This year, Total Solutions Plus (TSP) is making its way back to the East Coast. Scheduled to take place from October 24 to 27, 2015 at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa in Savannah, GA, this year’s event will provide a completely different atmosphere than last year’s event. The Westin’s primary waterfront location and close distance to River Street, known as the heart of Savannah’s Historic District, will provide a more upbeat setting for attendees following last year’s countryside trip to San Antonio, TX.

TSP is organized collaboratively by the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA), the Tile Contractors’ Association (TCNA) and the Tile Contractors’ Association of America (TCAA). Every year, the annual conference brings the ceramic tile industry together, providing a platform for professionals to network and attend a range of informational, educational and accredited seminars.

Last year’s event drew in the largest crowd to date, with almost 600 attendees. Each year, the TSP keeps growing and organizers are optimistic that numbers will continue to increase this year as well.

For the 2015 edition, in addition to an opening keynote, TSP has added two additional keynote speakers to the roster. The opening keynote speaker is Eric Chester, who will present “Reviving Work Ethic: Helping Leaders End Entitlement and Restore Pride in the Emerging Workforce” on October 26. Chester is the leading authority on developing work ethic in young adults and leading Gen Y employees to achieve at their remarkable potential. His presentation will illustrate why the work ethic in America has declined, and he’ll provide solid, actionable ideas and tools for developing the young worker and restoring the pride of a job well done, instilling within them the work ethic they should have received at home and in school — but didn’t.

The second keynote, slated for the morning of October 27, will be given by Ross Shafer, who will present “Leaders Who Present an Attitude of Accountability Grow ‘Necessary Teams.’” Shafer is a six-time Emmy Award-Winning comedian and writer who became an on-air TV host when a local TV station saw him and decided to hire him back in 1984. Ross’ unconventional style was soon spotted by the networks and he moved to Hollywood, CA, to host talk and game shows for ABC, USA and Comedy Central.

The last keynote, scheduled for lunchtime on October 27, will be given by Peter Zeihan, who will present “U.S. Economy: Powers of Yesterday, Powers of Tomorrow.” Zeihan, a geopolitical strategist who has lived in the world of international affairs throughout his career, launched his own firm, Zeihan on Geopolitics, in 2012 in order to specialize in customized executive briefings for his clients. In his new life, he applies his 12 years of intelligence experience and a geopolitical perspective to the specific needs of his clients. Zeihan’s first independent book, The Accidental Superpower, will be published in November 2015.

In addition to the trio of keynote speakers, TSP also offers a comprehensive schedule of educational and accredited seminars. There are a dozen seminars to choose from between October 26 and 27, including a session presented by James Woelfel and Nyle Wadford, entitled “How Qualified Labor Can Add to your Bottom Line.” These two leading contractors, who are part of the NTCA, will discuss how much money distributors and manufacturers spend on job inspections of installations that do not meet standards; also the use of their salespeople to do job inspections that take them out of selling tile, which also costs them money.

Another breakout session attendees will find beneficial, “How to Create Your Own Successful, In-House Training Programs,” will be presented by Jill Bremer, executive coach and presentation skills trainer for the American Management Association (AMA). Bremer, AICI CIP, is a member of the American Society for Training and Development, as well as the performing unions of Actor’s Equity Association, Screen Actor’s Guild and AFTRA, and has been working with individuals professionally on self-improvement for more than 25 years. The workshop will teach attendees the fundamentals of developing a sound training program, including needs assessment, instructional design and methodology, and post-course evaluation.

Some additional seminars offered this year include “Motivating and Retaining Key and Quality Employees,” which will be presented by Sheila Margolis, an organizational culture and employee engagement expert who helps companies use their unique set of core principles and values as a competitive tool; and “Social Media,” presented by Shannon Vogel, director of social media for Creating Your Space, who changed her focus from helping people through interior design to helping business owners and executives promote and grow their businesses through social media after working in retail for 10 years.

TSP 2015 will also feature a Table Top Exhibition from 4:15 to 7:15 p.m. on October 27. The exhibition will provide attendees the opportunity to showcase their latest products and network with other manufacturers.

As of press time, the following companies were listed as exhibitors: American Bullnose Co., American Olean; Ardex; Arto Brick; Bellota; Bellavita Tile; BOE; blanke; Bostik; Ceramic Tool; Coverings ‘16; CTS; Creating Your Space; Crest; Crossville, Inc; Custom Building Products; Daltile; Dancik International; Del Conca USA; Dependable; Emser Tile; ETM; FILA; Florida Tile; Florim USA; FinPan; Georgia-Pacific Gypsum; Gundlach; Informediate; Island Stone; Johns Manville; KBRS; Laticrete; Loxcreen Flooring Group; Mapei; Marazzi; Mediterranea; MLT; Miracle Sealants Co.; NAC Products; National Gypsum; Noble Co.; Pearl Abrasives; Penrod; Protecto Wrap; Ragno; Refine Tile; Stonepeak; Studio S; QEP; QB Contactors, Inc.; Schluter Systems; TEC; TexRite; USG; Voguebay; Vitis; Wausau Tile and Wedi.

Since the Westin is located along the Savannah River, the Savannah Belles Ferry runs complimentary from the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center/Westin across the river to the Savannah Historic District. The closest stop to the Homewood Suites Savannah Historic District/Riverfront is the Waving Girl Landing at the Marriott. The schedule lists departure times only. If the ferry is departing from the Trade Center, it will stop at the Waving Girl Landing even though there is not a pick up scheduled. A full schedule of departure times can be accessed at http://www.catchacat.org/_meta/files/Savannah_Belles_Schedule.pdf. TILE