For this edition, we sat down with Mike Micalizzi, senior director of technical services for Custom Building Products, who previously owned a tile and stone installation company in New Haven, CT, known as Ceramic Tile Services. He currently serves on technical committees for the Tile Council of North America (TCNA), Materials & Methods Standards Association (MMSA), National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), Marble Institute of America (MIA), American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and ASTM International.
Micalizzi: I was a machine tool computer programmer prior to entering the trade. I wasn’t planning on becoming a tile contractor or a technical representative for an adhesive manufacturer, but once you get into the ceramic tile industry, you’re in it for life! Two of my brothers were union tile installers who moved over from the bricklayers’ trade of my grandfather and uncles. My older brother decided to start his own installation company and over time, he convinced me to join him in 1985. Seeing a project start from an empty room to finished installation made an impression on me and although it was hard work, there was a lot of satisfaction in what you built; I was hooked. Over a few years, my older brother and younger brother taught me the ins and outs of surface prep, mortar beds, waterproofing, tiling and grouting. The training they received in the union gave me a great start to know how to install tile the right way.