OCTOBER 2017: NTCA UNIVERSITY UPDATE – 2018 NTCA University pricing includes free option for single contractor members

Thank you to everyone who took advantage of the introductory offer
for NTCA University. This offer gave your company access to NTCA
University through the end of 2017. We received a lot of feedback from members – some positive and some negative – but we listened to everyone and took all of this into consideration when we were developing pricing for 2018.
Below is pricing for all members – contractors or manufacturers – based upon the number of users they would like to have taking courses on the site.

• 1 – $50
• 2 – $99
• 3-15 – $149
• 16-50 – $199
• 51-100 – $299
• 101-150 – $399
• 151-200 – $499
• 201 or more – call for pricing
Free access for one-person shops Remember that NTCA now has a $50 voucher for the NTCA store that contractors can choose as one of their Parnering for Success vouchers. So let’s say that you are a one-person shop and choose to use the $50 voucher for access to NTCA University.

This means that you will have access for free to the site for the whole year. You’ll see this purchase option on the NTCA store as we get closer to the end of the year. And for those of you that want to pay your membership dues and NTCA University access together, we are currently looking into giving you this option when we mail out renewal notices at the end of the year.
As we get closer to completing two years of introductory courses and the development of our setter courses, we will continue to add courses to the site that you can use to train your employees. We have three sub-committees within the Training and Education Committee working on developing content for NTCA University. If you are interested in working with one of these committees please let me know. We can always use a new perspective on the types of courses that should be developed.

 

If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me at becky@tile-assn.com.

Building a better tile setter training process with Dan Welch

By Dan Welch, president, Welch Tile & Marble

Improving tile setter training

In June 2017, Welch Tile & Marble hosted the NTCA Five Star Contractor summit, updated the group on its training journey, and revealed future for hands-on tile training. Welch Training & Development manager Dave Rogers and I – through trial and error – jointly brainstormed about building a better tile setter training process using a shipping container. The plan escalated when we started developing the Five Star Contractor meeting agenda, which forced us to think through our process successes and failures over the past 12 years. We started with our related instruction outline for Apprenticeship and the milestones to build the NTCA online Apprenticeship modules.

Our first challenge with training was engaging the apprentices after working a full day in the field. Much of the classroom training required extensive pre-planning and preparation in the warehouse with tools and products in unused spaces. This situation led us to make small mockups that only one or two individuals could work hands-on at a time, leading to disengagement with class members who weren’t participating in hands-on module work – you knew you lost them when they pulled out their cell phones and their eyes glazed over.

Dan Welch and Dave Rogers worked together to develop a training container concept for house hands-on training modules for apprentices that would not tie up warehouse space.

Training factors to consider

We identified these different factors and aspects of training that needed to be addressed in order to craft an engaging, effective training process.

  • Safety tool box talks at the beginning of each class
  • Short classroom pre-hands-on explanation and theory
  • Encompassing real job challenges into our process by building scale mockups of upcoming projects’ conditions
  • Eliminating time-consuming setup and clean up
  • Addressing lack of usable space in a warehouse
  • Cost of training
  • Damage to training modules from week to week
  • Waste

    The excitement and buy-in was inspirational when all the apprentices had a mock up to work with.

  • Apprentice schedule flexibility and accommodating out of town commitments with make-up classes

Building a better training process

With these challenges in mind, we looked back at the 2016 Coverings Installation Design Showcase (IDS) container that we built our IDS vignette in, and contemplated how we could pair our hands-on training concept with a self-contained, movable area that would not plug up our warehouse every week. The concept was further validated by a Certified Tile Installer (CTI) pre-test activity, where our apprentice setters came in for many weeks and took the test two hours at a time and at their own pace. The excitement and buy-in was inspirational when they all had a mock up to work with.

Dave Rogers went a step further by adding proper lighting, and mock construction defects in the build out such as missing studs, multiple curb details, or out-of-level conditions

Our answer was right under our noses! We removed one wall of the 20-ft. shipping container and built various site conditions inside the container, starting with underlayment installation. We continued hands-on training each week, building on the previous week’s activity until it was complete.

Dave Rogers went a step further by adding proper lighting, and mock construction defects in the build out such as missing studs, multiple curb details, or out-of-level conditions.

We are currently working on an awning system that will enable us to leave the containers outside, which would let us move the classroom location and venue. These containers cost very little to purchase and fit out, allowing us to replicate anything we can dream up.

Welch Tile is currently working on an awning system that will enable it to leave the containers outside, which would make the classroom location and venue mobile.

Welch Tile has invested in people, training and education and safe work practices for a long time and this concept will allow us to be more efficient, better prepared, highly productive, and create a strong culture for the future of our business. I can only pray that many of you can invest in your team.

Dan Welch,
president Welch Tile & Marble,
“People Creating Change”

NTCA COMPLETES FIRST YEAR OF APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM

The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) has completed the first year of related content for its Apprenticeship Program. Year one of the two-year online training program is composed of 64 courses that serve as an introduction to the tile industry, beginning with the basics of cutting, mixing and grouting, and moving to surface preparation, underlayment application and other installation processes.

With 500 enrollments for the first year of curriculum, these courses are intended to support contractors in training by serving as a training resource for employees who are new to the industry, or as the related learning for the contractor’s Department of Labor-approved apprenticeship program.

In addition to proper training for new hires, these courses may also serve as continued education for tile professionals who would like to refresh their memory on basic knowledge of the industry. “When we started developing these courses, I knew very little of the actual tile installation process including materials, tools, and all of the steps required before installing tile,” said NTCA Training & Education Coordinator Becky Serbin. “We worked with experienced contractors and manufacturers to simplify the courses so that someone such as myself, who is new to the installation process, would be able to understand industry terminology, and apply course information on the job.” The second year of the Apprenticeship Program is under development, and will continue to be announced in six month increments and be available for viewing and purchase online as each course is completed.

For more information regarding the apprenticeship program, please contact NTCA Training & Education Coordinator Becky Serbin at becky@tile-assn.com, or visit www.tile-assn.com.

NTCA University

Knowledge is power, the saying goes. And NTCA is doing its best to be sure you are knowledgeable about your industry and your trade, and a powerful force among customers, clients and competitors.

One of the ways NTCA is doing this is through NTCA University. If you haven’t heard about this veritable online college, visit www.tile-assn.com for details.

To recap, the first six months of the Finisher Apprentice Program in NTCA University are complete, packed with course content from contractors and manufacturers. There are over 40 courses in the 0 – 6 month Finisher Apprentice Orientation section of the program. Each course ranges from 10-20 minutes in length and has a quiz following to test the learner’s knowledge. These courses are, obviously, useful for apprentices, but also for those in the industry for many years since they contain safety and product information that benefits anyone in the trade. For example, if you haven’t worked with epoxy grout for a while, you can take a course on it as a refresher.

One of the benefits of NTCA membership is that NTCA contractor members receive special pricing.

  • NTCA Contractor Members: $99 per company
  • Associate/Affiliate Members: $199 per company
  • Non-NTCA Members: $499 per company

If you purchase this subscription, you will have access to all of the online learning content, including anything new that is created, through December 31, 2017. As long as you have internet access, you can view courses from a computer, tablet, or phone.

Visit the NTCA Store at www.tile-assn.com to purchase your NTCA University subscription. And get started pumping up your knowledge or welcoming new apprentices, armed with know-how and information to make your company a leader in the field.

Want to know more? Visit NTCA University Update on page 98 of this issue.

NTCA University Update

By Becky Serbin, NTCA training and education coordinator

We have had several members asking why they should purchase NTCA University.  Here are a couple of testimonials on how others are finding it valuable.  Both Mike, a business owner who has registered some of his employees on his site, and Dan – who is relatively new to the industry – are looking for education. Here’s what they have to say about NTCA University:

Mike Degiusti, Terra-Mar, Inc., Oklahoma City, Okla., a NTCA Five Star Contractor

“For those of you who are looking for more knowledge of the tile trade and business, I encourage you to look at the NTCA University. After months of procrastinating I finally started the program…and was surprised at how much info there was. The program covers a lot of topics. I will say maybe every module is not for everyone but there are definitely some topics for everyone.

“The beauty is one cost for as many employees you have and you can do it as you have time. In fact while I was watching one of the modules yesterday two of my people came in saw what I was viewing and said they wanted to do it.

“Just a side note for those that don’t know me, I am not saying you have to do it to be a good tile setter. I just think you should check it out. I have been in the tile business in every aspect for over 50 years and I learn all the time. It takes a lot to impress me and this program does. Thank you for reading this and I hope everyone has a great year.”

Mike Diguisti

Dan Heinlein, apprentice for Kerber Tile, Marble and Stone, a NTCA Five Star Contractor in Shakopee, Minn.

Heinlein, who happens to be the son of Mark Heinlein, NTCA technical trainer and presenter, recently entered the tile industry after working in the culinary field. He’s been working as an apprentice since December 2016.

Heinlein explained, “I decided to go into tile setting because it’s a field of construction/measuring with decorative/artistic application. To me it seems like a reasonable balance of the two aspects. I decided to take the NTCA courses simply to have a credible background with working experience, and to keep the wheels churning off the clock.

“I’ve been studying NTCA University online, and these certificates are available at the end of each section for the apprentice stages (0-6 months),” he added. “I’ve taken the 0-6months courses, and the other part I’m getting ready to engage in. The first section of courses was really helpful when confronted with the application of grouting knowledge.”

    

 

Dan Heinlein proudly displays all the certificates he’s earned in NTCA University for the 0-6 month courses. 

Dan Heinlein (far right) with father Mark Heinlein (center right) during a recent visit. Also pictured at left are Dan’s sister Megan and her fiancee Colin Pugh.

No matter your skill level or number of years in the business, there is always something new to learn, something you may have for gotten, or you could just be looking for a refresher on a topic.

Interested in NTCA University? Click on NTCA University at the NTCA webpage, www.tile-assn.com, or contact me at becky@tile-assn.com.

NTCA CONTINUES CAREER DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS WITH APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM

In an effort to provide online training to support tile contracting companies, the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) is in the process of completing the first year of its Apprenticeship Program. The first year, introduced at Coverings 2016, is broken into six-month increments. The first section focuses on introducing the worker to the tile industry, promoting safety in the workplace, the types of tools that will be used on a regular basis, and basic knowledge of mixing materials and how products are used together. The final phase of the first year of the program will go into further detail of installation processes like surface preparation and profiling.

The Apprenticeship Program was developed to attract people into the trade by demonstrating a clear path for them to be properly trained while they are employed and being compensated. The online program is intended to support contractors own training efforts on the jobsite. It serves as related learning for a Department of Labor-approved apprenticeship program that a contractor provides, or any additional training for introductory employees including sales people, counter help at a distributor, or helpers. The program can also serve as a refresher course for those who haven’t had training or education in these areas in a while. Contractors can sign up for the program through NTCA University for an all-access subscription and can register any current or future employee.

According to Education and Training Coordinator Becky Serbin, the association will soon begin developing the second year of the program, which will include more in-depth knowledge of grouting techniques, waterproofing, transitioning into a tile setter helper role, and introducing the worker to management courses to provide training for individuals to manage their own finishing crew.

“While the content development has been slower than I originally expected, I have been working with contractors and manufacturers to ensure that the information we are providing can be used to give the next generation of mechanics the tools they need for successful tile installations,” Serbin said. “I’m lookingforward to the next year as we continue to grow NTCA University into a site that all tile installers can come to learn something new, no matter their skill level.”

NTCA is in the final stages of working out agreements with technical colleges about using this program as curriculum for the education portion of their classes. The next steps in development of the apprenticeship program will be a tile setter related learning program which will also be a two-year related training program. The curriculum will continue to be announced in six month increments, and will be available for viewing and purchase online as each course is completed.

Tech Tip: Ask NTCA Technical Trainer Robb Roderick

Q: Are there any standards or situations where it is acceptable to install ceramic tile over gypsum wall board and not a tile backerboard?   

A: There are two methods in the Tile Council of North America handbook for installation of tile over gypsum board. Method  W242 which employs organic adhesive for a setting material. And Method W243 which employs the use of thinset mortars that meet ANSI 118.1 or 118.4 or better.

In W242 (organic adhesive method) in the section preparation by other trades it states ” The maximum allowable variation in the tile substrate is 1/16 of an inch in 3′ with no abrupt irregularities greater than 1/32″. Both methods specify the gypsum board is to be installed according to GA216.  ” Treated with tape and joint compound with bedding tape only( no finish coat) Nail heads, receive only one coat.

In Method W243 (thinset method) it states ” Maximum allowable variation in tile substrate for tile with edges shorter than 15″ the maximum allowable variations is 1/4″ in 10′ from required plane with no more than 1/16″ variations in 12″ when measured from the high point of the surface. For tiles with at least one edge 15″ in length, maximum allowable variation is 1/8″ in 10′ from the required plane, with no more than 1/16″ variation in 24″.

So there are many standards depending on the type of tile and adhesive you are using.

NTCA University Update

Finisher courses benefit anyone new to the industry

By Becky Serbin, Training and Education coordinator

While we work to finalize the 6 – 12 month Finisher courses, let’s take a look at two introductory modules: Bonding Materials, and Grout.  Since both of these products will be used on most, if not all, tile projects, each course will have more in-depth information available in future NTCA University modules. You may want to either just stick with the basics, or group some of the more advanced courses together with the introductory information.

Bonding Materials

The Bonding Materials module introduces the learner to terminology and all types of bonding materials that they may see on the job.  And since the terminology can be confusing due to the fact that contractors can use multiple names to describe a product, we made sure that the ANSI standard and product name are both introduced so that there is no confusion for the learner.   We even explained where to find the ANSI standard on the product so they can make sure they are mixing the correct product for the job.  We provided a description of each bonding material, the types of conditions it is typically used in, if there are any safety concerns that someone should know when working with the product, and basic mixing information.  Although your company may not use all types of bonding materials, we still included everything to make sure that the new learner has a comprehensive overview of what is currently available.

Grout

The Grout course introduces the learner to different types of grout. By the end of the module, he or she will have a basic understanding of when each is used.  Since we all know that grout can make or break the tile installation, we took the time to discuss factors such as joint size between tile, stain resistance, chemical resistance, intended use of space that is tiled, UV exposure, and color that could affect your grout choice.  

The learner is also taught the basics of prepping the surface before grouting, such as removing excess thinset and how to hold a float.  Then in future modules, learners are shown how to mix, apply, clean, and resolve issues for each type of grout.

And here is something else to keep in mind — just because these are called introductory Finisher courses – don’t doubt that these courses will benefit anyone that is new to the industry.  If you have someone working at a counter, physically calling on contractors, or new to the industry in some other position, these courses provide basic terminology and installation techniques that anyone should know if they interact with a tile contractor.

Remember, you can purchase your all subscription access by visiting the NTCA store.  Make sure that you are logged in to get your introductory pricing.  If you purchase this subscription, you will have access to all of the learning content, including anything new that is created through December 31, 2017.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at becky@tile-assn.com or 770-366-2566.

Workshops and Educational Events

The Tile Shop went above the call of duty for this February 9 event, presented by CTEF director of training and certification Scott Carothers in Dunwoody, Ga. It included over 10 key accounts from all over the country, and a tour of the nearby Blanke and Lackmond manufacturing facilities.  NTCA board advisor Dan Welch, NTCA State Ambassador John Roberts, and NTCA training and education coordinator Becky Serbin were also on hand to support the event, during which one new member signed up and nine installers expressed interest in taking the Certified Tile Installer exam in the future. The Tile Shop manager Henry Paz, technical coordinator Dan Holcomb, and numerous other Tile Shop personnel went all out to make this workshop a huge success.  The group is pictured at Blanke’s manufacturing facility.

Southern California State Ambassador Josh Castelli and son

John Wirtz and Amber Fox spoke about the NTCA Five Star Contractor program

About 40 people attended the San Diego Daltile Design Center NTCA workshop. The Southern California crowd expressed a lot of interest in certification. 

On February 21, the San Diego Daltile Design Center NTCA workshop was a hit, with about 40 attendees. Presented by NTCA’s Robb Roderick, it was supported by Southern California State Ambassador Josh Castelli of Christian Brothers Flooring & Interiors, and  John Wirtz and NTCA Five Star Contractor Coordinator Amber Fox who both spoke briefly about the NTCA Five Star Contractor program. Manufacturers iQ Power Tools, Alpha Professional Products and Custom Building Products were also represented.  The Southern California crowd also expressed a lot of interest in certification. 

Sixteen people attended the Mechanicsburg, Pa., workshop.  CTEF’s Scott Carothers stopped in on his way from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia to lend his support to the workshop effort.  A second surprise visitor was NTCA vice president Chris Walker who happened to be traveling from New York to Washington with his mother-in-law, and made a slight adjustment to his travel plans to attend and support the workshop. Chris and Scott both provided outstanding commentary on successful contractors and installers joining and participating in the NTCA and challenging themselves with the Certified Tile Installer exam. 

On February 23 – National Tile Day – NTCA celebrated at the Daltile in Allentown, Pa. Jerry Dwyer, Dal’s NE Region VP presented manager Shawn Friel with his 25 year service award and the staff with a tile plaque recognizing Dal’s 70 years in business. Lots of great prizes were given away including trip for four and tickets to a game in a skybox at Yankee Stadium!

(L. to r.)  From MAPEI: Todd DeKorte, ; Becky Perry; and Lou Genzlinger, with NTCA technical trainer Mark Heinlein. While assisting with Mark Heinlein’s Conshohocken, Pa., workshop, Todd DeKorte, MAPEI sales representative for Eastern/Central PA & DE graciously offered show him the brand new MAPEI Distribution Center for the Northeastern U.S.  Unit manager Lou Genzslinger and Quality Control manager Becky Perry gave Mark a comprehensive tour and behindthescene insight of the brand new operation. 

The new van in which Mark and Connie Heinlein will tour the country is fully emblazoned with training and education sponsor logos! 

NTCA University Update

By Becky Serbin, NTCA training and education coordinator

This month we will be reviewing two Apprenticeship courses: the History of Tile, and an Introduction to Trims and Profiles.

History of Tile

The History of Tile course was very interesting to create, and it may not have been finished if we didn’t have the help of the Tile Heritage Foundation in putting the timeline and content together.  The course starts with an overview of world history and the creation of the tile industry as we know today by Herbert Minton in 1843.  The course then moves into reviewing tile styles and trends through different periods of time in U.S. history.  These include the Victorian Era, the Arts and Crafts Movement including American Bungalows, the Hispano Moresque Style – Byproduct of Spanish Colonial or Mediterranean-style Architecture, the Lean Era (a.k.a. Depression Years), the Utilitarian Era (a.k.a. Postwar Period) and finally, the Modern Era.  Within each time period, we take a look at how tiles were being made and have plenty of pictures to highlight the style.  The course then moves into predictions about  where the tile industry could go next.  Even though this course is part of the Finisher Apprentice program, it is beneficial for anyone who wants learn about the history of tile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The History of Tile course is a travelogue through world history and the creation of tile. Photos courtesy of The Tile Heritage Foundation.

Trims and Profiles

The trims and profiles course is also good for anyone who is new to the industry.  The learner is taught about the different types of trims and profiles, where each is used, and why.  It also reviews the different types of official names and job site names for these products.  For example, I learned that a “cove base” is well known as a “sanitary base” and there’s a need for this product to meet health department or building code regulations.  Once all of the ceramic trims and metal or plastic profiles are introduced, the course moves into how to make your own bullnose or trim pieces.

Trims and Profiles reviews the various ways to finish a tile installation, and how to make your own bullnose or trim pieces. Photos courtesy of Schluter and Crossville.  

Coverings courses

If you are planning a trip to Coverings this year, Mark Heinlein and I will be presenting a course on using online education and apprenticeship to improve company performance on Wednesday April 5th at 3:00 pm.  If you haven’t seen NTCA University, this is your chance to see how to use it and the courses that are currently available.

Remember, you can purchase your all subscription access by visiting the NTCA store.  Make sure that you are logged in to get your introductory pricing.  If you purchase this subscription, you will have access to all of the learning content, including anything new that is created through December 31, 2017.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at becky@tile-assn.com or 770-366-2566.

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