For this edition, we sat down with Martin Brookes, founder of Heritage Marble & Tile, Inc. in Mill Valley, CA, a National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) Five Star Contractor. Brookes was recently appointed first vice president of the NTCA, holds seats on the NTCA Methods and Standards Committee and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A108 Committee, and is a member of and inspector for the Institute of Inspections Certification Restoration.
Brookes: I started in the tile and masonry business in 1978. I was offered an apprenticeship when leaving high school in the UK. This was a city and guild of London Institute program, which involved a full year at technical college followed by three years of day release, which ran from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (a very long day). Following the completion of the apprenticeship, I was committed to the sponsor of my program for another year. I then left and became a foreman for a remodeling company, honing my skills in management. In 1993, I relocated to the U.S. and didn't have any contacts for work. I looked in the newspaper’s job openings on my arrival and began work for a masonry company building big-box stores in Northern California. Within a few months, I became superintendent and learned the industry stateside, which was different in many ways than the UK.