8:30 am - 10:30 am

Journey from the Center of the Earth
Speaker: Joshua Levinson, Artistic Tile
This session explores stone's journey from the quarry to finished product, now and in the past. Providing insight in to the great stone regions of the world and the U.S., this presentation covers various quarrying techniques, the transportation of stone historically and today, the cutting and fabrication process for natural stone, all in order to render knowledge on workmanship and practice. With the purpose of offering knowledge on the basic sequencing of processes for natural stone, taking you from the quarry to the installation, this session will help architects and designers to make nuanced decisions on the use of natural stone.

NTCA Workshop Program: Live Demonstration of Tile Installation Techniques
Speaker: Gerald Sloan, National Tile Contractors Association
The NTCA performs over 75 Live, Hands-on Workshops around the country each year, reaching thousands of industry professionals with vital knowledge related to proper installation of ceramic tile and natural stone. NTCA Training Director Gerald Sloan, a knowledgeable and highly entertaining trainer, will share with the audience some of the most important highlights of the 2011 NTCA Workshop Program.

Connecting with Customers Online & Offline: Business Survival Guide
Speakers: Christine Whittemore, Simple Marketing Now LLC; Paul Friederichsen, BrandBiz
The challenge for many small businesses is connecting with customers, particularly the right customers. We can no longer wait for customers to come to us. Instead, we must figure out how to connect with them online and offline and invite them into our space to complete the sales process. That connection process requires that a business have the basics/fundamentals taken care of. A retailer must understand how s/he is unique in his/her marketplace, who the ideal customers are, what matters to them and how to offer them value. Furthermore, the product assortment and display, branding, retail experience and sales associate aspects of the business must be buttoned-up. Ultimately, a business must focus must be on customers and solving their problems and everyone within the business must have that mindset. This session will examine which tools are available to businesses for connecting with customers, from the physical [e.g., store/showroom, website], the traditional [e.g. advertising, radio, TV] to the interactive [e.g, networks, conversations, seminars, communications online and offline] and will then develop a framework for connecting with customers which will include: What to say and how frequently; Which tool to use; When to say it; How to integrate online with offline; and How to measure results so you can improve. You can’t win shouting at customers. You can be heard, though, if you listen and provide relevant value and solve problems, and truly connect with customers online and offline.

Will We Ever “Party Like It’s 1999” Again?
Speaker: James E. Dion, Dionco Inc.
This session is an exciting look at where the American Consumer will be in 2011, how they will spend, what it will take to get their attention and open their wallets. This presentation is doubly effective because it not only describes the critical trends that are shaping consumer behavior but more importantly describes how retailers and service organizations can take advantage of these insights by giving specific tactical behaviors that will positively impact their business.

8:30 am - 11:30 am

Stone and Tile Restoration - An Extension of Your Business
Speaker: John E Freitag, The Stone and Tile School
Should I be in the stone and tile restoration business? This workshop will help installers, fabricators, and other stone professions become more aware of the opportunities to add restoration services to their existing business. The expression “don’t leave money on the table” applies to this workshop! The instructor will showcase: training and equipment needs, establishing a business plan, sales projections, calculating costs per job. If you want to know what it takes to start a restoration business or add these services to your existing fabrication/installation company, don’t miss this workshop.

8:30 - 9:30 am

Selecting Flooring to Facilitate Aging in Place
Speaker: Glenda Gilmore Andes, PhD, CKD, CAPS, Designing for Independence, Inc.
This course includes a brief description of the demographics of aging, the challenges of an aging population, and the normal aging process. We will discuss why aging in place is part of the solution for the challenges presented by an aging population. This course concentrates on design recommendations to be used in the selection of flooring materials to be used in designing homes for an older client and commercial institutions.

10:30 am - 11:30 am

Genuine Stone: A Natural Choice for Sustainable Design
Speaker: Joshua Levinson, Artistic Tile
An introduction to sustainable design and the sustainability movement, and descriptions of how genuine stone makes an appropriate, natural material design choice that will contribute to a sustainable design solution over a project’s life cycle. Learn the objectives of sustainable design as you understand the characteristics of genuine stone and their relevance. Attendees will learn how selecting and sourcing stone can help reduce environmental impacts. Case studies will be used as examples.

New Business Opportunities for Tile Contractors: Tile Cleaning and Maintenance, Anti-Microbial Applications and Stone Cleaning and Restoration
Speakers: TBD
Tile Installation Contractors are faced with increasing challenges related to running a profitable business in challenging economic times. The survivors are examining closely everything there is to know about their business model. Many of them are fining opportunities for growth and profit in new business development such as cleaning, maintenance and restoration. Contractors attending this session should come with an open mind to learn how other contractors are investing in new opportunities.