The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) has chosen James Woelfel, president of Artcraft Granite Marble and Tile Company in Mesa, Ariz., as its 2019 recipient of 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 and last year’s NTCA Ring of Honor recipient, 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.”
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’s father, Butch Woelfel, 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.
Woelfel will receive the award on October 29th, 2019 during the Awards Luncheon at the Total Solution Plus conference in Nashville, Tenn.
The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), the world’s largest tile contractor association, is pleased to announce the winner of the 2019 Tile Setter Craftsperson of the Year Award is Lee Callewaert.
Callewaert, who has been setting tile for over 35 years, is the co-owner and senior craftsman of Dragonfly Tile & Stone Works, Inc. 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 his wife, Jane. By this time, he found his niche in custom tile and stone designs and installations.
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.
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. “He isn’t just teaching the trade, but self-worth, patience, gratitude and so much more,” said Kate Shortall, owner and senior designer of Blackstone International.
This is the inaugural year for the Tile Setter Craftsperson of the Year Award. Becky Serbin, NTCA Director of Education and Curriculum, said she worked with NTCA Training Director Mark Heinlein to establish a NTCA member award that celebrated and recognized the career tile setter and his/her achievements. “This is our lifetime achievement award for tile setters,” Serbin said. “It recognizes craftsmanship, training, and legacy of some of our members’ contributions to the industry.”
Over 20 candidates were nominated for the award. Requirements included a letter of nomination, a career summary, and descriptions of the 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. Mike Micalizzi, Technical Leader at Custom Building Products and one of this year’s judges, was impressed by Callewaert’s craftsmanship. “Lee Callewaert’s exceptional craftsmanship is immediately evident as you look at his creations!” he said. “He and his team pay extreme attention to details with meticulous cuts and shapes in embedded patterns. He designs beautifully-balanced layouts that appear super flat with all of the care taken during prep and installations. He is a real industry professional, proficient in his work!”
As part of his award, Callewaert will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Total Solutions Plus, taking place October 26th-29th in Nashville, Tennessee. He will be recognized at the NTCA Annual Meeting while attending the event.
The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) is a non-profit trade association serving every segment of the industry, spearheading education for the professional installation of ceramic tile, natural stone and allied products. For more information, please contact NTCA executive director Bart Bettiga at [email protected], via telephone at (601) 939-2071, or visit www.tile-assn.com.
The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), the world’s largest tile contractor association, hosted its 2019 NTCA Five-Star Contractor Annual Summer Meeting in Montreal, Canada. The objective of this year’s meeting, hosted by Schluter Systems, was not only to provide valuable education, but also to help the attendees form connections so they would feel comfortable reaching out to one another when advice or support is needed.
“The NTCA Five-Star Contractor group is grateful to Schluter Systems for their support in this endeavor,” said NTCA Five Star Program Director Amber Fox. “They helped us create a unique experience to connect and to refine and grow our businesses together.”
The NTCA Five-Star Contractor designation recognizes NTCA members who have demonstrated integrity, professionalism, and craftmanship and has a proven track record of success in tile and stone installation and business management.
“One of the great benefits of being an NTCA Five-Star Contractor is the custom educational opportunities that come from generous supporters, said Fox. “This meeting creates multiple opportunities for NTCA Five-Star contractor members to come together and work on their business through speakers and from each other.”
Keynote speaker Mike Moore speaking to attendees.
Keynote speaker Mike Moore opened the event with a session on how to approach the task of attracting, developing, and retaining inspired motivated employees. Moore’s process will help the NTCA Five-Star Contractors separate themselves from their competitors by creating an organizational culture that delivers a higher quality of work and customer experience. Besides being a professional keynote speaker, Moore is the author of Build Trust and a leadership, sales and peak performance coach.
While at the meeting, attendees had two opportunities to attend sessions that focused on addressing current challenges they were facing. The first consisted of small peer groups that tackled specific obstacles attendees were experiencing. Attendees benefitted from insights and solutions offered by their group members. The second session was structured as an in-depth roundtable discussion that covered topics attendees had pre-selected via a poll that was distributed before the meeting. The four topics chosen were:
Growing and improving your labor force
Customer and employee engagement/communication
“This year’s attendees returned home with new plans and strategies designed to help them start, manage, and successfully finish their jobs and reinforced connections that will offer them support they need to help their business to continue to be prosperous,” Fox said.
Swoboda Tile & Stonemelds family tradition, industry training into successful business
This shower is part of a bathroom renovation with all natural stone. “A challenge that I faced with this install was squaring up the walls and making sure my substrate underneath was super flat,” Swoboda said. “Being able to wet shim behind the foam board really helped speed up this part of the project.”
Six years ago near Omaha, Neb., budding tile setter Jake Swoboda (www.facebook.com/SwobodaTileStone) was learning how to “always do things right, the first time,” as his uncle taught him the basics of the trade. Swoboda now specializes in residential renovation and new construction, specifically tiled showers and bathrooms. To achieve the excellence he sought, he supplemented the foundation laid down by his uncle with manufacturers’ trainings, online resources and interaction with other installers in the Omaha area.
Two years ago, Swoboda took his tile setting career up another notch, by joining the NTCA and successfully passing his Certified Tile Installer test, becoming CTI #1398.
“I joined the NTCA to help further my own knowledge and skills of the industry,” Swoboda said. “What really makes it worth it, for a younger installer like myself, to join the NTCA is the online resources and amazing technical support that is available to every member. Any tile question I have on the job, I know I can call the NTCA for an answer and solution.”
His CTI status adds another boon to his business. “Being certified has helped me and my business immensely,” he said. “I explain the certification to my customers, and I think it puts a lot of minds at ease that I know what I am doing. It shows them that it’s not just me saying that I know how to install tile properly, but that I have been tested and certified to install tile to industry standards.”
The biggest challenge on this project was the large-format tile on the walls. It is a 32”x48” tile. Proper substrate prep and the appropriate thinset helped Swoboda deliver a rock solid install for this customer.
Swoboda Tile & Stone projects
Swoboda has a passion for the artistry and technical excellence in his work. “The greatest joy that I get from being a tile contractor is working with customers to make their vision for their projects come to life, and knowing that the prep work underneath the tile will be rock solid for many years to come,” he said.
This kitchen renovation had many challenges that Swoboda had to overcome. The floor tile is a 8”x48” plank tile with electric heat underneath. Swoboda had to pour self leveler over the cable to get the floor flat enough for such a long tile.
This tub surround, completed early in Swoboda’s tile career, posed unique challenges. He had to frame in and tile the arched ceiling. Swoboda said, “The customer was ecstatic with how it turned out.”
Dallas, TX – Dal-Tile Corporation is currently launching a new program nationwide to benefit tile installers who have attained the coveted NTCA “Five-Star Contractor” level of achievement in their craft and to also benefit their customers.The NTCA Five-Star Contractor title is granted by the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) to those NTCA members who have objectively demonstrated a proven track record of success in tile and stone installation and business management.Although Dal-Tile already offers strong warranties to all customers on all of their quality products regardless of who installs, Dal-Tile believes so strongly in the quality of workmanship offered by NTCA Five-Star Contractors that Dal-Tile is now choosing to provide longer warranties to customers on products that are installed by NTCA Five-Star Contractors.The new warranty program is just one more way that as the leading manufacturer in the industry, Dal-Tile is supporting qualified, superior installers.
“Dal-Tile is now offering end-users a 5-year ceramic tile warranty and a 10-year warranty on porcelain products installed by a NTCA Five-Star Contractor,” said John Cousins, Senior Vice President, Dal-Tile Corporation.“These are outstanding warranties that no other tile manufacturer in the industry is offering to our industry’s NTCA Five-Star Contractors.The warranties apply to Daltile, Marazzi, and American Olean products when installed in accordance with approved installation systems.”
“One of the greatest challenges for the tile industry is the shortage of qualified installers,” said Cousins.“As the industry stalwart, Dal-Tile believes in setting up our industry’s installation leaders for even greater success.These warranties not only make today’s NTCA Five-Star Contractors’ businesses more profitable, but they incentivize other installers to earn the NTCA Five-Star Contractor designation that represents proven excellence in craftsmanship.Dal-Tile is committed to continuing our legacy of equipping the installer community for success.”
“NTCA is excited about Dal-Tile’s warranty program,” said Amber Fox, NTCA Five-Star Program Director.“It not only demonstrates Dal-Tile’s pledge to promote qualified labor; it shows they recognize labors’ contribution to the success of construction projects.”
Dal-Tile’s Hilary Frank will be presenting all details of the new warranty program to contractors attending the upcoming NTCA Five-Star Contractor summer meeting in Canada.Frank is a Dal-Tile Midwest Regional Vice President as well as a NTCA Board Member.
“The warranty program is already up and running,” added Cousins.“For more information, visit daltilewarranty.com.”
Dal-Tile is the largest manufacturer and marketer of ceramic tile, natural stone, and countertop products used in residential and commercial spaces across North America. Under its powerhouse brands — Daltile, Marazzi, and American Olean — Dal-Tile leads the industry in both design and product innovation, and is committed to incorporating environmentally-friendly materials, processes, and products throughout its organization.
Dal-Tile has more than 9,000 employees in North America and sells its products through a network of more than 300 company-owned sales service centers, stone slabyards, design galleries, and design studios, as well as through independent distributors and leading home center retailers nationwide.
Founded in 1947 and headquartered in Dallas, Dal-Tile is a division of Mohawk Industries, the leading global flooring manufacturer that creates products to enhance residential and commercial spaces around the world.For more information on Dal-Tile and Mohawk Industries, please visit mohawkind.com.For product information, visit daltile.com, marazziusa.com, and americanolean.com.
All-industry conference offers business-building program amidst Music City backdrop
Each year, Total Solutions Plus (TSP) brings the ceramic tile industry together to network and learn from each other. This year, the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA), Tile Council of North America (TCNA), Tile Contractors Association of America (TCAA) and National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) have designed an itinerary to boost your business, hone your technical expertise, recognize outstanding individuals in the industry and allow plenty of time to network with friends and colleagues old and new.
Though the conference itself takes place October 27-30, committee and board meetings take place on Saturday and Sunday, October 26-27, with a golf tournament at the Gaylord Springs Golf Links that starts noon on Sunday, and various tours of the area available. The conference officially kicks off with an opening reception Sunday night at 6 pm.
The Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn., is home to TSP 2019. In addition to its proximity to the heart of Nashville and all the music venues the city has to offer – including the Grand Ole Opry and the historic Ryman Auditorium – the nine-acre property offers SoundWaves, an upscale water experience featuring four acres of combined indoor and outdoor water attractions, which opened at the end of last year.
The annual golf tournament commences Sunday, October 27 at noon.
After a hearty breakfast Monday morning, the program commences with the “Get to Yes Faster” keynote from Dean Minuto of Yescalate. Minuto is an expert in the art of persuasion, that he believes is good communication and understanding. He’s personally coached more than 9,000 CEOs, tens of thousands of other executives, and countless employees in his 25 years as a leading expert in sales. In 2015, he received Vistage International’s 2015 Speaker of the Year award. He loves to weave neurobiology, sales techniques, marketing, history, psychology, and other sciences together in order to create a full tapestry of human behavior. It is only in understanding this that you can learn how to get to yes. He believes that success isn’t about a commission: it’s about making a difference.
The closing keynote on Tuesday morning is delivered by Chris McChesney, addressing “The 4 Disciplines of Execution,” the title of his best-selling book. McChesney is the Global Practice Leader of Execution for Franklin Covey and one of Franklin Covey’s most in-demand speakers worldwide. Over his 20 years with the organization, McChesney has led change efforts that have become many of Franklin Covey’s most noted case studies and include working directly with Georgia Governor Sonny Purdue and the president of Marriott for the Americas, Shaw Industries, Kroger Supermarkets, Coca-Cola, Comcast, Home Depot, Frito-Lay, Lockheed Martin, Gaylord Entertainment and Northrop Grumman. In addition to his keynote, McChesney will also lead a Business Breakout on Tuesday morning, titled “A Deeper Dive Into The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals.”
Breakout groups, tabletops and networking
Education programming continues with an outstanding lineup of speakers and industry experts on Monday and Tuesday. Monday includes a business breakout with Al Bates; Donato Pompo talks about building a bulletproof spec, and there are two technical breakouts before the Awards Lunch. Post-lunch activities include two technical breakouts and Distributor forum. Also scheduled on Monday is a TCNA Board meeting and annual meetings for both CTDA and NTCA.
Monday afternoon from 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., the Tabletop Event begins, with opportunities to meet with suppliers and other attendees.
Tuesday following the McChesney keynote is his breakout group, as well as two technical breakouts plus a session on “How to effectively use Why Tile to benefit your business.” After the Awards Lunch, there’s a Business Breakout titled, “Future of Distribution in the Tile Industry – NAW Fellow Panel/Presentation,” as well as another technical breakout, and a joint panel discussion. A closing reception leads into a closing country-western themed party and dinner.
NTCA Tile Setter Craftsperson of the Year winner announced
The inaugural NTCA Tile Setter Craftsperson of the Year Award will be announced at TSP. This award will recognize a NTCA member who has proven to be invaluable in the field due to his or her outstanding installations, is passionate and actively engaged in continual self-improvement, leads and/or mentors others, and is devoted to the art of setting tile.
If you’re looking to take in a bit of local flavor, visit the TSP website for the schedule of activities. In addition to the golf tournament, other outings include “A Musical Journey through Nashville, Ryman Auditorium and Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum,” a behind-the-scenes tour of the Grand Ole Opry and Ryman Auditorium, a tour through the Hermitage, the former home of Andrew Jackson, visit toCountry Music Hall of Fame and Museum and Historic RCA Studio B, home to over 200 Elvis Presley recordings, a culinary tour and a chance to try your hand at making Goo Goo Clusters, the iconic Nashville candy that satisfies your sweet tooth with a combination of caramel, marshmallow nougat, fresh roasted peanuts and milk chocolate.
The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), the world’s largest tile contractor association, is pleased to announce it has received formal acceptance into the National Apprenticeship System from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). In a letter dated May 23rd, 2019, the DOL informed NTCA that its National Guidelines for Apprenticeship had been reviewed and found to be in compliance.
The NTCA Apprenticeship Guidelines Program, which combines field experience with online learning and designated classroom training, is designed to provide members an opportunity to attract new skilled labor into the ceramic tile industry. The program will offer guidance to NTCA members in developing their own tile finishers and tile setters apprenticeship programs.
“A primary strategic goal of the NTCA is to provide our membership with resources to recruit and train new and existing employees,” said NTCA Executive Director Bart Bettiga. “These apprenticeship guidelines are so important because without a formal career path outline to a prospective worker, it is hard to compete with other industries who are vying for these same individuals.”
Becky Serbin, NTCA Education and Curriculum Director, has been working with volunteer leaders and supporters to develop NTCA’s apprenticeship guidelines program. “This program will allow us to navigate our members through their individual apprenticeship application process. We are looking forward to working with our members to attract and train new talent into the industry,” said Serbin.
Currently, assistance in developing apprenticeship programs is available only to NTCA members. Potential apprentices do not have to be members.
The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) is a non-profit trade association serving every segment of the industry, spearheading education for the professional installation of ceramic tile, natural stone and allied products. For more information, please contact NTCA executive director Bart Bettiga at [email protected].com, via telephone at (601) 939-2071, or visit www.tile-assn.com.
Vaughn served the committeeas the longest-standing member, for over 30 years
Tom Vaughn, the longest standing member of the NTCA Technical Committee, serving for well over 30 years, has announced his retirement from the Committee, and attended his final Technical Committee meeting at TISE in Las Vegas this past January.
“Tom Vaughn has been a valuable and productive member of the NTCA Technical Committee since its reactivation in 1985,” said NTCA Executive Director Emeritus Joe Tarver, a contemporary of Vaughn, who along with David Allen Company’s Bob Roberson was one of a group of about 10 individuals who worked to form the Technical Committee, which was responsible for the development of the NTCA Reference Manual.
“There is no way to evaluate his contributions not only to NTCA but to the entire industry,” Tarver continued. “Always there; first to volunteer; calmly and accurately providing information on a broad spectrum of subjects. Tom truly is a role model for what a Technical Committee member should strive for. It takes a special person to remain non-proprietary while pursuing solutions that will benefit the entire industry without regard for an individual or an individual entity. I never knew Tom to do anything other than that. Present and future members of all NTCA committees can’t go wrong by emulating the passion, commitment, dedication and concern for his proprietary concerns, NTCA and the total industry.”
NTCA Executive Director Bart Bettiga added, “Tom served on this committee for over 30 years, and was the longest standing active member. NTCA is sincerely in Tom’s debt.”
Some of Vaughn’s many articles and/or contributions include:
Cement grouting procedures
Inconsistent grout color
How to use water-cleanable epoxy grouts
Dealing with efflorescence
Considerations to reduce tile tenting
Exterior tiling and panelized exterior tile systems
Tiling over engineered wood systems
How to incorporate radiant heat into tile and stone installations
How to use self-leveling underlayment with tile and stone
Overview: Underlayments, trowelable and poured
Tom Vaughn circa 1985 as Technical Director, Building Products Division of H.B. Fuller Company.
In addition to his work on the NTCA Technical Committee, Vaughn had a pivotal role in his work as Technical Director, Building Products Division of the H.B. Fuller Company in the 1985 construction and tiling of the Baltimore Fort McHenry Tunnel, which according to Vaughn was the largest single project that the National Interstate and Defense system had built at the time.
“With over 1.3 million sq. ft. of tile, it was also the largest project I had worked on at the time,” he said. “This project led me to being involved in coming up with a bonding system for the Holland Tunnel reconstruction in New York and the tallest panelized tile project in Seattle, Wa., called Watermark Tower. The building is 22 stories or about 276 feet high.”
Vaughn got involved in the tile industry in 1973 and became a member of the Southern Tile, Terrazzo Marble Contractors Association (STTMCA – one of the previous monikers of NTCA) in about 1975. He recalled, “It wasn’t long before I met people like Joe Tarver, Paul Dinkel, Leigh Hightower, Brannon Murray, Bob Young and Virgil Smith. All of these people were interested in helping the industry grow and shared their technical expertise to all who would listen.
“Joe Tarver tried to harness as much technical power as he could to help spread the word to the tile and stone industry,” he added. “Soon, others like Butch Woelfel, Jess McIvain, Steve Young, Rich Deutsch, Bob Roberson, Harvey Powell, Gerry Zakim, as well as others joined the group.
“With a lot of work, the Technical Committee was well on its way creating and distributing information to the entire industry. Over the years, more members were added and the committee went from distributing a handful of documents to nearly 300 pages of information today. I’ve been very fortunate to be a part of this group for so many years. I continue to be amazed at how the tile industry has changed, but I’m so impressed with the technical expertise the committee currently processes.”
Vaughn also served on the NTCA Board of Directors as an Affiliate Distributor member in the early ’90s, representing Minnesota Tile Supply. Both NTCA Executive Director Bart Bettiga and Assistant Executive Director Jim Olson worked for him there in the late ’80s to mid ’90s. “I believe Tom was instrumental in helping me to become Executive Director at NTCA,” Bettiga added.
He called his involvement with NTCA back in the ’70s “one of the most rewarding decisions I made in my career. Not only did I learn a great deal over the year, I met many lifelong friends along the way.
“I’m glad to have been able to participate in the Technical Committee and watch the ceramic and stone industry grow immensely,” he said. “In the beginning, the industry was much simpler and one could have a pretty good understanding of nearly all the products and installation procedures. In fact, the tile Handbook only had about 16 pages of details.
“I’m grateful to those that helped me learn about our great industry and hope I was able to help others improve their understanding of installation methods and practices,” he said. “Looking back, I’m totally amazed at how many documents and papers have come from the group. The hours spent both in meetings and on our own time have help shaped the direction of how tile is being installed. With the number of really talented members the committee currently has, I’m confident the committee will continue to make significant contributions in the months and years ahead.”
The NTCA Technical Committee bids a fond farewell to Tom Vaughn in Las Vegas after its final meeting.
Oberlin, OH, March 27, 2019—The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) will be hosting a free silica safety webinar on Tuesday, May 14 at 11am PST. Designed for stone countertop fabrication employers, the webinar will describe the dangers of silica exposure, outline employer requirements to comply with OSHA’s Respirable Crystalline Silica Rule, and offer methods employers can use to protect workers.
During the webinar, representatives from OSHA, NIOSH, and the California Department of Public Health will provide information related to silica exposure, including health risks, methods to protect employees from silica dust, and OSHA requirements. Two Natural Stone Institute Accredited members, Jonathan Mitnick (CCS Stone) and David Scott (Slabworks of Montana) will provide practical tips on controlling worker exposure to silica dust and share the steps they took to ensure their shops were OSHA compliant.
Mark Meriaux, Accreditation and Technical Manager for the Natural Stone Institute commented: “It is important for fabricators to comprehend the health risks involved with silicosis, both personally and for employees, and to understand what can be done to minimize the risks. There is currently at least one documented case of silicosis in California tied to a fabrication shop, so now is the time to get this message out to fabricators. We look forward to working with NIOSH to share this message.”
By now, your Coverings planning should be in full swing. Do you have a strategy for navigating the thousands of square feet in the Orange County Convention Center, and seeing all the education sessions, demos, features and products you desire, while leaving time to attend parties and network with your peers? How do you do it? We asked several NTCA contractors about their approach to the show to help you go about creating a Coverings strategy of your own.
John Mourelatos of Mourelatos Tile Pro in Tucson, Ariz., keeps it simple by making a beeline for classes and demos and other educational opportunities. “I like to talk to other contractors about technical and business topics, too,” he said. “I schedule my time around education.”
Josh Castelli of Christian Brothers Flooring in Lakeside, Calif., said he scours Coverings for “something that will make me or my company more efficient – a tool, software, or more information on fabrication, since I’m looking to grow into this. I’m considering the longevity of my career as my knees give out.”
Jason Jones of Jones Tile, Columbia, Ala., went to his first Coverings last year, with the intent of meeting “as many of the crazy characters I’ve met online in person.” He hopes that was only the first of many.
“Secondly, I enjoy soaking in the new tools and materials available to me,” Jones said. “It’s eye opening, especially to an installer such as myself, who lives in the boondocks.”
His only strategy? Wearing comfortable shoes and wandering around meeting and talking with people. “Also, I enjoy getting free stuff,” he admitted.
While meandering works well for Jones, Brad Denny, Vice President/COO ofNichols Tile & Terrazzo Co. Inc. in Joelton, Tenn., said, “having a plan is essential.” He recommended having an honest introspective look at your company while going through the list of sessions available to decide what to attend.
But he admits that “having designated ‘wander’ time, usually later in the week, is strategic too and allows you to explore the fresh ideas you have had throughout the show.”
The Installation & Design Experience (last year it was the Installation Design Showcase), NTCA, and CTEF booths have always been draws for Denny. This year he’ll be even more keen on the showcase since his company will be installing a vignette in the Installation & Design Experience booth, paired with designer Glenda Wright of HHCP.
He also likes to visit all of his tool vendors and their competitors to continue to cultivate relationships. “When time allows, I like to view the complexity of the vignettes and stay up on the latest trends in the manufacturers’ booths,” he said.
Bringing information to staff is a key part of the show experience. “We typically have a meeting before the show to plan out our show in advance,” he said. “Knowledge gained is relayed during regularly scheduled meetings after the show, as much of what we learn helps guide our direction.”
Because the show is so huge, Denny makes use of the Coverings app. “But we also like to circle, note, and carry a paper copy of the schedule in our bags, he said. “The show floor IS enormous, so a roadmap and destination points are wise. Quick references and knowing where we are going in advance is a good time management tool.”
Strategies to see show features are essential, but one’s body can take a beating during the show. “Let’s face it, the nights can be as busy as the days, but getting as much sleep as possible, eating good meals, and taking rest stops as you need them helps make the show easy work!” he claimed. “It seems every day I need to stretch before getting out in the world, and days at the show are no different. I wear clothes and shoes I know will still feel good after all the miles logged during the day. In the past few years, I admit that a good massage has been helpful at the end of the show, and serves as a reward for the energy put in to better ourselves!”