If you missed the CTDA, TCAA and NTCA Conventions, then we've got you covered!

Nearly 400 people attended NTCA’s 60th Anniversary Edition of Total Solutions at the TradeWinds Resort at St. Pete Beach.


Butch Woelfel (l.), Artcraft Granite Marble and Tile Co. of Mesa, Ariz., receives the contractor Ring of Honor from son James.

NTCA celebrates 60th anniversary at Total Solutions Conference

By John Moore, Editor

NTCA’s 60th Anniversary Edition of Total Solutions, its annual conference and networking event, was held October 11-13 at TradeWinds Resort at St. Pete Beach, Fla. The event drew nearly 400 attendees, a substantial increase over previous years.

“Total Solutions was an enormous success this year,” said Bart Bettiga, NTCA executive director. “We were able to accomplish our goals on two fronts. We celebrated our past with a look back at 60 years of impacting the tile industry through education; and we embraced our future with 30 percent more attendees than last year. More than half of that growth was first time attendees.”

The event kicked off with an inspirational keynote speech by Frank Bucaro, who addressed the ethics of being a “good company” -- an organization that people want to work for, partner with, invest in and buy from. The keys to establishing ethical companies are the pillars of reputation, trust and loyalty, moral compass, accountable leadership and stewardship.

Other speakers included Michael Stone, who delivered two sessions – one on markup and profit, and another on profitable sales for contractors. Noah Chitty of StonePeak Ceramics and Dave Gobis of CTEF examined reasons why installations fail. Mike Micalizzi addressed large format tile installations on behalf of MAPEI and Ceramic Tile of Italy. Mike Montgomery discussed the purpose and services of MMSA. Joe Still of ProFlex discussed exterior decks and balconies and David Leichsenring talked about how to develop a local contractor-networking club.

Thursday night, a three-hour tabletop event allowed contractors to mingle and learn more about exhibitor products and services. NTCA, supported by tabletop sponsors, also awarded a number of prizes during the tabletop event. Dan Wilkinson of Accuflor, won a Canon digital camera; Bob Richardson of Tile Solutions, a Columbia S.C. contractor, won a Nintendo Wii system; Bruce van der Linde of Virginia Tile, a Charlottesville, Va., contractor, won a home stereo theater; Joy Klein of Graniti Fiandre won a big screen TV; and Joseph Leichsenring, son of Davis, won the X-Box 360 Elite system.

On Friday, Dr. Albert Bates of the Profit Planning Group discussed the results of the NTCA Profit Planning Survey, followed by Jim Isaminger of D.M.I. Tile and Marble Inc., who explained how to implement a safety program. In two separate presentations, Jim Whitfield of Mer-Krete Systems and Ed Metcalf of Laticrete International addressed “green” issues affecting tile setting and construction and how products and practices help contribute to LEED certification.

Scott Carothers, executive director of the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation, discussed the group’s tile contractor certification initiative and Alex Arcaro of Bisazza USA delivered a talk that included a live mosaic tile installation demonstration. Wally Adamchick, owner of Firestarter Speaking/Consulting wrapped up the workshops with a rousing presentation about what it takes to be a leader in business.

After an outdoor sunset cocktail reception, the NTCA Awards Banquet commenced, with Adamchick acting as master of ceremonies. Eric Astrachan, executive director of the Tile Council of North America, gave a fascinating presentation on the history of tile in America.

After dinner came the awards portion of the evening. NTCA president Frank Canto, owner of Canto Tile & Stone in nearby Riverview, Fla., and Jim Isaminger introducing many of the award winners. First up to be recognized were regional directors and affiliate directors who were honored for two years of service and applauded for their decision to serve another term. These included Joe Kerber, Kerber Tile Marble and Stone, Shakopee, Minn., region 8; Davis Leichsenring, Holland Tile, Rockville, Md., region 3; Michael Whistler, Whistler Tile & Stone, Bigfork, Mont., region 10; Dan Welch, Welch Tile & Marble, Kent, Mich., region 6; Andrew Vega, Tiede-Zoeller, Long Beach, Miss., region 7; and John Turner sr., distributor representative with Dal-Tile Corp., in Dallas.

Then the Ring of Honor awards were presented. James Woelfel of Artcraft Granite Marble and Tile, Mesa, Ariz., made the contractor Ring of Honor presentation to his father, Butch. Canto announced that NTCA legends Myra Cardwell and executive director emeritus Joe Tarver were being honored with a dual associate Ring of Honor award for their many years of service. And Isaminger announced the NTCA Tile Person of the Year – Charlie Bryan of Campbell Tile Company in Greenville, S.C.

The evening ended with a nostalgic musical photo montage developed and presented by Michelle Harrell, assistant editor/production manager and designer/advertising sales for TileLetter magazine.

On Saturday, October 13, attendees enjoyed either a deep sea fishing expedition or a golf tournament at Legacy Golf Club. The winning golf team at 11 under par was NTCA's Bart Bettiga; Andrew Vega and Kevin Crawford of Tiede-Zoeller and Leigh Hightower of Texas Cement Products.

Dates for Total Solutions 2008 have already been established. "We look forward to an incredible program at the Gaylord National Resort next year," Bettiga said.

Total Solutions 2008 will be September 18-20 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, a world-class facility on the banks of the Potomac River set to open early in 2008 in Prince George's County, Md.

TCAA honors Byrne with Cesery award; convention focuses on quality, design

By Arpi Nalbandian, Associate Editor

The Tile Contractors Association of America (TCAA) recently named Raymond Byrne the 2007 recipient of the Carl V. Cesery Award. The award was presented during the TCAA's 99th Annual Convention, held November 3-7, in Las Vegas.

Second Place Commercial winner's, Lippert Tile Company of Wisconsin, for its work on this Cheesecake Factory restaurant.

Byrne, who currently serves as Minnesota-based Grazzini Brothers & Co.’s vp, has also served as trustee on the Tile Setters Health and Welfare Fund (the tile setters retirement and pension fund) for many years. He also served as past president for the TCAA and the St. Paul Builders Exchange, as well as secretary/treasurer of the Minnesota Ceramic Tile Contractors Association.

Also receiving acknowledgement were the 2007 Project of the Year Winners. They are:
  • First Place Commercial - Artisan Tile & Marble Co. of New Jersey for the Donald Stewart Center for Early Childhood Education.
  • First Place Residential - DFS Flooring (formerly Marble Restoration, Inc.) for Villa Montelabre
  • Second Place Commercial - Lippert Tile Company of Wisconsin for Cheesecake Factory
  • Second Place Residential - Lippert Tile Company for STK Residence
  • Technical Merit - Eugene G. Sackett Co., Inc. for its Eastside YMCA commercial project.


Additionally, the Trowel of Excellence (awarded to a tile or stone installation member company) was presented to Artisan Tile Inc. as its 2007 Trowel of Excellence Recipient. Members who receive the Trowel of Excellence certification must meet specific criteria as approved by the TCAA’s board of directors.

Among the convention’s roster of distinguished and industry-experienced speakers was keynoter Patty Fasan (CTC and CTIOA certified) whose informative presentation included the the history, design and environmental aspects of ceramic tile use around the world.

Already planning its next event, the TCAA has set Nov. 8-11, 2008 in Orlando, Fla., to mark its 100th Convention. For more information, call (800) 655-TILE, email info@tcaainc.org, or visit www.tcaainc.org.

Vince Pompo receives the CTDA Hall of Fame Award - presented by his son Donato.

Tile Distributors Gather for 2007 CTDA Management Conference

By John Moore, Editor

Top tile distributors from across the nation gathered in Dana Point, CA, for the 2007 Ceramic Tile Distributors of America (CTDA) Management Conference, which was held Nov. 8-11. The conference included a variety of educational seminars, including “Why Should Someone Do Business with You” by business expert Sam Geist; a review of the latest TCNA standards and training programs was given by Stephanie Samulski; Trends in Stone from the Marble Institute of America; and Product Specification in Greenbuilding Projects by Dimitris Klapsis.

Several industry awards were presented during the conference, including CTDA Hall of Fame Awards, which were presented to Tom Graham of Florida Tile and Vince Pompo. Outgoing CTDA President Doug Miles was also given an appreciation award in recognition for his service to the organization. The conference culminated with the president’s dinner, which featured actor and director Henry Winkler as the keynote speaker.

The 2008 CTDA Management Conference will be held Nov. 5-8 at the Westin Rio Mar Beach Resort in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. For more information, visit www.ctdahome.org.