NTCAU – Regional Training Event mid-year wrap up

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

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].

Installation companies applaud benefits of NTCA University online courses

I am always asked how people are using the online NTCA University courses, how they like the courses, what type of feedback I am hearing, etc. So this month I reached out to 10 companies for feedback. With everyone’s busy schedules, I didn’t hear back from everyone but here is the feedback that I did receive.


“We are excited that the finisher courses on NTCA University are 100% complete. We have made the training a part of our orientation process as well as making it available to our existing employees. It is a great tool to introduce new hires to the trade, as well as a great supplement to the hands-on training existing employees are already receiving. We have also assigned some of the training to our showroom sales team to increase their knowledge of product and processes that are used in the field. We believe that continuing education is what sets us apart. The feedback from the team has been very positive.”

Sally Perez,
Human Resource Director,
Visalia Ceramic Tile, Inc.


“At Hawthorne Tile we’ve been really excited about the NTCA University. We feel that education is the most valuable asset we can pass on to our employees. I’m in charge of the education of our apprentices, and being able to customize the courses we have them take based on both skill set and the projects that they’ll be working on has been really helpful. I’ve been going through taking courses myself and have been very impressed with the thoroughness of each course. There is valuable information on there for everyone, from the day-one apprentice to management. This is something our trade has been lacking and I’m excited to see it come to fruition.”

Ryan Willoughby,
Project Foreman,
Hawthorne Tile


“I subscribe to NTCA University because we started this business just over a year ago and, well, – let’s face it – we had A LOT to learn. We joined the NTCA, as I am a big believer in following procedures and standards and want to leave my customers with the peace of my mind that I do indeed know what I’m doing and deserve to get the prices I quote.

“I’m currently taking Tile Standards, Just in Time and Cleaning Agents and Maintenance. I love the courses! Educational, cost effective, and convenient. Just one of the benefits this offers tile installers: an opportunity to actually learn how to do things the ‘right way.’ This only makes you better at your job.”

Tracey Guile,
Flawless Floorz


Since Flawless Floorz is new to NTCA, I reached out further to ask what types of courses she may need. And Tracey’s response was, “I have not looked through the course list in detail but one of the biggest problems I have is estimating, so I’d like a guideline to follow from measurement to preparing the estimate. Also, how to deal with all the online ‘find a (fill in the blank)’ services they have everywhere.” This is the type of feedback that I need from all members. In fact, the Training and Education Committee is working on courses for estimating that will be published soon.

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

IMI/TCAA Tile Marble Terrazzo Seminar Series Kicks Off

The first event in the Tile Marble Terrazzo Seminar Series kicked off in St. Louis Mo last month. The Tile Contractors Association of America (TCAA) and the International Masonry Institute (IMI) developed an educational seminar series is aimed toward providing architects, designers and tile contractors an opportunity to earn continuing education credits. The half-day program included seminars and exhibits, with attendees earning credits toward AIA, GBCI, IDCEC and Trowel of Excellence programs.
Scott Conwell from IMI welcomes everyone to the event.

Nearly 70 architects, designers and contractors attended the event which was held at Maggie O’Brien’s Restaurant and Irish Pub.  NAC had a table top exhibit and attendees heard presentations from industry experts about tile, stone, terrazzo and resinous flooring.  Steve Hanlon from Hanlon Tile, LLC in St. Louis walked away with a $250 gift certificate from NAC Products.

The next stop on the tour is April 12 at the AGC Building in Seattle, WA, click here to register.  The rest of the series will feature stops in Cleveland, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City. To see the list of cities and dates, for more information and to register, visit www.imiweb.com or www.tcaainc.org.

Learn more about NTCA University

Visit Becky Serbin at booth #8209 at Coverings

Spring is in the air so that can only mean one thing…it’s time for Coverings. For those of you attending the show, why do you attend? What are you planning to take away from the show? If you are like several people that I have talked with, you are attending to network, learn about new products, and attend several of the educational events to help your business grow. So obviously it is important to you to keep up with current trends and education opportunities. 

Do you also have your employees with you or are they all at home working? Unless you are local to Atlanta, I’m guessing that all of your employees are at home because of the travel expenses to attend. When you go home, what do you do with everything that you learned at Coverings? Do you discuss what you learned with your employees or do you just go on with business as usual? 

Even if you don’t discuss what you learned at Coverings, have you thought about purchasing access to NTCA University to offer training to your employees? Several people have mentioned they just don’t know if it’s worth it to them to offer training to their employees. If you have taken the time to seek out additional training for yourself, you owe it to your employees to enrich their learning too. 

Maybe you’re unsure if what we offer on NTCA University is right for your company. Given that so many of our members have questions about courses offered and how to use the site, I will be available at scheduled times at the NTCA booth #8209 at Coverings. Check the booth daily for times when I will be there to discuss anything associated with NTCA University. 

If you have an opportunity to spend time in the Installation Experience, you will be able to see varying skill levels of installers that you are competing with today. Would you rather be the installer of a really bad installation with lots of call backs or would you rather be an installer like the qualified labor installation? All of the NTCA University courses are based on industry standards and help you grow your knowledge.

If you are unable to attend Coverings but you want additional information on NTCA University, please give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to discuss the training opportunities available with you. Reach me at 770-366-2566 or [email protected] To purchase your subscription, you can visit the NTCA store at https://tile-assn.site-ym.com/store/ListProducts.aspx?catid=490398 or http://bit.ly/2taYmOO to make your purchase. 

NTCA, industry sources support CEFGA Career Expo and SkillsUSA competition

On March 22 and 23, the local tile industry came together at the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia’s (CEFGA) Career Expo and SkillsUSA competition, held at the Georgia International Convention Center.

Organizers and supporters of the tile portion of CEFGA’s Career Expo/SkillsUSA

Local NTCA Five Star Contractors Rod Owen, C.C. Owen Tile, and Woody Sanders, DW  Sanders Tile & Stone, gathered area companies to support the effort by donating material and/or time. They included the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF), Specialty Tile Products, Inc., John Roberts Design LLC, Custom Building Products, Inc., LATICRETE International, Schluter Systems, Barwalt Tools, Steve Young (Steve Young & Associates), Interceramic, A Tile Experience, and the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA).

 

 

Focus on installation

6,500 students registered to participate in the CEFGA career expo.  In past years, students were able to make their own mosaic art pieces from tile.  This year, the focus was on showcasing the tile installation process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sanders Tile & Stone employees Jamie Desarno, Ben Garland, and Omar Trujillo worked with students to set tile on three benches that will be showcased at Coverings 2018.  On the first day, they worked with students to cut and set tile.  The second day, they explained and demonstrated the grouting process.

New this year at the Career Expo, students were able to register and interview with potential employers. Owen and Sanders met with many faculty members to discuss potential tile setter training in school construction programs; they met with many students who were interested in tile industry after graduation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 of 12 students registered for the SkillsUSA tile competition completed the challenge.  Due to the ease of finishing the test module last year, the test was changed this year to a larger size that incorporated more challenges such as applying sealant to all joints.  The skill level of the competitors ranged from no experience, to working as a helper on tile projects, to competing in tile at SkillsUSA last year.  While everyone didn’t finish, they were graded on what they had completed.  Winners were determined by the scores of hands-on work combined with answers to a quiz on tile installation.

Winners included: Martin Sanchez from Griffin High School, first place; Christian Mendoza from Kennesaw Mountain High School second place; and Nathaniel Selby from Shaw High School, third place.

The competition winners (l. to r.): Nathaniel Selby, Shaw High School, 3rd place; Martin Sanchez, Griffin High School, 1st place; Christian Mendoza, Kennesaw Mountain High School, 2nd place.

Since many people have inquired about starting a SkillsUSA competition in their states, winning test modules/benches are planned  to be displayed at Coverings 2018, depending on available show space and how well the completed modules travel.  —  Becky Serbin, NTCA Training and Education Coordinator

Primer: format change at NTCA University

Three ways to find the courses you want

I was going to dedicate this month to providing feedback from users but I have had so many questions with the format change that I thought I would address those first.

As you may remember, courses were broken out into six-month segments for new hires, but I received so much feedback of “I can’t find the course I want” or “We only do residential” or “We just want our employees to take a few courses in each segment,” that I listened. As a result, we no longer have the six-month segments listed. Instead, every course is listed individually. Even though courses are listed individually, that doesn’t mean that we aren’t offering you some direction on which courses to take or tell your employees to take.

There are actually three ways to find courses. Let’s assume that you are a tile installer with a new hire; you can click on the introductory courses on the home-page of NTCA University. This opens into an Excel spreadsheet and lists all of the courses in six-month segments. You can then tell your new hire to follow the courses as listed or move courses around or delete courses that may not pertain to your company. And as new introductory tile setter courses are added, they will be added to this spreadsheet.

Keyword search

The other two ways to find courses can be found on the subscription tab. The first is a keyword search. So if a word is in the title of the courses, description, or keywords then it will appear. All courses have keywords associated with them that you can do a search on to see what is available. For example, if you search for grout, you will find several different grout courses, then you can scroll through and find the type of grout you wanted to learn about.

Category search

The third way to find courses is by clicking on a category. For example, if you are a beginner tile installer, you can click on “beginner” and all courses that have been tagged will be listed. Then you can decide what you would like to take. Or if there is a management course that you would like to take, click on the type of course and if one is available it will be listed.

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

New Facebook group established for Spanish-speaking tile installers/Se ha establecido una nueva página en Facebook para instaladores de habla hispana.

Luis Bautista

In NTCA’s continuing effort to promote information, education, camaraderie and networking among tile installers, NTCA’s Technical Trainer Luis Bautista recently established a Facebook page dedicated specifically to Spanish-speaking tile installers.  The Latin Tile Masters page is a closed group that can be accessed here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1631338940290425/.

“Our purpose for creating this group is to help every installer be a master professional who installs with excellence, and to provide a place to share andlearn together to implement best practices and standards in the industry as set forth by TCNA, NTCA, CTEF and others,” Bautista said. “If you are an installer or involved in the tile industry we invite you to join us in developing mastery in our field and having a good time while we do it.”

Visit the page to join, or if you have questions, contact Luis at [email protected].

 


 

El esfuerzo continuo de NTCA es de promover información, educación y conexiones entre los instaladores, y Luis Bautista, entrenador técnico de NTCA,  recientemente estableció una página en FaceBook dedicada especialmente a instaladores de habla hispana.
Latín Tile Masters es un grupo privado al que se puede acceder por aquí: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1631338940290425/.

“El propósito de crear este grupo es para ayudar a cada instalador a ser un maestro profesional con excelencia y para proveer un lugar para compartir nuestras experiencias y aprender juntos a implementar los estándares de la industria establecidas por TCNA, NTCA, CTEF y otros,” Batuista dice. “Si usted es un instalador de baldosas/azulejos de habla hispana o está involucrado en la industria de cerámicas le invitamos a que se una con nosotros a adiestrarnos y al mismo tiempo divertirnos por este medio.”

Entre a la página para hacerse miembro, o si tiene preguntas , contacte a Luis en [email protected].

 

 

Chicago Floorcovering Association plans round table discussion on Floor Covering Installation Shortage

On February 22, 2018, the Chicago Floorcovering Association is planning a round table discussion as a first step in developing a task force to address the shortage of floor covering installers in the Chicagoland area.

The event will be held at Glendale Lakes Country Club, 1550 President Street, Glendale Heights, IL. Dinner will be provided. Retailers, distributors, contractors, manufacturers, installers, legislators and educators are all welcome.

There is no charge to attend, though RSVPs at [email protected] or 630-442-7094 are requested to help with planning. More information is available at chicagofloorcoveringassociation.com

Pat Zirkleback, incoming 2018 CFA president said, “As a former ceramic tile installer, I feel a personal commitment to lead the challenge to define, develop and implement a way to encourage and train flooring installers in Chicagoland. As as CFA President, I want to throw the entire weight of our organization into this and hep facilitate discussion and action!”

Plan to attend this important discussion, and add your wisdom and experience to the meeting.

 

NTCA completes year two of the DOL-approved five-year apprenticeship program

In case you missed it, the big NTCA University news at The International Surfaces Event (TISE West) in Las Vegas was that we have completed two of the five years of courses for a new hire that are required for a Department of Labor (DOL) apprentice program.

And to catch you up on previous updates, we are developing five years of introductory courses for a new tile setter. If your company has a DOL-approved program, this means that the two-year finisher program is complete and we are starting to work on the three-year setter program.

The second year of courses build on knowledge that was gained in the first year. And we included several introductory management courses such as crew task management, introduction to communication, and controlling confrontations. These courses were included to support someone who has been on the job for two years to lead grout crews and assist new hires to learn the tasks at which they are proficient.

Even though these courses are being developed with the installer in mind, they aren’t meant SOLELY for a new finisher or setter. While there is a slant to the installer’s perspective, anyone working in the tile industry can benefit from taking these courses. For example, if you are a sales rep, do you understand the entire installation process? Do you know how your product fits in with all of the other steps? Or do you understand issues that may occur with an improper installation? All of these questions can be answered by taking these courses.

Remember that NTCA University now has key word search capabilities. Let’s say that you want to take a course related to epoxy grout. In the past you would have to scroll through all of the courses to look for that particular course; now you can search for epoxy and/or grout and find a list of courses that may meet your needs.

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

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