Lunada Bay Tile Welcomes Regional Sales Manager Emily Marris to support retail customers in the Southwest

(Harbor City, CA, December 15, 2017) Lunada Bay Tile has hired Emily Marris as Southwest Regional Sales Manager, serving Arizona, New Mexico, Southern California, and Southern Nevada. Marris will work closely with retail clients, providing product knowledge, marketing solutions, customer service, and growth opportunities in support of the sales and promotion of Lunada Bay Tile.

Marris brings an intimate knowledge of both the tile industry and the Southwest region. Prior to joining Lunada Bay Tile, she was Territory Manager for manufacturer GBI Tile + Stone, where she supported the California and Hawaii markets.

“Emily’s experience and expertise have already made her a key addition to the Lunada Bay Tile team,” said Chris Brown, North American Sales Director for Lunada Bay Tile. “We view her role as part of an ongoing commitment to the Southwest market, and we are excited to have found a local leader who is well established in the region and shares our focus on serving customers.”

Marris is a graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio. She operates from Lunada Bay Tile’s headquarters near Long Beach, California.

About Lunada Bay Tile
Lunada Bay Tile creates handcrafted glass, ceramic, pewter, stone, and wood tile with an emphasis on artistic simplicity, texture, and color. Inspired by the aura of Southern California coastal living, Lunada Bay Tile takes a distinct approach to designing products with a philosophy that blends traditional craftsmanship and modern influences. Our artisans use specialized techniques to create unique effects that capture the imagination and reflect the way people want to live. To learn more about Lunada Bay Tile and view the entire product line visit or call 310-257-1300.

STEVE TAYLOR RETIRES FROM CUSTOM® BUILDING PRODUCTS: Industry Voice and Product Innovator Concludes Storied 40-Year Career

CUSTOM’s Steve Taylor with TCNA’s Lifetime Achievement Award, presented at Total Solutions 2017.

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – Dec. 18, 2017 – Highly respected industry veteran, Steve Taylor is retiring from Custom® Building Products — a leading provider of flooring preparation products and tile and stone installation systems — after nearly 30 years of service. Credited with numerous product innovations and for helping define installation best practices during his 40-year career, Taylor’s impact on the ceramic tile industry is undeniable and his presence will be missed.

Taylor joined CUSTOM® as Technical Director in 1990 and rose through the ranks culminating as Director of Architecture and Technical Marketing, which is a post he has held since 2010. During his tenure at CUSTOM, Taylor played a key role in developing industry-first products like SimpleMat®, Fusion Pro® Single Component® Grout and AcrylPro® Adhesive. These types of revolutionary innovations not only contributed to the success and growth of CUSTOM, but helped shape the industry as a whole.

Taylor’s passion and commitment over the years has extended beyond CUSTOM to roles with organizations responsible for mandating the quality and guidelines for proper ceramic and natural stone tile installation.

  • Board of Directors for the Tile Council of North America (TCNA)
  • Vice President of Material & Methods Standards Associations (MMSA)
  • Ceramic Tile Institute of America Certified Tile Consultant (CTC)
  • ANSI, ISO, Green Squared Initiative and TCNA Handbook Committees

A TCNA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Taylor has authored hundreds of articles, white papers and technical documents, and served as speaker at many trade events during his career. Taylor earned his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Master’s in Business Administration from California State Polytechnic University-Pomona.

“Steve is not only the smartest individual that I’ve had the pleasure of working with during my 36 year career in the business, but he’s also a first class individual with the patience of a saint,” said Nick Macrino, a commercial architectural representative at Custom Building Products. “His expertise in regards to product development and explaining the chemistry of why products either work or don’t work provided me the complete picture on the how it all comes together in a tile assembly. With his easy going demeanor and depth of his character, it’s no surprise that he’s achieved such great professional success.”

Educating Designers: IMI and industry partners wrap up national ceramic tile education series

Scott Conwell of IMI talked about qualified labor language in the architectural specifications.










2017 was an unprecedented year for education and promotion of ceramic tile!  With the cooperation of several partnering organizations, International Masonry Institute (IMI) led the charge on an exhaustive national tour of tile seminars and demonstrations targeting design professionals and union tile contractors in nine U.S. cities.

Most of the venues were a half-day in length with presentations by a variety of industry experts, offering design professionals 4.0 Health/Safety/Welfare AIA learning units in addition to meeting requirements for IDCEC, GBCI, and Tile Contractors Association of America (TCAA).  Although design professionals were the primary target, in typical IMI fashion, the audiences were a mix of architects, interior designers, tile contractors signatory with the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC), BAC tile setter members, as well as general contractors, construction managers, building owners, public agencies, and national accounts.  The program drew 60-70 attendees per city, on average.

Architects examine exhibitor product literature relevant to their current project.

Art Mintie of LATICRETE delivered AIA-registered presentations on setting materials and grouts.












The program’s content focused on hot topics in the industry like the newly-passed ANSI standards on Gauged Porcelain Tile (GPT) Panels, and the installation of this revolutionary material which architects are specifying more and more. Additionally, the program covered important topics of large format tile, standards for floor flatness and lippage, sustainable attributes of tile, and new developments in setting materials and grouts.  The program also covered the topic of qualified labor in the architectural specifications, addressing the language to recently appear in MasterSpec and in some of the new ANSI standards on this increasingly important requirement of tile installations.

Mike Granatowski (MAPEI), Noah Chitty (Crossville) and Jim Whitfield (MAPEI) presented on the new gauged porcelain tile ANSI standards.

Bill Griese of TCNA talked about tile’s heritage, design flexibility, easy care and health benefits, as part of the #whytile campaign.











Scott Conwell, IMI Director and the program’s organizer and co-presenter, said “Materials, technology, and standards are rapidly changing in the tile industry, so it’s critical that we communicate these new developments to the national design community.  We also want to deliver the message that BAC tile contractors and installers are continuously refining their education and skills through the training and certification programs of IMI and International Masonry Training and Education Foundation (IMTEF), and they are well qualified to install to the latest standards and requirements.”

Hilary Frank of Daltile addressed the audiences on health, safety, environment and sustainable design.

IMI and the team of presenters and sponsors brought this program to nine cities in 2017.










The venue of each program varied by city.  In Milwaukee, Chicago, Kansas City, and Minneapolis, IMI hosted the seminar at their local training centers, which allowed attendees the opportunity to view demonstrations like the one on tile shower assemblies in Chicago, and tour the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT) certification modules in Minneapolis and Milwaukee. In San Francisco, national architecture firm HDR hosted the program in their large conference room, accommodating attendees from various firms in the city.  New Jersey’s program was held in a tile showroom, and New York City’s was at the Metropolitan Pavilion, a space frequently used by the local AIA and CSI chapters.

In Washington DC, the program was integrated into a large industry conference, Total Solutions Plus, where the contractors in the hotel’s meeting room outnumbered the architects two to one.  This audience was treated to a livestream demonstration via Skype of an installation of membranes, shower receptors, and GPT by IMTEF apprentice instructors at IMI’s national training center in Bowie, Maryland.

At each location, the presentations were supplemented by the tile industry’s top material suppliers offering technical information, samples, and literature at a tabletop display area, providing additional value to the attendees.

IMI and their partner organization on this program, Tile Contractors Association of America, wish to thank the dozens of companies who exhibited their products at these seminars, and to especially thank the program sponsors and presenters:  Tile Council of North America (TCNA), Crossville, Daltile, LATICRETE, MAPEI, and Total Solutions Plus.  Ours is an industry of partnership, and by working together to educate, the tile industry will continue to grow and thrive. — Scott Conwell, FAIA, International Masonry Institute



Bostik Introduces Pro Rewards Contractor Loyalty Program


Bostik, Inc., a world leader in specialty adhesives and installation systems for building construction, has created an incentive program specifically tailored for installation professionals.

“Bostik Pro RewardsTM offers contractors the opportunity to earn reward points which ultimately may be redeemed for thousands of brand name items, travel rewards and much more… all while growing their respective businesses,” said Chris Eichman, Bostik’s Marketing Communications Manager.  “Customer satisfaction is a core focus for Bostik. The newly launched loyalty program rewards contractors for working with our products… in a big way!”


To join Bostik Pro RewardsTM, all one has to do is visit: Online prompts will take visitors through this simple registration process. Ultimately, once registered, all members’ purchases will automatically be deposited into the member’s individual account, from which awards may be redeemed just as easily.

Scott Banda, Bostik’s Director of Marketing and Business Development, summed it all up by stating, “Bostik offers specialty installation products and systems for any flooring project, commercial or residential. We want our contractor partners to work with the most high-performance, professional materials. And, for doing so, we want them to be rewarded.”


About Bostik, Inc.

Bostik is a leading global adhesive specialist in industrial, construction and consumer markets. For more than a century, it has been developing innovative adhesive solutions that are smarter and more adaptive to the forces that shape daily lives. From cradle to grave, from home to office, Bostik’s smart adhesives can be found everywhere. With annual sales of €1.6 billion, the company employs 4,900 people and has a presence in more than 50 countries. For the latest information, visit



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

Silica Exposure Control Plan Released by the Natural Stone Institute

Oberlin, OH and Chestertown, NY, December 12, 2017— The Natural Stone Institute has completed a written Silica Exposure Control Plan (ECP) specifically for stone cutters and fabricators. The ECP was developed in response to one of the requirements of OSHA’s Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard CFR 1910.1053 for General Industry and Maritime.

“We believe we have developed a practical compliance tool to benefit stone cutters and fabricators covered by OSHA’s new silica rule,” said Mark Meriaux, Natural Stone Institute Accreditation & Technical Manager.

The central component of OSHA’s rule is reducing by half an employee’s crystalline silica exposure (called the “Permissible Exposure Limit, or PEL,” by OSHA). The new PEL is 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air (50 µg/m³), calculated as 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA). The effective date for OSHA’s new silica exposure standard is June 23, 2018, for general industry (fabricators).

The written Silica Exposure Control Plan is presented free of charge courtesy of the Natural Stone Institute Safety Committee. It can be downloaded by visiting





MIA+BSI: the Natural Stone Institute serves more than 1900 members in 55 countries who represent every aspect of the natural stone industry, offering them a wide array of technical and training resources, professional development, regulatory advocacy, and networking events. Two prominent publications—the Dimension Stone Design Manual and Building Stone Magazine—raise awareness in both the industry and the design communities for the promotion and best use of natural stone. Learn more at


Dodge Momentum Index Remains Strong in November

NEW YORK – December 7, 2017 – The Dodge Momentum Index surged again in November, climbing 13.9% to 149.5 (2000=100) from the revised October reading of 131.3. The Momentum Index is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for nonresidential building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year. The November increase was the second month of strong gains after a four-month period of softness. November’s advance was the result of healthy gains in both the commercial and institutional sectors. From October to November, the commercial portion of the Momentum Index advanced 19.6%, while the institutional portion grew 5.5%. On a year-over-year basis, the Momentum Index is now nearly 21% higher, with the commercial portion up 24% and the institutional side up 17%. The turnaround in October and November suggest that building activity should continue to expand in 2018.

In November, 21 projects each with a value of $100 million or more entered planning. For the commercial building sector, the largest projects include a $300 million mixed use facility containing two hotels at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport and a $230 million Hayden Ave Life Sciences office campus in Lexington MA. The leading institutional projects were a $200 million UPMC Vision and Rehabilitation Hospital in Pittsburgh PA and a $200 million project that will provide additions and alterations for several schools within the Uniondale (NY) School District.






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About Dodge Data & Analytics: Dodge Data & Analytics is North America’s leading provider of analytics and software-based workflow integration solutions for the construction industry. Building product manufacturers, architects, engineers, contractors, and service providers leverage Dodge to identify and pursue unseen growth opportunities and execute on those opportunities for enhanced business performance. Whether it’s on a local, regional or national level, Dodge makes the hidden obvious, empowering its clients to better understand their markets, uncover key relationships, size growth opportunities, and pursue those opportunities with success. The company’s construction project information is the most comprehensive and verified in the industry. Dodge is leveraging its 100-year-old legacy of continuous innovation to help the industry meet the building challenges of the future.  To learn more, visit

MIA + BSI Vote “Yes” to Merger


Image result for mia + bsi logoWith a vote of 565 to 25, the memberships of Marble Institute of America and Building Stone Institute have overwhelmingly decided to authorize a historic merger of North America’s two most prominent stone associations. Effective January 1, 2018, the combined association will formally be known as the Natural Stone Institute, a name widely used during the associations’ two year joint venture.

Jim Hieb, CAE, CEO Natural Stone Institute and Jane Bennett, EVP Natural Stone Institute, thanked members who voted and everyone who has participated in the dialogue about the merger.  “Your trust, support and guidance has helped make this possible,” they said. “Together, we will continue our resolve to provide the best technical, educational, and promotional support for our growing membership and the natural stone industry, as well as expand our outreach to the design community. We now have the combined assets to become the largest and most influential natural stone association in the world!”

The combined staff share members’ passion to advance the industry.  Natural Stone Institute has a dynamic team of dedicated people who have come together over the past two years to prove this union can work, and that merging is the best move for the natural stone industry.

In 2018, David Carnevale (Carnevale & Lohr) will serve as the first president of this merged organization. Greg Osterhout (Northern Stone Supply) will serve as vice president, Robert Zavagno (Cleveland Marble Mosaic Co) will serve as secretary, and Kathy Spanier (Coldspring) will serve as treasurer.

Carnevale commented, “I look forward to serving as first president of the Natural Stone Institute. I want to thank the many current and past industry leaders from BSI and MIA who had the foresight to see what was possible with a merger. The Natural Stone Institute is well positioned to further advance the combined association’s role as a technical and educational leader. We will continue to offer a wide array of opportunities for networking with both industry and design professionals.”

The membership of the combined association will exceed 2,000 members. The leadership will focus on technical and education initiatives intended to further advance the use of natural stone. A new association logo will officially debut at TISE 2018 in January.


Stimac is New CEO at Braxton-Bragg

KNOXVILLE, TN –Braxton-Bragg, a leading distributor of tools, materials and supplies to granite countertop fabricators, marble stone masons, tile contractors and concrete polishing contractors, has named Rick Stimac CEO, following Rich Hassert’s retirement.

Rick Stimac, new Braxton Bragg CEO

Newly appointed Stimac was most recently Vice President/Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of Gustave A. Larson Co., the midwest, plains and mountain states’ leading wholesale distributor of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR) equipment, parts and supplies.

Stimac comes to Braxton-Bragg with extensive P&L management experience and a history of successfully growing profitable revenue. He is a strategic and performance focused executive with more than 25 years of innovative passionate leadership in various markets; a motivational leader known for clearly defining mission and goals, aligning people and resources and consistently delivering results that exceed expectations in diverse distribution channels.

“Rick is an outward-looking CEO that possesses a strong market-driven strategic mindset, the demonstrable ability to develop and execute growth initiatives and a measured approach to excellence in operations,” says Frederick A. Eck, president and co-founder of The Randolph Group, holding company for Braxton-Bragg.

Stimac’s background includes successful leadership assignments in sales, brand management, general management and as President and CEO. Formerly, Stimac had stints at Allen Co./Play Sports Co., Sportcraft LTD, Classic Sport Companies & Huffy Sports Corporation.




AGC: Construction spending hits record in October; public, private segments vary widely

(DECEMBER 1, 2017) — The weekly AGC Data DIGest reported:

  • Construction spending totaled $1.241 trillion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate in October, a record level before adjusting for inflation, 1.4% higher than in September, and 2.9% higher than the October 2016 rate, the Census Bureau reported today. Year-to-date (YTD) spending for the first 10 months of 2017 combined was 4.1% higher than in January-October 2016.
  • Public construction jumped 3.9% for the month but declined 3.4% YTD. Of the three largest public segments, highway and street construction increased 1.1% for the month but slid 4.3% YTD; educational construction soared 11% in October and rose 2.2% YTD; and transportation (transit, passenger rail, ports and airports) rose 2.0% for the month but slipped 1.6% YTD.
  • Private residential spending gained 0.4% in October and 11% YTD. New multifamily construction sank 1.6% for the month but rose 3.9% YTD; new single-family construction rose 0.3% and 9.0%, respectively; and residential improvements gained 1.4% and 17%.
  • Private nonresidential spending climbed 0.9% from September and 1.5% YTD. Of the four largest components, power (electric power plus oil and gas pipelines and field structures) dipped 0.3% for the month and 2.5% YTD; commercial (retail, warehouse and farm) fell 1.9% in October but jumped 15% YTD; manufacturing added 1.3% in October but tumbled 13% YTD; and office rose 4.4% and 4.1%, respectively.

 Detailed figures on Census’s construction spending website show that commercial spending segments exhibit a wide range of growth patterns.

  • Warehouse construction leaped 37% YTD as the mini-storage component has roughly doubled for four years in a row.
  • Shopping mall construction increased 29% YTD and shopping center construction grew 20%. These gains may reflect renovations rather than new construction; Census does not break out improvements for nonresidential categories.
  • Construction of general merchandise stores (including department and variety stores) plummeted 22% and other multi-retail (warehouse-type retail stores) spending dropped 10%. There was a similar range within food and beverage segments.
  • Construction of dining/drinking establishments climbed 15% YTD, while food-store construction increased 3% and fast-food restaurant construction plunged 29%.

 Construction of natural-gas fired power plants appears to be on the upswing. On Thursday, the e-newsletter BreakingNews reported the following projects underway or under development in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio, where the Utica and Marcellus shale formations are providing abundant feedstock: “Work is underway at the new $893 million Hickory Run Energy Center outside New Castle, a combined-cycle power plant…Located outside Johnstown [is] a $700 million gas-fired plant that should be under construction for the next two years. Work should wrap up in 2018 on two other plants, the $780 million Tenaska Energy project in Westmoreland County and the $900 million Lordstown plant in Ohio. The Lordstown project is phase one of two. Not far from Lordstown, near Wellsville, a $1.1 billion combined-cycle plant is going through the final planning stages.” Numerous plants are under construction or design in other regions.

 Construction employment, not seasonally adjusted, rose from October 2016 to October 2017 in 243 (68%) of the 358 metro areas (including divisions of larger metros) for which BLS provides construction employment data, fell in 59 (16%) and was unchanged in 56, according to an AGC release and map on Wednesday. (BLS combines mining and logging with construction in most metros to avoid disclosing data about industries with few employers.) The largest gains again occurred in Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. (14,700 construction jobs, 15%) and Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise (10,500 construction jobs, 18%) followed by New York City (10,100 construction jobs, 7%). The largest percentage gains occurred in Cheyenne, Wyo. (24%, 800 combined jobs), followed by Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise; Lake Charles, La. (16%, 3,600 construction jobs) and Killeen-Temple, Texas (16%, 1,600 combined jobs). The largest job losses again were in Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land (-7,900 construction jobs, -4%); Columbia, S.C. (-3,100 combined jobs, -18%) and the Kansas City, Mo. division (-3,000 combined jobs, -11%). The largest percentage losses again occurred in Grand Forks, N.D.-Minn. (-25%, -1,200 combined jobs); Columbia S.C. and Kansas City, Mo., along with Eau Claire, Wisc.. (-11%, -400 combined jobs). October employment was a record high for the month in 45 metros (dating back in most areas to October 1990); none set a new October low.

Economic activity continued to increase at a modest to moderate pace in October and mid-November, according to anecdotal reports from contacts across the 12 Federal Reserve districts,” the Fed reported on Wednesday in the latest Beige Book. The Beige Book is a compilation of informal soundings of business conditions in each of the districts, which are referenced by the name of their headquarters cities. “Residential real estate activity remained constrained, with most districts reporting little growth in sales or construction. By contrast, nonresidential activity was consistent with previous reports of slight growth….construction-material costs rose in most regions, with many districts citing increased lumber costs and/or increases in demand for materials due to hurricane rebuilding efforts.”

Revenues of architectural, engineering and related services firms increased 3.1% in the third quarter (Q3) of 2017 from 2017Q2 and 1.7% from 2016Q3, Census reported on November 17. This “advance” estimate did not break out architectural and engineering firms.

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