Although TILE attends many trade shows and conferences throughout the year, both nationally and internationally, there is nothing quite like Total Solutions Plus (TSP). Each year, the interactive event brings together members of the ceramic tile industry to network and learn from each other, including distributors, manufacturers, contractors and other professionals.

Since the show’s inception eight years ago, it has been hosted by four prominent industry associations — the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA), the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) and the Tile Contractors’ Association of America (TCAA). This year, TSP attracted just over 650 attendees from November 4 to 7 at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C.

“How do we relate to people when we come to these events?” asked Thom Singer, a sales and marketing expert who opened the conference with his keynote about human interaction in today’s society and establishing meaningful relationships.

“Networking isn’t awful, it’s just not how we engage people,” said the professional motivational speaker and 12-time author. “Engagement is establishing meaningful connections between two or more people.”

The following two days of TSP offered a range of different breakout sessions, which many times were jam-packed with attendees and covered different topics that are of utmost importance in the tile industry currently. Irene Williams, owner of Msg2Mkt, LLC, led a well-attended session, “Turning Online Interactions Into In-Person Opportunities to Close the Sales,” where she highlighted ways to maximize the right social media platforms and digital marketing tools to win over potential business prospects and build business relationships.

Taking a more technical approach, Jim Whitfield and Pierre Hebert delved into specific ANSI and ISO standards with their session on selecting and specifying ceramic tile. Whitfield, manager of technical services for Mapei, and his counterpart, Hebert, the Canadian technical manager for Mapei, described how ANSI and ISO are two different organizations, which both provide standards respected within the industry. They explained how each organization’s tests are conducted, which helped clarify the different processes, as well as their similarities, unbeknownst to many.

During the second night, the table top exhibits were held, where more than 50 companies provided information on their products, services and upcoming projects. “There was a great turnout” was a popular comment TILE heard amongst exhibitors and attendees.

The closing keynote, presented by Dr. Wayne Soltile, discussed the keys to resilience at work and home  — most importantly, how to maintain a successful work/life balance, as well as a happy and healthy attitude. “Happiness is a choice that yields big dividends — personally and professionally,” said Soltile, whose presentation combined practical advice from cutting-edge research in health psychology with common-sense lessons learned from more than 60,000 hours of counseling experience with 7,000 high-performing people and consultation with 400 leading corporations.

The 2018 edition of TSP will be held from October 27 to 30 at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, TX. For more information, visit