Ask the Leader Forum” at Total Solutions Plus 2010 - Panelists, moderated by Statement Tile’s president Ryan Calkins, included (from left): Ed Metcalf, president, North America division, Laticrete International; Real Bourdage, strategic marketing director, MAPEI Corp.; Thomas Kotel, president and owner, Mid-America Tile; Brian Knies, president and owner, Tile America; John Wirtz, vp, Wirtz Quality; and Bob Roberson, David Allen Co.

NTCA president John Cox (left) presents Frank Canto (Canto Tile & Stone) with the association's 2010 Person of the Year Award.

When great minds, talent and endless energy come together, one can expect nothing but great results. This was the case for the recently held Total Solutions Plus 2010 in Naples, FL, where three industry associations (CTDA, NTCA, TCNA) pooled their resources to produce an inviting, informative and educational event for members, and non-members alike.

CTDA's Harold Yarborough (right) of D&B Tile Distributors presents Brian Knies (Tile America president and owner) with the CTDA Showroom Design Competition Award.

From the moment opening keynote Don Reynolds took the podium with his “Global Economic Update - The New Normal” to the closing reception and Beach Blowout Banquet on the final day, the mood was upbeat and the air was energized with a sense of wonder and excitement for the future. The conference delivered on its promise of providing solutions with its “Partners in Progress” theme.

Education was high on the conference’s agenda, with breakout sessions addressing various industry-related topics, such as:
  • The upcoming release of TCA’s 2011 Handbook which now includes guidelines, references and methods for stone, glass, and large format tiles, as well as substrates, steam showers, and more. As a result, the handbook has triples in size. TCNA’s Stephanie Samulski, who presented the handbook changes to a nearly full conference room, anticipates a mid-February availability of the 2011 edition.
  • “Social Media: Get the Results You Want” with media pro Shauna Casey.
  • “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Membranes, But Were Afraid to Ask” presented by the Materials and Methods and Standards Association (MMSA).
  • “Ceramic and Porcelain Tile vs. Stone Tile Installations: Similarities and Differences” with the NTCA’s director of training, Gerald Sloan.
  • Fred Jackson’s presentation on “Marketing Green in Today’s Oversaturated Green Market” included an eye-opening projection about the green market from Fred: “by 2013, the segment will be worth $90-100 billion.”
  • “Understanding Tile’s Role in Green Building” with the TCNA Standards Development and Green Initiative Manager, Bill Griese, LEED AP. Incidentally, Bill mentioned that green tile standards are in the works (Green Squared). It will include everything related to tile including membranes, backerboards, substrates, underlayments, grout, mastics, caulk, and more.
  • “Ask the Leader Forum” featured a panel of high level executives from two contractor companies, two manufacturing companies and distributor companies who were willing to share their expertise on topics of importance within their company in a Q&A format. The panelists, moderated by Statement Tile’s president Ryan Calkins, included: John Wirtz, Wirtz Quality Installations; Bob Roberson, David Allen Co.; Tom Kotel, Mid-America Tile; Brian Knies, Tile America; Real Bourdage, MAPEI Corp.; and Ed Metcalf, Laticrete International.
Together with more than 80 exhibitors, conference attendees expressed their pleasure with the well-organized and thought-provoking programs and extracurricular activities.

If you were unable to attend the 2010 edition of Total Solutions Plus, then mark your calendars now for the 2011 edition November 9-12 at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa in Phoenix, AZ.