The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) is a nonprofit trade association dedicated to the professional installation of tile and natural stone. Established in 1947, it is widely recognized as the largest and most respected tile contractors association in the world.
With more than 1,300 members, the NTCA strives to improve the tile installation trade through education and training, the development of standards and methods, and communication of its initiatives to related trades. In the midst of this pandemic that has devastated countries all over the world, the association has been working overtime to ensure that its members are not only safe, but duly educated on everything that is going on regarding the COVID-19 virus.
“These are interesting and complex times to say the least,” said Bart Bettiga, executive director of the NTCA. “At the NTCA, we have been working very hard to keep our members informed about challenges and opportunities that are related to the pandemic we are all facing. Initially, as a sponsoring association in Coverings, we were actively engaged with show management and board members in making the difficult decision to cancel our show, which was scheduled for April in New Orleans, LA. With that unfortunate decision behind us, we are focusing our efforts to support our members in a variety of ways.”
Bettiga explained how the association – comprised of 14 full- and part-time employees – is staying in constant contact with its members to ensure all expectations are met. “NTCA is in close contact with the association leaders in the flooring industry, and we are holding regularly scheduled calls with them to share ideas and best practices,” Bettiga said. “We have all agreed to mutually share information as it develops with each other, without regard to giving credit to the sources. We feel it is vitally important that, as associations, we take a leadership approach here to update our members with the latest reports on any aid or support that may be available to them. We have committed to holding weekly calls with these leaders to continue to share ideas and best practices. NTCA is working with their legal and insurance partners to provide customized information that pertains to our members’ business profile in order to be accessible and responsive.”
Since the majority of people in the U.S. are currently ordered to stay at home, and each state has taken different measures, the NTCA has utilized social media outlets to keep members constantly informed. “Because every state is different and news is changing hourly related to shut downs and rulings as to what constitutes essential work that can continue, we are sharing our members experiences with other members on our Facebook Group for NTCA members,” Bettiga said. “We are also sharing best practices that our members have created with all other members such as professional correspondence to customers, marketing and communication efforts and human resources communication to employees related to safety in workplace, etc.”
On the NTCA’s website, a special landing page was also created with important links to access information, which can be viewed at https://www.tile-assn.com/page/COVID19. “We think this is important because it is impossible to continue to update our members with all the changes that are taking place without inundating them with email and information,” Bettiga explained. “Once they get accustomed to going to our website link, we will send reminders for them to check this on a regular basis.”
Each year, the NTCA develops and leads hundreds of educational workshops and regional training programs, which have been temporarily suspended. “Because we realize that many of our members have a reduced workload or will have one for the time being, we will be offering some of our videos and courses on our learning management system, NTCA University, free of charge for members in April for them to access educational content,” Bettiga said. “We will also be promoting our past webinars located on the NTCA YouTube channel as another avenue of at home learning.”
Since one of the NTCA’s goals is assisting its members in growing their businesses, it is working hard to maintain its partnerships and ensure business resumes as close to normal as possible after all of this is over. “NTCA is reaching out to our manufacturer and allied products partners to see if we can assist them in helping them to communicate and market their products to our members when and if they are ready to do so as they prepare to whether the storm and come out of the pandemic with the need to get back to business as usual,” Bettiga said.