CTEF Holds CTI and ACT Demonstrations During TISE WEST


The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) which provides education and installer certification for professionals working in the ceramic tile and stone industry will be conducting Certified Tile Installer (CTI) demonstrations during The International Surfaces Event (TISE) WEST in Las Vegas, NV.

During the entire show, CTEF will be providing ongoing demonstrations of the CTI and the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT) testing programs.  This will include step-by-step procedures for both the installer taking the test and the evaluation process. CTEF Regional Evaluators (REs) will conduct CTI program demonstrations while also training new REs onsite.

Additionally, CTEF, working with the International Union of Brick and Allied Craftworkers, will be presenting all aspects of the ACT Large Format Tile and Substrate Preparation test and evaluation process.

Throughout the show schedule, hands-on demonstrations will be presented covering:

  • Substrate preparation
  • Layout considerations
  • Mortar coverage
  • Grout installation
  • Sealant joint application
  • Forensic analysis of installed tile

Scott Carothers, Director of Certification and Training, CTEF

Scott Carothers, Director of Certification and Training at CTEF says, “It is incumbent on the CTEF to provide good, solid information about the tile industry standards and best practices to the thousands of show attendees; that is our job.  Likewise, it is imperative that manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and contractors become aware of the necessity of having ceramic and porcelain tile products installed correctly the first time by qualified labor.  We have all seen the horrific work that has been done by ill-trained and unqualified tile placers – we can’t call them installers because they do not possess the necessary skills.  Tile is a beautiful and long-lasting product which, when properly installed, lasts a lifetime.”

The CTEF CTI program is the only third-party assessment of installer skill and knowledge which is recognized by the tile industry. It offers property owners, both residential and commercial, peace-of-mind that their tile installer has the right skills to complete a successful tile installation.

The CTI designation identifies the professional installer who has reached a level of proficiency to independently and consistently produce a sound tile installation that displays good workmanship. Certification is the validation of the skills and knowledge of the men and women who presently are installing tile successfully in the United States.

To qualify for the CTI Program, installers must have at least two years of experience as the lead installer setting ceramic tile on a full-time basis. This means having full responsibility for substrate prep, layout, coordinating with other trades along with properly installing underlayment, tile, grout and sealant materials.

“The CTI program is strictly a test of the installer’s skills and knowledge; it offers no instructional classes,” says Carothers.  “However, many installers who have completed the CTI tests say that studying the written materials was very valuable and assisted in the completion of the hands-on test. Also, the CTI Manual provided the correct methods for tile installation which may not have been the way they installed tile in the past.”

The CTI program includes two separate tests.

  • The first is an online open-book exam which is taken at home or the office as the installer’s schedule allows.
  • The second is a hands-on test which is conducted at regional locations across the United States. The hands-on portion of the test begins at 7:09 am and must be completed by 4:00 pm. Installers should arrive at 6:30 am in order to get their tools set up and be ready to start the test at 7:09 am.

The CTEF which sponsors the CTI program is supported by all segments of the ceramic tile industry. CTEF is headquartered in Pendleton, South Carolina, near Clemson University and near the offices of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA).

To learn more, visit CTEF at Booth #4727 during TISE WEST 2018.

# # #

About the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation

The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) provides education and installer certification for professionals working in the ceramic tile and stone industry. Certification programs include the CTEF Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program which is the only third-party assessment of installer skill and knowledge to be recognized by the tile industry, and the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT). For more information, visit https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org.

Follow CTEF on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ctilef, on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CeramicTileEducationFoundation/, and on Google+: https://plus.google.com/+CeramictilefoundationOrg

Startup company Target Freight creates huge savings for heavy industries

Mike Wagner, Target Freight

Meet Mike Wagner, Ernst & Young’s 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year. Growing up poor in difficult circumstances, he rose to the position of CEO of a multi-million dollar company — Target Freight Management. This company was named #71 on 2017’s Inc. 5000 List of the fastest-growing privately-owned companies in the U.S. — up 11 spots from their #82 ranking in 2016.

How has Wagner created the kind of business growth that most startup “growth hackers” only dream of? By providing his customers with an unparalleled advantage. Target Freight’s proprietary Freight Innovation Density Analytics (FIDA) technology is designed to maximize shipping savings while eliminating the “surprise” upcharges that can turn a $200 shipment into a $2000 shipment.

“No other technology in today’s market can analyze all the variables of a shipment and make a determination against any carrier rules,” says Wagner. “Our newly-patented FIDA system not only does this, but it also provides additional savings for our clients above and beyond the negotiated rate.”

According to Wagner, with FIDA and other elements of TFM’s technology stack, clients can ship with confidence that the rate they see in the computer is the rate they are going to pay. “We successfully manage our clients’ expectations, visibility, and predictability in their supply chain costs,” he said. “We save them time by eliminating the need to double-check costs, carriers and shipments. By empowering our customers to ship with less worry, we free them up to focus their time and energy on what they do best: make and build.”
Among Target Freight’s many FIDA-fueled benefits:* Target Freight will renegotiate their customers’ freight, save them substantial money on shipping, and also make sure their freight isn’t reclassed.

* Target Freight can also save customers money on their small package shipments with their parcel division, which means any size shipment will see notable reductions in shipping costs.

* Target Freight has access to carriers that aren’t considered “common.” The company uses over 10,000 carriers to provide their customers with the very best rates and service on Truckload shipping.

About Target Freight Management:

Target Freight Management, Inc. is an Inc 500/5000 company, has been ranked Fastest Growing Company in Pittsburgh, and was voted Best Place to Work in Pittsburgh by its team members.

TFM is an industry leader in Less Than Truckload and Truckload Transportation Management using innovative and proprietary Transportation Management Systems that empower customers to ship with confidence. TFM Develops a full range of solutions for the Logistics industry from Back Office applications to our Patented TMS.

Since its launch in 2009, its has received prestigious awards and recognitions, including:

· President and CEO Entrepreneur of the Year for 2017 by Ernst and Young

· 2017 “Best Places to Work” by the Pittsburgh Business Times

· 2017 TFM Truckload business finished #1 in the Manufacturing and Transportation category and # 2 among the Fastest Growing companies in Western PA by the Pittsburgh Business Times

· 2017 Target Freight Management LTL was also in the top 100 Fastest Growing Companies in Western PA by the Pittsburgh Business Times, finished at #54

· 2012 # 1 Fastest Growing Company in Western PA for Target Freight Management LTL, which has remained on this list every year since.


LATICRETE Employee Recognized for Exemplary Research and Development Efforts

January 16, 2018, Bethany, Conn. — LATICRETE, a leading manufacturer of globally proven construction solutions for the building industry, has awarded company scientist Lindsey Lempicki with the Dr. Henry M. Rothberg R&D Innovation Award. Named after company founder and former chemical engineer, this award recognizes an exceptional member of the research and development team who has significantly impacted business performance and sales through innovative new technologies.

“The long-term success of LATICRETE is determined by our ability to harness the power of innovation in every area of our business. Lindsey’s remarkable results stem not only from her technical skill set, but also from her ability to understand and then translate customers’ needs into product innovation. By continuing to add highly productive scientists like Lindsey to our team, we have greatly expanded our product portfolio while continuing to improve our core products,” said Edward Metcalf, LATICRETE North America President and Chief Operating Officer.

Dr. Eerik Maandi, Vice President R&D with Scientist Lindsey Lempicki

Throughout the past year, Lindsey was the lead scientist in developing 4-XLT, TRI-LITE™, and 257 TITANIUM™.  She has been a valued member of the team since joining LATICRETE in 2007 after obtaining her bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and Forensic Science from the University of New Haven.

With approximately 1,600 team members worldwide, LATICRETE operates in 100 countries and continuously sets benchmarks for quality and innovation by easing the work of the installer, improving the durability of buildings, creating lasting customer relationships and treating customers, employees and partners like family.

Floor Covering Leadership Council (FCLC) Announces Research Initiative Addressing Leading Industry Issue, the Installation Crisis

January 16, 2018  — The Floor Covering Leadership Council announced today the
commissioning of a strategic research initiative to lead the industry through the next
phase of resolving the flooring installation crisis.

Installation has prevailed as the top industry concern for several years, and while a
number of initiatives have been undertaken to combat the problem, it is not clear that
there is wide-spread agreement on the root cause of the problem, or the best path to its
long-term solution according to the Council leadership team. A flooring industry
coalition led by FCLC is commissioning the new research project.

Research from the National Association of Home Builders points out that more than 8
out of 10 single-family builders identified the cost/availability of labor as the most
significant issue they face. The current scarcity of labor is all the more concerning given
projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that the construction industry will add
around 790,000 new jobs in the decade leading up to 2024. This data further
emphasizes the point that the flooring industry will be competing for scarce labor
resources and must be strategically organized to do so.

In September, members of FCLC worked with an industry consultant to develop a
Request for Proposal (RFP) for the research project. Four research firms were selected
and made proposals for the program. In December, coalition members within FCLC met
with the contenders and decided to move forward with Chicago-based firm, The
Blackstone Group.

The Blackstone Group brings 30 years of expertise in delivering custom marketing
research and consulting solutions. According to Council members, Blackstone stood out
from the other firms as they offer a full-spectrum of resources for multi-dimensional,
multi-phase research engagements, and they employ advanced analysis tools and out-of-
the-box approaches. FCLC members concluded that The Blackstone Group will
provide crucial insight and expertise as the flooring industry continues its resolution of
installation challenges.

The decision to organize the new initiative was driven by existing research, which
shows that installation issues continue to be the industry’s biggest challenge. The FCLC
decided unanimously that an extensive research initiative focused on uncovering the
underlying causes of the crisis was of paramount importance.

The research initiative includes reaching out to a broad range of stakeholders in all
facets of the industry. This will ensure that all issues and probable solutions are
strategically identified from many perspectives. The Council believes that once the
study is completed its results will serve as the industry knowledge platform for the
pursuit of a long-term resolution process.

Key research objectives of the FCLC-commissioned study include an examination of the
evidence for gaps between the supply of and demand for floor covering installers,
including an estimation of the size of this gap now and over the next 5-10 years. The
study also will seek to quantify the financial consequences of the installation crisis on
industry participants and lay out a stakeholder-driven determination of barriers and
potential solutions.

The coalition is now working to gain industry support to fund the approximate $150,000
required for the research project. Floor Covering Leadership Council members
committed approximately $50,000 to kick off the funding. Research sponsorships are
available as follows: Platinum $20,000+; Gold $10,000+; Silver $5000+ and Bronze
$2500+. To discuss participation, please contact FCLC member Phil Zolan by email at
philzolan@wfca.org or call at 229-220-4974.

# # #
The Floor Covering Leadership Council (FCLC) is currently made up of 13 associations
– all dedicated to flooring. Its purpose is to identify issues and develop solutions that
lead to the success of the floor covering industry and its professionals. The
membership includes American Floorcovering Alliance (AFA); International Certified
Flooring Installers Association (CFI); Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA);
Floor Covering Installation Contractors Association (FCICA); Marble Institute of America
(MIA); North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD); Multilayer
Flooring Association (MFA); North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA);
National Institute of Certified Floorcovering Inspectors (NICFI); National Tile Contractors
Association (NTCA); National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA); Resilient Floor
Covering Institute (RFCI); and World Floor Covering Association (WFCA). For more
information or to discuss membership guidelines, contact Robert Blochinger
at 954-830-4426 or bob@blochinger.net.


MANSFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS – The Belknap White Group (BWG), one of America’s leading full-service flooring distributors, has announced that Jane Twombly has joined its team as Director of Specifications. In this position, she will be developing and maintaining the firm’s strategic architectural and design focus, which is concentrated on increasing specifications of BWG’s extensive product portfolio.

Jane Twombly

Twombly will be actively assisting the A&D Sales team in securing specifications of BWG product lines in commercially-focused projects such as higher education, K-12, multi-unit residential, hospitality and similar.  She will also be working closely with key suppliers as it pertains to the product lines they are promoting to the A&D Community.

“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to work at the Belknap White Group and its sales team here,” beamed Twombly.  “I am ready for the challenge, and look forward to a very successful 2018!”

According to Bill Prescott, BWG’s Executive Vice President of Sales, “We’re confident Jane’s experience will help greatly increase our market share within the North American specification channels.”

Jane Twombly, has been in the industry for over 20 years, with extensive experience in architecture, interior design and specification, as well as flooring products specifically.  Twombly earned her bachelor’s degree in Architecture and her graduate degree in Marketing. In addition, she is a LEED Green Associate.

Natural Stone Institute Expands International Outreach to Turkey’s Marble Fair

Oberlin, OH and Chestertown, NY, January 16, 2018The Natural Stone Institute has entered into an agreement in Turkey with Marble 24: The International Natural Stone and Technology Fair, commonly referred to as the IZMIR Fair. The association will send a delegation of industry leaders to exhibit and provide educational seminars during the show.

David Castellucci, Gökalp Soygül, Caner Özkan, and Bruce Knaphus at Marmomac.

Natural Stone Institute board member Bruce Knaphus (KEPCO+) commented: “Turkey represents approximately 33% of the world’s marble supply with more than 120 colors available. The IZMIR Fair attracts an attendance that is among the top three international trade shows. This is another opportunity for the Natural Stone Institute to further expand its international outreach regarding technical and educational resources.”

Marble 24’s Caner Özkan added: “Having the Natural Stone Institute participate in our Fair to provide education about the Dimension Stone Design Manual and Natural Stone Supplier-to-Buyer Manual will benefit stone companies in Turkey, as well as those around the globe.”

The 24th edition of the Fair will occur March 28-31, 2018.





CHICAGO – January 15, 2018 – USG Corporation’s Tile and Flooring Solutions group is reorganizing and expanding its team to better support its customers and its expanding portfolio of innovative products and solutions. Steve Bjorklund was appointed general manager, USG Tile and Flooring Solutions; Phil Ciesiulka, director, Sales; and, Scott Crandall, director, National Account Sales and Product Management. The group is adding considerable field sales support to give contractors and distributors easier access to products and training. These positions include distributor sales representatives, waterproofing technical sales representatives, and performance flooring technical sales representatives across North America.

For more information, visit usg.com.




PROFILITEC, Italian producer of state-of-the-art floor profiles and related installation solutions, which has been in the states just a short while, is planning a focused, total launch of its comprehensive product line throughout the United States during 2018. “We have listened to the marketplace, in particular to our growing distribution network, and thoroughly believe our products offer high-performance solutions, longevity… and total value,” stated Greg Gelston, longtime construction industry executive and President of PROFILITEC USA.

Greg Gelston, Profilitec

In particular, the company manufactures tile installation systems including floor, wall, movement, step tread and baseboard profiles, tile pedestal, anti-lippage, shower and uncoupling systems. Additionally, a complete line of profiles for LVT, laminate, hardwood, engineered wood and carpet. For four decades, PROFILITEC has delivered these innovative products to the global marketplace… and while doing so, has developed mutually beneficial relationships with customers worldwide. PROFILITEC prides itself on “doing business the right way.”


“Doing business the right way is our mantra,” commented Gelston. “We’re not looking for new customers offering us instant gratification. Rather, we are focusing exclusively on distributors who are ready to enter into a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship. We offer not only solutions in so many areas of construction with our profile systems. We also offer highly technical educational solutions… based on keeping our customer base updated on the very best methods in which to install our quality products. And, blatantly speaking, we offer profit solutions that clearly explain how members of our distribution network will prosper. I know these are ambitious statements,” continued Gelston, “And frankly, we are going to back them up 100%.”

Gelston added that a strong number of the nation’s top distributors have already signed on with PROFILITEC. “Stay tuned for more announcements about our firm,” he declared. “We have a well-planned, strategically defined road-map to success. You’ll be hearing more and more about us as time elapses. Stay tuned!”


PROFILITEC’s extensive product portfolio can be easily seen by logging onto www.profilitec.com.

D.C. Circuit Court Upholds Silica Standard

As reported by Sherman & Howard (www.shermanhoward.com) attorneys Pat Miller, Rod Smith, Chuck Newcom, Matt Morrison and Alyssa Levy, on December 22, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued a long-awaited opinion in a case involving numerous challenges to OSHA’s silica in construction standard. The opinion deals a blow to industry challenges and largely upholds the standard. Industry challenges focused on issues such as whether there was substantial evidence to support the rule’s finding that the new exposure limits will reduce health risks, whether there was substantial evidence to find that compliance with the standard is technologically and economically feasible, and whether OSHA violated the Administrative Procedure Act in promulgating the standard. There were also challenges to specific parts of the standard such as confidentiality of medical examinations and the prohibition against dry cleaning methods. The court rejected all of these challenges in a lengthy and detailed opinion.

Union groups also challenged certain aspects of the standard, such as the requirement to only provide for medical examinations in cases where employees are required to wear a respirator for 30 days or more per year and the absence of medical removal protections. The court rejected the challenge to the 30-day trigger for examinations. However, it did conclude that OSHA did not adequately explain why it omitted medical removal protections from the standard. More specifically, the court ruled that OSHA acted arbitrarily in declining to require medical removal for some period in cases where a doctor recommends permanent removal, when a doctor recommends temporary removal due to COPD symptoms, and when a doctor recommends removal pending a specialist’s determination. The court remanded the matter to OSHA to reconsider or further explain these issues.

This decision means that pending an additional requirement for medical removal, OSHA’s silica in construction standard will remain in effect as written. Employers are again encouraged to make sure that they are in compliance with the rule, which is now in effect. Sherman & Howard will continue to monitor new developments with the standard.

DuPont™ Zodiaq® Re-named Corian® Quartz & Becomes Part of the Corian® Design Master Brand

WILMINGTON, Del., Jan. 9, 2018 – DuPont™ Zodiaq® is becoming part of the Corian® Design family of branded products, services and design solutions. While the popular quartz product continues to be owned by DuPont, the product will be re-branded as Corian® Quartz as part of the new global design brand, Corian® Design which was introduced earlier this year.

“The move from DuPont™ Zodiaq® to Corian® Quartz will better align the product to the brand’s design principles and allow Corian® Design to more efficiently and effectively communicate the product offering to the market,” said Julie Eaton, global business director for Corian® Design.

Along with the name change comes bolder designs, textures and aesthetics for Corian® Quartz which will be previewed this week at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in Orlando. Customers can expect to start seeing Corian® Quartz in the market effective immediately, kicking off the Corian® Design – Make Your Space™ Campaign launching today.

All product warranties, properties and quality of levels of service customers previously experienced with DuPont™ Zodiaq® remain unchanged with Corian® Quartz. The line currently boasts 52 colors and patterns for use in residential and commercial in a variety of uses including kitchens, bathrooms, hotels, hospitals and restaurants. Corian® Design will now offer a range of materials, including Corian® Quartz all with the goal of helping customers make a statement or make a space “uniquely you.”

For more information, please visit http://corianquartz.com/.


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