Total Solutions Plus – An industry educational and networking event

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Woelfel Receives NTCA Ring of Honor Award

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The importance and value of qualified labor

In the world of design, like so many other arenas of business, getting the job done right the first time is critical. The success or failure of a design company depends greatly on the people in the trenches in order to translate the vision the design team has for any given project. 

“With this project, the client loved a large format tile that I had installed in my showroom in Hudson, Ohio. We incorporated this into the project. The tile needed to have less grout lines and act as a backdrop for the custom made hood. The tile had a beautiful ‘stamped floral’ design that was all one uniform color and allowed the hood to shine but yet still introduce a uniqueness in its design and format that was unusual at the time it was installed in our area,” said Dostal.

As the professional liaison to her clients, Amber Clore, owner, A. Clore Interiors, Sanford, Fla., said there are several reasons her firm hires qualified installers to perform the trade work needed for its projects. The first is to effectively communicate and translate her design ideas, whether verbal or digital. 

The second, she explained, is the end result and quality of installation. “The methods used are important to the project budget and timeline. Using a qualified and trained contractor who continues educating is a must when working with our clients.”

Rose Dostal, principal, RMD Designs, Hudson, Ohio, is also concerned about who works on her projects. ”It is critical to know if they are qualified laborers so that I know they will adhere to our requirements to build the project, know the local codes and most current methodology, and are up to speed with the latest standards.”

Chanda Seymour, owner, Chanda Seymour Design, San Francisco, agreed with Dostal, and noted designers include qualified labor in their specs to avoid costly mistakes, and ensure correct implementation of their designs.

Clore knew early on in her career it was important to have a high-quality team of professionals who “add value to our services and cater to our clients the same way we do in preliminary design phase.”

The bathroom shower pictured here was part of a full gut remodel undertaken by Chanda Seymour Design, San Francisco. The original space was from 1982, according to Seymour, who also noted the product used in the bathroom shower consists of Ashen Grey marble, 6″ x 24″ honed tiles by Bedrosians Tile & Stone.

In the world of design, she added, there are many challenges when it comes to the built environment. “There have been many difficult design dilemmas we’ve faced, but with the right contractors, creative solutions can be created.”

As for Dostal, working with those she knows is a must. “Since I only use who I know, the contractor and I are in constant communication with what is current in the market place. I go to tradeshows once a year. If I have any takeaways from the tilesetter’s point of view, I always share them with my trades. 

“Before we start a project,” she explained, “there’s always a conversation about what’s new, what’s not, what is the most applicable product before it is written on the drawings. This process is very different from when I used to do commercial projects.”

For Seymour, after working in commercial design where qualified labor is typically required, she began doing more residential design in the early 2000s. “Many general contractors were hiring sub-contractors who weren’t licensed or certified,” she said. “As a result, mistakes were made, the wrong product was used, and the quality of the work was lacking.”

With the finished product being the most important element of any project, all believe using qualified people makes a difference. “Your project depends on qualified labor,” said Dostal. “Your design is only as good as its proper installation. Clients remember the end results. It’s in my best interest to have a critical eye in terms of who is working on my projects, as the trades who work on my project are a reflection on my work.”

Part of the same Chanda Seymour Design project, the kitchen backsplash shown here features honed Skyline marble, cut to size 3″ x 9″ by Country Floors.

Since the designer isn’t always on the jobsite to oversee the installation, explained Seymour, if a sub-contractor isn’t reviewing the specs or drawings, tile can get installed incorrectly, and the wrong technique or product can get used. Incorrect work often needs to be redone. Tile, needs to be re-ordered, resulting in increased costs and delays.  

“Qualified labor matters because they read and follow the specs and plans,” she explained. “They work collaboratively, and question the design intent if something isn’t clearly called out. They take pride in their work. It makes all the difference as to whether a project runs smoothly, is completed on time, correctly, within budget, and looks great.”

Clore believes working with skilled professionals sets her design firm apart from others. “When we’re able help a client from inception to completion, they’re assured the design intent will be carried through and any issues will be mitigated in a timely manner. This shows…that we are able to create a home or space to live in and love.”

NTCA 2019 Review and Industry Forecast

As we look to close out 2019 and look forward to a new decade starting in 2020, I would like to use one word to express how I feel as NTCA Executive Director about our industry and our association – GRATITUDE. There is so much to be thankful for, and it starts with a dedicated board of directors and executive committee and ends with enthusiastic support from members around the country and a dedicated staff of association and industry leaders. Thanks to all of your efforts, NTCA continues to make a positive impact on the ceramic tile industry. 

NTCA’s formal acceptance into the National Apprenticeship System from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

Highlighting NTCA’s 2019 year was the announcement that the U.S. Department of Labor approved our application for Federal Apprenticeship Guidelines, allowing us to assist our members in training and recruiting new workers. These same guidelines can potentially enable members to apply for workforce development funding assistance in their state. To help in recruitment efforts, NTCA introduced several new videos and promotional materials to support members to promote the ceramic tile trade in their community.  

The biggest impact NTCA makes in our industry usually centers around the training programs we provide for our members. In 2019, we embarked on our most ambitious effort in our association’s history, adding multiple regional training events and roundtable membership meetings, in addition to continuing our traditional workshop seminars. The trainers at NTCA do an incredible job in educating installers and industry professionals, and in 2019, NTCA pledged to help grow the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation Certified Tile Installer (CTI) and Advanced Certified Tile Installer (ACT) programs.  

Membership growth continues to be a focal point of our association. NTCA Training Director Mark Heinlein with new member Gabriel Hanceri at a NTCA workshop in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

2019 was not without challenges. Leading the way this year is a growing concern that plastic-based materials, like LVT and others, are taking industry market share. Rising tariff costs, concerns that economic growth is slowing down, and the continued lack of trained and certified tile installers are still at the forefront of challenges our industry faces. NTCA is committed to addressing these concerns but is additionally forging ahead to promote new opportunities that will help our members continue to thrive in the years ahead. We see the ceramic tile market as one with endless potential, with products helping us to grow per capita consumption for walls and floors and in interior and exterior applications.  

Membership continues to grow thanks to strong support from an active board of directors who helps to spread the word about the value of NTCA to their peers in their region. We will continue to add value by introducing new programs and benefits, and we hope to continue on our path towards 2,000 members in the next few years. 

In an effort to increase value for membership and serve our industry, NTCA added benefits programs for health, life and supplemental insurance, dental and vision plans, 401(k) plans, and more. We urge you to check out the NTCA website for detailed information on all of these programs.  

As NTCA Executive Director since 2002, I am honored to continue to serve this vibrant and growing association. 

NTCA Board Advisor Dan Welch in Michigan taking part in recruitment and training efforts to high school students.

NTCA has committed to a stronger level of support to the CTEF. NTCA and CTEF staff with CTI test takers.

Callewaert accepts Tile Setter Craftsperson of the Year Award

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

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

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

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

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

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

Examples of Callewaert’s custom work.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CTEF joins global GivingTuesday movement to highlight CTI program

This GivingTuesday, CTEF will celebrate giving by highlighting the passionate community it has touched as a result of providing education and installer certification for ceramic tile and stone industry professionals. GivingTuesday 2019 takes place on December 3rd.

What is GivingTuesday?

GivingTuesday represents a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities, and organizations to encourage giving and to celebrate generosity worldwide. Every year, on GivingTuesday, millions of people across the globe (almost 60 countries) mobilize to show up, give back, and change their communities. The goal is to create a massive wave of generosity that lasts well beyond that day and touches every person on the planet.

Why GivingTuesday for CTEF?

For CTEF, GivingTuesday is about raising awareness and financial support not just for the ceramic tile and stone industry professional programs it offers, but also appreciation for the strong community of passionately dedicated ceramic tile artisans, installers, suppliers and specifiers committed to elevating the standards and expectations for tile installations and the importance of Qualified Labor.

As it specifically relates to the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program, this community sponsors, volunteers for, promotes, educates, hosts hands-on testing events, encourages participation, celebrates successes and generally supports ongoing tile industry learning and excellence.

“For all who help make CTEF and the CTI program the tile industry game-changer it is, I encourage you to participate in GivingTuesday,” says Heidi Cronin, CTEF Industry Liaison and Promotions Director. “Share with your communities why you participate; explain what being a CTI means to you and encourage others to do the same by including #BecomeaCTI and #GivingTuesday in your updates.”

The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) is Joining the Global GivingTuesday Movement to Raise Awareness for the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) Program
GivingTuesday History

Founded in 2012, GivingTuesday has inspired millions of people to give back and support the causes they believe in. Over $400 million was raised online in 2018 to benefit a tremendously broad range of organizations, and much more was given in volunteer hours, donations of food and clothing, and acts of kindness.

“When GT launched in the US in 2012, we believed that technology and social media could be used to make generosity go viral;” said Asha Curran, GivingTuesday’s CEO and co-founder. “We believed in the idea that people fundamentally want to give and to talk about giving; and that the social sector had the capacity to show more innovative leadership, creativity, and collaboration. People and organizations around the world proved us right. As we prepare for December 3, we’re energized and encouraged by the community’s generosity. The levels of creativity, effort and the quality of the new ideas people have contributed and shared are phenomenal.”

Learn More About GivingTuesday and CTEF

Those who are interested in joining CTEF’s GivingTuesday initiative can visit https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/donate-now. For more details about the GivingTuesday movement, visit https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/blog/support-ctef-on-givingtuesday.

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About the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation

The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) provides education and installer certification for professionals working in the ceramic tile and stone industry. Certification programs include the CTEF Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program which is the only third-party assessment of installer skill and knowledge to be recognized by the tile industry, and the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT).

CTEF is headquartered in Pendleton, South Carolina, near Clemson University and the offices of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA).

For more information, visit https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org. Follow CTEF on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ctilef, and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CeramicTileEducationFoundation/

 

About GivingTuesday

GivingTuesday is a global giving movement that has been built by individuals, families, organizations, businesses and communities in all 50 states and in countries around the world. GivingTuesday harnesses the collective power of a unique blend of partners to transform how people think about, talk about, and participate in the giving season. It inspires people to take collective action to improve their communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they believe in, and help create a better world. GivingTuesday demonstrates how every act of generosity counts, and that they mean even more when we give together.

To learn more about GivingTuesday participants and activities or to join the celebration of giving, please visit www.givingtuesday.org or on Facebook: www.facebook.com/GivingTuesday, Twitter: Twitter.com/GivingTuesday and Instagram: instagram.com/GivingTuesday.

TISE Names Celebrity Designer as 2020 Design Visionary

 

woman with long blonde hair

Jennifer Farrell

DALLAS, Nov. 18, 2019: The International Surface Event (TISE): SURFACES | StonExpo/Marmomac | TileExpo is debuting a dramatic new design show feature at the upcoming January event, The Style Hub at The DISH, and sought out a design visionary to develop this wildly imaginative space. TISE 2020 is proud to announce celebrity designer and television host Jennifer Farrell as the face of this exciting new event feature. Jennifer is a familiar face to audiences who have enjoyed her television shows and designs for over a decade. The industry has the chance to now experience surface materials through the wonder and dreamy stylings of Jennifer’s designs.

Attendees at TISE 2020 will be able to dive into four visionary design worlds, or style pods, at The Style Hub at The DISH. The four fully produced spaces are being artfully developed by Jennifer; each style pod exemplifying one of her jaw-dropping design themes. Working in conjunction with the designers at Anderson Tuftex, the exclusive surface material sponsor, the brand manager of Lamps Plus, the exclusive lighting sponsor, as well as a full line-up of other incredible furniture and accessories brands, the Style Hub at The DISH will inspire the industry to reimagine the future of surfaces and design. Floor Trends Magazine , is the Style Hub official publication sponsor. Teasers of themes, product inspiration, colors, textures, and more are releasing in December.

“Not only does Jennifer have an amazing eye for design and an impressive biography of work both on air and in her design firm portfolio, she also harnesses her craft to forecast design themes in a way that captivates the mind. She impressed the Informa team and the advisory council that serves the TISE event,” says Dana Hicks, Show Director, “and her initial presentations to the group were inspiring. We are looking forward to seeing her heightened and dramatic displays that will dive attendees into her design world visions. It was an easy decision for the TISE team to make Jennifer the face of this new feature.” For additional information, visit http://www.intlsurfaceevent.com.

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ABOUT JENNIFER FARRELL

Jennifer became nationally known hosting the long-running A&E home improvement series “Find & Design.” She currently hosts “Find Me a Vacation Home” and “Behind the Gates” for AWEtv, and “Holiday Dream Home” for FYI. She has co-starred on Emmy-nominated “Home Made Simple” for OWN, and also hosted A&E’s “Point, Click, Design” and “The Big Fix,” as well as the hit webisode series, “Cleaning & Organizing From Top to Bottom” and “The Two-Minute Home Makeover” on msn.com. Jennifer has been a regular contributor on Hallmark Channel’s Emmy-nominated “Home & Family,” a real estate correspondent for Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends Weekend,” and a writer for Realtor.com with her real estate column “Get This Look.” Her most popular venture has been The Jennifer Farrell Collection, featuring hundreds of furniture and décor pieces at nearly 1400 stores nationwide. She is a spokesperson for Realtor.com and a Brand Ambassador for Lamps Plus.

Jennifer’s award-winning interior design firm, Jennifer Farrell Designs, was founded in 2001; her showcase house Diablo Ranch was featured on the 2018 Dwell on Design Home Tour, and she was the celebrity designer for the 2018 Dwell on Design Method Home. Her work has been seen in Dwell, Redbook, Ebony, Entertainment Weekly, House & Garden, and Sunset.

Jennifer’s extensive television career includes “Merge” on Lifetime, Style Network’s “My Celebrity Home,” Fox Network’s “Renovate My Family,” and Fox Television’s “Design Intervention.” She has been featured on such shows as “Before and Afternoon Movies” for USA Network and “Playbook 360” for Spike, as well as “Room Crashers” and “Outer Spaces” for HGTV. Jennifer has made multiple guest appearances on “The View” as well as on dozens of talk shows from coast to coast. As a nationally recognized spokesperson, she’s teamed with high-profile brands such as Coca-Cola, CVS Earth Essentials, Tide, Glad, 3M, Aluminum Council, Big Lots, Belgard, Back To Life, and Oreck, and is a featured speaker at building industry and trade shows across the country.

 

Toolbox Talks for Quarriers Available in Natural Stone University

Oberlin, OH, November 20, 2019—The Natural Stone Institute, in coordination with the National Building Granite Quarries Association (NBGQA), has added three toolbox talks for quarriers to the Natural Stone University. Topics include the following:

  • Fall Arrest System Regulations
  • Highwall Management and Use of Drones
  • Quarry Slab Tipping Safety

There are now a total of 27 quarry-specific toolbox talks available in the University, covering topics ranging from personal health and human safety to the safe use of equipment such as wire saws and preventing silicosis.

Natural Stone Institute Logo

The Natural Stone Institute, in coordination with the National Building Granite Quarries Association (NBGQA), has added three toolbox talks for quarriers to the Natural Stone University.

Mike Loflin, Industry Research & Information Manager for the Natural Stone Institute commented: “These quarry-specific resources are an important addition to our library of safety resources. The information provided is the cumulative work of the NBGQA safety committee. The NBGQA safety committee consists of some of the most talented safety officers, operations managers, and human resources professionals in the natural stone industry. Over the last several years, the committee has identified issues and provided seriously needed safety solutions for the quarry sector of the dimension stone industry. We are proud to partner with NBGQA to present these resources free of charge to the industry through the Natural Stone University.”

 

To access these toolbox talks and other educational resources, visit www.uofstone.org. To learn more about the National Building Granite Quarries Association, visit www.nbgqa.com.

 

 

Ceramics of Italy Launches 2020 Tile Competition and Announces New People’s Choice Award

Tile Competition banner

The Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition is in its 27th year.

 

(November 2019)  — Confindustria Ceramica (the Italian Association of Ceramics) and the Italian Trade Agency are proud to announce the official call for entries for the 2020 Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition. Now in its 27th year, the competition recognizes top North American architecture and design firms and design students for their creative use of Italian ceramic and porcelain tile. Winning projects will exemplify top-quality design and demonstrate the superior technical and aesthetic qualities of Italian tile. An international jury of design experts will ultimately select winners in four categories: Residential, Commercial, Institutional, and Student. In a new initiative this year, Ceramics of Italy is pleased to introduce the inaugural People’s Choice Award, which will be elected by the public.

Projects in the three built categories – Residential, Commercial and Institutional – must be designed by architects and designers based in North America and completed between January 2015 and January 2020. Projects may be domestic or international, and must feature a significant amount of Italian ceramic or porcelain tile produced by Ceramics of Italy member companies. All styles and scales of projects will be considered, from multi-family housing and hospitality projects to outdoor spaces and exterior façades. The jury’s official criteria includes: the overall design of the project; the aesthetic and technical quality of the tile installation; the degree to which tile enhances the setting; and the project’s sustainable attributes.

The jury will once again review submissions from North American design and architecture students who create imaginative spaces using Italian tile. Individuals or groups of students are invited to submit their projects in the form of renderings, floor plans and sketches. Students must be enrolled in an accredited university in North America.

This year, the competition will incorporate a new public voting component, which will help determine the first ever People’s Choice Award. Through Submittable, an application management platform, Ceramics of Italy will invite the public to vote on their favorite project submissions. The project that has received the most votes by February 15 will be recognized as the winner of the People’s Choice Award and receive a trip to Italy for Cersaie 2020 in Bologna, Italy.

Winners will be notified in March and officially announced at the Ceramics of Italy International Press Conference at Coverings – North America’s premier tile and stone trade show taking place in New Orleans, LA from April 20-23, 2020. For built projects selected by the jury, the prize package includes $2,000 cash, an all-expenses paid trip to New Orleans for Coverings to present their project, plus a 5-day CEU-accredited trip to Bologna, Italy to attend Cersaie – the world’s largest exhibition of ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings – with a delegation of top design media. An additional $1,000 will be awarded to the contractor/distributor team involved in each winning project. The winning student entry will receive an all-expenses paid trip to New Orleans to present their project in front of a large audience of media, manufacturers and tile industry professionals at Coverings 2020.

The built project winners of the 2019 Tile Competition included: DI Group for their use of tile to create a luxurious villa in Encino, CA; an eight-story mixed-use residential building by SWA Architecture, which demonstrates endless application possibilities and features porcelain tile throughout; tvsdesign for their extensive use of high-performance tile in the world’s first LEED Platinum professional sports stadium; and Snøhetta’s tile-clad community library. The student winner was Aylin Askarihosseini from the Visual College of Art and Design (VCAD).

The competition guidelines, submission form and an archive of beautiful winning projects from the past 26 years can be found on the Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition website, www.tilecompetition.com. There is no fee to enter and multiple submissions are accepted.

The deadline for entries is January 17, 2020.

Third-Generation Rothberg Takes LATICRETE Flag Deep into the Amazon

November 19, 2019, Bethany, Conn. — LATICRETE, a leading manufacturer of globally proven construction solutions for the building industry, sponsored a wilderness expedition into the mountainous region of the Colombian Amazon known as Chiribiquete. Daniel Rothberg, Regional Manager of Flooring in Latin America proudly represented the company as he and his crew, which consisted of two American rock climbers, one American kayaker, one Polish explorer, one Colombian naturalist professor and three local indigenous Colombians, voyaged along a river dubbed ‘Caño LATICRETE’. The group’s goal was to go upriver in a motorboat as far as possible and then climb up and across the mountains scouting for unknown cave paintings rumored to be in the area before finally descending downriver in portable rafts.

Daniel Rothberg, Regional Manager of Flooring in Latin America proudly represented LATICRETE as he and his crew voyaged along a river dubbed ‘Caño LATICRETE’ in Chiribiquete .

“As a global company, we believe learning the culture of communities far and wide allows our teams to have a better understanding of the wide scope of ways we can provide unmatched support,” said Rothberg. “Our group had an incredibly successful trip getting to experience one of the last unexplored places on earth. With the help of local guides, we learned about the history and culture of the Chiribiquete and discovered scientifically significant archaeological sites.

Discovering multiple layers of paintings on a mountainside depicting figures hunting and dancing, animals, trees, handprints, and spectacularly, an almost life-size jaguar complete with spots, Daniel and his crew had succeeded in their mission. Together, they uncovered a trove of valuable ancient rock art informing the scant record of prehistory in the Amazon.

LATICRETE supports the community in a variety of ways every year, including sponsoring workers alongside former President Jimmy Carter on a Habitat for Humanity project, funding a girls school in Ghana, sponsoring Earth Day celebrations and funding a five-year Yale Medical School surgical mission to Uganda.

“The underlying goal of corporate citizenship at LATICRETE remains clear: create a better world in which to do business and a better world in which to live,” said David Rothberg, Chairman and CEO of LATICRETE.

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