Stonepeak opens new line for big slabs in Tennessee

CHICAGO, IL— Federica Minozzi, CEO of Stonepeak Ceramics, a subsidiary of the Italian holding group Iris Ceramica, is proud to announce the launch of the first production line in the U.S. dedicated to 120- x 60-inch large-format porcelain panels, also known as “gauged” panels.

The production plant, located in the hills of Tennessee, is the first and only American tile manufacturer to produce large-format porcelain panels that are from 6 mm to 2 cm thick in the U.S.
The strategic choice to build a production line for large panels in the U.S. results from the desire to mature as a global supplier and promptly meet the needs of this new, rapidly growing market segment. By offering large-format porcelain panels made in the U.S., Stonepeak is guaranteeing shorter delivery times, overall increased logistic efficiency and much greater product sustainability.

TCNA’s Bill Griese receives ASTM International’s top honor

ANDERSON, SC — Tile Council of North America (TCNA) is pleased to announce that Bill Griese, TCNA’s director of standards development and sustainability initiatives, has been honored with ASTM International’s prestigious Award of Merit in recognition of his outstanding leadership and contributions to the development of standards for the Committee C21 on Ceramic Whitewares.

The Award of Merit was established in 1949 by the ASTM International Board of Directors and is the highest society award granted to an individual member for distinguished service and outstanding participation in ASTM International committee activities. This includes general advancement of the interests of ASTM committees and the society as a whole.

Along with the award, Griese is now a Fellow of the ASTM Society. “It is truly an honor to receive this recognition from an organization I admire so deeply,” he said. “ASTM’s standards development process is unlike that of any other. The level of staff involvement and the broad range of countless volunteers and experts who collaborate to develop some of the most trustworthy technical specifications in the world is impressive, to say the least. I am humbled and honored to be able to interact regularly with such high-caliber professionals, and I would be remiss to talk about the successes of the committees in which I’m involved without recognizing the hard work, expertise and contributions of so many others.”

Griese joined ASTM in 2007. Beginning in 2008, he served three consecutive terms as chairman of Committee C21 on Ceramic Whitewares and Related Products. He currently serves as C21 vice-chairman and chairman of Subcommittee C21.06 on Ceramic Tile. He also served two terms (one as chairman) as an appointed member of ASTM’s regulatory Committee on Technical Committee Operations (COTCO), and this year he began a three-year term on ASTM’s Board of Directors. Additionally, Griese is a member of ASTM Committee E60 on Sustainability and ASTM Committee C15 on Manufactured Masonry Units.

With Griese’s contributions, especially to C21, new specifications have been created and dormant ones revitalized. On several occasions, he has authored and coauthored ASTM International standards, and he has reduced the cycle time of standardization efforts through outreach, stakeholder engagement and increased committee correspondence. Through his consensus building aptitude, he has led committees through contentious subjects and he has suggested compromises by which standards on the brink of expiration could be passed.

Griese has given countless hours of his time, energy and service to the operations of ASTM, and has been recognized by the society on several other occasions. In 2013, he was selected by then ASTM president, James A. Thomas, as a recipient of the ASTM International President’s Leadership Award. He is also the recipient of Service Awards in 2014 and 2017 for his contributions as a member and chairman of COTCO.

In addition to his recognition by ASTM, Griese is well-known throughout the tile industry as a leader. As the chief visionary behind TCNA’s environmental efforts, he manages TCNA’s Green Initiative Committee, which is comprised of more than 80 members representing more than 50 organizations. Some of his most important projects include the development of Green Squared®, the first and only standard and certification program for sustainable tiles and tile installation materials; and industry-wide Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for North American-made ceramic tile, tile mortar and tile grout.

Griese serves on numerous standards committees outside of ASTM. He is a U.S. delegate internationally in groups such as ISO TC 189 (Ceramic Tile), ISO TC59/SC17 (Sustainability in Buildings and Construction), and ISO PC 277 (Sustainable Procurement). He is a member of the tile industry’s ANSI ASC A108 committee, where he spearheaded the development of Green Squared®.

Griese is a contributor to the development of TCNA’s Handbookfor Ceramic, Stone and Glass Tile Installation. He served as an International Code Council working group member in the original drafting of the International Green Construction Code. He was also appointed to the U.S. EPA’s Governance Committee Flooring Panel, which helped develop federal guidelines on sustainability standards and certification labels.

Griese is an active participant in the World Ceramic Tiles Forum. He also speaks regularly at events in the U.S. and abroad and is an author, columnist and contributor to several industry publications. In 2016, Coverings, the largest tile and stone exhibition in North America, honored him as a “Coverings Rock Star,” a group of young professionals recognized for having distinguished themselves as industry leaders.

Griese is a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) with a specialty in building design and construction. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Ceramic and Materials Engineering from Clemson University in Clemson, SC.

MSI unveils new global brand identity

ORANGE, CA— The new branding draws from principles MSI was built on such as collaboration, adaptiveness and innovation, while also representing MSI’s 40-plus-year evolution into the company it is today and capturing its bright future.

As part of the branding initiative, MSI adopted a new brand color — metallic copper — and gave their website a fresh look and new URL — — all of which echo the company’s modern identity. Additionally, the MSI logo was redesigned to better communicate the MSI experience, with “MSI” in clean lettering underscored by the company’s brand essence, “Making Dream Surfaces Attainable.”

The new brand mark reflects the most significant change to MSI’s visual history in years, yet it feels familiar. “This logo represents MSI’s future, as well as the company it has always been — one that’s modern, evolving and committed to bringing affordable luxury surfaces to market,” said Rupesh Shah, president of MSI.

MSI sought input from their partners, customers and employees in honing their revitalized brand, which was rolled out to MSI team members at the company’s annual strategic meeting. “We presented the updated brand to employees months before its formal release to ensure they felt included and informed about the direction we’re heading — and how that’s embodied in our updated brand identity,” Shah added. “This was the right time to evolve our brand — we’ve been on a fantastic trajectory — expanding geographically, experiencing exceptional growth and developing incredibly innovative products. That said, we take nothing for granted. We remain humble, open-minded and embrace a ‘start fresh every day’ philosophy to continue growing and help prepare for unexpected challenges.”

USG Corporation seeks to grow its leadership in flooring by bolstering sales force

CHICAGO, IL— USG Corp. recently announced that it reached an agreement with Alcorp Marketing through which Alcorp employees will join USG as full-time USG sales representatives as of July 1, 2018.

USG and Alcorp have worked as strategic partners since the release of Levelrock, and together they have grown the business into a leader in the performance flooring market. The decision to bring Alcorp employees to USG full-time underscores USG’s commitment to the performance flooring market and its belief in the future potential of the business.

Laticrete expands Canadian reach with new dedicated in-country business operations

BETHANY, CT— Laticrete, a leading manufacturer of globally-proven construction solutions for the building industry, is expanding its footprint in Canada with a dedicated in-country business operation, including a new office in the town of Tecumseh in the Windsor-Essex region of Ontario. The new business effort strengthens the company’s Canadian presence and provides a base to immediately grow the sales force in the region.

“Canada consistently ranks in the world’s top 10 largest construction markets, making it a prime area for growth,” said Stephen Butkovich, who will lead the business effort as the director of Laticrete Canada. “Over the years, we have seen carryover between the U.S. and Canada with many skilled workers attending American trade shows. This new presence is a prime opportunity to combine the knowledge of those workers and be able to better assist our Canadian customers with easier access to our team and our products.”

Prior to his new role, Stephen Butkovich served as a regional sales manager overseeing business channels of Laticrete in the Mid-Atlantic and Canada-East regions.

“We are excited to welcome Laticrete to Tecumseh,” said Tecumseh Mayor, Gary McNamara. “I have always said Tecumseh is a great location with excellent proximity to North American markets. We are pleased Laticrete has chosen our town to open their business and look forward to supporting their future growth in the region.”

The WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation assisted Laticrete with scouting locations, matching benefits and provided the necessary macroeconomic data to determine the proper location for the business effort.

“It’s been our pleasure working with Laticrete, and this announcement today certainly enhances our collective efforts in diversifying our economy,” said Stephen MacKenzie, CEO of WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation.