From show floor demonstrations to meeting room lectures and panel discussions, tile and stone contractors and installers will have a choice of nearly 60 educational sessions tailored exclusively for their interests at Coverings 2011, March 14-17, at the Sands Expo and Convention Center, Las Vegas. Conference programming is completely free, a feature that has been a Coverings policy since the show’s inception over 20 years ago.

Kicking off the event is the Opening Keynote on Monday morning, March 14, when the Tile Council of North America and its leadership present the 2011 edition of the TCA Handbook. Though it is published annually, the 2011 release reflects significant revisions that impact methods and practices, and this session will give attendees a chance to learn what those changes are and be well prepared to adapt to them. 

Throughout the four-day show, other sessions will drill even deeper on specific issues in the Handbook, such as “Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Membranes But Were Afraid To Ask,” “NTCA Contractors Forums I & II,” and “Preparing the Substrate for Swimming Pools.” But, there is a slew more on a range of topics, including “Maximizing Sustainable Tile, Marble and Terrazzo Solutions With Masonry,” “Marketing and Branding Your Installation Business,” “Tile Over Tile Installations,” and “Balconies, Decks and Exterior Installations.”

Addressing sustainability, which remains a hot-button topic, there will be eight core sessions open to all attendees, and those who complete at least four classes will earn a Coverings Green Certificate of Completion-the first time this distinction has ever been offered.

Additionally, instructional demonstrations and hands-on technology workshops will be staged throughout the four-day period and conducted on the show floor. Central among these is the Installation Design Showcase that will let five master tile contractors show their skills, each completing a bath vignette as show-goers witness the day-to-day process and progress.

“Consistently, Coverings has earned high marks for the incredible conference programming it offers,” said Jennifer Hoff, president of client events for National Trade Productions, which manages and produces the show. “We keep raising the bar on this component, seeking out leading authorities who are experts at shining the light on the issues and subjects driving today’s tile and stone business.” She added, “Our mission is to help put new business tools in each attendee’s tool case, plus sharpen the existing ones, so that everyone is as savvy, profitable, and competitive as possible.”

Here are the topics:

Providing CEUs to Architects & Interior Designers About Natural Stone Speaker: James Hieb, Marble Institute of America

Opening Keynote/Installation Featured Session: The 2011 TCA Handbook
Presented by the Tile Council of North America

Ceramic and Porcelain Tile vs. Stone Tile Installations: Similarities and Differences
Speaker: Gerald Sloan, National Tile Contractors Association

Fabricator Economic Headaches - Lessons and Techniques Learned from Young, Innovative Fabricators/Installers
Moderator: Duane Naquin, Stone Interiors Speakers: Adam Bauer, Planet Granite; Tony Malisani, Malisani Inc.; Buddy Ontra, Ontra Stone Concepts

Confused About Impregnators & Penetrating Sealers? Some Straight Talk
Speaker: Joe Salvo and Albert Salvo, Miracle Sealants

Sustainable Retrofits with Tile, Marble and Terrazzo
Speaker: Representative from International Masonry Institute

Practical Application of Tile Installation Standards
Speakers: Bob Daniels and Michael Byrne, Team of Flooring Inspectors, LLC

Ventilated Wall Systems: The Ultimate Green Surface Application
Speaker: Michael Johnson, Michael P. Johnson Design Studio; Others TBD

Sustainability: What It Is and How to Put It in to Practice
Speaker: Dr. Ephraim Senbetta, MAPEI Corporation; Shamil Baldeosingh, Florida International University

Stone Trends 2011
Speaker: Vince Marazita, Marazita & Associates

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Membranes But Were Afraid to Ask
Speakers: Representatives from MMSA and NTCA

NTCA Contractors Forum: Part One
Speakers:  Bart Bettiga, National Tile Contractors Association; Nyle Wadford, Neuse Tile Service; James Woelfel, Artcraft Granite, Marble & Tile Co. 

Maximizing Sustainable Tile, Marble and Terrazzo Solutions with Masonry
Speaker: Maria Viteri, AIA, LEED AP, International Masonry Institute

NTCA Contractors Forum: Part Two
Speakers:  Bart Bettiga, National Tile Contractors Association; John Cox, Cox Tile, Inc.; and Jim Olson, National Tile Contractors Association

Water Dynamics in Showers
Speakers: Don Halvorson and Greg Mowat, Forensic Tile Consultants

Tile’s Role in Green Building in North America and Europe
Speakers: TBD

LEED for Schools and the Use of Floor Coverings
Speaker: Nick Gigante, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB, BRPH architects & engineers

Marketing and Branding Your Installation Business
Speaker: Mike Farrar, Farrar Design

Architecture and Design Featured Speaker: Understanding the Synergy Between Designers and Contractors
Speaker: Ali Azhar, Alive Design and Host, HGTV’s Design on a Dime 

Stone Attachments - When to Adhere and When to Anchor
Speaker: Chuck Muehlbauer, Marble Institute of America

Women in the Stone Business
Speakers/Panel: Chelsie Arnold, Marble & Granite; Rejeana Ellis, Affordable Stone Products Inc.; Nancy Epstein, Artistic Tile; Heidi Huber, SMG Stone Company

Avoiding Costly Failures from Moisture and Water Damage
Speaker: Mike Daniels, MAPEI Corporation

Tile over Tile Installations
Speaker: Representative of the National Tile Contractors Association

The Edge: The Latest Innovations in Tile
Speakers: Representatives from TCNA, Confindustria Ceramica and ASCER

You Can’t Work Here with Your Pants Down to There: Working with Different Generations
Speaker: Linda Talley, Linda Talley & Associates, Inc.

He Said - She Said
Speakers: Chip DuPont, FIIDA, FIDG, DuPont-O’Neil & Associates; Linda Corley, LCL Productions

Urban Myths in Green Building Use of Stone and Tile
Speakers: Fred L. Jackson and Tracy West, Estudio Group LLC

Stone Featured Session: Internet Marketing Way Beyond Your Web Site
Speaker: Marty Gould, Focalize Now

Confessions of a Tile Industry Consultant
Speaker: David Gobis, Tile Consultant

Avoid Your Worst Nightmare: Protect Your Tile Company from Fraud and Theft
Speakers: Bart Bettiga, National Tile Contractors Association; Andre Hutchison, Dillon Tile and Stone

The Future of the U.S. Economy and of the Ceramic Tile Market
Speaker: Donato Grosser, D. Grosser and Associates, Ltd.

Sustainability - Buzzword or the Next Big Thing?
Speaker: Dan Marvin, Florida Tile

Tile Underlayment Systems: A Revolution in Industry Standards and Practices
Speakers: Tom Duve, National Applied Construction Products, Inc.; Richard Goldberg, Procon Professional Consultants International LLC; Al Grazzini, Grazzini Brothers

What Every Tile Contractor Needs to Know About Lawsuit Protection, Tax Reduction and Estate Planning
Speaker: Larry Oxenham, American Society for Asset Protection

Practical Marketing for Small Businesses: Improving Your Digital Visibility
Speaker: Christine Whittemore, Chief Simplifier, Simple Marketing Now LLC

The New Normal
Speaker: Sara Gutterman, Green Builder Media

New Opportunities in Glass and Jadestone Surfacing Materials
Speakers: Evan Kruger, Nisa Surfaces, LLC; Nao Takahashi, Alpha Professional Tools; Jonathan Mitnick, CCS Stone, Inc.

Right-Sizing Their Homes and Your Business
Speaker: Gale Steves, Author, Right-Sizing Your Home

Environmental Ceramic Tile: Gray Area or Green?
Speaker: Patti Fasan, Professional Attention to Tile Installations

Balconies, Decks and Exterior Installations
Speaker: Representative from Schluter Systems

Introducing Social Media in to Your Stone Company’s Marketing Plan
Speaker: Sarah Johnson, Mktng Dept

Maintenance & Problem Solving 101 - What to Use, What to Know & Why
Speaker: Rod Sigman, Custom Building Products

Shareholder Disputes and Their Impact on Family Businesses/Partnerships
Speaker: Duane Burke, Eco Breeze Inc.

Understanding Your Financial Rights with Customers
Speaker: William Maud, BBA, MACE, CHRD, ABD, Cer-Tile Designs

Preparing the Substrate for Swimming Pools: TCNA P602-11 New Method
Speakers: David Fatula and Brian Fitzpatrick, Oceanside Glass

Mosaics: Updating a Timeless and Inspired Art Form
Moderator: Edie Cohen, Interior Design Speakers: David Palmer, Palmer Marble and Tile; Blake Goodwin, Artaic - Innovative Mosaic; Others TBD

Power Persuasion: Unleash Your Hidden Influence Skills
Speaker: Maura Schreier-Fleming, Best@Selling

Customer Retention Strategies
Speaker: Lisbeth Calandrino, Fabulous Floors Magazine

Living Ecologically - Sustainable Style with Tile and Stone
Speaker: Patricia Gaylor, Eco Interiors by Patricia Gaylor

Journey from the Center of the Earth
Speaker: Joshua Levinson, Artistic Tile

NTCA Workshop Program: Live Demonstration of Tile Installation Techniques
Speaker: Gerald Sloan, National Tile Contractors Association

Connecting with Customers Online & Offline: Business Survival Guide
Speakers: Christine Whittemore, Simple Marketing Now LLC; Paul Friederichsen, BrandBiz

Stone and Tile Restoration - An Extension of Your Business
Speaker: John E. Freitag, The Stone and Tile School

Genuine Stone - A Natural Choice for Sustainable Design
Speaker: Joshua Levinson, Artistic Tile

New Business Opportunities for Tile Contractors: Tile Cleaning and Maintenance, Anti-Microbial Applications, and Stone Cleaning and Restoration
Speakers: TBD

For more information or to register, visitCoveringsonline.