In this edition, we sat down with Anthony Jung, president of Jung Tile Services, Inc. in Victoria, TX, who is a Certified Tile Installer (CTI) with the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation’s CTI program. As an active member of the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), Jung serves on the Methods & Standards Committee and is a NTCA Five-Star Contractor. He is also a member of the National Home Builders Association and Associated Builders and Contractors. On his off-hours, Jung also acts as an ambassador to the building trades of the local school district, as well as a board member of the local YMCA.
How did you first get involved in the tile industry? Please explain a little bit more about yourself.
Jung: My brother’s best friend growing up was in the industry, as well as a neighbor. I went to work with my neighbor after high school, then with my brother’s friend as I was attending college and working 30+ hours per week.
Are you a company owner? If so, what were some reasons for starting your own business?
Jung: Yes, I am the president of my company. Sadly, it may be ego that drove me to be the boss. I never felt that I had a great boss. I worked around great installers, but never a great boss.
Has the tile industry changed much since you first started? If so, in what ways?
Jung: The industry has changed a ton since I started in the late 1970s. Standard 8- x 8-inch tile was large then and most of the wall tile was 4 x 4 inches. There is now a myriad of sizes, styles and colors presenting new challenges every day -- from lippage to bullnose that don’t match. There are many different types of grout now, with the formulas and techniques to use; the grouts changing what seems like daily, making this an industry that you have to do your homework on constantly. It didn’t seem that way 35 years ago.
Is there a particular job you’ve completed that stands out? Why?
Jung: I was asked this question recently when interviewing a new hire. After a short time to think, I responded, “The next one we are working on.” There is no time for us to sit on our laurels. We are only as good as the next job we are doing. We have done many large and or challenging projects, but we are earning our livings on the next ones that we are going to do.
What are some common issues you have to deal with on the jobsite? How do you overcome them?
Jung: Our jobs are “always” behind when we get on the project, causing us to have to work around many other trades on top of us and having the general contractor pushing us to make up time that they lost at the front-end of the project. To overcome it, we make sure we receive a production schedule on the front-end of the project and make sure that enough time has been allotted for each area of work.
What are some steps you take to educate your customers about their tile installation before you begin?
Jung: We speak to our residential clients about the issues with lippage, potential wall light washing and any other issue that may affect their particular installation. For commercial projects, we do our best to send out information early on potential issues that their particular installation may have and also communicate this when getting on the jobsite.
If you could lend any advice to professionals just beginning their careers, what would it be?
Jung: Learn how to do it right. Just because you learned how to install tile from someone you felt knew what they were doing doesn’t mean that person was doing it correctly. You don’t know what you don’t know. I worked for one of the most skilled mechanics that I have ever known. To me, he was a true artist. But, he didn’t always have the “best” installation method for the product he was using. Secondly, don’t jump out on your own too soon. There are always things to learn as to installation. Also, make sure you do something to educate yourself on the business side. I have seen a lot of talented mechanics in many trades go off on their own only to find out that the business side isn’t everything that it appears on the surface. Their knowledge of business will be just as important as their knowledge of the tile industry.
If you or anyone you know is interested in being featured in a future edition of the “Contractor Spotlight,” please email Heather Fiore at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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