Industry veteran David deBear joins NAC Products as Director of Architectural & Commercial Sales

Akron, OH – January 15, 2020 – NAC Products, Inc., the company that introduced the flooring industry to ECB® and crack-isolation membrane technology, has named David deBear, Director of Architectural and Commercial Sales. 

David deBear, NAC Products

A veteran of the flooring industry for more than 25 years, deBear will work to further NAC’s architectural program focusing on increasing specifications within the design community for NAC’s crack-isolation, sound-control and waterproofing membrane systems. 

DeBear previously served as the National Business Development Manager for Custom Building Products. “We are extremely pleased to have David join NAC as we continue expanding NAC’s growth in the flooring industry,” said Brian Petit, President of NAC. “I have known David for many years as we have worked together on numerous industry technical committees. He brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the NAC team.” 

“I have competed against NAC for a long time,” stated deBear. “I look forward to now promoting the original and still the best crack-isolation membrane on the market as well as our full complement of membrane solutions.” 

Reach him at [email protected]

The addition of deBear to the NAC team follows the promotion of Meredith Peffer to General Manager and David Hanna as Director of Marketing. 

“We have a team of hard working, customer focused individuals dedicated to growing the NAC brand,” said Petit. “We plan to leverage and build upon the successful customer relationships we have developed while providing new products and solutions to the flooring industry.” 

For more information about NAC Products, call 800-633-4622 or visit


Schönox HPS North America, Inc. Announces New Distributor Partner

FLORENCE, Ala. – 14 JANUARY 2020 Schönox HPS North America, Inc. continues to grow its distribution network in North America with the addition of northeastern distributor, Michael Halebian and Co. The partnership effectively adds distribution coverage for HPS Schönox servicing Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and upstate N.Y. areas.  
“Michael Halebian and Co. is a great fit for our innovative line of products,” said HPS Schönox Principal Thomas Trissl. “As we continue to grow, we are actively seeking out partners that can help us provide exceptional customer service, and the team at Michael Halebian and Co. brings a level of expertise that we believe will truly benefit our customers.”
Michael Halebian and Co. is a family-owned floor covering distributor headquartered in Carlstadt, N.J., with three additional locations in New York, N.Y., Hartford, Conn. and Bensalem, Pa. For over three generations, they have provided their customers with a carefully selected range of quality products to meet every flooring need. For more information about Michael Halebian and Co., call 800.631.4115 or email [email protected].

CTEF Focuses on CTI Evaluator Training and Finished Tile Work Education Sessions During TISE 2020

Pendleton, SC – During the International Surfaces Event (TISE) 2020 in Las Vegas, NV, the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) which provides education and installer certification for professionals working in the ceramic tile and stone industry will focus on Finished Tile Work education sessions and Certified Tile Installer (CTI) Evaluator Training. CTEF will be sharing booth #4727 with the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA).

On Wednesday, January 29, Scott Carothers, Director of Certification and Training at CTEF will conduct a seminar entitled “Finished Tile Work – Do It Wrong or Do It Right: Lippage, Grout Joints, and Patterns”.  That afternoon, he will have a hands-on demonstration on the show floor to reinforce the same topic.

In its booth space, CTEF will construct three Certified Tile Installer (CTI) hands-on testing modules in progressive stages of completion for display. The CTEF Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program is the only third-party assessment of installer skill and knowledge which is recognized by the tile industry.

More importantly, the organization will offer shadowing opportunities to new CTI Industry Evaluators in order to move them to the next level of expertise of test set-up, the evaluation process and scoring. Industry Evaluators offer CTEF the means to expand the CTI program to more locations around the country in response to more tile installation contractors wanting to become CTIs.

The CTI designation identifies the professional installer who has reached a level of proficiency to independently and consistently produce a sound tile installation that displays good workmanship. Certification is the validation of the skills and knowledge of the men and women who presently are installing tile successfully in the United States. It offers property owners, both residential and commercial, peace-of-mind that their tile installer has the right skills and knowledge to complete a successful tile installation.

The CTI program includes two separate tests.

  • An online open-book exam taken at home or the office as the installer’s schedule allows.
  • A hands-on evaluation conducted at regional locations across the United States.

To qualify for the CTI Program, installers must have at least two years of experience as the lead installer setting ceramic tile on a full-time basis. This means having full responsibility for substrate prep, layout, coordinating with other trades along with properly installing underlayment, tile, grout and sealant materials.

The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) which sponsors the CTI program is supported by all segments of the ceramic tile industry. CTEF is headquartered in Pendleton, South Carolina, near Clemson University and the offices of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA).

To learn more, visit CTEF at Booth #4727 during TISE 2020 or visit

Antolini Introduces Dedalus

Introducing Antolini’s Dedalus, from their Exclusive Collection. Antolini has been a leader in stone processing, capturing the divine and captivating designs from Mother Nature for over six decades.

Dedalus conveys depth and imagery in immeasurable ways that challenge the human focal point. Through the turbulent ivory shades and unpredictable dark veining that only Antolini can perfect, we can find a certain serenity. The interlaced tones that melt together throughout the surface is poetically tumultuous. Be enthralled and study the meticulous fury brought on by this stone.

The impact of this soft quartzite is the presence of riotous elegance with harmonious tones. Allow the inclusive warm and sultry hues wash over any setting and sink into the undoubtable charm of Dedalus. The duality can suit a variety of unique platforms to ensure tranquility and peace of mind. The uncontrollable nature of design is melodious as it is chaotic. Reimagine and construct a new kinetic living space with Antolini.

Virginia Tile Company announces new Director – Products & Suppliers

Sean Cilona

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

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

Natural Stone Institute Scholarship Recipients to Be Recognized at TISE

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

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

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

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

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

Frank Douglas

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

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

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

Construction starts surge 37% higher in November

Large projects lead to gains across most major construction sectors 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Natural Stone Institute Completes 25th Home with Gary Sinise Foundation

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

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

Cottle Family
Cottle Family

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

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

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

LeRoy Family
LeRoy Family

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

2020 Industry Calendar


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

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

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

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

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


3-7  Cevisama – Feria Valencia, Valencia, Spain

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

11-14  Vitoria Stone Fair, Carapina Events Center,
Espirito Santo, Brazil

MARCH 2020

10-13  Expo Revestir – Transamerica Expo Center,  Sao Paulo, Brazil

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

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

APRIL 2020

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

MAY 2020

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

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

JUNE 2020

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

JULY 2020

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

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


28-October 2  CERSAIE International Exhibition of Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings – Bologna Exhibition Center, Bologna, Italy

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

30-October 3  Marmomacc Verona – Veronafiere Fairground, Verona, Italy


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

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

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