The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), the world's largest tile contractors association, recognized industry leaders at its Second Annual Awards Ceremony during Coverings 2014 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

On May 1, 2014, over 200 guests were present to see the NTCA recognize two exceptional individuals for their dedication to the industry, as well as to present its Best Practice Awards and Five Star Contractor Grand Prize awards for outstanding installation.

Brent Stoller of ISC Surfaces

Brent Stoller of ISC Surfaces in Kansas City was given the First Annual Distributor Award by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF), which was presented by Scott Carothers, Executive Director of CTEF.

An independent panel of judges evaluated submissions, based on execution and installation, original usage, and overall design and purpose. Special recognition was given to those projects exemplifying stunning tile and stone.

Martin Brookes of Heritage Marble and Tile of Mill County in California received the Best Practice Award for his active promotion of NTCA membership on the west coast. A member of the NTCA since 2005 who has been instrumental in recruitment of new members, Brookes continually promotes the benefits of membership and assists trainers at workshops in his region.

Brent Stoller of ISC Surfaces in Kansas City was given the First Annual Distributor Award by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation. Whereas the name ISC Surfaces was introduced in January 2008, the company's history dates back to the 1940s and encompasses that of three companies -- Interstate Supply Company, Case Supply and AMC Tile Supply. With six distribution centers, ISC Surfaces also operates two unique showrooms for retailers, contractors, designers, and their customers.

NTCA’s Five Star Prize awards were presented for both commercial and residential tile installations. The Five Star winners received $2,500 each in prize money, sponsored by Daltile Corporation. Many submissions were received and were judged via the following criteria: Scope (size of project), Complexity (challenges), Technical Soundness (resolution of challenges), and Design and Presentation (Overall appearance, layout and artistic value).

Artcraft Granite Marble and Tile of Mesa, Arizona was the recipient of the Five-Star Grand Prize for Commercial Tile Installation. The firm's installation of glass and porcelain tile at GateWay Community College’s Integrated Education Building was a glowing example of the company’s technical expertise.

Collins Tile and Stone of Aldie, Virginia was the recipient of the Five-Star Grand Prize for Residential Tile Installation. The firm's project, "Carrara Elegance," which started off as a simple remodel, quickly morphed into true masterpiece of luxury and indulgence with no expense spared.

Special awards were presented to NTCA President Dan Welch for receiving the Tile Person of the Year Award. Welch has led the NTCA for the past 10 years, and was the first person to be certified in both the CTEF CTI program and the ACT Certification Programs. His firm currently employs the most certified installers, and has been active in the executive leadership of NTCA for many years.

Luciano Galassini, Deputy Director of Italy's Confindustria Ceramica, received the prestigious Joe A. Tarver Lifetime Achievement Award, offered by the NTCA to a leader in the tile and stone industry who dedicates his/her career to advancing our trade. It was especially appropriate this year, as Coverings celebrated its 25th anniversary as a leading trade show in our industry, and both Joe Tarver and Galassini played key roles in the development of the exposition. Galassini has been on the Board of Governors for Coverings for all its 25 years, and was instrumental in the development of the joint venture partnership that currently sponsors and manages the event. He is an active participant in many world forums and committees that improve our industry. TCNA Executive Director Eric Astrachan presented the award to Mr. Galassini on behalf of the NTCA.

"This was the best Awards Ceremony in which we've ever been involved," said Bart Bettiga, NTCA Executive Director. "The attendance and enthusiasm were at an all-time high, indicating just how passionate everyone continues to be about our industry. We are very proud of the winners… and wholeheartedly congratulate them."