Schluter Innovation Workshop: Albuquerque June 15 & 16

Schluter Systems L.P. will hold an Innovation Workshop: Part 1 on Wednesday and Thursday, June 15 and 16 at the Albuquerque Marriott Pyramid North, 5151 San Francisco Road, Albuquerque, N.M.

The two-day workshop contains both classroom and hands-on instruction. Learn how to prevent tiles from cracking with Schluter-DITRA, protect tile edges with Schluter profiles, provide effective moisture management with Schluter-KERDI and more.

The program runs from 8 am to 5 pm on both days and includes breakfast and lunch, in addition to dinner on day one, all courtesy of Schluter-Systems.

In addition, Schluter-Systems will provide accommodations for the night preceding and following the first day of the workshop for those living more than one hour away from the workshop location.

For more information, email [email protected] or call Lisa Cartier or Marci LaPier at 800-472-4588, ext 4116 and 4118. While in Albuquerque, contact Tim Whittington at 602-768-8649.

Installation and sales training courses join the curriculum

may-beckyNTCA_UniversityBy Becky Serbin, Training and Education Coordinator

I enjoyed seeing many familiar faces and putting faces to names at Coverings 2016. Many members stopped me to talk about NTCA University. Some were interested in updates on the apprenticeship program but many were looking for options to train staff or journeymen who have been on the job for a while. Since I am originally from the manufacturing side of the business, I talked to them about getting in touch with their manufacturer reps because they offer continuing education courses and they could put a program together based on the needs of the contractor. But it also made me think about NTCA University and what we could do for our members, so we are introducing a new category called “Installation and Sales Training.”

During the introduction of this new category, the courses will be very similar to the apprenticeship courses. They will be approximately 10 – 15 minutes in length and will touch on the basic information such as safety or types of waterproofing membranes.
There are a couple of reasons for this. First, much of the information in the apprenticeship courses is relevant to anyone new to the industry such as a sales associate, but since these courses are already produced they can easily be transferred to the new category. Second, it is amazing how often long-time professionals will forget the basics. How often do you hear yourself say “I know how to do that” or “I’ve done it the same way for 30 years”? What if there are other ways to consider doing the job that may be easier or safer?

These courses are designed to be watched in a group setting such as a safety meeting or a continuing education class and then be used to generate conversations started on a particular topic. They’re not designed to simply show in a group that disperses before talking about their content. The courses can be stopped or backed up to review the topic for the group or to prompt more in-depth conversation. The course can also be shown in its entirety and then used as the topic of group discussion. For example, during the group discussion, someone with a preference toward a particular type of grout may learn about some of the newer products on the market that may be a better fit to a particular job.
No matter your age, years on the job, or position in the company, everyone has an opportunity to learn from one another. If you are curious about any of the installation and sales training courses that are currently available, check out the NTCA store at for a brief description of each of the courses.

NTCA endorses University of Ceramic Tile and Stone (UofCTS) Online Courses


The University of Ceramic Tile and Stone (UofCTS), the leading developer of online educational coursework for the tile and stone industry, has received endorsement of its core curriculum by the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA). As an added benefit for NTCA members, UofCTS courses will be offered through the NTCA website and individuals who sign up will receive a special membership discount.
Included in the lineup of available courses are Understanding the Basics of Ceramic Tile and Understanding the Basics of Natural Stone that take a comprehensive look at the ceramic tile and stone industries. The courses teach industry standards, technical information about tile and stone and sales techniques, and are designed to give salespeople the tools they need in order to increase sales.
The Tile Installer Thin-set Standards (ITS) Verification course instructs installers, setters and finishers, on industry standards and practices, manufacturers’ requirements, and proper installation methods for tile thin-set applications that apply to ceramic tile, porcelain tile, stone tile, glass tile and other types of adhered tile materials. The course also teaches how to inspect and prepare substrates and tiles, how to achieve full thinset coverage, and points out quality workmanship requirements and practices. Tile installers who complete the ITS Verification course receive a certificate of completion and must renew it every two years to remain current with industry standards. The ITS course is available in English and in Spanish.
Referring to the new partnership, Donato Pompo, founder of the UofCTS, said “NTCA has always been dedicated to providing education to the tile contracting trade, and we are excited to collaborate with them to bring the highest quality online courses in the industry.”
In addition to providing the UofCTS Online courses on tile and stone, and the ITS Verification course for installers, UofCTS is assisting NTCA in developing other online courses for its new online apprenticeship training program.
For details on purchasing any of the online courses, please visit NTCA website at Students have fourteen days to complete courses, which are accessible online, 24/7. The benefits of online training are many: convenience, no travel costs or loss of work. All that is required is a computer and an internet connection. Upon successful completion of any course, students are able to print a certificate and download a reference guide.

NTCA brings custom workshop to Louisville Tile Distributors

1-louisvilleBy Lesley Goddin

Louisville Tile Distributors (LTD) is deeply invested in education for staff and customers – so much so that the company schedules NTCA Tile & Stone Workshops every other year at several of its locations.

“We believe the workshops are a great opportunity for us to help educate, train and promote the tile industry,” said Don Kincaid, LTD vice president. “The rapid pace of change and introduction of new products and methods makes the workshops more valuable and relevant than ever. Our employees take pride in getting attendance at the events and do not want their branch to be the ‘low man’ on the attendance list.“

Attendance at the June workshop at the Indianapolis/Fisher branch included 80 customers, 15 vendors and 20 employees, said Brian Dillard, operations manager for the location. “The hot topic was the installing of mosaic and the large thin tiles. [NTCA’s Gerald Sloan] is a great guy and always does a good job with these shows.”

J.T. Wenger, general manager of the Evansville, Ind., location, said “We had 19 vendors and 58 contractors in attendance.” Attendees were most interested in cleaning of tile and large-format installation. “This was by far our best seminar to date,” Wenger said.  “We had good participation, excellent fried chicken, and Gerald was very informative as always. We are excited for the next class and thinking of ways to outdo this very successful event!”

2-louisvilleAt this writing, six workshops have been completed with 248 attendees – and two more are scheduled. “We anticipate well over 300 attendees,” Kincaid said.

Kincaid added, “Vendor table tops prior to event and the pertinent subject matter during the workshops allow tile mechanics, architects, estimators and all industry attendees a chance to learn together. In many cases, full-time mechanics who set tile every day never get the opportunity to see the industry. The workshops provide a forum for everyone in the industry to interact with our staff, suppliers and other channel members. The exchange and feedback is invaluable for all attendees.

“Our industry is changing very fast, with bigger and thinner tile , new grouts and thinsets, leveling systems, tools and more,” Kincaid added. “Disseminating information is very challenging, therefore the workshops are a great opportunity for us and the industry to connect and interact.”

3-louisville60 years strong

This year was even more special, since the company, which has grown to eight locations, is celebrating its 60th year in business.

Kincaid said the company is adding its 60th anniversary logo to business cards, stationery, banners and all communication tools this year.

“We will be hosting eight birthday parties, one for each location, in reverse chronological order – newest to oldest,” he added. “The Louisville celebration, September 22, will be a grand finale with attendance of the company founder, Jud Wilcox.”


Wednesday, September 9th Knoxville

Thursday, September 10th –      Chattanooga

Wednesday, September 16th Cincinnati

Thursday, September 17th –      Indianapolis

Wednesday, October 14th –       Nashville

Thursday, October 15th –           Evansville

Wednesday, October 21st –       Lexington

Thursday, October 22nd –           Louisville 


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