Announcing the Coverings 2020 Tile & Stone Architectural Sales Classroom Training Day in New Orleans, Louisiana on Sunday, April 19, 2020

“How to Create a “Bullet Proof” Spec and be a Professional Architectural Sales Rep”

This live classroom course teaches how to develop Tile and Stone “Bullet Proof” Architecturlal Specifications, How to Develop meaningful Relationships with Architects, and How to Target and Track Projects and Get the Order!

San Diego, CA, February 14, 2020 – The University of Ceramic Tile and Stone (UofCTS) is offering a one day classroom training course at Coverings 2020 on “How to create a “Bullet Proof” Spec and be a Professional Architectural Sales Rep.”   This live classroom course is based on the UofCTS Online course “The Complete Guide on Developing Tile & Stone Specifications with Architects.”

This course provides the student with thorough and detailed information on how architectural sales representatives can get their Tile and Stone products specified with “Bullet Proof Specifications” meaning resistant to “Value Engineering and Substitutions.”  

The course covers:

  • Selection Process and Considerations
  • Types of Architectural Specifications
  • Architectural Specification Structure – Master Format – Part 1, 2 & 3
  • Getting Your Products Specified
  • Tracking and Protecting the Specification
  • Communication Skills and Strategies

Students completing this course will have learned how to determine product suitability for the intended use, learned the different types of Architectural Specifications, learned how to prepare a “Bullet Proof” MasterFormat Specification Part 1, 2 & 3 sections, learn techniques and strategies for getting your Tile & Stone products specified, learned how to track and protect your specifications from substitutions and value engineering, and learned key communication skills and strategies to help them develop meaningful relationships with the specifiers and construction team. 

Donato Pompo, president of the University of Ceramic Tile and Stone and president of Ceramic Tile And Stone Consultants will be teaching this course with Vince Moiso, principal and president of Oceanside Glass & Tile Company.  Donato and Vince have collaborated together in the development of this course. Both have many years of successful architectural sales experience as architectural reps as well as sales managers.

Students who attend and complete this course will be provided with a Student Reference Guide with all of the key information from the course, Templates for a porcelain tile specification and a natural stone specification, and a personalized Certificate of Completion diploma.  Completion of this course will count towards earning the UofCTS Certified Tile Specialist (CTS) designation or earning the UofCTS Certified Stone Specialist (CSS) designation.

The University of Ceramic Tile and Stone is offering this live classroom version of the online course at Coverings 2020 on Sunday, April 19, 2020 from 9am to 4pm with a one-hour lunch break.  The special discounted price per attendee is $150.00 USD.  

To register for this course click on: REGISTRATIONSpace is limited so don’t wait, register now!

To view the Coverings 2020 listing for this course, and to register for Coverings 2020, click on: Coverings’20.

The UofCTS is the training division of Ceramic Tile and Stone Consultants (CTaSC) and is committed to developing training programs for the ceramic tile and stone industry utilizing the latest and most effective technology and learning methodologies. Launched in 2003, UofCTShas enjoyed many years of success with trade and design professionals and is the leading online training University for the Tile and Stone Industry. 

Walker Zanger Expands Regional Sales Teams with Addition of Three New In-Market Managers

New Tenured Hires of Leading Design-Industry Professionals in Los Angeles, Houston and Atlanta Mark the Company’s Commitment to Deepening Relationships with Customers in Local Markets

LOS ANGELES – Walker Zanger, the leading stone and tile design resource in North America, announced today three new hires to its regional sales teams: North Hills, Calif. showroom manager, Greg Rang, Atlanta branch manager, Anita Crosby and Houston branch manager, Nova Carter.

This announcement comes after Walker Zanger’s investment in local market showrooms with the expansion of its Atlanta showroom and the opening of the new Charlotte location in 2019. Each of the new managers will play a vital role in the brand’s continued growth in showroom sales in their respective markets and strengthening existing client relationships.

In the new position as the North Hills showroom manager, Greg Rang brings his background in brand building, sales and team management. Rang first joined Walker Zanger as showroom sales support at the West Hollywood location and quickly excelled in the position. Prior to joining the team, Rang has 15 years of experience in entertainment and luxury brand marketing as a management executive at Warner Bros. Rang also was leading the product placement division at the public relations firm, PMK/BNC.

As Atlanta branch manager, Anita Crosby is responsible for leading the Atlanta team. Previously, Crosby was showroom manager for Robert Allen, where she optimized customer service and strengthened client relationships. Crosby was also an assistant showroom manager for Pierre Deux, where she improved design solutions to trade and retail clients, and ran a full-service interior design firm, Anita Crosby Interiors.

In her new position as Houston branch manager, Nova Carter is responsible for administering and developing sales with the Houston team. Prior to joining the Walker Zanger team, Carter held the title of store manager for Pacific Kitchen and Home, where she built a 15-person sales team and trained new associates. Carter also served as operations and specialty manager at The Home Depot, where she oversaw the sales floor and visual merchandising.

“We’re thrilled to bring on such an experienced trio of new hires to the Walker Zanger team,” said Jeff Lupica, Walker Zanger’s Vice President of National Sales. “Their combined skills and expertise will play a large role in Walker Zanger’s continued growth and evolution in the Los Angeles, Atlanta and Houston markets.”

Walker Zanger owns 13 showrooms and slab galleries and partners with 200 authorized dealers across the United States.

PCA Forecasts Modest Cement and Construction Growth at 2020 World of Concrete

LAS VEGAS, Feb. 5, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Portland Cement Association (PCA) held a press conference at the 2020 World of Concrete in Las Vegas, Nevada where PCA Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Ed Sullivan predicted cement consumption to stay at moderate growth levels through and into 2022.

PCA Market Intelligence expects cement consumption will grow by 1.7% in 2020.  The potential for stronger than expected construction in residential construction could add one full percentage point to this outlook.

“The economy rests on two pillars, consumer spending and labor markets,” said Sullivan. “As long as the economy continues to grow and create jobs, the economy will remain on solid ground and continue to support cyclical portions of the cement market.  But the economic recovery is aging and losing its zip.  Economic growth will gradually slow along with construction activity and cement consumption growth rates.”

The aging of the recovery makes the economy, and cement consumption, more vulnerable to potential disruptions.  These threats to the overall economy include slower global economic growth, declining consumer sentiment, trade issues, and the threat of coronavirus fully hitting the United States. 

For more information visit

James Hardie Building Products Inc. Receives Crystal Vision Award

CHICAGO, Jan. 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — James Hardie Building Products Inc., a world leader in fiber cement technology, has been nationally recognized for its philanthropic efforts and is the recipient of the 2020 Crystal Vision Award, presented by World Vision. The company was honored at a ceremony held in conjunction with Design & Construction Week® for its support in helping to rebuild the lives of families in need.

“The heart and constant for most families is their home. We know when disaster strikes, those safe spaces are often the first thing to be compromised. It’s through incredible partners like those we celebrate at the Annual Crystal Vision awards that we’re able to restore that sense of normalcy and truly give meaning to the phrase ‘welcome home’ in our work,” said Larry Noble, National Director of Corporate Engagement.  

For over 10 years, James Hardie has partnered with the World Vision organization to help families in the U.S. refurbish and rebuild in the wake of financial crises and natural disasters. Through consistent and significant product donations to the organization’s Storehouse program, the company has donated fiber cement siding and trim products to those in need around the United States. James Hardie donated over 250,000 square feet of siding and trim in 2019 alone.

“Helping to build stronger homes, neighborhoods and communities is part of our mission at James Hardie,” said Sean Gadd, chief commercial officer for James Hardie Building Products. “We align with community partners who help us achieve meaningful impact through helping meet basic needs and enhancing community vitality.”

For more information, visit

Modomo Concepts offers Global sourcing and manufacturing tailored to customer needs.

Modomo works with gobal partners to meet commercial and residential projects needs. With a simplified system of global partnership, Modomo requires no sign-up sheets, obligations or agreements to get started and no charges until a project’s realization.
Modomo provides 75 years of experience to support clients as a global sourcing and manufacturing partner. Modomo understands that tile sourcing involves more than just competitive procurement, and that the delivery of value through sourcing and or manufacturing requires a sophisticated blend of analytical, re-engineering at times, change management when necessary, negotiating skills and excellent communication throughout the process.
In many districts including Sassuolo (Italy), Castellon de la Plana (Spain), Morbi (India) and Foshan (China), manufacturers operate on behalf of Modomo professional teams that can search, develop and make products for each requirement: interior to exterior floors and walls, ventilated facades, ceramic slabs, mosaics, etc. 

The use of consolidated and rigorous protocols in the quality control of the various research phases, prototyping, and in pre- and post-production guarantee that the product delivered is exactly as required.
Modomo orchestrates every step of procurement needs from quality control, prototyping, guaranteed products to exact specifications, and large to small scale residential and commercial projects. Because Modomo negotiates with just the industrial costs (no middlemen, marketing costs, bricks and mortar) Modomo positions you with the absolute most competitive pricing.
Learn more.  Click here.

Natural Stone Institute Completes 26th Home with Gary Sinise Foundation

Oberlin, OH, February 11, 2020— 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-six completed homes.

Natural stone and fabrication services for Retired Army Major Jeremy Haynes were provided by MARVA, Virginia Marble & Granite, Washington Marble & Granite, and BMJ Stone. 

The Gary Sinise Foundation RISE program dedicates a smart home to US Army MAJ (Ret.) Jeremy Haynes on January 30, 2020 in Fairfax, Virginia.

Growing up in Albany, Georgia, Jeremy Haynes watched the horrific events of September 11, 2001 unfold from his Marine Corps JROTC class. That day, he vowed to serve his country. Jeremy went on to earn a scholarship to Georgia Military College and commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant. He deployed to Afghanistan, leaving at home his two children and then-pregnant wife, Chelsea. On a mission in Kabul on August 5, 2014, an Afghan Military Soldier shot Jeremy four times, including once in his back. The shot to his spine severed Jeremy’s vena cava and 80% of the nerves to his lower extremities, paralyzing both legs. He has faced a long and painful recovery. One day, Jeremy wrote “I WILL WALK AGAIN” on a sheet of paper. He stared at that paper for hours and every day after. Now, through Chelsea’s inspiration to heal, Jeremy can stand and walk for short periods with adaptive equipment. This specially adapted smart home will allow Jeremy to continue to progress in reclaiming his independence.  

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 Stone companies interested in getting involved with future projects are encouraged to contact Pam Hammond at [email protected]

Schönox Presents Smooth Performer Award to Spartan Surfaces

Schönox HPS North America, Inc. presented its mid-Atlantic distributor partner, Spartan Surfaces, with the 2019 Smooth Performer Award in recognition of their high level of support and dedication to the Schönox brand
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – 29 JANUARY 2020 Schönox HPS North America, Inc. presented its mid-Atlantic distributor partner, Spartan Surfaces, with the 2019 Smooth Performer Award in recognition of their high level of support and dedication to the Schönox brand. The award was announced during The International Surface Event on January 29, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nev.
Spartan Surfaces, headquartered in Bel Air, Md., with showrooms in New York City, Chicago and Washington, D.C., received a trophy and a ceremonial check made out to the charity of their choice. The name Smooth Performer symbolizes the results achieved with the Schönox smoothing, patching and self-leveling products. 
“We developed this award to acknowledge our distributor’s achievements in sales growth. But more importantly, to recognize their contributions in working hand-in-hand with the Schönox team in investing, educating and training our customers, the professional flooring installer. We wanted to ensure that the top performers were given the recognition they deserve,” said Schönox HPS North America, Inc. Principal, Thomas Trissl.
“Spartan Surfaces has been a great resource and partner to us. Their exceptional growth with Schönox products over the past year made them a natural choice to receive the Smooth Performer Award,” said Schönox Vice President of National and Strategic Accounts, Mike Penney.

Natural Stone Institute Announces 2019 Pinnacle Awards

Oberlin, OH, February 5, 2020— The winners of the 2019 Pinnacle Awards were announced during the Natural Stone Institute Awards Ceremony at TISE in Las Vegas, NV. Twenty-two projects were honored with Awards of Excellence. The 2019 Grande Pinnacle Award was presented to Pei Cobb Freed & Partners (New York, NY) for their work on 7 Bryant Park. 

The carefully detailed stone-clad lobby of 7 Bryant Park is the result of an extraordinary effort to procure exactly the right materials and achieve the highest level of craftsmanship. This thirty-story office building in Midtown Manhattan makes the most of its proximity to an important green space with a sculpted facade overlooking the park. The defining element of the design is a pair of mirrored conical forms carved out within the rectangular massing of the tower at the corner facing the park. The conical motif is repeated in the ground floor lobby through the arrangement and detailing of the stone elements. Mocha Crème limestone is used for the walls and Moleanos limestone for the floors, with accents of Calacatta Caldia marble and Jet Mist granite. Limestone was chosen as the primary stone for its warmth, richness, and light tone, with more richly grained white marble and black granite adding contrast.

Stephen Falk (Stone Truss Systems) accepted the Grande Pinnacle award on behalf of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners during the Natural Stone Institute Awards Ceremony at TISE. He is pictured with Veronafiere’s Chiara DeLuca and 2019 Natural Stone Institute president Greg Osterhout (Northern Stone Supply).

Executed with pinpoint precision, this project delighted the jury, who also loved how the conical wall motifs and the triangular floor panels meet on point. They admired how the concave curve of the limestone panels reflected the mirrored conical motif within the exterior façade, and stated that the project exhibits superior stock control in unforgiving lighting conditions, showcasing texture and craftsmanship. 

The full list of 2019 Pinnacle Award winners is as follows. To view the award brochure with information and images of all the winners, visit

Grande Pinnacle

7 Bryant Park

New York, NY

Pei Cobb Freed & Partners 

New York, NY

Architectural Carving/Lettering/Sculpture

Arizona State University Barrett & O’Connor Washington Center

Washington, DC

Las Vegas Rock

Jean, NV

Mosque in Shali City

Chechnya, Russia

FHL Kiriakidis Group

Drama, Greece

Commercial Exterior

Church Street United Methodist Church Expansion

Knoxville, TN

Tennessee Marble Company

Friendsville, TN

Grande Arche de la Defense

Paris, France

Polycor, Inc.

Quebec City, Canada

Hartford Connecticut Temple

Farmington, CT

Dan Lepore & Sons Company

Conshohocken, PA

Oklahoma City LDS Temple

Oklahoma City, OK

IMS Masonry

Lindon, UT

Elberfeld Mall & Train Station

Wuppertal, Germany

VM Kaldorf

Titting-Kaldorf, Germany

Commercial Interior

100 Bishopsgate

London, England


Carrara, Italy

Chapel of the Holy Cross

Tampa, FL

Booms Stone Company

Redford, MI

Dallas High-Rise

Dallas, TX

Dee Brown, Inc.

Richardson, TX

Frost Tower

San Antonio, TX

Camarata Masonry Systems

Houston, TX

Public Landscapes/Parks/Memorials

Drexel Square

Philadelphia, PA

CED Stone North America

Montreal, Canada

Miracle Mile and Giralda Avenue Streetscape

Coral Gables, FL

Earl Jackson Architecture Workshop

Allenhurst, NJ


645 Fifth Avenue, Olympic Tower

New York, NY

Continental Marble

Bohemia, NY

Christ Cathedral

Garden Grove, CA

Carnevale & Lohr

Bell Gardens, CA

LondonHouse Hotel

Chicago, IL

Galloy & Van Etten

Chicago, IL

Saint Catherine of Siena Sanctuary Alteration

Trumbull, CT

Bybee Stone Company

Ellettsville, IL

Residential—Single Family

Boch Garden Pavilion

Norwood, MA

Kenneth Castellucci & Associates

Lincoln, RI


Cold Spring, MN

Piero Zanella

Verona, Italy

Hinsdale Residence

Hinsdale, IL

Galloy & Van Etten

Chicago, IL

L.A. Residence

Los Angeles, CA

Carnevale & Lohr

Bell Gardens, CA

Private Residence 

Highland Park, TX

Dee Brown, Inc.

Richardson, TX

The Natural Stone Institute would like to thank the sponsors of the 2019 Pinnacle Awards: Marmomac (Grande Pinnacle Award), MAPEI (Commercial Awards), GranQuartz (Residential Awards), and Coldspring (Renovation/Restoration Awards). 

Blanke moves to new office and warehouse; adds new president and COO

Blanke Corporation started the year off with major changes.

First off is a move to new office and warehouse spaces at
5091 Goshen Springs Rd. Suite A1
Norcross, GA 30071

Blanke sales representatives can answer any questions about the change. To find out who your Blanke sales representative is, inquire at 800-787-5055 .

man in a suit president of Blanke Corporation
Kristof Scwarz, Blanke Corporation’s new President and COO.
Also new this year is Kristof Schwarz, Blanke Corporation’s new President & COO. Schwarz was formerly Head of Internal Sales at Blanke GmbH & Co. KG and is enjoying his new role and life in the US with his wife Nathalie. Schwarz was a pro basketball player in Germany, so Blanke assures customers they can can expect great sportsmanship and teamwork from their team in 2020.

For more information, visit .

NAC introduces David deBear, new Director of Architectural and Commercial Sales at TISE

The International Surface Event was held last month at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, NV. NAC Products attended and exhibited at the show which ran from Jan. 28 through 30.

The TISE exhibition is comprised of three world-class tradeshows: SURFACES, StonExpo/Marmomac, and Tile Expo. With attendees from all over the world, TISE has become the industry marketplace for floorcovering, stone, and tile industry professionals, to engage with new products, hands-on demos and emerging trends, from key manufacturers and industry suppliers.

(L to R) Brian Petit, David deBear, and Dave Hanna, of NAC Products.

NAC introduced David deBear as the new Director of Architectural & Commercial sales while showcasing its membrane solutions for crack isolation, waterproofing and sound control, including Super SAM® 125, featuring the best sound numbers in the industry on a bare 6″ concrete slab.  

“Obviously there was a lot of excitement from NAC as we had the opportunity to introduce David as our new director,” said NAC President, Brian Petit. “We had numerous meetings throughout the week as we laid some groundwork and shared some of our goals and opportunities for the upcoming year. It was a good show for NAC.”  

Next up for NAC will be the Coverings 2020 tradeshow, April 20-23 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, LA. 

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