training Program on July 10-11 in Temecula, CA

  • LAST CHANCE TO REGISTER! July 10-11 @ the Bostik Tech Training Center in TEMECULA, CA. Attendees must register by 5 PM TODAY (MONDAY, 7/2).
  • OPEN July 18-19 @ the Bostik Tech Training Center in DALLAS, TX. Attendees must register by Friday, 7/6.
Register Today!
You’ve probably heard about 5 foot by 10 foot thin porcelain panels, the latest BIG trend in the tile industry, or maybe you’ve been invited to and even attended Bostik’s Bosti-Set Thin Porcelain Panel Adhesive training in your area. Either way, you are invited to take the next step. Join Bostik for its Qualified Thin Porcelain Panel Installer Training Program and learn about the installation of thin porcelain panels and the new ANSI A108.19 standard. Be featured as an Industry-Qualified Thin Porcelain Panel Installer as required by ANSI A108.19 section 10.
Lodging (one night) and meals will be covered by Bostik once you’ve arrived at the training location. Attendees are to book and pay for their own transportation to and from the training location. A $300 Bostik Product Voucher or credit will be awarded to each attendee to help cover your transportation costs.
To register or for more information, contact:

THE BELKNAP WHITE GROUP’S THIN TILE TRAINING A HUGE SUCCESS

MANSFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS – The Belknap White Group (BWG), one of America’s leading full-service flooring distributors and a NTCA associate member, recently hosted a full day of hands-on, classroom style training at its Woburn, Massachusetts Solution Center. More than 20 installers came out to learn more about thin gauged porcelain tile panels and the new ANSI 108.19 standards of installation in this classroom environment.

Representatives from Crossville Tile, LATICRETE International and Montolit Tools were on hand to conduct the training which leads to attendees being named and listed as qualified panel/slab installers on Crossville’s Laminam Website and certified under the new ANSI standards.  The training event not only taught the origin of LAMINAM, but attendees were meticulously trained on tools required, how to handle it, how to cut it, appropriate setting materials, work time, and proper installation procedure.

“There is a lot of interest in large format tiles these days and especially Laminam, stated Bill Prescott, EVP of Sales for BWG. “It is a superb product that offers exceptional design and a variety of applications.”

“Hosting this training event was not only beneficial to local installers but also to the industry as a whole.” stated Paul Castagliuolo, President of BWG. “We strive to provide our customers what they need to be successful, including the latest trainings. The new standards require specialized training for thin gauged porcelain installation and we are committed to providing it. The Belknap White Group has always taken education seriously and will continue to do so as we look forward to future training events.”

The event was well received by attendees who also enjoyed breakfast, lunch and the opportunity to win fun door prizes, like an iPad, GoPro and Yeti Cooler.

######

Headquartered in Mansfield, MA, The Belknap White Group is one of the leading full-service, hard-surface flooring distributors in the United States. Family-owned-and-operated for over 35 years, The Belknap White Group strives to deliver excellent service, while partnering with industry-leading suppliers to deliver an extensive portfolio of premium flooring products. We have nine showrooms and distribution locations across New York, New Jersey and

 

NTCAU – Regional Training Event mid-year wrap up

Becky Serbin,
Training and Education Coordinator

Members are always asking me about training opportunities. Well, this month I wanted to promote regional training. 

At the start of the year, NTCA announced that it would offer regional day-long events in each of its 12 regions throughout 2018. As we close in on the midway point of the year, NTCA Training Director Mark Heinlein has been traveling the country training NTCA members on one of two topics. Depending on location, he could be leading a day-long training in Industry Standards/Substrate Prep/Large-Format Tile or Gauged Porcelain Tile/Panels. 

Industry Standards/Surface Prep Large-Format Tile

The Industry Standards/Surface Prep/Large-Format Tile session starts with classroom lessons on tile industry methods and standards using ANSI resources. From there, class members learn how to use and navigate the TCNA Handbook. The attendees spend the rest of the day in a physical, hands-on working setting. Heinlein works with the class to check substrate flatness on floors and walls, general examination of framing systems, and proper installation of cementitious backer units. He then reviews various surface prep methods before releasing the attendees to work with the prep materials. 

Attendees are teamed into small groups to explore proper materials and tools for patching and rendering a vertical substrate to meet industry tolerance for large-format tile. The small groups then experiment with and pour self-leveling underlayment (SLU). 

When all substrates have been properly prepared and flattened, the class advances to proper mortar selection, mixing, trowel selection, mortar coverage, and installation techniques for large-format tile. When this event was held in Portland, Ore., Dirk Sullivan, owner of Hawthorne Tile, sent 10 installers with various levels of knowledge. Sullivan stated, “Training and education are key to the success of my company, and more importantly, the industry as a whole. The regional training event that was held here in Portland this past March was a fantastic opportunity for our installers as well as community here in Portland to see firsthand the hands-on [demonstrations], standards, techniques and materials used for successful, by-the-book installations. More please!” 

Gauged Porcelain Tile Panels

The Gauged Porcelain Tile/Panels (GPTP) course begins with streamlined overview of industry standards, then delves into ANSI A137.3 and ANSI A108.19, which have recently been approved and are specific to this new product.

After the classroom work, attendees relocate to the work area to learn about the tools that they will use during the day. Every attendee will join a small team to set a full-sized panel on either on a floor or wall substrate. As the teams work through the process, Heinlein offers tips and tricks to lead to a successful installation.

Visalia Ceramic Tile, Inc., was one of the first locations to hold the GPTP course. Sam Bruce, president, stated, “As a company, a handful of our crews have installed GPTP, but this training gave us the opportunity to have every tile setter get a high level of education and instruction of what GPTP is and how different the installation can be. The training put Visalia Ceramic Tile in a position to confidently send any tile setter to a project where GPTPs would be installed.”

Testimonials

Still not convinced that you should consider attending or sending your team? Well, here is some feedback from others who have attended:

Woody Sanders, Owner, D.W. Sanders Tile & Stone Contracting: “The regional event was a tremendous opportunity that we took full advantage of. The efforts and preparation of the NTCA, along with the workshop sponsors could not go without being noticed and applauded. With the popularity of GPTP growing and the recent completed standards being published, this training focused on GPTP from start to finish. Furthermore, the event focused on proper techniques with hands-on training. This is why a few of my apprentice setters and I attended. Looking back, I should have brought my entire staff, but coming out of Coverings’ Tiny House [Installation Design Showcase] last week, we needed to get back to work.”

Rod Owen, Owner, C.C. Owen Tile, stated: “We had the opportunity to send a diverse group of our men for the Gauged Porcelain Tile Panels training. They ranged from master journeymen to first-year students in our Apprentice Training Program here at C.C. Owen Tile Co.

“The training gave the opportunity to discover new, exciting materials and methods of installation while emphasizing the absolute necessity for a strong core foundation of time proven methods,” Owen continued. “While our veterans were realizing the importance of staying in the know of their ever-changing industry, the apprentices were digesting the many aspects of an industry they have just begun a career in. 

“It’s great to see these guys the several days after the training session because there is a synergy that comes from these sessions: the guys learning something new, and the guys realizing the company cares about their professional growth and development as well,” Owen said. “It’s also intriguing when we tell the general contractor we are pulling guys off their jobsite for the day. As a specialty contractor, logic would tell you that the GC will have a fit but to our disbelief most are in support when you tell them it’s a training session.

“More importantly, the NTCA regional event was an opportunity for our tile setters to experience the tile industry in a different way than they are used to,” Owen concluded. “Meeting Mark, Robb and David Gillespie of Crossville and other superstars in the industry who have a passion for tile was a little astonishing. Receiving the high level of training and event type atmosphere was in a way a version of Total Solutions Plus or Coverings. Our tile setters left this event motivated, refreshed and eager to enhance their skills in the trade, the same way that the national events do for me.”

Due to the magnitude of hands-on work and training by Heinlein, class sizes are limited to the first 20 registrants. In many cases, we are also unable to accept attendees without a registration and don’t have room in the training area to allow people to just stay and watch. If you decide to register, no matter which training event you attend, you are going to learn something even if you think you are an expert already. The next regional training event is in Elk Grove, Ill., on July 13th. To learn more about regional events available in your area, visit  https://bit.ly/2Lccbq6.

Learning to use industry publications: ANSI manual and TCNA Handbook

Becky Serbin,
Training and Education Coordinator

When we first started to develop NTCA University, I reached out to several contractors for feedback on courses that their company needed. Several contractors asked for courses on how to use the ANSI standards and TCNA Handbook. As we started to develop courses for new tile setters, these were near the top of the list as required courses. Courses on both topics were recently added to NTCA University.

Two ANSI standards courses

There are currently two courses covering the ANSI book: Introduction to ANSI A108.01 and Introduction to ANSI A108.02. Neither course reviews word for word all of the information found in each standard, but both courses highlight the type of information that can be found there. We are hoping that these courses will get learners to understand the type of information that these standards contain and get them to open the ANSI book to see all of the information that is useful to every tile installation.

Two TCNA Handbook courses

There are also two courses available on the TCNA Handbook. The first course is TCNA
Handbook
Specifications Section. This course focuses on the information found in the section titled Using
the TCNA Handbook for Specification Writing
, pages 48 – 50 of the 2017 edition. This course uses actual methods in the Handbook to show where the information from components of an installation method can be found and used by the tile setter. While the course is mainly focused on this area, it does review all items found in this section of the actual book. 

The second course is How to Find/Use TCNA Handbook Methods. Many people have told me that it is difficult to find the method they want to use. In this course, we review what information is available in a method number, why methods don’t always appear numerically, and different ways that you can search for methods within the Handbook.

Even though all of these courses are recommended for the start of a tile setter’s career, anyone that has been in the industry will benefit from taking these courses, especially if they feel intimidated by the books and never open them. Also, these courses could be taken by someone who is planning to take the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) test. These courses are a good way to get someone to open each publication and explore the type of information that is available.

To purchase your subscription to NTCA University, visit the NTCA store at https://tile-assn.site-ym.com/store/ListProducts.aspx?catid=490398 or http://bit.ly/2taYmOO to make your selection. If you have any questions or ideas for courses that we should have available, please give me a call at 770-366-2566 or send an email to [email protected].

1 2 3 5