July 5, 2015

MAPEI Corporation Hosts NTCA Five Star Contractors in Vancouver

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada — The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) Five Star Contractors Program continues to grow and develop.  As part of its strategy to offer increased business and technical education — as well as peer review and networking opportunities — the NTCA held a summer Five Star Contractor Program June 2nd-7th in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia.  The conference was generously sponsored by the MAPEI Corporation, who hosted the technical educational program at its plant headquarters located in Vancouver.

NTCA contractors and their spouses combined educational and networking programming with sightseeing excursions.  In addition to discussions centering on the latest standards, Five Star Contractors were treated to technical presentations by MAPEI personnel addressing grout technology, large format and thin tile installations, and substrate preparation.  A lively question and answer session followed each presentation.

The second day of the programming focused on business development, the NTCA utilized the resources of Ethan Cowles, professional educator and facilitator with Fails Management Institute.  Five Star Contractors participated in working groups that interacted with Cowles, addressing project management, estimating, cash flow operations, and understanding in detail balance sheets, income statements, budgets, and financial statements.

The NTCA plans to offer a summer Five Star meeting every year, and is also in discussions to develop regional training opportunities for Five Star Contractor employees as well as operational analysis.

MIA/BSI Washington DC Study Tour Set for November

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Chestertown, NY, and Oberlin, OH, June 9, 2015 – The Building Stone Institute (BSI) and Marble Institute of America (MIA) will jointly host a 2015 study tour with Washington, DC as the backdrop for a 3-day event immersed in its rich heritage of natural stone. Registration is open for this event, with an early bird registration discount available until July 31st.

This is not the first time these two leading stone associations have come together to host a study tour. Both collaborated on a Vermont study tour in 2011, as well as individually leading tours over the past several years to places such as Minnesota, Texas, Colorado, Banff, Alberta (Canada), and Georgia. The study tours offer a unique combination of classroom and field-trip experiences about natural stone.

The Washington, DC event dates (November 15-18, 2015) immediately precede Greenbuild’s Expo which affords stone professionals an opportunity to extend their learning experience and see what other building products are competing with natural stone in the green building marketplace.

Tour highlights include many member-led, open forum workshops; tours of the MLK and FDR memorials and other monuments; a visit to the National Cathedral for a presentation on earthquake repairs and routine restoration efforts; and an interactive “Stone Experience” at Luck Stone Center in Sterling, VA.

Peter Miller, Vice President, Publisher, and General Manger of the Home Group of Active Interest Media (AIM) – whose work serves the information needs of old house owners, architects, contractors, building owners, developers and facilities managers who do residential and non-residential historic preservation and traditional building – will speak on trends in the building and design communities.

Participants will also have an opportunity to attend two MIA “Women in Stone” facilitated programs. The “Stone Experience” Workshops will feature hands-on learning stations including:

·         Thin Veneer Stone

·         Anchored Stone

·         Paving

·         Stone Architectural Carving

·         Stone Letter Carving

·         Care and Maintenance

·         Splitting and Trimming

·         Dry Stone Wall Building

·         Building Stone Geology

·         Stone Tools

Early event sponsors include Custom Building Products, EuroStone Machine USA, Luck Stone Center, Miles Supply, Park Industries, Rock of Ages, and Stone Source. The stone experience workshops are being hosted by Red Leaf Stone Anchors, Manassas Granite & Marble, Coldspring and Northern Stone Supply, Custom Building Products, Tompkins Bluestone, The Stone Store, Rundle Rock Building Stone, and Trow and Holden.

Registration information for this joint MIA-BSI event can be found at: www.buildingstoneinstitute.org/2015-study-tour/ (early bird registration ends July 31st).

About the Marble Institute of America

For over 70 years the Marble Institute of America (MIA) has been the world’s leading information resource and advocate for the natural dimension stone industry. MIA members include marble, granite, limestone, sandstone, and other natural stone producers and quarriers, fabricators, installers, distributors, and contractors in over 55 countries around the world. www.marble-institute.com

About the Building Stone Institute
Since 1919, the Building Stone Institute (BSI) has worked on behalf of a diverse membership, representing all aspects of the natural stone industry. BSI provides resources, programs, and services that empower member companies to offer the highest level of quality products and services and to educate the architectural and design communities on the benefits and uses of natural stone. For more information visit www.buildingstoneinstitute.org


Becky Serbin joins NTCA as Education and Curriculum Coordinator

Beck Serbin, NTCA Education and Curriculum Coordinator

Beck Serbin, NTCA Education and Curriculum Coordinator

(JACKSON, Miss.) — The National Tile Contractors Association is pleased to announce the appointment of Becky Serbin to the newly created position of Education and Curriculum Coordinator.  In this position, Serbin will oversee the implementation of a learning management software program the association will offer for continuing education for tile and stone installation and specification.  As part of this program, she will work closely with staff and committee members to develop an Apprenticeship Program that will combine on line courses with field experience training. 

Serbin joins the NTCA having worked for the past 13 years for Georgia Pacific Corporation.  Her duties there included architectural and technical services, associate product management, and continuing education curriculum development and implementation.  At Georgia Pacific, she served as the TCNA Backerboard SubCommittee Chairperson and participated in NTCA Technical Committee meetings and document development.  She holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Kennesaw State University. 

WAUSAU TILE rebrands into Tectura Designs and Wausau Made

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More than six decades after the nation’s leading manufacturer of concrete, terrazzo and metal architectural products was founded in a two-car garage, it’s time for a fresh start. Industry giant

Wausau Tile is rebranding itself to chart a clear course for its next 60 years to better serve architects, landscape architects and building professionals of all stripes.

Wausau Tile will no longer be a market-facing brand name, making way for its two new architectural products brands, Tectura Designs and Wausau Made. Each brand has a distinct look and unique product portfolio for serving distinct audiences within the architecture and construction industries, but both are synonymous with the impeccable quality and collaborative, responsive service that customers have come to expect from the company Ed Creske founded in 1953.

Tectura Designs (tecturadesigns.com) offers a diverse selection of premier architectural products, including site furnishings, concrete pavers, custom precast concrete, custom precast terrazzo and terrazzo tile. Its stylish, long-lasting products help the world’s leading architects and designers bring their visions to life – and its custom capabilities offer near-endless solutions. The introduction of the Tectura Designs brand includes the launch of a brand-new Collaboration Series, which includes stunning, exclusive site furnishings designed by some of the world’s most innovative and esteemed architectural minds.

Wausau Made (wausaumade.com) offers durable and low-maintenance concrete, metal and plastic site furnishings at unbeatable prices.

“These new brands will carry on Ed’s incredibly high standards for quality products and dedicated customer service, while also better serving the needs of our growing and diverse customer base,” said Bryan Borrell, president of Wausau Tile Inc.,  “After more than 60 years of innovation, we look forward to many more decades of providing the finest American-made concrete, terrazzo and metal architectural products you’ll find anywhere.”

Products for both brands will continue to be proudly made by skilled American craftspeople at the 480,000-sq. ft. facility in central Wisconsin. Tectura Designs and Wausau Made also will carry on Wausau Tile’s legacy of innovation and sustainability, upholding high environmental standards in their cutting-edge operation and also offering environmentally friendly products, including composites made with recycled porcelain and glass.

10 Year-Old Alyssa “Makes Lemonade” to rebuild fire-ravaged house

Alyssa De La Sala of Lutz, Fla., has been in the news and on social media a lot lately. Her family’s Tampa-area house was severely damaged by fire two years ago, and the contractor her family hired to restore it ran off the unfinished job without completing it.

Alyssas lemonade standAlyssa, 10, sister to Damien and daughter of Jenn and Joe De La Sala, didn’t let that get her down. With the attitude, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” she and her brother set up a stand on May 16th to sell lemonade and homemade baked goods to raise money to complete the repairs on their home. After asking a local radio station to advertise her business, people donated baked goods from several counties away and some people paid $500-$1000 for a cup of lemonade to support the cause. Not only did strangers turn out to help, but so did first responders, and local businesses donated supplies. When all was said and done, she raised $15,000 between lemonade stand sales and a GoFundMe site towards the $120,000 goal. Another lemonade event is planned Sunday June 14 from 12 pm – 3 pm at Beef O-Brady’s, 21539 Village Lakes Shopping Center Drive in Land O Lakes, Fla., featuring lemonade, cupcakes and a bounce house.

Interested in helping the cause? Visit http://www.gofundme.com/AlyssasLemonade to make a donation, or visit Alyssa’s Lemonade Stand on Facebook for find out more.

MIA Releases 2015 Awards Program Call for Entries Contact:

Oberlin, OH, May 18, 2015 (MIA0106  ) The Marble Institute of America (MIA) has opened its 2015 Awards Program Call for Entries. The Call for Entries signifies that the MIA is now accepting entries for their various awards. These highly coveted awards honor and recognize natural stone companies, natural stone professionals, and architects from around the globe.

MIA AwardTiffany Aryeh of Amalfi Stone & Masonry, Inc. in Sun Valley, CA commented on the significance of winning a Pinnacle Award. “Being a recipient of the coveted Pinnacle Award is a dream come true. It is such an honor to be amongst so much talent and be part of a group of projects that represents exceptional stone work around the globe.”

The 2015 MIA Awards consists of:

  • Pinnacle Awards - presented to companies whose projects’ beauty, creativity, ingenuity, and craftsmanship exemplify professional mastery in the use of natural stone in commercial and residential environments. Again this year, with the generous support of Informa Exhibitions, all Pinnacle Award of Excellence and Merit winners have the opportunity to invite an architect from the firm involved in their winning project to StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas 2016. The Pinnacle Awards consist of 6 separate categories:
  • Grande Pinnacle Award – sponsored by Marmomac is presented to the best project across all categories. Again this year Marmomacc will present a Grande Pinnacle Award to an architect from the firm involved in the winning project.
  • Natural Stone Craftsman of the Year Award – sponsored by Polycor, Inc. & TexaStone Quarries singles out one craftsman who has physically performed outstanding stone fabrication and/or installation over a period of many years.
  • Migliore Award for Lifetime Achievement – established to recognize an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to the natural stone industry and the MIA. The award is named for MIA’s long-time Technical Director, the late Vincent R. Migliore, who was its first recipient.
  • Natural Stone Scholarship Award - sponsored by Coldspring provides educational opportunities for aspiring fabricators, installers, or administrative apprentices interested in furthering their careers within the natural stone industry. The scholarship covers travel and registration costs for one or more recipients to StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas, and MIA’s Annual Meeting.
      • Commercial Interior — sponsored by MAPEI
      • Commercial Exterior — sponsored by MAPEI
      • Residential Interior/Exterior — sponsored by GranQuartz
      • Kitchen of the Year (NEW THIS YEAR) sponsored by GranQuartz
      • Bath of the Year (NEW THIS YEAR) sponsored by GranQuartz
      • Renovation/Restoration — sponsored by Coldspring

For information on the Call for Entries, contact Helen Distelhorst at hdistelhorst@marble-institute.com or log on to www.marble-institute.com/awards/awards-overview. Deadlines begin in June. Apply today!


USG Named Innovator of the Year by The Executives’ Club of Chicago

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Chicago, IL (May 15, 2014) – USG Corporation (NYSE: USG), a leading building products company, was named Innovator of the Year today by The Executives’ Club of Chicago. The award, which is given to a company whose new product, service, process or business model has resulted in organic growth and measurable economic benefit to the region, was presented to USG for its development of USG Durock™ Brand EcoCap™ Self-Leveling Underlayment, a product that offers a significant reduction in several environmental impacts.

“Innovation is a team sport and it is at the heart of how USG employees develop new products and technologies that positively impact the spaces where people live, work and play,” said Dominic Dannessa, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for USG. “This award celebrates our culture of innovation, which has made USG a leader in moving the construction industry forward for more than 110 years.”

With its breakthrough geopolymer binder technology, USG Durock™ Brand EcoCap™ Self-Leveling Underlayment is a quick-setting, eco-friendly cement-based product for use over concrete subfloors and wood subfloors in interior applications. The technology also brings significant improvement in building environmentally sustainable structures.

“The Executives’ Club of Chicago is the city’s premier networking and business forum. Each year, we recognize the best and brightest leaders in technology, innovation and corporate citizenship,” said Ana Dutra, President and CEO of The EC. “We are excited to share the honor of Innovator of the Year Award with USG and Dr. Veeramasuneni. Their talented team is developing impressive technologies, which will further drive Chicago to the top of the global innovation economy.”

Dr. Srinivas Veeramasuneni, Vice President of the USG Corporate Innovation Center in Libertyville, accepted the award on behalf of the organization at The Executives’ Club Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon, which was attended by leaders in Chicago’s business community. Awardees were chosen based on a nomination process and formal application.

For more information about USG Corporation and its innovative products, visit usg.com.

 About USG Corporation

USG Corporation is a manufacturer and distributor of innovative, high-performance building systems through its United States Gypsum Company, USG Interiors, LLC, and L&W Supply Corporation subsidiaries and its USG Boral Building Products joint venture. Headquartered in Chicago, USG’s worldwide operations serve the commercial, residential, and repair and remodel construction markets, enabling our customers to build the outstanding spaces where people live, work and play. USG wall, ceiling, exterior sheathing, flooring underlayment and roofing systems provide leading-edge building solutions, while L&W Supply branch locations efficiently stock and deliver building materials throughout the United States. USG Boral Building Products is a leading plasterboard & ceilings joint venture across Asia, Australasia, and the Middle East. USG and its subsidiaries are proud sponsors of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams and the Canadian Olympic team.

 About The Executives’ Club of Chicago

The Executives’ Club is Chicago’s premier membership and business forum.  For more than one hundred years, The Club has been a valued resource for Chicago’s business leaders – connecting members, and providing opportunities for strategic relationship development, access to intellectual exchange and world class speakers, and enhanced exposure to the global business community. Through its Global Leaders, Women’s Leadership, Chicago CEO Series and other programming, The Club brings together business, civic and academic leaders from all industries to discuss strategies that address challenges and opportunities affecting Chicago and the world. For more information on The Club, visit www.ExecutivesClub.org.



Coverings 2015 Exhibitors Display Tile Trends with Innovation, Ingenuity and Design

(Alexandria, VA — May 11, 2015) Across the show floor brimming with thousands of new product introductions, exhibitors at Coverings 2015 showcased the latest and most remarkable trends in tile and stone. There was no shortage of innovation at the largest international tile and stone exhibition in North America, held April 14-17, 2015, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL.

“The exhibitors at Coverings 2015 pulled out all the stops—from every aisle of the show, there were brilliant solutions for virtually every surface of a home or building,” said Alena Capra, Coverings Industry Ambassador. “It’s exciting to observe tile trends in this environment, knowing these show-stopping design statements will soon be what architects, designers, builders, remodelers, fabricators, installers, and homeowners can expect to see in the market later this year.”

 The standout design trends from this year’s show featured a range of textures, shapes, formats and sizes.

 Plays with Geometric Form

Following in the path of the ubiquitous square and rectangle, the hexagon has firmly established itself as the tile shape de rigueur. A far cry from traditional hexagonal tiling, this new wave includes micro and macro sizes, rhombile tiling effects, irregular cutouts, and multiple dimensions that yield depth and complexity. FINCIBEC showcased its Keramos by Century line, a series of hexagon shapes available with a variety of patterns that coordinate with one another, creating a “mix and match” look when installed. Continuing the hexagon trend was the Natucer Boston Brick series, which imitates the look and feel of bricks while providing the advantages of extruded porcelain stoneware. Lunada Bay displayed a three-dimensional approach to the trending hexagon, most notably in its Crest line of hexagon ceramic tiles—named after the highest point of a wave, each tile is slightly raised in the center, creating a visual display that plays with light and shadow.

Lunada Bay Crest


Pop and Contemporary Art 

Sometimes walls are not just backdrop for art—they are the art. Several exhibitors wowed attendees with tile featuring designs of pop art and contemporary culture. Ceramiche Ascot presented Game of Fifteen, a new tile series dedicated to the work of 15 contemporary artists. The first Game of Fifteen collection showcases designs of pop art master Keith Haring with 13 individual patterns and one larger composition. Also elevating tile to objets d’art was Cooperativa Ceramica D’Imola and its Pop collection, which features a Lichtenstein-inspired color palette, comic book-like illustrations and onomatopoeias including “Pop” and “Wow!”  “Tile as art” was also seen at Street & Smith, which in partnership with American Glass Mosaic, unveiled The Graffitists collection. The company’s tiles serve up eye-catching graffiti designs in super saturated hues printed on tiles made in part by recycled light bulbs.

Cooperative Ceramica D’Imola – Pop


Mirrored and Metallic

This year also saw a bevy of decorative tile with mirrored and reflective metallic surfaces. Dialing up the glitz factor was the Borja Regina collection, which dazzled with angular facets reflecting light to create a glittering effect on the wall. The tiles are available in either a gold or silver finish. Attendees went wild for AlysEdwards’ Elecdrix tiles, which catch the light with a reflective gold hue in a cheetah design. Lastly, Oceanside revealed new Antique Mirror tiles in its Devotion Collection, which adds soft touches of mirror to make for a distinctly luxe design statement.

Borja’s Regina.


Industrial Inspiration

The increasingly popular industrial look of steel and concrete, rusting and fading continued to reign. Crossville shined the spotlight on Laminam—large-format, real porcelain panels that can skim both floors and walls. Among the collection’s most impressive finishes was Oxide, which gives the appearance of oxidized metal. Another good-looking option for those seeking a thin, large format product: Aventis from Florida Tile’s THINNER collection. With several industrial finishes available, Aventis is inspired by the gritty urban landscape, enabling a cool, minimal look for a contemporary environment. Providing another option in the industrial style was Tau, which promoted its Bayon collection that mimics the look of cement.

Tau’s Bayon.


New Frontiers of the Wood Look

Tile resembling wood continues to diversify in its variety, with many exhibitors leveraging new innovations to produce tile that not only looks, but also feels like wood with dimension, textured knots, distress marks, and details typical of hand-scraped woods. Colorker took the wraps off its Outland collection, which revealed remarkable depth of color and “time-worn” effect on each plank. A very different, but equally striking, wood look came from El Molino. The Spanish company presented its Nora Plus wood-look tile glazed in a high gloss finish—an elegant option that particularly works well in high-end spaces. ABK Group showcased its Dolphin collection of wood-look porcelain panels, which were praised not only for their aesthetics, but also for their exclusive new auto-leveling installation technology that essentially eliminates the need for leveling spacers, joints and glue.

ABK Group’s Dolphin.


Stone Look-Alikes

Technology continues to up the ante with digital printing and manufacturing processes that enable tile to achieve the look and feel of natural stone, ranging from luxurious white marble and creamy travertine to the rich hues of semi-precious stones. One of the most impressive: Stonepeak Ceramics showcased Arabescato Vena, one of the six new colors from the Plane collection—seen at the show in 5’x10’ large porcelain panels. The company’s display of Plane illustrated “book matching,” which aligns the veining of neighboring panels to create an attractive mirror effect.   Nuovocorso’s 7 Stone is not only stone-like in appearance, but also texture. The rough-skinned quality of the tiles gives a tactile stone effect that is striking to the senses. Inspired by quarried European stone, the Termae by Keraben collection combines a stone-effect appearance with geometrical patterns. La Fabbrica turned heads with its Astra series, with each tile featuring the look of semi-precious stone agate and its beautiful, sinuous veining. The collection is a sophisticated option for floors and walls, and is available in colors amber, pearl, turquoise, jade and selenite.

StonePeak Ceramic’s Arabescato Vena.


Movement and Motion

Exhibitors also proved that tile can create dynamic looks as several exhibitors showcased tile with raised surfaces in swooping, wave-like designs.  Vallelunga & Co. evoked nature with the Foussana “River” and “Ambra” patterns—both designed to add a sense of movement to a space while still maintaining a minimalist sophistication. Mother Nature’s inspiration continued with Saloni’s Vantage Drip, which features a sensuous, waterfall-like design on a white-body tile.