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Turning Negative Emotions and Thoughts into Positive Actions

Millions of people out of work.  Family members concerned for loved ones, especially those vulnerable or at risk to COVID-19. Employees fearful of working with co-workers in close proximity of each other, for obvious reasons.  

It is no wonder that an alarming number of people are experiencing increased stress and anxiety, and even in extreme cases, are suffering from depression.  There is so much negative energy circulating that you just simply can’t avoid it.  

As NTCA Executive Director, I have been on the phone with many members and peers. We all have tried to support each other in different ways. At first, I tried to tell myself that I mustn’t let people see how this situation was affecting me personally and professionally.  But as time has progressed, and more people have been transparent with me and opened up and shared with me how they are really doing, I began to feel it was okay to do the same.  

I have to admit that the situation has at times gotten under my skin. You just flat out get tired from the negative commercials, social media, phone calls, etc. Business starts to become affected. The money dries up. The first thought is that you just want to curl up in a ball, put your hands over your ears, and simply pretend that this stuff is just simply not happening.  

I tried it. It doesn’t work.  

So I started trying to find sources of positive mindsets. People who weren’t surviving in these times, but actually thriving in this environment.  

One video podcast I watched really rang true with me. Stress doesn’t always have to be negative. In fact, stress can be positive. I think about times I played sports when I was young, or when I had to prepare for a large presentation in a big crowd, etc. These were stressful times, but overall they became positive experiences. This has helped me to realize that these times can be the same.  

For instance, I joined some peer groups of other association leaders in both the construction industry and outside it  This was extremely helpful because I gained some empathy and also was able to feed off of their enthusiasm and energy.  

My goal is to turn this negative energy around immediately.  I want to use this time where I am not traveling and really assess changes that need to take place in both my personal and professional life. I want to to instill this energy into those that I work with and interact with. I am excited about it and admittedly a little fearful too. But fear can be a motivating factor, if you channel this the right way.  

I’m looking forward to working with all of you on many of these initiatives.  

Installer-focused training planned for Thursday at Coverings Connected

Coverings Connected, the digital manifestation of the annual Coverings trade show this year, has designated Thursday, April 23 as Contractor Day. Special learning opportunities featuring are planned this day, covering a range of topics that interest and benefit tile and stone contractors.

Martin Brookes, Heritage Marble & Tile
Woody Sanders, DW Sanders Tile & Stone

First up, at 11 a.m. – 12: 00 p.m. EDT, Martin Brookes, president of NTCA Five-Star Contractor Heritage Marble & Tile and Woody Sanders, president of NTCA Five-Star Contractor DW Sanders Tile & Stone Contracting will present a live session on the Application and Specification of Tile for Outdoor Use. Exterior living spaces and outdoor living is a growing trend that offers outstanding opportunity for ceramic tile and natural stone. However, there are inherent complications requiring you to implement strategies for installation that will succeed. New technology and systems have recently been introduced that can improve the likelihood of success and control the cost of installation as well. This session will examine the technology and the installer planning and training that must take place to be successful. Continuing Education Credits AIA: 1.0 LUs HSW IDCEC: 1.0 CEU Hours.  Click here to register.

Wally Adamchik, Firestarter Speaking and Consulting

Then from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. EDT, Wally Adamchik, president of Firestarter Speaking and Consulting will explore Acting on the NTCA Culture Survey – Leadership in the Face of COVID-19.  Join this session to learn the results of NTCA-commissioned research on company culture in tile contractors across the country. Gallup reports that only 30% of workers are engaged at work. Is the construction industry even worse? Learn how people (our most important asset) in the tile industry are feeling, and how it compares to the construction industry as a whole. What is the state of the industry from a leadership and culture perspective? And what are the current and future impacts of COVID-19 on labor. Get the good, the bad and the opportunities. Attend this data-rich session to gain ideas on how to assess and improve your company to recruit, retain and engage your employees. Continuing Education Credits AIA: 1.0 LUs IDCEC: 1.0 CEU Hours Click here to register.

NTCA Technical Director Mark Heinlein

Finally, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT Mark Heinlein, NTCA Technical Director will offer an informative and practical session  with Don’t Let Water Be the Boss: Wet Area Tile Installation. Water goes where it wants to go and does what it wants to do. You don’t want water to be the boss in your wet area installations. Learn the  information you need to be the boss and properly control water in your wet area tile installations. Continuing Education Credits AIA: 1.0 LUs HSW Click here to register.

Click the links to register or visit coverings.com and click on Learning Opportunities for the day desired.

10 steps to understanding the Paycheck Protection Program

An NTCA perspective on the CARES Act for companies with fewer than 500 employees

NTCA has been reviewing details as relates to new legislation enacted as a response to the COVID-19 crisis, and how it impacts our members and the tile industry at large.

This piece is an NTCA perspective on the Paycheck Protection Program aspect of the CARES Act and how members and small businesses can best take advantage of what is currently being offered by the government. Keep in mind that even though legislation has been passed, some details continue to change, and lenders are struggling to meet all the demand suddenly flooding in for loans. Your experience in applying for loans and the amount of time it takes you to receive funds may vary.

The CARES Act is over 830 pages long and has 16 laws attached to it.  The main item we want to focus on involves the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which helps businesses keep their workforce employed for eight weeks during the Coronavirus outbreak.

This is also a potentially forgivable loan if you follow the guidelines. The SBA stipulates that at least 75% of the PPP loan must be used for payroll. Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels.  Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease.

The following steps can help you know what to expect as you navigate through the labyrinth of applying for a loan, obtain funds, and qualify for the forgivable loan status. This latter point is doubly important since loans that are forgiven – or portions of loans that are forgiven — are not counted as taxable income. 

  1. Call Your Bank
    • Ensure your bank is FDIC-insured and is approved to handle SBA loans and is able to handle PPP application.
    • There is only $350 billion available in the PPP coffers so get your application in as quickly as possible.
    • This is a fluid situation.  The banks are on the front lines and are trying to navigate uncharted waters.
    • Most banks are only working with customers they currently do business with.  This is because there is a limited amount of money and they want to take care of their customers first.
    • Once applications are submitted, they are assembled into a queue for the banks to sort out. This could take up to 10 days. Once submitted for approval, it could take up to 30 days for the funds to be deposited into your account.
  2. Go To Treasury Department for Information
    • http://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/top-priorities/cares-act/assistance-for-small-businesses
    • You can access a fact sheet on PPP loan application form and get a downloadable form that may or may not be accepted by your lender. The advantage of accessing this form is that it will help you compile the information you need whether you use the SBA or lender form.
    • The program application process is open to June 30. Due to limited funds, it is to your benefit to start this process as soon as possible.
    • April 3rd was the date that many banks opened application process for small businesses. 
    • April 10th is the date that independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply.
    • Go to www.sba.gov for more information
  3. Check your company governance requirements and other lending commitments to ensure there is not a problem in applying for this loan
    • The SBA form requires all owners with 20% stake or more in the company to answer questions on the loan (examples include bankruptcy, have they ever been barred or declared ineligible by any federal department or agency, have they been convicted of a felony, etc.)
  4. Calculate your payroll expenses
    • To qualify for forgivable loan status, the amount you can borrow is 2.5 times your average monthly payroll from the previous year (2019).
    • Payroll costs include salaries, wages, commission, tips, vacation, PTO, health care benefits, retirement benefits, state and local taxes. Payroll costs in the loan calculation do not include federal taxes.
    • There is a cap on payroll for an employee making over $100,000 in 2019.  You can only claim $100,000.  That is salary; benefits are not counted. For example, an employee made $140,000, but you would only claim $100,000 when you calculate your payroll for the loan. 
  5. How much are you eligible for? Add average total monthly payroll and divide by 12. Then multiply by 2.5. 
    • If you already applied for or were awarded an SBA Disaster Loan, you can add that amount to the PPP application. Note that the PPP loan has restrictions on how you spend the money. 
    • SBA Disaster Loans allow more freedom with how you use the loan money, but may not be forgivable, are subject to underwriting, and require personal guarantees attached to it. Visit sba.gov for details.
  6. Document and keep excellent records of paperwork used in your application
    • Print and electronically store your records and have them available for submission if the bank requires these material or if the federal government later checks for fraud or misuse.
  7. Sign a certificate
    • All owners with 20% stake will be asked to sign a statement certifying the funds are necessary and will be used for what the loan stipulates: to maintain or to hire staff back that was let go after February 15th, 2020.  
    • No collateral or personal guarantees will be required for these funds.
    • This loan has a maturity of 2 years and an interest rate of 1% should it need to be paid back. However, funds should be forgivable if you document your paperwork, keep honest and thorough records, and use the money for what the PPP is designed for within the 8-week time frame.
  8. Make sure you use the funds for authorized purposes
    • 75% needs to be used for payroll which includes costs related to group health care benefits and insurance
    • Payments of interest but not principal on any mortgage obligation
    • Rent (including rend or lease agreements)
    • Utilities
    • Interest on any other debt like equipment, vehicles, etc.
    • Keep funds segregated into a designated account and use the funds to document a paper trail for the authorized uses listed above.
  9. Understand the impact of your past and possible future firings or layoffs of employees, or reduction or furloughs in their salaries.
    • The PPP is designed to encourage employee retention and discourage layoffs and wage cuts. If you need to do massive amounts of layoffs or cuts, reconsider applying for PPP and investigate a different loan option at sba.gov.
    • Talk to your accountant and lawyer about other tax credits or employee retention credits that may be available apart from the PPP loan.
  10. Keep up to date on changes or interpretations to the law. 
    • This is a very fluid situation, and things can change.
    • Get legal and accounting advice and establish communication with your banker. 

We will continue to post salient articles on legislation topics here. Also be sure to visit the Coronavirus Resource Page at tile-assn.com for links and ongoing information, designed to support you and your business.

TISE highlights

NTCA came out in force at The International Surface Expo in Las Vegas in January. Following are a few highlights of our time there. 

Many contractors wanted to learn and join NTCA at TISE. Here, NTCA member Chanel Carrizosa talks to prospective members at the NTCA booth, situated between the CTEF booth and the DISH stage.
TileLetter Editor Lesley Goddin gets her hands dirty playing in the mud, under Randy Fleming’s patient instruction!
NTCA knows how to have fun! Hats off to the NTCA crew, stopping at the hat shop at Mandalay Place for a photo shoot. With (l. to r.) Randy Fleming, Avia Haynes, Mark Heinlein, Lesley Goddin and Robb Roderick. 
NTCA offered a number of demos on the DISH stage, beside our booth. Here’s the critical wall lighting demo with Randy Fleming (l.) and Dan Hecox.
At the CTEF booth, Certified Tile Installer demos and modules were set up for inquiring contractors to learn more about. 
NTCA gave numerous presentations at the Converge conference program. Here NTCA Technical Director Mark Heinlein gives a preview of the new NTCA Workshop on creating centered and balanced tile layouts, according to industry standards.

Coverings comes to The Big Easy, April 20-23

Making a return to the Ernest N. Morial Center for the first time in nearly 20 years, Coverings attracts visitors from every facet of the tile and stone industry. Incomparable educational events, networking opportunities, and a chance to see nine miles of the best in new tile and stone product are paired with fabulous food (both in NOLA itself and at many booths of international exhibitors at the show), culture and the 51st New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival running April 23 through May 3. You have every reason to travel to NOLA for bettering your business and packing in a little fun at the same time.

Every year Coverings gets bigger and better and offers more inspiration, education and opportunity for those in the tile and stone industry. The educational program is completely free, and offers a massive number of sessions (find a schedule of speakers and sessions here: https://bit.ly/2sP1043). There are also products, installation demonstrations, and events to attend. 

Here’s a brief rundown of the event that will take place at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center – visit www.coverings.com or stay tuned for the Coverings issue of TileLetter coming to your mailbox in March for more information.

Live Installation Demonstration Stage – These live “how-to” classes offer attendees an up-close look at how top contracting pros handle a variety of challenging tile installations, using a wide variety of new products and techniques to make tile and stone installation more successful. Sponsored by TCNA and NTCA.

Installation & Design Experience (IDE) – Among the aspects of this show feature is a showcase of best practices across a range of tile installations, demonstration of why tile is a great product choice compared to other materials, and information on how to become and find Certified Tile Installers. CTEF will showcase the features and benefits of the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program and its importance to qualified labor as found in the TCNA Handbook and also contained in the Avitru (formerly ARCOM) MasterSpec for construction specifications. The IDE Lounge will be home to lunch, happy hour, giveaways and a game show in the late afternoon as well as other activities, such as the Brand + Business Building Zone.  

Brand + Business Building Zone – A new complimentary attendee feature for Coverings 2020. Come have a professional headshot taken, create a video pitch for your social media channels and website, and get tips and tricks to amplify your presence and profile across the web and social media for promotion. This is located in the Installation & Design Experience. 

IDE Booth Tours – Make the most of your time with an IDE Booth Tour! Embark on a super-efficient, super-informative guided tour of NTCA sponsor booths – see over 10 booths in one hour. Sign up in the IDE Lounge. 

Tiler EventBot – Another new feature, Tiler, Coverings’ very own EventBot, will be available via attendees’ smartphones to answer any questions about Coverings. 

Educational sessions – Coverings will home in on three key tracks relevant to today’s industry professional: Installation & Fabrication, Workforce & Profits, and Materials & Trends. Coverings’ robust educational offerings span all industry segments, many offering CEUs. And, Coverings provides all learning benefits at no cost. For a full schedule of sessions, visit
https://bit.ly/2sP1043. 

SFA Cage – The Stone Fabricators Alliance will once again be presenting “The Cage,” a dynamic, wet fabrication area contained within the exhibition floor. Sponsors of the SFA will showcase new products that you can try yourself, and members of the SFA will have ongoing “Mini-workshops” where fabricators can get hands-on demonstrations on various fabrication techniques like top polishing, mitering, etc.

Cafe du Monde by Paul Broussard

Coverings Installation & Design (CID) Awards – celebrate outstanding achievements in the design and installation of tile and stone in both residential and commercial projects. Awards will be presented at the annual reception, Monday, April 20, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. All are welcome!

Coverings Rock Stars, An  Emerging Leaders Program – This program recognizes and engages the best and brightest young talent in the tile and stone industry.

New Product Showcase: Don’t miss the New Product Showcase available on the Coverings website and mobile app. Discover the new products and trends exhibitors are bringing to Coverings 2020. Mark your favorites and visit those booths on the show floor.

Show Floor Happy Hours – Relax and network on the show floor from 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Monday through Wednesday. 

Art Tile Courtyard – Visit the TCNA Art Tile Courtyard located in the heart of the Art Tile Village at Coverings 2020 and enjoy beautifully tiled doghouses provided by TCNA members. These decorated doghouses are wonderful displays of creativity using tile. After Coverings, the doghouses will be donated to a local New Orleans pet charity that will be onsite during the show with canine companions.

Quickfire sessions – Experience short, 20-minute single focused presentations on the latest in tile and stone trends and installation. 

Engage Interviews – Learn from one-on-one interviews with trend-setting industry leaders in design and installation
innovation.  

NTCA Awards Night – Join NTCA for its annual Awards Night on Wednesday, April 22 from 5:30 – 7 p.m. Immediately after the awards event, NTCA will host a sponsored party till 10 p.m., featuring musical entertainment from NTCA members! 

Evaluator boot camp focuses on making CTI exams more accessible

If you read our Training & Education feature by CTEF’s Scott Carothers on page 66 of our February issue, you learned about the efforts afoot by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF), supported by The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), to bring more Certified Tile Installer (CTI) exams to contractors across the country. 

Carothers explained the beginning of the program in 2008 has led to the current stable of 1,600 CTIs. CTEF has been churning out about 150 CTIs a year but there’s an outcry from the industry for more opportunities to be tested, and for more contractors to have the opportunity to become CTIs. 

In 2020, there’s a goal of reaching 2,000 CTIs by year’s end. Yet with the current number of evaluators at 11, that has been impossible. Until now.

Starting in the middle of 2019, the CTEF board approved an intense week-long training of evaluators – an Evaluator Training Boot Camp, of sorts. Four intense trainings have been held, each with 14 evaluators-in-training: a mixture of Contractor Evaluators (CEs) and evaluators who hail from manufacturer technical departments; most were once tile installers themselves (Industry Evaluators or IEs). The goal is to have 56 evaluators by spring 2020.

Existing CEs go through an update, to learn the new grading system. They had already taken the CTI exam themselves to become evaluators. But the new recruits go through a rigorous curriculum that includes taking the CTI test themselves. 

Many manufacturers are supporting this program. “CUSTOM decided to participate in this value-add program because it aligns with our commitment to industry support through quality installation by our industries,” said Will White, of Custom Building Products. David LaFleur of wedi, added, “I agreed to become an evaluator as I saw it as a great opportunity to promote qualified labor in the tile industry. I was honored when wedi chose me as their representative to this program. The trade is suffering as a whole right now due to the lack of qualified labor. The CTEF and NTCA are doing a great job at working to improve this situation, and I feel this is a great way for me to help.”

Even though many of the IEs are technical representatives, the Boot Camp was no walk in the park. Ed Cortopassi of MAPEI said he was surprised by the “intricate difficulty of the task” especially time management when taking the CTI exam. CUSTOM’s White added, “With over 240 cuts in the certification test, you better have a plan that factors in the time allotted to complete.” 

For LaFleur, “The toughest part of Boot Camp was actually taking the CTI test,” he said. “I grew a new-found respect for those who completed it and passed. It is easy to assume, given the small quantity of tile installed, that the test may not fully test someone’s abilities. I was hugely mistaken in this thought process. After being away from tile setting for about one year, it was not only difficult to finish, but certainly tested all my abilities fully. I am grateful that I was able to finish and receive a passing grade.”

LaFleur praised the enthusiasm and dedication shown by Mark Heinlein and Scott Carothers in designing and implementing the training, and for making sure IEs were well prepared to administer and evaluate the CTI exam. “I learned how important it was to be accurate and precise when evaluating a test, in order to keep the test fair to all participants,” he said. “This will keep the integrity of the test in place, helping to assure consumers can trust they are hiring someone with the skills required to complete their projects.” Similarly, Daniel Grant of Ardex Americas said he was “happy to learn that the scoring was very clear, and mostly not subjective to the evaluator’s opinion or viewpoint.”

One thing White discovered  during the training was that installation technique and ability are perishable assets. “I have not installed tile on a production scale for 20 years – this camp showed me how an everyday task is not like riding a bike – you must practice this often to remain relevant and capable,” he said.

Ardex’s Grant said that in addition to the extended days in a hot warehouse, one of the tough aspects of the test was “Having to intentionally install several aspects of the module incorrectly for the evaluators to try to catch.” 

After completing the Boot Camp and the CTI exam, IEs had some words of wisdom for those planning to take the CTI exam. 

“My piece of advice is simple,” wedi’s LaFleur said. “Do not get worked up on the task at hand. All the information you need to pass is given to you in the study material. Treat the test like any other day at work. Devise a plan as to how you will complete the test in the time given and then execute it. The world is not perfect, so do not get hung up on any one detail.”

MAPEI’s Cortopassi added, “Make sure to attend the orientation the night before and pay attention to the many little details.”

And CUSTOM’s White said, “This is a certification test for those who earn it – not a guarantee you will pass. Study, plan and learn. May the Tile Force be with you always!”

One of the highlights of the Boot Camp was the “camaraderie from some of the other attendees,” said Ardex’s Grant, an opinion echoed by White. “What a great experience to understand we are in this together and quality can be achieved,” he said.

In pursuit of best practices through international collaboration

President’s Letter – September 2018

The NTCA Board of Directors has identified international outreach as one of its main strategic objectives. The goal is to establish dialogue and collaboration with other associations with shared interest in promoting and advancing the proper professional installation of tile and stone in the marketplace. NTCA seeks opportunities to learn and collaborate with other associations to build consensus within the industry where advantageous. 

In February 2016, a delegation of NTCA representatives attended Qualicer, the XIV World Congress on Tile Quality in Castellon, Spain. There it presented on how the NTCA has become a major force and contributor to the development of tile installation standards in the United States. In September of 2017 NTCA was represented at Cersaie Ceramic Trade Fair in Bologna, Italy, and met with delegations from 12 member countries of the EUF, European Federation of National Tilers Associations. During this meeting relationships were formed, and consensus was reached on a number of important topics. This month NTCA will participate again with the EUF at Cersaie with an agenda focused on learning and sharing the strengths of each country represented. 

Our interest is focused around the areas of recruitment and training of new workers and contributing to the development of International Installation Standards. 

We hope to learn how other countries recruit young workers into the trade and how they assess their skills to pair them with the appropriate training program. Some countries use technical colleges, vocational schools or trade associates to facilitate training and we want to gain insight into their best practices based on what has proven to be the most effective.

Others have various certification(s) that identify the skill and knowledge level of workers. We want to understand how these were developed and what impact they have on career development. A key element will be understanding the certifying process and the necessary preparation. 

Tile manufacturers participate on various levels in different countries. For example, in some areas manufacturers also provide installation of their products. In others, manufacturers work very closely with labor associations to provide support for the training process, including financial, facilities, materials, tools and instructors. What opportunities may exist here for NTCA to open new avenues of training with the help of manufacturers, and what might that look like?

Because the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) does not have any installation standards, we hope to learn how contractors and design professionals determine which methods are used on any given project. We hope to collaborate with our international partners working toward the development of installation standards within ISO.

Our goal is to pursue best practices and incorporate them into the NTCA’s efforts in the United States. I look forward to providing information on what is learned during this important exchange soon.

Keep on tiling!
Martin Howard
NTCA President
Committee Member ANSI A108
[email protected]

NTCA Participating in Installation Summit 2016

The National Tile Contractors Association is proud to be participating in the first annual Installation Summit of the flooring industry. The Installation Summit will provide a forum for discussing the key issues surrounding installation of flooring, stone and tile products — bringing together the best of the industry’s varied market segments to find solutions to problems faced by the flooring installation industry as a whole.

The Installation Summit will feature a Town Hall question-and-answer panel, featuring industry veterans such as Keith Campbell of Mannington, Tom Lape of Mohawk, Mike Welch of EJ Welch, Fred Williamson of Starnet, Tom Cartmell of the Blakley Corporation, Jon Namba of BNP, and more — moderated by Scott Humphrey, CEO of the World Floor Covering Association. This panel will be followed by breakout sessions by product segment, including stone and tile.

Topics covered will include the shortage of qualified installers, both in the tile industry and other flooring categories, and finding ways to recruit or encourage young people to learn more about these trades, including further development of apprenticeship programs. Also on the agenda is a session on the deterioration of installation quality, and ideas on how companies and associations can collaborate on training and certification programs for the best return on investment.

The Installation Summit 2016 will be held at the Omni Dallas Hotel in Dallas, Texas on August 2-3, 2016. Attendance is by invitation only. If you are interested in attending, please contact Bart Bettiga of NTCA at [email protected]

65th Anniversary marks historic year for NTCA

By Bart BettigaNTCA_logo_100pixels

2012 will be remembered by NTCA leaders as one of our most effective years in the history of the association. Established in 1947, the NTCA now is approaching 850 members dedicated to the professional installation of ceramic tile.  These are the largest membership figures in NTCA history!

While it is gratifying to see our membership growing, even more significant is the increase in support of our efforts by so many individuals. This is what is making a difference in our success. A great example of this took place at Coverings in 2012, where many NTCA members supported the staff by volunteering to work in our booth. The result was the most new members to ever sign up at Coverings or at any trade show exhibit in which NTCA has been involved.

The same can be said about the NTCA Workshop/Symposium program. Trainers Gerald Sloan and Michael Whistler performed in front of more than 3,000 industry professionals and signed up over 100 members in 2012. They could not have done this without volunteer help by members all over the country. On behalf of our staff and board of directors, we thank every one of you who attended and supported our training efforts.

2012: qualified labor language accepted in Handbook

Perhaps the most important achievement occurred in 2012: one I believe to be one of the most significant initiatives in the history of the NTCA. I am referring to the inclusion of language stating the importance of recommending or specifying qualified tile installers in the 2012 Tile Council of North America Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation. This effort was a joint initiative by the NTCA and the Tile Contractors’ Association of America, and was supported by the voting members of the Handbook Committee. In a short period of time, we are seeing architects and design professionals already including this language in the quality assurance sections of their specifications.

Advanced skills certification to come in 2013

As we transition from 2012 into 2013, we are excited to announce one of our most ambitious efforts to date related to the certification of qualified tile installers in the United States. On October 27th, at Total Solutions Plus in Palm Springs, California, the framework of an agreement to mutually develop and implement an advanced certification of task-specific skills was formed with the tile installation trade associations, in conjunction with several tile and installation material manufacturer representatives. We hope to further explain this effort at Surfaces in 2013, with the first installers actually being certified at Coverings in Atlanta, taking place April 29th-May 2nd. You will be hearing much more about this in the future; but for now I can tell you this is significant because consumers, project owners, builders, architects, dealers, etc. will be able to look confidently at a certification that is supported by the entire tile industry.

Leadership and support add to NTCA success

Incoming president Dan Welch of Welch Tile & Marble in Kent City, Mich., near Grand Rapids.

Incoming president Dan Welch of Welch Tile & Marble in Kent City, Mich., near Grand Rapids.

The NTCA continues to expand in membership and influence. We are taking an aggressive approach to establish our strategic initiatives. I would like to personally thank our president these past two years, Nyle Wadford of Neuse Tile Service in Youngsville, N.C., and welcome in our new president, Dan Welch, of Welch Tile & Marble near Grand Rapids, Mich. Both Nyle and Dan have been very involved in the growth and development of the association, and will continue to do so. I would also like to thank the entire staff of the NTCA, and the board of directors, committee members, state directors, and all the NTCA members who continue to support our efforts. The NTCA strives to be the Voice of the Tile Contractor, and I am proud to be a part of this mission.

Outgoing NTCA president Nyle Wadford (l.) of Neuse Tile Service, Youngsville, N.C. with James Woelfel of Artcraft Granite Marble & Tile, Mesa, Arizona. In addition to chairing the NTCA Technical Committee, Woelfel is first vice president for NTCA.

Outgoing NTCA president Nyle Wadford (l.) of Neuse Tile Service, Youngsville, N.C. with James Woelfel of Artcraft Granite Marble & Tile, Mesa, Arizona. In addition to chairing the NTCA Technical Committee, Woelfel is first vice president for NTCA.

At Coverings this year, many NTCA members supported the staff by volunteering to work in our booth. The result was the most new members to ever sign up at Coverings or at any trade show exhibit in which NTCA has been involved.

At Coverings this year, many NTCA members supported the staff by volunteering to work in our booth. The result was the most new members to ever sign up at Coverings or at any trade show exhibit in which NTCA has been involved.

Coverings 2013 Call for Entries

Coverings 2013, The Ultimate Tile + Stone Experience,  has announced a call for entries for two of its most acclaimed programs,    PROJECT: Green and the Coverings Installation & Design (CID) Awards.

“With these two programs, Coverings is proud to recognize excellence in the entire tile and stone community by saluting professionals for their design creativity, craftsmanship and environmental stewardship,” said Karin Fendrich, Coverings show director. “Recognition of the projects selected for PROJECT: Green and winners for CID Awards has become a much-anticipated highlight of the show.”

PROJECT: Green  recognizes sustainable new and remodeled commercial, institutional and residential projects featuring tile and stone.  The program, now in its fourth year, is

open to architects, designers, builders, contractors, distributors, retailers, manufacturers and installers. Projects must have been completed within the past two years and may be located within the United States or internationally.

The independent panel of judges will evaluate projects based on such criteria as positive environmental impact, environmental innovation, aesthetic design, and use of tile/stone products with environmental benefits such as recycled or low VOC materials.  Deadline for entries is Jan. 18, 2013.  Selected projects will be showcased at Coverings in Atlanta, April 29-May 2, 2013.

The CID Awards honor achievements in outstanding design and installation of tile and stone in residential and commercial projects.  Architects, designers, builders, contractors, distributors, retailers, installers and other professionals are invited to enter projects located within, or outside of, North America.  New for 2013 a category has been established for international firms submitting projects.

Projects are judged on design and installation excellence, giving special recognition to unusual, creative and innovative uses of stone and tile.

The deadline for entries is February 8, 2013. Winners will be announced at the CID Awards Reception & Ceremony on Monday, April 29 at Coverings at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia. If winners are unable to attend, the project will be disqualified and a new winner will be awarded.  International category entrants are encouraged to attend but attendance is not mandatory.

To enter PROJECT: Green  and the  CID Awards   go to http://www.coverings.com/coverings2013/Public/enter.aspx?ID=6229

There is no fee to visit Coverings or to enter either of these awards.  And unlike many other shows, there is no charge to attend almost 70 informative educational sessions either.  Professionals can register online at www.coverings.com .

About Coverings

Coverings is the largest and most important ceramic tile and natural stone trade fair and expo in the United States.  It features exhibitors from more than 50 countries and is the stage for introducing some of the most innovative tile and stone products in the world.

The exposition also serves as a valuable resource for continuing education for all segments of the industry, with almost 70 informative, accredited seminars and live demonstration sessions throughout the show, all free of charge

Coverings attracts thousands of distributors, retailers, fabricators, contractors, specifiers, architectural and design professionals, builders and real estate developers, as well as journalists and bloggers who cover this vital and dynamic industry.

Sponsors of the show are The Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA), Tile of Spain/Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturer’s Association (ASCER) , Ceramics of Italy/Confindustria Ceramica , National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) and The Tile Council of North America (TCNA).  The show is managed by National Trade Productions.

Coverings 2013 will be held April 29-May 2, at Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, Georgia. For more information visit www.coverings.com or contact National Trade Productions, Coverings Show Management, 703-683-8500.

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