Crossville Marks Tenth Tile Installation in Specially Adapted Smart Home Built by the Gary Sinise Foundation

Crossville, Tennessee – As the exclusive tile supplier for the Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. program (Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment) in 2017, Crossville recently celebrated the 10th specially-adapted smart home dedication. Throughout the past year, Crossville has donated more than 10,000 square feet of tile for installations in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and other spaces inside homes custom-built for wounded veterans and their families.

“It’s exciting to know we have contributed to help 10 deserving heroes and their families enjoy the comforts of brand new, specially-adapted smart homes. Our tile is a part of the everyday surroundings that are making life better for those who’ve sacrificed so much,” says Lindsey Waldrep, Crossville’s vice president of marketing.

The beauty of tile is far from being the only driving force for incorporating Crossville products into the design of these unique homes. Tile’s performance, versatility, and ease of cleaning are also key factors in its use.

“The tile specified for each family has been chosen to make life more simple and solve challenges, all while looking beautiful for the long term,” Waldrep shares.

The dedication of U.S. Navy EOD1 Andrew Bottrell’s home in San Diego, Calif., marks Crossville’s 10th R.I.S.E. home completed this year. Crossville tile was installed in the master bath, guest and upstairs bathrooms, and in the laundry room–covering the floors and walls.

The master bath and shower floor and walls feature Crossville’s Gotham collection. With subtle striations, aggregate finishes, and lived-in colorations of concrete, this collection provides an urban aura for the space. In addition, Crossville’s Ebb & Flow collection accentuates the master bath walls with a touch of stone and glass.

The upstairs bath features Crossville’s Buenos Aires Mood collection. This line offers an elegant color, touchable texture, and sensuous movement to offer the right look and feel for a relaxing space.

About U.S. Navy EOD1 Andrew Bottrell
U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician 1 Andrew Bottrell attended EOD school in 2008. A year later, he reported to EOD mobile unit 3. He was deployed to Afghanistan in July 2011 with Seal Team 10. In Afghanistan, on Oct. 1, 2011, while conducting combat operations Bottrell was in a vehicle that was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED). He suffered extreme injuries which led to a double leg amputation and a left arm amputation.

About Crossville, Inc.
Founded in 1986 and celebrating 30 years in 2016, Crossville Inc. is a U.S.-owned and operated manufacturer of award-winning tile collections for residential and contract applications. Its headquarters and manufacturing facilities are located in Crossville, Tennessee. Crossville, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Curran Group, a private holding company renowned for its core values of family, respect, partnership, integrity, and improvement.

An industry innovator, Crossville is the first U.S. tile manufacturer to achieve the following:
– produce large format tile on site,
– manufacture tile with certified recycled content,
– develop the Tile Take-Back® Program for recycling fired porcelain tile,
– achieve certification of its waste recycling programs,
– achieve TCNA’s Green Squared certification for all of its U.S.-produced tile lines,
– distribute a complete line of gauged porcelain tile panels, and
– become a net consumer of waste.

For more information, visit Crossville’s website by clicking here.

About Gary Sinise Foundation
The Gary Sinise Foundation honors America’s defenders, veterans, first responders, their families and those in need. Through its R.I.S.E. program (Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment), specially adapted smart homes are being constructed for severely wounded veterans nationwide. Each one-of-a-kind home is customized to ease the everyday burdens of a wounded hero, their family, and caregivers. Other programs include Relief & Resiliency Outreach, Invincible Spirit Festivals, Gary Sinise & the Lt. Dan Band, Arts & Entertainment Outreach, Serving Heroes, and First Responders Outreach. Its latest program, Soaring Valor, is sending WWII veterans to The National WWII Museum and documenting their first-hand accounts of the war. For more information, please visit GarySiniseFoundation.org.

President’s Letter – November 2017

It’s that time of year when we are pushing hard to reach the career goals we set back in January, and now there are only weeks left to the finish line. We all lead very busy lives, and even more so as we approach the holiday season.

In the midst of our hectic lives do you ever wish you could hit the pause button for a moment? Years ago, I heard a wise man say, “Keep the main thing, the main thing.”

Here’s a question for us to consider: how can we prioritize those other “main things” like we prioritize our careers? “Main things,” like family, faith, and caring for others in our community. It’s hard to hit pause when most of us are never far from our smart phones, televisions, computers, social media, or the 24-hour news channel. How do we minimize the distractions that rob us from growing and moving forward to achieve our goals?

We know planning and prioritizing our time is always the fundamental first step in the right direction. I’ve learned that if I take a little time to regularly reflect on the blessings in my life, I have that extra boost of motivation to stay the course, whether that applies to business, family, my faith or serving in the community. When we reflect, and realize the many ways our lives are blessed, we walk in a fresh perspective that makes some of the stressful stuff in life take its rightful place in the back seat.

I recently had the opportunity to visit a third-world country with a team that reaches out to the two billion people in the world who have no access to basic financial service and serves them through micro loans for small business enterprises. While there, I was privileged to observe how these people who had limited electricity, no water or sewer services, and limited public or private transportation live contented, even joyful lives, in the midst of severe poverty. How do they live with joy amid poverty? They had the love and support of their families and community and a sturdy faith in God. They had an unquenchable entrepreneurial spirit that propelled them to work hard to better their lives. This experience caused me to embrace the value of every life, the dignity of work regardless the pay scale, and see that we all have purpose. It also reminded me we were all born into a set of circumstances for which and over which we had no choice or control. Those of us fortunate enough to have been born in the United States of America, have not only received blessings beyond compare, we have been given the opportunity – no, I would say the responsibility – to lift others up in every way possible.

So, this Thanksgiving I’d encourage all of us to reflect on how blessed we are and how we can make a difference in the lives of others without compromising their dignity.

Martin Howard, NTCA president
Committee member, ANSI A108
mhoward@davidallen.com

Editor’s Letter – November 2017

How is it possible that we are already in November, looking down the barrel of the Christmas season AGAIN? This fall has been filled with the good and the bad: fraught with fires and floods, a pilgrimage in Spain for me (more to come in a later issue), and we are on the cusp of Total Solutions Plus, the all – industry conference that is growing by leaps and bounds every year – this time held in our nation’s capital.

It’s also the month that we count our blessings – officially – with the holiday of Thanksgiving. What are you thankful for, personally or professionally? If you share with me at lesley@tile-assn.com, I can include your comments in an upcoming issue, as we move into the new year.

As for me, I’m really grateful for all the focus on education and training NTCA has. Now, this has been part and parcel of the NTCA mission since it began, but in the last couple of years, we’ve seen it skyrocket to a new level, with the incredible resource known as NTCA University compiled by Becky Serbin, Dan Welch, Dave Rogers and others – and planning to make this available to support more people becoming educated and skilled tradespeople as we go forward. I’m grateful for the development of the Regional Training program, which had its debut in New Berlin, Wis., last month. Together with our ongoing workshops and the online opportunities, no serious tile setter should be without the chance to learn more about products, methods and standards that will only make their jobs better.

I’m grateful for our amazing trainers and presenters – Robb Roderick, Luis Bautista (who also enables us to reach the Spanish-speaking tile setter community with this vital information), Scott Carothers, who somehow fits in more educational sessions with his Certified Tile Installer testing schedule, and Training Director Mark Heinlein, Facebook personality extraordinaire, along with able assistant and wife Connie. In addition, I’m grateful for Kevin Insalato, who is the Regional Evaluator Coordinator for the CTI tests, and has worked hard to be sure more Regional Evaluators are trained and able to bring CTI tests to more eager tile setters around the country.

Then there’s the amazing leadership, staff, board of directors and the tireless State Ambassadors and volunteers – everyone pulling together for the good of everyone else. It’s quite a community to be a part of.

Do what you can to get the word out about NTCA. And it is quite serious about being the Voice of the Contractor, so if you have something you want to share or communicate, visit the website at www.tile-assn.com, and get in touch with one of us. We are stronger together.

God bless,

Lesley
lesley@tile-assn.com

OCTOBER 2017: NTCA BENEFITS BOX

Partnering for Success:
Choose up to $2,000 in vouchers from four new categories

Partnering for Success (PFS) is NTCA’s highly successful voucher program, which gives back to members more than threefold the amount of their membership in setting materials and sundries used by installers every day. Manufacturer partners agree to reimburse vouchers of designated amounts of materials for new and returning members. This allows members to get a discount or free items for some of the materials they use the most, or some of the materials they’ve wanted to try, basically risk free.

This year, the PFS is making a change to four categories: Tile,
Tools/Heating Systems, Sundries and Setting Materials. With the growth of the NTCA – nearly 1,400 members strong now – it became imperative to change the selection process to give exposure to some of some of the smaller participating manufacturers in addition to the well-known and established manufacturers who have been supporting this program for many years. This led to the creation of the four-category system that will be instituted in 2018.

NTCA is aware that people aren’t really fond of change. To soften the impact of changing to a four category system, NTCA increased the dollar value from $1,800 in vouchers per member to $2,000 in vouchers per member – more than three times the value of the $600 NTCA annual membership. Every member of the NTCA can find at least $600 worth of free materials that will offset the membership cost. In addition to the vouchers program, membership dues give the NTCA the ability to continue the quest to promote qualified labor and certification, elevating the industry and the trade.

OCTOBER 2017: MEMBER SPOTLIGHT – Surfaces 15

Sponsored by

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Partnership parlays passion and change for good into benefits for business and the industry

Greg Twarog and Edwardo Martinez formed the partnership Surfaces15 (www.facebook.com/surfaces15) three years ago with the concept of creating a diverse clientele and body of completed work. The company has held true to that goal, with an average of 25 projects going at all times, varying in size and job scope. By utilizing the vast talents of its teams, Surfaces15 (S15) – located in Downers Grove, Ill. – can tackle projects ranging from small remodeling repairs like replacing sealant on an old tub back to full scale remodeling projects refinishing basements, kitchens and baths or small to medium scale commercial build outs.
The company focuses on detailed, custom jobs, but also undertakes install production type projects on occasion, never sacrificing quality. S15 utilizes CTEF Certifi ed Tile Installers (CTIs) to install stone tiles, Saltillo, stone slabs, large thin gauged porcelain panels, LVT, VCT, custom and commercial carpet, hardwood, hardwood refinishing, engineered hardwood flooring, large-scale floor prep, epoxy, and conduct moisture mitigation. The team is Nuheat pro certified, skilled in wedi waterproof shower systems, and steam
shower installations. Though leading a young, three year old company, Twarog and Martinez have over 50 years of installation experience between them. Martinez is a second-generation flooring installer, working in the commercial and residential arenas;

Greg Twarog with recently-completed residential remodel in Crete, Ill.

Twarog is a first-generation tile setter, classically taught the tile trade from laborer to journeyman and eventually business owner – all the while specializing in the custom residential market. Both men bring the experience of owning their own flooring businesses to the mix. Twarog transitioned from business owner to working for a Chicago-area distributor during the recession, eventually moving up to outside sales rep. “When Edwardo and I met, and we both realized we shared the same passion and philosophy for the industry, we decided to move towards our common goal and form Surfaces15,” Twarog said.

Both agreed to build S15 from scratch from hard work and from their own skills and contacts and networks. After a year of business they decided – as Coverings 16 Chicago approached – that they would make it a point to attend and to participate with their vendors and network as much as they could for the week.

 

This project is a private residence and contract for a remodel in Crete, Ill. A
Leveltec tuning system eliminated the chance of lippage on this job.

“We went and after a weeklong discussion we both decided to make the investment into the NTCA,” Twarog said. Why did it take a week? Why not sign up right away? After all, there are vouchers after all and many benefits to be had. “Edwardo and I don’t do anything halfway,” Twarog said. “We knew if we decided to sign up we would be all-in. All-in for us, means we would want to both be CTEF CTIs and we would also both want to be State Ambassadors so we could both be a bigger part of the tile industry in a way that would set us apart from all the rest.”
Now, just over a year later they are both CTEF CTI certified as well as many in their network of installers. “In this short time we have been involved with many of our vendors through both the NTCA and the CTEF,” Twarog said. “This has been extremely gratifying to see the positive changes in both ourselves as well as our local industry.”

 

 

 

Surfaces15 and NTCA: creating change for good

As Martinez and Twarog show up as new NTCA Illinois Ambassadors, they have shared their vision with vendors and discovered they share the same passion for the goal for change. “We asked if they would be interested in hosting NTCA events and CTI test days,” Twarog said. “They liked the idea so much, that they have made special provisions with the CTEF for eligible contractors to take CTI tests at their local stores anywhere nationally. This is not only a huge commitment to their contractors but also their clients to help assure a successful install of their products they sell.

“That has been the greatest value that the NTCA has yielded to us, being able to successfully make a positive change and impact to our industry as a whole,” Twarog
added. “When you see Mark Heinlein drive into your town in the NTCA truck you know something will be learned and good change will come from it,” Twarog said. “That’s what is most important to us, and that is what we volunteer for – the positive change and the sharing of good installation practices so fewer failures occur.

Failures are never good for our industry. They make all our jobs more difficult when we go out to sell that big project we want to work on to the Mr. and Ms. Smiths or the general contractor that we have just met. “As you will see in our installations, it does not matter if Edwardo or I install the project, or if it’s our team members from our network, Surfaces15 has a passion for what we do that shows through in our workmanship and finished product,”
Twarog said. “We are always willing to lend an ear and offer or research advice to help,” he added. “Many already know this about us and it’s something that I don’t see ever changing.”

A residential project in Lincoln Park, Chicago.

Surfaces 15 used The Tile Shop 8″ x 48″
planks, with Blanke edging and tuned with
MLT Mechanical Lippage Tuning system in this Indian Head Park, Ill., balcony.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This 32,000-sq.-ft. office buildout and warehouse space on Bradley Street in Chicago was for Power Homes. Surfaces 15 did all flooring aspects including grinding down entire building using large industrial equipment and edgers, and moisture mitigation. Tile is from Daltile, carpet tile from Mohawk and warehouse sealer coat from Sherwin
Williams.

October 2017: PRESIDENT’S LETTER Martin Howard

NTCA participates in international outreach during Cersaie in Bologna, Italy

Leaders of the National Tile Contractors Association were recently honored guests at the Cersaie Ceramic Tile Trade Fair, held annually in Bologna, Italy. Cersaie took place September 25th-29th, and is the world’s largest exhibition of ceramic tile and installation
materials. NTCA executive director Bart Bettiga, chairman of the board James Woelfel and

I attended the exhibition and collaborated with leaders of several international associations dedicated to the professional installation of ceramic tile. In addition to attending the fair and technical seminars, with an emphasis on large-format and gauged porcelain tile panels, NTCA leaders participated in an exclusive meeting with representatives of Assopossa, the Italian association dedicated to ceramic tile installation.
The emphasis on the meeting was on training and education, and promoting best business practices of tiling contractors. In addition to the board of Assopossa, leaders of the EUF, the European Federation of National Tilers Associations, also participated in the summit discussions. Topics on the agenda included different systems of certifi cations, for both installers and contracting companies’ education and training initiatives, including apprenticeship programs, keeping pace with changing and innovative technology, and safety in the workplace, especially as it relates to the creation of dust during work place operations.

An official tour of four technical partners of Assopossa was also part of the program, with official visits at Cersaie scheduled with Fila Care and Maintenance Systems, MAPEI Coporation, Raimondi Tools, and Schluter Systems.
The NTCA Board of Directors has identified international outreach as one of its main strategic objectives. The goal of this outreach is to establish dialogue and collaboration with other associations with shared interest in promoting and advancing the proper professional installation of tile and stone in the market place. We seek opportunities to learn and collaborate with these associations to continue to build consensus within the industry where advantageous. The desire is to engage the manufacturers with a broad base of support for training and education that enhances the use of tile and stone with technically sound and beautiful installations around the world. NTCA has previously developed programs and relationships with tile and installation associations in Australia, Canada and Spain. Discussions with other associations are ongoing.

Keep on tiling!
Martin Howard, president NTCA
Committee member, ANSI A108
mhoward@davidallen.com

OCTOBER 2017: EDITOR’S LETTER: Lesley A. Goddin

It is currently September 8, 2017 and I am wrapping up this issue and our November issue. Why so early you say? Many of you contributors and sponsors are REALLY asking this question, since I’ve been giving you fits and pressing you on deadlines.

Because on September 15, I am flying to Barcelona, and then taking a train to Leon, Spain, where I will walk 200 miles of the Camino of Santiago de Compostela, a 500-mile pilgrimage route in northwestern Spain traveled by thousands and thousands
of pilgrims for over 1,000 years – all making our way to the Cathedral of Santiago, where the remains of St. James the Great are enshrined (Never heard of it? Watch “The Way” with Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez. It’s on Amazon Prime). Carrying all
I need in a 15-lb. backpack, the next month promises to be a life-changing
experience. I’ll be back in Albuquerque October 16, just about the time you’ll be receiving this magazine – and just in time to jump into compiling our

December issue. The crunch is to be sure all the issues are ready to be designed, produced and printed before I leave. With only one week to go, honestly, it’s hard to think of anything else. I hope to see beautiful examples of tile and stone along the way and will share those with you on my return.

But I DO have to think of other things (for the next week at least), so let me draw your attention to some of the features in this issue. We have our annual Women in Tile installment in October, in which we talk with mosaicist Angie Halford, and designer/ installer Chanel Carrizosa about their journeys through the tile
industry.

We also have a couple of social media-derived stories:
Decorative Tile and Hot Topics. The Facebook tile groups are great founts of opinion and encouragement and catalogs of beautiful jobs as well as failures. I love the support and encouragement I see being offered from contractor to contractor, supplier or association to contractor, regardless of gender, race, color, creed, country of origin, or political persuasion in these groups. If you can do the job – or you are striving to do better or refine your skills – NTCA Members Only, Tile Geeks, Tile Love 2.0, Global Tile Posse, (and
possibly others I have not yet discovered) are there for encouragement, inspiration, commiseration, and sometimes some ribbing (it comes with the territory).

We also have a story about NTCA’s new Career Center, which is a fantastic resource for both those looking to fill positions and those looking for work alike. So there’s plenty of inspiring, encouraging, useful and heartfelt information for you as you journey through your days the next month. I wish you well with the pilgrim greeting I will be giving and receiving countless times before mid-October: Buen Camino! Because all of life is a journey.

God bless,
Lesley
lesley@tile-assn.com

CID 2016 award winner Matthew Felton seriously injured in Milwaukee explosion

 

Matt Felton wins an Honorable Mention, Residential Stone Design in the 2016 CID competition.

Matthew’s Works is a tiling service and interior design studio in Bayview, Wis. It’s run by Matthew Felton, who in addition to his gift for tile design and installation, is an outdoorsman, hiker, biker, volleyball player, active in camping and kayaking, and papa to two beloved dogs, Bear and Sheba. He’s also an active member of St. Lucas Lutheran Church in Bayview/Milwaukee – and a cherished member of the online Facebook groups, Tile Geeks, Global Tile Posse and Tile Misfits.
In 2016, Matthewsworks LLC received an Honorable Mention, Residential Stone Design for a Milwaukee custom high-end lighted onyx mosaic masterbath project – a combination he specializes in – combining beautiful stone with interior illumination. He’s a frequent presence at industry events, especially Coverings, where he also entered the TileLetter Awards in 2008 with his Toman Dolphin Fibonacci project.

This custom high-end onyx mosaic was the winning entry.

Felton entered this Toman Dolphin Fibonacci in the 2008 TileLetter Awards at Coverings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then on the fateful afternoon of Tuesday, July 18th – just two days before his 46th birthday –Matt and his close friend, Jason Ermi, were severely injured in an explosion at a Milwaukee-owned natural gas compression pump when Matt and Jason stopped to fill up Matt’s natural gas-powered van.

The explosion filled the air with natural gas, and passersby risked their own lives to pull Matt away from the pump. The explosion had blown Jason a distance from the pump, and embedded asphalt into his skin.  At the same time, it mangled Matt’s legs, leading to massive bleeding.

Matt and Jason were both rushed to the hospital. Matt underwent immediate surgery that resulted in amputation of both his legs at his knees.  Jason underwent immediate surgery on his right leg, which is broken, and was treated for 4th-degree burns among other injuries. By God’s Grace, they are both still with us.

Matt is now home, after 13 surgeries and 32 pints of blood, tending to the excruciating process of wound care as he heals.  He has a long road of recovery and physical therapy ahead of him.

But his strong faith and unflappable attitude has him looking ahead to a trip to the Amazon rainforest next year, redirecting funds paid for a 15-day hiking trip in Nepal, including an overnight at Everest’s base camp which he had planned to embark on this September 15.

His faith has led him to “not only accept [the situation] but embrace it and claim it as my own,” he says.  “It’s my mission. My message is to use this as an opportunity – this is what God gave me to be a witness for him.”

He explained that when he goes out in public now, “people don’t know how to act, they look at me” he said. “I break the ice; I bring it up and make light of it. It helps everyone else.”

Maybe not surprisingly, Matt felt a slight sense of relief after the explosion as the stress of managing four bathroom remodels at some state of bid and design to installation and completion began to melt off him in lieu of just staying alive. Today he is involved as much as his customers need to help find a replacement installer and help guide projects to completion.

Matt has multiple surgeries ahead of him and needs to fund the cost of prostheses.

Matt’s new legs
As you can imagine, the accident left both men in need of significant financial support.  Prostheses for Matt alone are estimated at $100,000 (by September), not to mention uncovered medical bills and equipment, immediate home modifications that need to be completed, as well as day to day living expenses upon release.

Local friends and family – as well as the tile setting community – is rallying to assist Matt. Matt’s niece, Dana Felton Reinhard has set up a Go Fund Me page for donations at https://www.gofundme.com/mattsnewlegs! There is also a You Caring site set up by fellow Tile Geek Zack Bonfilio to support Matt at https://www.youcaring.com/matthewfelton-890026. And Noelle Hetzel, a member of an Everest group that Matt belongs to, in partnering with another Everest member to design and produce wooden pendants and keychains to raise funds for Matt. Go to http://bit.ly/2umh7Ad to order or contact Noelle at https://www.facebook.com/noelle.hetzel.

Another way to help Matt is to email MattsNewLegs@gmail.com for info on how to directly donate by personal check (mail) or cash, which would be exempt from processing fees associated with Go Fund Me, so Matt would receive more of the donation.

Matt’s buddy Jason also needs significant financial support as well.  The family had moved back from Florida, and is in between employment positions.  Jason is not expected to return to work at this time. Assistance is needed immediately for his day to day living expenses and bills; most medical expenses will not be covered. His wife Ronda is trying to make ends meet, but medical costs are severely taxing the family resources. Please consider a donation through this page https://www.gofundme.com/jasonermirecovery or visit his page or  JasonErmiRecovery@gmail.com for more information on other ways to donate.

 

Fundraiser scheduled for September 17

There is a fundraiser for Matt and Jason on Sunday, September 17th at 6p.m. at the Grace Center at Broadway and Juneau in Milwaukee for local folks who wish to help.

Tile industry lends support

Said Tile Geek Zack Bonfilio,My friend from the tile forums, Matthew Felton, lost both of his legs in an explosion recently. I’ve talked to him a bit and I just gotta say this guy’s spirit through this whole ordeal is truly inspiring, he’s making jokes and looking on the bright side constantly, and I just don’t know how he does it.”

 

 

The Tile Geeks Facebook group has been sending Matt messages and gifts to support and encourage him.

Franken Gueuze in the Tile Geeks group said, “Here is the thing, Matt has always been a happy and positive guy; now, he is even more so, which you wouldn’t have thought was possible.”

And Steve Sprung, of RTC Products shared his personal experience of Matt: “Shortly after the accident, I reached out to him to ask if he wanted me to try and cultivate some local talent to help finish up anything he had on the books,” Sprung said. “I would have expected him to say he would like some help to finish these jobs, or at best, projects. His words to me were he would like to find some people to help complete his ‘visions.’ That told me all I needed to know about what kind of artist he is. He doesn’t see it as a job or project, but as a piece of art he is creating for that person. I think we can all agree that anyone with that mindset loves everything about what they do.”

Matt’s dream is to connect with A&D professionals anywhere in the world who want to install high-end beautiful, illuminated natural stone in their projects, crafted with Matt’s own special flair. “I’d rather earn my own money than get donations,” he said. “I’d travel anywhere.”

Both men are thankful to you and the Lord for assistance. Prayers and support are greatly appreciated!

 

 

 

 

 

Member Spotlight: Dave Rogers, Welch Tile & Marble

NTCA opens the door to a new career
for Dave Rogers

Have you ever wondered – when you got involved with something – where it would take you in life? Today, I am the Training and Development manager for Welch Tile & Marble in Kent City, Mich., the chairperson for the NTCA Training and Education Committee, and I serve on the NTCA Technical Committee. If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would have this much responsibility, I would have told you that you were crazy.

 

Dave Rogers

My journey in the tile trade started about 27 years ago at a flooring store in Port Clinton, Ohio. There I learned about diverse types of floor coverings, including carpet, sheet vinyl, and of course ceramic tile. Tile wasn’t the focus of the business, but it was enough to spark my passion for the trade. As years went on, I started my own business after marrying my wife Jenny and moving away from my home town. In my company, I provided carpet, vinyl – and of course ceramic tile – but again it was not the focus of my business. I took every tile project I could and learned along the way. I soon realized I needed more training. This is where my journey with the NTCA starts.

I attended Coverings in Orlando, Fla., in 2007. I must have gotten on the NTCA’s mailing list because I started to receive the TileLetter magazine and began reading about the NTCA and what it had to offer. Being a small company, I initially didn’t think it would work for me, but I was wrong. I joined in 2009 and started using the benefits of the association by requesting technical advice and attending workshops whenever I could. When I wanted to get more involved, I was offered the opportunity in 2011 to serve on the Board of Directors, and attended my first Total Solutions Plus in Naples, Fla.

Brad Denny (left) with Dave Rogers during the Regional Evaluator training at TISE West this year

This is when I realized the true value of the NTCA. I can still remember sitting in on my first Technical Committee meeting and hearing James Woelfel ask if any of the contractors in the room had any comments. The hair stood up on the back of my neck. I then realized that I had found what I was looking for and why I was a member of the NTCA. The association made it easy to make friends and get involved. I took every opportunity I could to lend a hand, from helping design the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT) shower test, to assisting CTEF’s Scott Carothers set up demonstration modules, to becoming a Certified Tile Installer (CTI) evaluator. My wife always teased me that I went on these trips to relax and sit by the pool, but that was never the case.

As I got more involved with the association, I got to know more and more people – especially a contractor from Grand Rapids, Mich. named Dan Welch. I remember calling him a few times looking for technical advice, then working with him to develop the ACT shower test. After a while – and a few trips to NTCA functions – we started to talk more and more about technical issues as well as what happened that day and life in general. Dan was generous with his help, so I made trips up to Grand Rapids to learn what I could do to grow my business. And I traveled with the Welch team in 2013 to install the temporary flooring at Coverings in Atlanta. Along the way, I’ve had some unexpected adventures, from changing an alternator in Dan’s truck along the side of the road, to tiling the inside of a shipping container at coverings in Chicago. When Dan says “So, I’ve been thinking…” you know it’s about to get interesting.

Dave Rogers (left) with Jim Olson at a Training and Education Committee meetings during TISE West in Las Vegas in January 2017.

As Dan’s and my friendship grew, I realized that my calling was not to be a business owner – but I felt I would make a great employee. So, I shifted gears and started looking at different opportunities in the industry for employment, including working for Welch Tile, but the distance always seemed to be a hurdle, or maybe I just wasn’t ready. In the fall of 2015, I helped Welch Tile as temporary labor on a project in Kalamazoo, Mich., and became convinced that I wanted to abandon business ownership and be part of a larger company that offered camaraderie and support. Dan and I talked about it in December 2015, and I revealed I was ready to make the leap away from self-employment the following year. A week later, while driving home from work, Dan called with his signature, “So, I’ve been thinking…” greeting – then offered me the opportunity to run the training program at Welch Tile.

The week after Christmas 2015, my family and I made the trip to Grand Rapids for an interview. It was a tough decision for my family to make, but we focused on the quality of life we had as a family, going back to the adage that “You don’t know until you try!” January 25, 2016, marked a new start to my career and a new way of life for my family in Grand Rapids, with Welch Tile.

Remember the question I asked at the beginning of this letter? I would have never dreamed by becoming an NTCA member I would be where I am today. If I never made that first trip to Coverings in 2007 and hadn’t joined the NTCA, where would I be today?

NTCA Launches New Career Center for Job Seekers and Employers

The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), has added an updated, high-powered Career Center available now on its website. The Career Center is designed to provide both employers and job seekers with a better overall job board experience through a modern design and an intuitive interface.

Job seekers can manage their job search, access job postings, post a resume, or join the job alert system. The job search feature is made easy and can be filtered by position and location, returning up to 100 results at a time. Employers are able to quickly post job openings, manage online recruiting efforts, advance resume searching, or reach targeted qualified applicants. The tool allows employers to search for resumes, keep track of candidates, post company information, and much more. The Career Center can be accessed through a desktop, smartphone, tablet, or any mobile device.

“NTCA is excited to offer an easy-to-use program that will allow for people to post their resume to explore their options at furthering their career.  As more and more people do this, we will be able to help connect companies looking for qualified people in the tile and stone industry to these candidates,” said Bart Bettiga, executive director.

The Career Center can be accessed on the home page of the NTCA website at www.tile-assn.com, or by visiting the following link: Click Here!

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