Ceramics of Italy Participates in “Coverings Connected” Showcasing New Products, Trends and Initiatives from the Italian Tile Industry

(New York, NY – April 2020) Ceramics of Italy – the trademark for Italian manufacturers of ceramic tile, sanitaryware and tableware – will take part in Coverings Connected from April 20-23. Hosted by Coverings – the largest international tile and stone exhibition in North America – this brand-new digital experience will take place in lieu of the physical trade show that was planned for New Orleans, providing access to virtual learning opportunities such as live webinars, tile and stone trend presentations, on-demand content, and a robust online products showcase from tile and stone brands from around the world. 

The multi-day online event will commence with a joint virtual press conference between all of the show owners on Monday, April 20 from 11am to 2:20pm EST. From 12:30 to 1pm, representatives from Ceramics of Italy will officially announce the 2020 Tile Competition winners and Confindustria Ceramica’s North American Distributor Award. They will also provide updates on recent initiatives undertaken by the Italian tile industry, including: the new Contract Hall at Cersaie 2020; the #DesignStandsTogether and #OneWithItaly social media campaigns; “A Safe Choice” video series that promotes the health and hygiene benefits of ceramic tile; and “Ahead of Our Time” – a poetic film that conveys the beauty and cultural importance of Italian tile. 

“We are so pleased to be able to present some exciting news about our North American Distributor Award and the winners of our Ceramics of Italy 2020 Tile Competition through Coverings Connected,” says Emilio Mussini, Vice President of Promotional Activities at Confindustria Ceramica. “Although we are disappointed that we cannot be together in person to celebrate, we are excited to explore this new digital venue as a way to stay informed and connected during this difficult time. We believe it will open the door to countless more attendees who might not have been able to visit the show in New Orleans.”

Coverings Connected will offer learning opportunities for a range of tile and design industry professionals, covering important topics presented by notable thought leaders and industry organizations. One of these opportunities will include Coverings’ annual Global Tile Trends Presentation with representatives from Ceramics of Italy, Tile of Spain, and TCNA. During this time, attendees will enjoy inspiring images and applications from a wide range of Ceramics of Italy members and discover this season’s top six tile trends. Those unable to attend the webinar can look forward to Ceramics of Italy’s Spring/Summer Tile Trends report, which will be released after the show. 

Attendees of Coverings Connected will be able to engage with Ceramics of Italy exhibitors and explore new products and releases through online Exhibitor Galleries and the New Product Showcase. Exhibitor information will be made available during and after the Coverings Connected event dates for attendees to search products, view exhibitor press releases, set appointments, watch exhibitor videos, and learn about the latest trends in the industry.

For more information about Coverings Connected and to view the schedule, visit coverings.com

Coverings Announces “Coverings Connected,” A Digital Experience

April 3, 2020 – ARLINGTON, Va. Coverings (coverings.com), the largest international tile and stone exhibition and conference in North America, today announced a brand-new digital experience called Coverings Connected. The multi-session online event will take place April 20-23, 2020, via coverings.com, to provide attendees with digital access to learning opportunities via live webinars, tile and stone trends presentations, on-demand content, and an online showcase of Coverings tile and stone exhibitors from around the world.

Coverings Connected will further Coverings’ mission to grow the vibrant tile and stone industry and provide selected educational opportunities given the recently canceled Coverings 2020. 

“Our goal is to support Coverings 2020 exhibiting companies by providing them with an opportunity to feature their products and announcements in a digital environment,” said Jennifer Hoff, president of Taffy Event Strategies, LLC, the event management firm for Coverings. “Similarly, attendees of Coverings Connected will be presented a variety of online offerings, such as live webinars, on-demand content, live chats, and the opportunity to set up appointments with exhibitors.”

Coverings show organizers have learning opportunities for all segments of Coverings attendees. They will cover a range of topics and be presented by notable thought-leaders and leading industry organizations. CEUs will be available for architects and interior designers for selected sessions.

Highlights of the webinar series include, “Innovation: The Key to Success Through Color and Design Trends,” by Leatrice Eiseman, CSA, executive director for the Pantone Color Institute and the Eiseman Center for Color Information and Training; “Acting on the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) Culture Survey – Leadership in the Face of COVID-19,” by Wally Adamchik, president, FireStarter Speaking and Consulting; and “Economics 20/20,” by Elliot Eisenberg, PhD, and economist. 

Attendees of Coverings Connected are also able to engage with 900+ exhibitors through online Exhibitor Galleries and the New Product Showcase. Exhibitor information will be made available during and after the Coverings Connected event dates for attendees to search products, view exhibitor press releases, set appointments, watch exhibitor videos, and learn the latest trends in the industry.

For more information about Coverings Connected and to view the schedule, visit coverings.com.

Go Fish!

MAPEI products help volunteers beautify Washington hatchery with recycled glass mosaics

Among the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s hatcheries, the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery is one of the most frequently visited. Tours are regularly conducted at the hatchery – constructed in 1936 – during which visitors can see salmon return home to spawn. Community education programs are also held at the facility, as well as various fundraising endeavors.

Artist Cheryl Smith wanted to beautify the walls in the local salmon hatchery with colorful mosaics installed by community volunteers.
Artist Cheryl Smith is flanked by MAPEI reps Chris Anderson (l.) and Ed Cortopassi.

In late 2016, MAPEI representative Chris Anderson received a call from local mosaic artist Cheryl Smith, who asked if MAPEI could provide a system that would allow tiles to be placed over salmon-holding tanks at a local hatchery. Unfortunately, MAPEI determined that without the design specification for the tanks themselves, the company would not recommend installing artwork on the outside of the holding pens; therefore, MAPEI had to turn the project down.

A few weeks later, Smith called again. She said that the project was still viable, that she had found a new location in the hatchery for her mosaic and, because MAPEI had been so helpful, she wanted the company to provide the tile system.

The mosaic, simply named “Salmon,” serves a dual purpose. Not only does it brighten an otherwise drab wall, but it also helped to involve members of the community in the renovation of their own local fish hatchery. The fact that the artwork is a mosaic and required no prior art training or knowledge made it the perfect vehicle to bring the community together across all ages and abilities.

According to Smith, a key objective of the project was to minimize the impact on the environment, specifically the ecosystem of Pacific Northwest salmon. “Using recycled materials reduces potentially dangerous additions to landfills, keeping streams clean and the salmon population thriving,” she said.

An array of MAPEI products, from waterproofing to grout, were used in the project. 
The “Salmon” mosaic brightens a drab wall, and involved 100 members of the community in the renovation of their own local fish hatchery.

The recycled glass used in the piece was sourced from vendors around Washington. Local glass retailers Perry Stained Glass Studio and Northwest Art Glass donated stained glass. Pental Surfaces donated glass bubble rounds for the background that were collected from the International Interior Design Association’s Northern Pacific Zerolandfill event. In addition, Bedrosians Tile & Stone donated tile to the project. 

One hurdle for the project remained: The 76 sq. ft. (7.06-m2) mosaic would be installed by volunteers, so any products designated for the job had to be user friendly. MAPEI was on board to provide technical support and training necessary to use its products.

MAPEI representative Keith Haney went to the site and conducted a seminar on MAPEI’s Mapelastic 315 waterproofing membrane. MAPEI’s Anderson provided technical training by phone and email throughout the course of the entire project.

MAPEI products on the jobsite

Because the mosaic would be installed by volunteers, products designated for the job had to be user friendly. MAPEI provided the products and the technical support for the installation.

All of the products used on the project were applied by a team of over 100 volunteer artists who worked under the direction of MAPEI representatives. These products included Mapecem Quickpatch to patch and smooth the existing concrete wall, Mapelastic 315 for waterproofing, Adesilex P10 and Keraply (used together to produce a high-performance mortar), and Mapesil Tsilicone sealant for joints.

MAPEI Flexcolor 3Dgrout – in the color “Crystal Moon” – also played an integral role. Not only did this product complement the “green” goal of using recycled products, it also provided an iridescent-effect finish to the glass tile.

Mosaics were applied piece-by-piece, using MAPEI setting materials. 

The Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery (FISH) mosaic wall project has been featured in several news articles for its artistry, creativity, community involvement and recyclable qualities. In addition, the project was submitted for the MAPEI North America “Show! Place! Win!” reference project competition and unanimously selected by the senior leadership committee for submittal to MAPEI’s international competition in Italy. MAPEI is honored to have been a part of this exceptional community effort.

The recycled glass used in the piece was sourced from vendors around Washington.

Coverings Cancels 2020 Exhibition and Conference Due to Coronavirus

March 18, 2020 – ARLINGTON, Va. – Coverings (coverings.com), the largest international tile and stone exhibition and conference in North America, announced today it has canceled Coverings 2020, which was scheduled to take place April 20-23 in New Orleans, Louisiana, due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Coverings event organizers have been monitoring the domestic and global developments regarding the coronavirus for several weeks. Their decision to cancel Coverings 2020 is a preemptive effort to minimize exposure to the COVID-19 virus and is in recognition of, and in full adherence to, federal, state and local requirements that are evolving due to these circumstances.

“The health and safety of our exhibitors and attendees are very important show priorities to Coverings,” said Jennifer Hoff, president of Taffy Event Strategies, the management company for Coverings. “Given the public health emergency we are currently facing, we believe the only action at this time is for Coverings 2020 to be canceled.” 

The decision to cancel the event was reached after a careful review of the unprecedented situation surrounding the COVID-19 virus, evolving travel restrictions, recommendations by public health officials, and the health of the Coverings global community. 

Coverings has been providing connections, education, and a global marketplace for the tile and stone industry for more than 30 years. The organization continues to be committed to the education and promotion of the tile and stone industry. 

Plans for a robust Coverings 2021 will be launched in the near future. The 2021 event will be April 13-16, in Orlando, Florida. 

“We ask for your patience and understanding during this time of uncertainty,” said Hoff. “Please monitor www.coverings.com, Coverings’ social media channels and future press releases as we work toward a successful Coverings in April 2021.” 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Will Coverings 2020 be postponed?

  • No, given the size of Coverings and the length of time needed for set up and break down, there is no location able to accommodate us in 2020 to postpone the show. Coverings 2021 will be preplanned in the near future. 

Is Coverings planning any online activities?

  • We are currently looking into providing education during and after what was to be the week of Coverings 2020. We will be distributing information about these plans as they develop. 

I’m an exhibitor and want to know what happens now?

  • We are working through the implications of canceling and will provide an exhibitor update soon.

Will there be a Coverings 2021?

  • We are definitely planning Coverings 2021 and look forward to working with our whole community of partners to produce a robust show in Orlando, Florida, April 13-16, 2021. 

I registered for Consumer Day; what happens now?

  • If you registered for Consumer Day, we will be in touch directly regarding your registration.

Other questions? 

  • For general questions not addressed above, please email [email protected], and a member of the team will get back to you.
  • For members of the press and reporters, contact Eberly & Collard Public Relations to request interviews, quotes or other editorial information. Call 404-574-2900, or email Don Eberly, [email protected]; Jack Dulin, [email protected]; or Cayla Shoup, [email protected]

For more information, visit coverings.com


Coverings Social Media: 

Facebook: facebook.com/CoveringsShow

Twitter: @Coverings, #Coverings2020 

Instagram: instagram.com/CoveringsShow

YouTube: youtube.com/TheCoveringsShow

LinkedIn: RequestGroupInvite 

Blog: coverings.com/blog

March 17 Update on Coverings 2020

To our Valued Coverings Community:

Please know that Coverings is currently discussing this unprecedented situation caused by the Coronavirus and its effect upon large events and gatherings. The health and safety of our exhibitors and attendees are important to Coverings and a show priority.

We appreciate your patience as we discuss the best course of action with the Louisiana Governor’s office and in accordance with the CDC and federal recommendations to determine the best solution for Coverings 2020.

During this time, we encourage exhibitors and attendees to implement appropriate guidelines as suggested by the WHO and other health authorities. Please stay safe, and, again, we will provide a new update as soon as possible.

Coverings Show Management

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

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

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! 

Coverings Commemorates National Tile Day, Announces 2020 Tile Trends

Coverings 2020’s National Tile Day Begins with Release of Top 10 Tile Trends from Ceramics of Italy, Tile Council of North America and Tile of Spain, Celebrated by Engaging Social Media Activations. 

ARLINGTON, Va. – Feb.12, 2020 – Coverings (coverings.com), the largest international tile and stone exhibition and conference in North America, today announced the fourth annual  National Tile Day celebration scheduled for Feb. 23, 2020. Brand-new, inspiring imagery of creative tile designs, installations and applications will be shared across Coverings’ social media channels in observance of the holiday. Social media fans and followers are invited to take part in the National Tile Day discussion, using the hashtags #NationalTileDay, #Coverings2020 and #WhyTile. 

ELLE Collection WOW Design – Tile of Spain

Members and enthusiasts of the tile and design industries can celebrate National Tile Day 2020 by tuning into Coverings’ KBtribechat Twitter chat Feb. 19, 2020, at 2 p.m. EST and watching Architectural Record’s Facebook Live Tile Trends session with Coverings’ ambassador Alena Capra Feb. 23, 2020, at 11 a.m. Other ways to engage include viewing Interior Design’s Facebook Live Tile Trends interview with Capra Feb. 23, 2020, at 1 p.m. and interacting with the tile community on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, using the three National Tile Day hashtags.

Grey Beauty, Fiandre – Tile Council of North America
Cortina Rectified, Interceramic USA – Tile Council of North America

“National Tile Day is an incredible way to spotlight a timeless element of architecture and design that connects members of the tile community and its supporting industries,” said Alena Capra, Certified Master Kitchen & Bath Designer and Coverings Industry Ambassador. “This National Tile Day, we are excited to share with everyone the progress and importance of one of the most practical and beautiful building materials through some highly engaging and unique social media activations and programs.” 

Porcelain Countertops, Crossville – Tile Council of North America
Oro di, Ce. Vi Ceramica Vietrese – Ceramics of Italy

Capra and Coverings’ sponsors Ceramics of Italy, Tile Council of North America and Tile of Spain collaborated to gather and report this year’s top 10 Tile Trends for 2020, in an effort to celebrate tile’s aesthetic elements, durability and versatility for National Tile Day. The following tile trends are a precursor to the nine miles of tile to be seen at Coverings 2020, April 20-23, in New Orleans. 

Fluid, APAVISA – Tile of Spain
  1. Mixed Color Palettes: Consumers are currently crazy for Pantone color of the year Classic Blue, blush pinks, sage green, and dusty orange hues for a calming look. 
  2. Refined Natural Wood Looks: Thanks to evolving digital printing technology and innovations in ink and fit technology, mimicking natural wood remains popular in 2020.
  3. Precious- and Gemstone-style Made Sustainable: From designs emulating rare marbles and semi-precious stones, such as onyx and agate, to tiles with an iridescent finish reminiscent of Akoya pearls, precious material styles are set to make a splash in the tile industry in 2020.
  4. Non-Rectangular / Mixed Geometrics: Trapezoid, rhombus and diamond-shaped tiles allow for more interesting layouts than simple grids and running bonds.
  5. Counter Culture: The durability and stain-resistance of porcelain make it an excellent countertop choice, which is why this type of gauged porcelain’s expanding applications will continue to be a 2020 favorite.  
  6. Psychedelic: Expect bright, psychedelic colors, playful geometries and trippy patterns galore this year!
  7. Industrial Chic: Concrete- and stone-look tile options enrich environments with a chic artfulness while opening the door to endless, unique style choices.
  8. Modernized Marble: Traditional-inspired ceramic materials, such as emulated marble, have been modernized to adapt to today’s contemporary styles.
  9. Speckled Surfaces: This trend features technicolor dots and specks, and modern interpretations of terrazzo in 2020.
  10. Large-Scale Patterns: We will see a shift towards ceramic tiles with big, bold patterns that instantly catch the eye this year.
Terrazzo MaxiMini, Fioranese – Ceramics of Italy

For in-person looks and examples of each trend, as well as the opportunity to experience the nine miles of tile and stone, network with more than 26,000 colleagues, choose from more than 50 educational opportunities, participate in brand-new business-building workshops, and more at no cost, attendees can register for Coverings 2020 today by visiting coverings.com.

Coverings Social Media: 
Facebook: facebook.com/CoveringsShow
Twitter: @Coverings, #Coverings2020 
Instagram: instagram.com/CoveringsShow
YouTube: youtube.com/TheCoveringsShow
LinkedIn:RequestGroupInvite – Search for “Coverings – The Global Tile & Stone Experience” group.

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. 

Jennifer Hoff, CEM, President Taffy Event Strategies

coverings logo

One-To-One with Bart Bettiga, NTCA Executive Director

Jennifer Hoff

I got to know Jennifer Hoff when Taffy Event Strategies, a full-service trade show and event-management company she launched – took on the management of Coverings, of which NTCA is part owner. The show has benefitted from her experience and excellence in show management.

Jennifer is active in trade show industry organizations including the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), and the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO). She has served on the program committee and as Chairman of the Board for the IAEE Capital Chapter and has held various IAEE national positions including Board Director and Education Committee. She serves on the CEM (Certified in Exhibiton Management®) faculty for IAEE. 

Jennifer has spent her career producing trade shows and conferences. Most recently, she founded Taffy Event Strategies, which produces exhibitions and conferences including Coverings and ASPE-The American Society of Plumbing Engineers Expo. Prior to that, she worked with VP International to launch new events in a variety of market segments. 

She has also contributed to the Art of the Show, third edition, which is a textbook used in colleges and universities. In addition, she has instructed the Introduction to Exposition Management course at Northern Virginia Community College. During her trade show industry career, she has received several industry awards and accolades including the IAEE 2018 Woman of Achievement Award.

Jennifer has a Bachelor of Science from Virginia Tech in Production and Operations Management.

In 2020, Coverings will be coming to New Orleans for the first time in almost 20 years. What factors went into choosing New Orleans as the location, and what are the advantages of this venue as well as the challenges that your management team is facing to produce a successful show?

New Orleans is a vibrant city that offers Coverings a robust venue. Given the size of Coverings, there are only a limited number of convention centers that can hold the show. New Orleans enables us to expand the Coverings audience to a new part of the country and provides a new and fun destination for our loyal attendees. 

There are challenges for every show we manage and many times we can’t predict those until the show is moving in or out. Coverings is a very complex show from an operational perspective, so preplanning and preparation are critical especially in a new city. That being said, we have a great internal team and vendors we have worked with for quite some time, so we can collaboratively address the obstacles. In addition, our contacts in New Orleans have been easy to work with and they have been great partners. 

We are excited for Coverings 2020 being in New Orleans because the New Orleans Jazz Festival begins the last day of Coverings so it gives attendees the opportunity to not only attend the show but stay for the Jazz Festival.

Jennifer Hoff with the microphone, preparing for the ribbon cutting that marked the opening of Coverings 19.

What are some of the new or exciting programs that Coverings will offer in New Orleans this year?

We are excited to bring back the Installation & Design Experience. The Installation & Design Experience will showcase today’s best practices relative to a multitude of different tile installations, demonstrate why tile is a great product choice compared to other materials, how to become and find certified tile installers, and so much more. 

The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) will be conducting live demonstrations in the lounge area, where trained and certified crews will educate attendees on the proper installation of large-format tile and gauged porcelain tile panels and slabs, as well as the importance of substrate preparation. Lunch, happy hours, giveaways and a game show in the late afternoon will also take place in the lounge. 

CTEF will be showcasing 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.

A new feature for Coverings 2020 includes a Brand + Business Building Zone where attendees can get a professional headshot taken, create a video pitch for their social media channels and website, and amplify their profile across the web and social media for promotion. These business-building resources are complimentary to attendees. 

Special programs and events are also being planned, such as guided tours for attendees, product giveaways, lunch, happy hours, and customized games featuring ceramic tile-related content. This expanded and vibrant area of the show floor will be a great hub for learning, sharing best practices, and networking.

Also new for Coverings 2020 will be Tiler, Coverings’ very own EventBot. He will be available via attendees’ smartphones to answer any questions about Coverings. 

Coverings will focus 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. Individually designed for every type of learning need, Coverings’ education keeps attendees current in today’s highly competitive marketplace with many offering CEUs. And, Coverings is still one of the only events that provides all learning benefits at no cost.

Representing Ceramics of Italy at Coverings 19 with Jennifer Hoff (second from left) are (l. to r.) Danielle McWilliams of Novita Communications, Luciano Galassini, Deputy Director of Confindustria Ceramica, and Kristin Coleman of Novita Communications. 

There are many local, regional and national shows and events. If someone was to pick one event to come to, why should it be Coverings?

Although Coverings is specific to tile and stone, it is unlike most trade shows due to a large number of international exhibitors, which gives Coverings a unique personality. Many of the booths are installed with tile and beautifully display the latest trends and technology. Given the international nature of Coverings, there is plenty of wine, espresso, pasta and paella on the show floor, as many of the exhibitors provide this type of hospitality in their booths. And the entire Coverings event is complimentary, including the educational sessions. Coverings has a robust education program offering CEUs that is completely free.

The tile industry has experienced market share growth for many years, but recently has experienced some concerns in losing sales to competitive products in key areas where we think tile should be the preferred choice by consumers. What role do you think Coverings should play in addressing this industry issue, if any, and what is your management team doing to support this?

Coverings is helping to facilitate a campaign to educate the industry regarding tile versus other competitive products. Our team has been supporting this effort by engaging with the campaign to help to move it forward.  

In addition, we feature the benefits of using tile throughout the promotion of the show. Our monthly newsletter, The Coverings Connection, provides stories and videos about tile projects – installation as well as trends – and promotes the use of tile. The content and programs developed for the show incorporate the benefits of tile and why it is the preferred choice. 

Jennifer Hoff (far left) celebrates with Freeman and Floor Managers after another successful Coverings. 

Coverings Submission/Nomination Deadline for 2020 Awards extended to January 10

Largest Tile and Stone Event in North America Kicks-off Two Annual Awards Competitions to Celebrate Outstanding Projects and Young Innovators. 

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Coverings is now accepting applications for awards

ARLINGTON, Va. – Coverings (coverings.com), the largest international tile and stone exhibition and conference in North America, is accepting submissions for both the 2020 Coverings Installation & Design (CID) Awards and Rock Star Awards. Submissions of tile and stone projects for entry to the CID Awards, and nominations of young professionals for Rock Star Awards, will be accepted online through Friday January 10, 2020, at 5 p.m. EST. Winners of both programs will be honored at award ceremonies during Coverings 2020, April 20-23, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The two esteemed awards programs collectively acknowledge the tile and stone industry’s exceptional design and installation projects of the year, while celebrating the talent and innovation of emerging, young leaders in the profession.

“Both the CID Awards and Rock Stars showcase the dedication, creativity and leadership seen throughout the tile and stone industry,” said Jennifer Hoff, president of Taffy Event Strategies, the management company for Coverings. “The awards programs underscore Coverings’ ongoing commitment to support the growth and success of the industry.”

Coverings Installation & Design Awards 

The CID Awards celebrate outstanding design and installation in residential and commercial tile and stone projects. Architects, designers, builders, contractors, distributors, retailers, installers, and other industry professionals may submit their projects through the CID project submittal portal by or before the January 10, 2020, 5 p.m. EST deadline.

Projects submitted for review will be judged and awarded using eight categorical designations: Residential Tile Installation, Residential Tile Design, Residential Stone Installation, Residential Stone Design, Commercial Tile Installation, Commercial Tile Design, Commercial Stone Installation, and Commercial Stone Design. Project entries are free of charge, and multiple entries are encouraged.

Each project will be evaluated by an independent panel of judges who will assess levels of creativity, craftsmanship and use of materials. The projects can be located internationally but must have been completed between January 2018 and December 2019 for review eligibility.

The eight category winners will be determined when the judging process has concluded in early 2020. Winners will receive a prize of $2,000 and their choice of a one-night stay in New Orleans during Coverings 2020, or an equivalent gift card. CID winners will also have their work recognized onsite at Coverings 2020 and on the Coverings website.

TileLetter, TILE Magazine, and Contemporary Stone & Tile Design are CID Awards sponsors.

Coverings Rock Stars 

The Coverings Rock Star program will again recognize emerging, young professional industry leaders. Nominations may be submitted by or before the January 10, 2020, deadline using Coverings’ Rock Stars nomination form.

Qualifying nominees must be 35 years of age or younger and employed as one of the following professions: architect, designer, distributor, retailer, contractor/installer, fabricator, specifier, manufacturer, and/or trade association personnel.

Nominees are reviewed by a committee of industry leaders who evaluate the contenders’ experience levels; professional certifications or affiliations; previous awards or accolades; prior speaking engagements at industry events; quantity of published works; impact in the tile and stone industry; and what sets them apart as emerging leaders in the industry.

The winners will be recognized onsite at the annual Coverings Rock Stars Luncheon and receive their choice of a one-night stay in New Orleans during Coverings 2020, or an equivalent gift card; inclusion to a Coverings press release distributed to dozens of publications; an exclusive Rock Star badge ribbon; several programming opportunities at the show; and a year- long professional feature on Coverings’ website. A full list of 2019 winners can be seen on Coverings’ Rock Stars winners feature page.

For more information and to register for Coverings 2020, visit coverings.com.


Coverings Social Media: Facebook: facebook.com/CoveringsShow Twitter: @Coverings, #Coverings2020 Instagram: instagram.com/CoveringsShow YouTube: youtube.com/TheCoveringsShow LinkedIn: RequestGroupInvite Blog: coverings.com/blog 

About Coverings: Coverings is the largest and most-significant ceramic tile and natural stone trade fair and exposition in the United States and North America. It features exhibitors from more than 40 countries and is the stage for introducing some of the most innovative tile and stone products in the world. 

The exposition and conference serve as a valuable and complimentary continuing education resource for all segments of the industry, with more than 50 educational opportunities throughout the show. Coverings attracts thousands of distributors, retailers, fabricators, contractors, specifies, architectural and design professionals, builders, real estate developers, as well as journalists, reporters and bloggers who cover the vital tile and stone industry. 

Sponsors of the show are Ceramics of Italy/Confindustria Ceramica, Ceramic Tile Manufacturers Association of Spain (ASCER), Tile Council of North America (TCNA), National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), and Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA)

The show is managed by Taffy Event Strategies, LLC. 

Coverings 2020 takes place April 20-23, 2020, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. 

For more information about attending, sponsoring or exhibiting at Coverings 2020, contact Taffy Event Strategies at 571-313-5801 or [email protected]


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