125 TRI MAX​™​ by LATICRETE Recognized as One of the Industry’s Best Products

125 TRI MAX​™​ by LATICRETE Recognized as One of the Industry’s Best Products Annual Building Design + Construction ‘101 Top Products’ award program spotlights the best new or upgraded products for the building design and construction industry.

​Building Design + Construction has named LATICRETE, a leading manufacturer of globally proven construction solutions for the building industry, a ‘101 Top Products’ award winner for 125 TRI MAX​™​, the flooring industry’s first-ever three-in-one adhesive, sound control and crack isolation product that eliminates the need for sound and anti-fracture mats and membranes. Now in its third year, the annual program recognizes the best new or upgraded products for the building design and construction industry. 125 TRI MAX was named a winner in the ‘Flooring’ category and allows for faster, more effective tile and stone installations.
“​Building Design + Construction’s ‘101 Top Products’ awards focus on innovation and what the leading building products can do for its users. Not only does 125 TRI MAX act as the solution contractors need to carry fewer products on the jobsite for a single installation, but according to our research, it is also 33% faster to install than traditional sound, anti-fracture mat or membranes, and contractors can save 15 to 20% on product costs,” said LATICRETE Senior Product Manager Jay Conrod.

High-performance benefits of 125 TRI MAX include fiber reinforcement to produce a stronger adhesive bond and a “Heavy Service” rating per TCNA performance levels (RE: ASTM C627 Robinson Floor Test) to support traffic in high volume areas. 125 TRI MAX has also been independently tested to meet ANSI A118.12.5.4 “High Performance” specifications for superior crack isolation protection, with the ability to prevent the transmission of cracks up to 1/8 inch (3 millimeters), and ASTM E2179 and ASTM E492 for sound reduction. 125 TRI MAX contains 36% post-consumer recycled materials to contribute to LEED points and is GREENGUARD certified for sustainable building.

Virginia Tile Company announces new Director – Products & Suppliers

Sean Cilona

January 7, 2019 – Virginia Tile announced the addition of Sean Cilona as Director – Products & Suppliers. Sean has fifteen years of experience in the tile industry and has held positions at Laufen & U.S. Ceramic Tile Company, ROCA USA, Florida Tile and most recently at Anatolia Tile.  Jack Mulder, current Director – Products & Suppliers, will retire during 2020 after a 6-12 month transition period. Bruce Zwicker, Board Director of Virginia Tile Company, said, “We are very excited that someone with Sean’s tile industry and product experience has joined Virginia Tile as the company manages its product portfolio for the future while maintaining our relationships with suppliers.”

Jack Mulder said, “the Company will benefit from a new set of eyes on our strategic initiatives and goals moving into 2020. Meanwhile, Sean will continue in our VTC tradition of highly valuing our relationships with customers and suppliers.”   Sean Cilona, incoming Director – Products & Suppliers, said, “I am honored to join the Virginia Tile family. I look forward to working with Jack and the team to build on that history and position ourselves for tremendous growth in the future.” 

Natural Stone Institute Scholarship Recipients to Be Recognized at TISE

Oberlin, OH, January 7, 2020—Three scholarship recipients will be recognized during the Natural Stone Institute Awards Ceremony at TISE on January 28. Cody Pfeiffer (Genesee Cut Stone & Marble) and Nadia Grogan (Fraserview Masonry) will be recognized as recipients of the 2019 Natural Stone Scholarship, and Jennifer Burlak (NorthWoods Granite) will be recognized as the recipient of the 2019 Women in Stone Empowerment Scholarship.

Each year, the Natural Stone Scholarship provides a trip to TISE, where the recipient will gain valuable technical and practical knowledge regarding the natural stone industry and will meet and network with leading stone professionals.

The Women in Stone Empowerment Scholarship provides a trip to one of three major industry events: TISE, Coverings, or a Natural Stone Institute study tour. The recipient is given the opportunity to shadow industry professionals within different sectors of the stone industry and explore her potential for leadership and her commitment to a career in the stone industry.

The Natural Stone Institute invites all TISE attendees to celebrate our scholarship recipients, as well as the 2019 Pinnacle and Industry Recognition Award winners, at the Awards Ceremony at TISE at 4:00pm on January 28. No registration is required. To learn more, visit www.naturalstoneinstitute.org. 

Crossville’s Frank Douglas retires after nearly 40 years in the tile industry

Frank Douglas

Crossville, Tennessee – Longtime Crossville executive Frank Douglas has retired after nearly 40 years in the tile industry. Most recently, Frank held the title of VP of Business Development for Crossville, though he served in many other roles throughout his decades with the company.

Douglas was pivotal in sourcing innovations from around the globe to help Crossville consistently lead the way for the domestic tile industry. In recent years, he led Crossville to be among the first American manufacturers to offer gauged porcelain tile panels and, just this year, his work to bring porcelain countertops to Crossville came to fruition.

Douglas’s colleagues wish him the best as he begins his next chapter

Construction starts surge 37% higher in November

Large projects lead to gains across most major construction sectors 

HAMILTON, NEW JERSEY – December 17, 2019 – Construction starts moved 37% higher from October to November, reaching a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $988.9 billion, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. The large percentage gain was not only a response to a particularly weak October, but also numerous massive projects that broke ground during the month. By major sector, nonresidential building starts gained 61% over the month, while nonbuilding starts moved 82% higher. Residential building starts were flat from October to November.

November’s gain pushed the Dodge Index to 209 (2000=100) compared to the 153 posted in October. The dichotomy between the weakness in October and strength in November is startling. However, the average of the two months is 181 – not much higher than the 11-month average of 173.

“The presence or absence of large projects continues to add immense volatility to the monthly data,” stated Richard Branch, Chief Economist of Dodge Data and Analytics. “However, the underlying trend for the year remains intact – that construction starts are settling back following nine consistent years of growth.”

Nonbuilding construction increased 82% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $288.5 billion. Starts in the electric utility/gas plant led the way due to the start of a large LNG plant as well as several wind power projects. When removing the large gain in utility projects, nonbuilding starts rose 9%. Environmental public works starts (drinking water, sewers, hazardous waste, and other water resource projects) moved 51% higher over the month, while highway and bridge starts rose 18%. Miscellaneous nonbuilding starts, by contrast, fell 33% in November.

The largest nonbuilding construction project to break ground in November was the $4.0 billion first phase of the Golden Pass LNG facility in Sabine Pass TX. Also starting in November was the $743 million Cheyenne Ridge Wind Farm in Cheyenne Wells CO and the $650 million High Prairie Wind Farm in Greentop MO.

Through the first eleven months of 2019, nonbuilding construction was 6% higher than in the same period of 2018. The electric utility/gas plant category was 111% higher than a year earlier. When removing that category from total nonbuilding, starts were down 9% year-to-date. Environmental public works gained 2% over the year, while miscellaneous nonbuilding dropped 19%. Highway and bridge starts were 8% lower on a year-to-date basis.

Nonresidential building gained 61% from October to November to $366.5 billion (at a seasonally adjusted annual rate), as several large projects got underway during the month. Manufacturing starts rose 782% over the month due to the start of a large petrochemical plant, while institutional starts rose 27% and commercial starts moved 23% higher. Only two nonresidential building categories fell in November – hotels and healthcare.

The largest nonresidential building project to break ground in November was a $7.0 billion ExxonMobil petrochemical ethylene project in Gregory TX. Also starting in November was the Rancho Los Amigos South Campus $330 million office building in Los Angeles CA, as well as the $296 million first phase of the Volkswagen Body Shop in Chattanooga TN.

Year-to-date through November, nonresidential building starts were 3% lower than a year earlier. Commercial building starts were up 3% with gains in office buildings, warehouses, and parking structures. Institutional starts were 6% lower through November with all major categories posting declines and manufacturing starts were down 15% through eleven months.

Residential building starts in November were essentially flat when compared to the previous month at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $333.9 billion. Over the month, single family starts dropped 8%, offsetting a 20% gain in multifamily starts. The largest multifamily building to break ground was the $500 million Calyer Place Apartment Development in Brooklyn NY. Also starting in November was the $350 million Seattle House Mixed-Use Development in Seattle WA and the $350 million Avenue Bellevue Mixed-Use Development in Bellevue WA.

On a year-to-date basis through eleven months, total residential buildings starts were down 4%. Single family starts were 2% lower, while multifamily starts declined 10%.

Natural Stone Institute Completes 25th Home with Gary Sinise Foundation

Oberlin, OH, December 17, 2019—The Natural Stone Institute has provided natural stone and fabrication services for two homes with the Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. program (Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment). The R.I.S.E. program builds specially adapted smart homes for severely wounded veterans and first responders. To date, Natural Stone Institute members have been involved in twenty-five completed homes.

Natural stone and fabrication services for US Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Jesse Cottle and his family in Idaho were provided by Arizona Tile, Daltile, Salado, and Valley View Granite.

Cottle Family
Cottle Family

Jesse Cottle joined the US Marine Corps in 2003. On July 19, 2009, during his fourth deployment, Jesse and his Explosive Ordnance Disposal team were on foot patrol clearing improvised explosive devises in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. An IED detonated under Jesse, blasting him into the air. After being sent to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Jesse underwent seven surgeries on both legs. He was then sent to Naval Medical Center San Diego for outpatient care, where he met Kelly, the woman who would soon be his wife. The couple has two young daughters: Grace and Isla. 

Natural stone and fabrication services for US Army Sergeant Stefan LeRoy and his family in Florida were provided by Real Stone & Granite Corporation. 

Stefan LeRoy enlisted in the Army in 2010. On June 7, 2012, while deployed in Afghanistan, two IEDs detonated and Stefan rushed to aid those injured by the blasts. While carrying an injured soldier to a Medevac helicopter, Stefan was struck by a third explosion. He lost both of his legs immediately. Stefan was transported to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he spent over a month in the hospital. He spent two years learning to adapt to his prosthetics, drawing strength from his friends and other amputees at the hospital. Sixteen months after his last surgery in September 2014, he ran the Boston Marathon. 

LeRoy Family
LeRoy Family

59 Natural Stone Institute members have donated their time, products, and services to this cause since 2016. A list of all donors can be found at www.naturalstoneinstitute.org/RISE. Stone companies interested in getting involved with future projects are encouraged to contact Pam Hammond at [email protected].

2020 Industry Calendar

JANUARY 2020

16-17  IDS Contract/Interior Design Show – Metro Toronto Convention Centre, South Building
www.interiordesignshow.com

21-23  2020 Commercial Construction and Renovation Summit – Lexington Hotel, Jacksonville, Fla.
 www.ccr-summit.com

21-23  NAHB International Builders’ Show® – Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), Las Vegas, Nev.
www.buildersshow.com

21-23  KBIS: Kitchen/Bath Industry Show – Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) Las Vegas, Nev.
www.kbis.com

27-30  The International Surface Event/Surfaces/StoneExpo|Marmomacc/Tile ExpoMandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nev.
www.intlsurfaceevent.com

FEBRUARY 2020

3-7  Cevisama – Feria Valencia, Valencia, Spain 
cevisama.feriavalencia.com/

3-7  World of Concrete® 2020 – Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nev. www.worldofconcrete.com

11-14  Vitoria Stone Fair, Carapina Events Center,
Espirito Santo, Brazil 
www.vitoriastonefair.com.br

MARCH 2020

10-13  Expo Revestir – Transamerica Expo Center,  Sao Paulo, Brazil www.exporevestir.com

12-13 CEFGA Worlds of Construction/Skills USA State Championships/Career Expo 2020 – Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, Ga.  www.careerexpo.com

16-19 The 20th China Xiamen International Stone Fair -Xiamen International Conference and Exhibition Place, Xiamen Island, China. www.stonefair.org.cn

APRIL 2020

20-23 COVERINGS ’20 The Global Tile & Stone Experience – Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, La. 
www.coverings.com 

MAY 2020

12-17  2020 American Mosaic Summit – Loews Ventana Resort, Tucson, Ariz. www.americanmosaics.org

14-16  AIA Conference on Architecture 2020 – Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles, Calif.   
convention.aia.org

JUNE 2020

8-10  NEOCON –  The Merchandise Mart,  Chicago, lll. 
www.neocon.com

JULY 2020

13-19  Clay Festival 2020 “Building Bridges with Clay” – Silver City, N.M. www.clayfestival.com

30-31 Southeast Building Conference – Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, Kissimmee, Fla. 
www.sebcshow.com

SEPTEMBER 2020 

28-October 2  CERSAIE International Exhibition of Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings – Bologna Exhibition Center, Bologna, Italy www.cersaie.it/en

30-October 2 CONSTRUCT! AEC Education & Expo – Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center, Grapevine, Tex. 
www.constructshow.com

30-October 3  Marmomacc Verona – Veronafiere Fairground, Verona, Italy www.marmomacc.com/en

OCTOBER 2020

13-15  2020 Remodeling Show and DeckExpo –Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Md.  
www.remodelingdeck.com

24-27 Total Solutions Plus, joint conference of NTCA, CTDA, TCAA and TCNA – Hyatt Regency Indian Wells, Indian Wells, Calif.
www.tile-assn.com

Total Solutions Plus – An industry educational and networking event

(l. to r.) Josh Meadows of JE Dunn Construction, Sam Bruce of Visalia Ceramic Tile, Inc., and Roger Baum of Core Construction during a technical breakout session covering the general contractor’s view of the industry.

This year, Total Solutions Plus (TSP) was held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn. This is the tenth year for the conference known for bringing the tile industry together. More than 600 attendees benefited from the networking, educational sessions and keynote presentations that this year’s conference offered.

TSP was sponsored by the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA), the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), the Tile Council of North America (TCNA), and Tile Contractors’ Association of America (TCAA).

NTCA President Chris Walker of David Allen Company noted that TSP is an event where industry association members come together to collaborate and help the tile industry. He stressed the importance of this collaboration saying, “The more involvement we have, the stronger our associations become and the more capable we are supporting our industry.”

Mark Shannon (l.), of Crossville Inc. with Tom Ade of Filling Marble & Tile.

The first day and a half of the conference was filled with technical and association meetings. Then many attendees participated in Nashville tours that included behind-the-scenes looks at the iconic Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium, as well as a tour of the Dal-Tile Dickson Plant.

The conference was filled with an array of business and technical breakout sessions all aimed at helping industry professionals and their businesses. In his opening address, TCAA President and Chairman of the Board Brad Trostrud, of Trostrud Mosaic & Tile Co., Inc., mentioned that 2019 had been a challenging year for the tile industry. He urged attendees to participate in the sessions because they will provide attendees with information that will be useful in daily business activities. He said he was confident attendees will benefit from their TSP participation because it shows the commitment they are making to learn and improve.

 

Elizabeth Lambert (l.), of Lambert Tile & Stone, Inc. with Mary Shaw-Olson of NTCA.

This year’s conference was the first for many attendees, including Jane and Lee Callewaert of Dragonfly Tile & Stone Works, Inc. Lee was honored as NTCA’s Tile Setter Craftsperson of the Year. Jane said she was glad they had the opportunity to come. “Our TSP experience was so positive all the way around,” she said. “Doesn’t this industry have the most amazing group of people? We were so honored to meet so many of you.” Callewaert’s husband received his award at the NTCA Awards Lunch on October 29. At the same ceremony, James Woelfel, president of Artcraft Granite Marble and Tile Co. in Mesa, Ariz., was honored as the 2019 NTCA Ring of Honor recipient, and Louisville Tile received special recognition for distributor support of NTCA Education and Training Programs. The conference concluded with a country western-themed dinner and dance, where attendees were treated to lasso and line-dancing lessons.

 

Total Solutions Plus 2020 will take place Oct. 24th – 27 at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells in Indian Wells, California.

 

Woelfel Receives NTCA Ring of Honor Award

Nyle Wadford (r.) presented Woelfel with the NTCA Ring of Honor during the Awards Lunch at Total Solutions Plus in Nashville.

During the tenth annual Total Solution Plus conference in Nashville, Tenn., the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) awarded James Woelfel, President of Artcraft Granite Marble and Tile Company in Mesa, Ariz., the NTCA Ring of Honor.

The NTCA Ring of Honor is a lifetime achievement award that recognizes NTCA contractors and associate members whose efforts have helped grow the association and assisted in achieving its objectives. Recipients are chosen by NTCA executive officers. 

Bart Bettiga, Executive Director of the NTCA, said Woelfel was chosen because of his dedication to the association and the tile installation trade. “James has provided leadership and passion to our association. He has been a constant advocate for the professional tile contractor in the development of standards and methods and is a staunch proponent of qualified labor. He has served on the executive committee for many years and is most deserving of this prestigious recognition.”

Along with Bettiga, industry leaders such as Butch Woelfel of Artcraft Granite Marble and Tile Company, John Cousins of Dal-Tile, Noah Chitty and Mark Shannon of Crossville, Inc., Mary Yocum of Schluter Systems, Rod Sigman of Custom Building Products, John Cox of Cox Tile, Eric Astrachan of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA), Nyle Wadford of Neuse Tile Service, and Martin Brookes of Heritage Marble & Tile participated in the video honoring Woelfel for his achievements and this prestigious honor.

In the video, Bettiga, who was last year’s NTCA Ring of Honor recipient, commended Woelfel’s service to the association. “I can’t think of anyone in my 18 years of being with the NTCA that has done a better job as a volunteer than James Woelfel of Artcraft Granite Marble and Tile Company. James has chaired our technical committee for many years, has been our president, and has represented us all over the country in presentations and in training and education programs.”

Among his accomplishments, Woelfel has been the chairman of the NTCA Technical Committee since 2007 and is a voting member of the TCNA Handbook and ANSI A108, 118, and 137.1 Committees. He served as president of the NTCA from 2015-2017 and was the 2011 recipient of the NTCA Tile Person of the Year Award. Woelfel is also an NTCA Recognized Consultant and a highly rated speaker at industry shows such as Coverings, The International Surface Event (TISE), and Total Solutions Plus.

“Receiving the Ring of Honor shows that James’ peers have recognized the years of meaningful work he has done for the NTCA,” said Bettiga. “There is nothing more honorable and laudable than what this award represents.”

Woelfel credits his wife, Chris, for much of his success. “I owe a ton of credit to my wife; she pumped me up when I was down and kicked my butt when I needed it. She showed me how to set and attain goals. She made me spend time in the industry and she took on all of the responsibilities for our family and work while I was out of town. She has an incredible professional background but she immersed herself in our industry and took it upon herself to learn everything she could so that she could support me and our family in making our business stronger. I love and appreciate my wife so much; she is the main reason I have achieved this dream.”

Woelfel said being chosen as this year’s recipient was humbling. “My first thought was how lucky I am to be associated with the other Ring of Honor recipients, people like Tom Ade, Bob Roberson, John Cox, Dan Welch, Bart Bettiga and, of course, my father Butch Woelfel.”

Woelfel’s father was the 2007 NTCA Ring of Honor recipient recognized for his career contributions to the association. The Woelfels are the only father and son to both receive the NTCA Ring of Honor recognition. 

“In 2007, when I presented the ring to my father, Butch Woelfel, I was amazed at the work he had put into the industry over many years that led to him getting the honor,” Woelfel said. “My wife, Chris, asked me if it was a goal of mine, as well, to earn the Ring of Honor. I told her that my reasons for being involved in the NTCA were to make the industry stronger and support tile contractors who often don’t have the necessary and strong voice at the table…and in doing that, if I ever received the Ring of Honor, it would be amazing.”

Callewaert accepts Tile Setter Craftsperson of the Year Award

Lee Callewaert (l.) with NTCA Executive Director Bart Bettiga at the Awards Lunch.

During the Awards Lunch at the 10th annual Total Solutions Plus in Nashville, Tenn., the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) awarded Lee Callewaert of Dragonfly Tile & Stone Works, Inc. the Tile Setter Craftsperson of the Year Award.

As part of his award, Callewaert received an all-expenses-paid trip to Total Solutions Plus. He and his wife, Jane, were also recognized at the NTCA Annual Meeting.

Over 20 candidates were nominated for the award. Requirements included a letter of nomination, a career summary, and descriptions of three to five projects the nominee has worked on. Nominees were required to be NTCA members, have a minimum of 15 years of installation experience, and still be active tile setters at time of nomination. Judges evaluated nominees based on their artistry, technical accuracy, problem solving skills, continuing education, and mentorship or leadership of others. 

In his nomination letter, Dragonfly customers and apprentices stressed Lee’s commitment to the next generation of tile setters, saying he leads by example and teaches his students the importance of continually obtaining more knowledge in order to improve their skills.

During the NTCA Annual Meeting, Jan Hohn of Hohn & Hohn, Inc., talked about the Dragonfly apprentices’ nomination. “Lee did not know that he been nominated for this award. His apprentices took it upon themselves to nominate him, and they worked with his wife, Jane, to get the application in. Lee did not know until the phone call came. That’s how dedicated his apprentices are to him, the industry and the craft that they took it upon themselves [to nominate him].”

Examples of Callewaert’s custom work.

Callewaert, who has been setting tile for over 35 years, is the co-owner and senior craftsman of Dragonfly Tile located in Grafton, Wis. He began his career as an apprentice in Tennessee. Later, he moved to Wisconsin and where he started as a journeyman tile setter and later became foreman. In 2003, Callewaert founded Dragonfly Tile with Jane. By this time, he found his niche in custom tile and stone designs and installations. 

Callewaert said he started his own business in order to make a difference. He believes the trade is more than just setting tile. “There are a lot of people like me who want to bring the professionalism and the artistry back to this trade. It isn’t about just setting tile. It’s a craft with a proud history and that history should be preserved and built upon,” Callewaert said.

He also stressed that his success would not the possible without the help of his wife. “I could not do what I do in the field without my business partner and wife, Jane. She is as committed to this journey as I am. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have someone who can handle the other side of the business. There is no way without her that I could have achieved what we have achieved. She is as valued as I am by our employees and clients.”

Jane said she was honored that Callewaert and Dragonfly Tile were being recognized by NTCA. “Being recognized by industry leaders and peers is a great honor. But it’s also very motivational. It feeds your passion and commitment. I’ve seen this first hand.”

NTCA Executive Director Bart Bettiga echoed Callewaert’s sentiments about he and his wife working as a team. “I’ve been executive director for 18 years and I’ve been working with tile contractors for 35 years and what [Callewaert] just said is exactly what this industry is all about. We have a great association of husbands and wives that run family-owned businesses.” 

Currently, Callewaert specializes in highly technical and challenging commercial and residential tile and stone installations. Additionally, he is a Certified Tile Installer (CTI) and dedicates a portion of his time mentoring the emerging setters on his team.  

Lee vowed to continue to pass his knowledge and the craft on to the next generation of industry professionals. “All of us started somewhere and we are indebted to those who launched our careers and supported us throughout the years. I’m so honored and will continue to pass it on.”

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