Robert (Bob) Roberson celebrates 60 years

When David Allen Company planned it’s new national headquarters in the center of Raleigh, North Carolina, the proud owner wanted to put a spotlight on a building that would come to inspire the design community for years to come. The result is a building space far different in scale than the one used by the company’s founder, David G. Allen in 1920. When Robert (Bob) Roberson joined the company in October 1957, he would have no idea that he would be buying the company ten years later from Mr. Allen. As its new owner, Bob would begin implementing his own management style while retaining Mr. Allen’s core values, work ethic and keen focus on craftsmanship that had made such an impression upon him. Under Bob’s leadership and guidance, that legacy has remained intact throughout the next sixty (60) years.

Bob’s reputation steadily progressed as a leader in the growing industry of terrazzo, stone, tile and high-end floor finishes over those 60 years. He has become recognized as a mentor to the next generation of leaders that will be needed to meet the ever-escalating demands upon skill levels and the seemingly exponential expansion of product knowledge that will be required for those following that path in their own leadership roles. Bob brought master craftsmen from Italy to train local craftsmen, expanding the style and flair of their culture here as well. The company reflects upon 97 years of history as Bob celebrates 60 years with the company. Under his guidance, the company has been featured in many publications and enjoyed many awards. David Allen Company’s 2015 Associated Building Contractor’s (ABC) Contractor of the Year award capped Bob’s ascendance, in many respects, as a leader for the ages.

Since it’s founding, David Allen Company has influenced and encouraged the design community to exceed accepted standards and inspired by David Allen Company’s emphasis on quality of materials, superior craftsmanship and attention to details, accept that challenge. Like those durable materials and finishes so proficiently delivered time and again by his company, Bob Roberson himself has stood the test of time. As the company approaches a century of continuous business, Bob’s legacy continues as well. As Bob is happy to remind observers, as in his mission statement, Where there is no vision, the people will perish (Proverbs 29:18).

ON THE COVER: LATICRETE International – August 2017 GREEN Feature

Waiea Tower represents a new level of architectural sophistication

 

HYDRO BAN was used to support the heaviest materials, including Jade Green Onyx, seen here in the 36th floor penthouse shower. Photo credit – BMK Construction.

From the top of the mountains, all the way out into the ocean, every aspect of life in the Kingdom of Hawaii aims to be synergistic and sustainable, including its residential communities. With the goal of becoming the largest LEED for Neighborhood Development Platinum (LEED-NP) certified community in the country, building owner Howard Hughes Corporation hired James K.M. Cheng in collaboration with Rob Iopa and WCIT Architecture to design Waiea Tower, the flagship building of what is to be Honolulu’s most distinguished neighborhood, Ward Village.

The 60-acre coastal master planned community allows for up to 9.3 million square feet (approximately 863,998 m2) of mixed-use development and offers numerous outdoor gathering spaces that embrace Hawaiian culture, the perfect mix of urban and eco-friendly living. At completion, the community will include more than 4,000 residences and over one million square feet (92,903 m2) of retail shopping. To complete the construction of the 36-story tower, BMK Construction was enlisted to handle the tile and flooring installations for all of Waiea’s units and public spaces including the pool deck, level one lobby, porte cochere and four levels of penthouses.

“The Waiea Tower represents a level of architectural sophistication never before available in Hawaii, so it was exciting to be a part of history,” said BMK Construction project manager Kent Amshoff. “With the design team utilizing only the highest luxury elements, BMK Construction chose to use a range of LATICRETE® products to ensure long-lasting, quality installations that were also good for the environment.”

For centuries, water has been one of the most treasured resources of the Hawaiian people. As is typical of the entire community’s tie to Hawaiian culture and history, Waiea’s design pays homage to the Hawaiian term for “water of life” that links the structure to the importance of water in Hawaii’s coastal landscape.

BMK Construction used 255 MULTIMAX as a large-and-heavy-tile adhesive mortar to install the Kenyan Black Onyx backsplash. Photo credit – BMK Construction

Challenges: 

For waterproofing bathrooms, HYDRO BAN  was used as a thin, load-bearing waterproofing/crack-isolation membrane. Photo credit – BMK Construction

Logistical Procurement: High-end design materials from around the world were brought in from countries such as Italy, Portugal, China, Kenya, Turkey and the U.S. mainland. This proved challenging to assure proper quantities and specifications of each product would be delivered in time for installation.

Quality Control: Maintaining stringent levels of quality was a major concern during construction as multiple delays occurred due to massive rain storms in the summer of 2016. This mostly affected the installation of the pool deck, as contractors were not able to perform duties outside. Additionally, due to the high-end design elements, such as custom marble walls in the penthouse bathrooms, all plumbing work and leveling work needed to be performed with precision, as there would not be a second chance to get the installation right.

A LATICRETE solution: 

PERMACOLOR Grout was used for its high-performance properties, which provide a grout joint that is dense, hard and will resist cracking. Photo credit – BMK Construction

To meet the goal of acquiring LEED certification, all LATICRETE products chosen for the construction of Waiea Tower were those that have received multiple certifications and declarations including Health Product Declarations (HPD), Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) and UL GREENGUARD Gold Certifications for low chemical emissions.

“LATICRETE is currently the only company with a full product-specific EPD for its cement self-leveling underlayments, cement grouts and cement mortars that includes both 255 MULTIMAX and PERMACOLOR® Grout,” said Amshoff. “These certifications gave Howard Hughes Corporation the peace of mind that LATICRETE is on the leading edge of sustainable innovation by providing transparency about the life-cycle impacts of their products.”

3701 Fortified Mortar thick-bed mortar was used to slope the pool deck to the area drains. Photo credit – BMK Construction

LATICRETE HYDRO BAN was carefully applied to make sure the shower updates are long-lasting. Photo credit – BMK Construction

To set all tile, BMK Construction used 255 MULTIMAX as a large-and-heavy-tile adhesive mortar. The patented, versatile polymer-modified thin-set was chosen due to its exceptional non-sag performance on walls, build up of 3/4” (18 mm) without shrinkage for floors, and maximum coverage due to its lightweight, creamy and smooth consistency. In addition, 255 MULTIMAX is reinforced with Kevlar® to provide maximum strength and durability, and now contains less than 10% post-consumer recycled content.

For waterproofing bathrooms throughout the entire building, including the 500 square feet (46 m2) of penthouse master bathrooms’ showers and toiletry areas, BMK Construction used HYDRO BAN® as a thin, load-bearing waterproofing/crack-isolation membrane. Thanks to its “Extra Heavy Service” rating per TCNA performance levels (RE: ASTM C627 Robinson Floor Test), HYDRO BAN was able to support even the heaviest materials, including Jade Green Onyx, which is seen in the 36th floor penthouse shower.

3701 Fortified Mortar thick-bed mortar was used to slope the showers, baths and pool deck to the area drains. Additionally, 3701 Fortified Mortar was used on the drive line where granite paver stones were present and applied on top of HYDRO BAN for the installation of structural concrete slabs. Chosen for its ease of use, 3701 Fortified Mortar is a polymer-fortified blend of carefully selected polymers, Portland cement and graded aggregates that does not require the use of latex admix. Water is the only element needed to produce thick-bed mortar with exceptional strength.

To grout, PERMACOLOR Grout was used for its high-performance properties, which provide a grout joint that is dense, hard and will resist cracking. Additional benefits include consistent color, fast setting and improved stain resistance for a cement-based grout.

255 MULTIMAX, the patented, versatile polymer-modified thinset, was chosen due to its exceptional non-sag performance. Photo credit – BMK Construction

Outcome

“With the help of LATICRETE, Ward Village is now the largest LEED-ND Platinum certified development in the country,” said Amshoff. “This building is at the forefront of sustainable development and solidifies the LATICRETE commitment to environmental responsibility.”  Waiea, the first completed residential tower, welcomed its first residents and anchor tenant Nobu in late 2016. Three high-rise residential buildings are currently under construction – Anaha, Ae‘o and Ke Kilhoana – and will be home to internationally acclaimed brands such as Merriman’s Restaurant and a flagship Whole Foods Market®.

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.

Editor’s Letter – July 2017

“Without labor, nothing prospers.” – Sophocles
“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance, and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”  – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Yesterday, June 8, I happened to see a clip of Ivanka Trump on Fox & Friends in which she discussed the upcoming trip she, her father and labor Secretary Alexander Acosta will make today to Wisconsin to address the skills gap and workforce training. The plan is to tour Waukesha County Technical College with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to discuss these issues, and the value of apprenticeship programs.

Although the White House has proposed cuts in overall job training programs, and no actual proposals for work-force training have been announced at this writing, clearly shining a light on the importance of skills training to bridge the gap between available jobs and people qualified to fill them – and to provide a viable career path alternative other than a four-year college – is a good thing.

Reserving the right to not be political in this column but to simply draw attention to efforts being made that may benefit our trade, let me just say that I hope this attention will stimulate a groundswell of enthusiasm towards establishing apprenticeship and skills training programs again in this country. I’m proud of the apprenticeship program NTCA is offering through the hard work of Becky Serbin, Dan Welch, Dave Rogers and others and others, and promise of additional training opportunities that will roll out later this year.

By the time you receive this issue of TileLetter, this may be old news on the national front or proposals may have already been made. But in our industry it’s front and center news every day.

On May 28, on the Tile Geeks Facebook page, Phil Green posed a question about people who are concerned that trades are not attracting new blood. He said a friend recently asked, “Why don’t you look into being a partner with [this] organization and mentor a couple of kids that MIGHT have an interest in the trades?”

Green got varying responses to his post. There were the true but predictable responses that shop and trade training has been eliminated from high schools over the years. Some posters indicated upcoming high school programs being formed that earn students credits for working in the field with local contractors, or programs that have attempted this with either high-school students, veterans and ex-convicts that have been tabled due to budget cuts. Some posters shared that they have spoken at classes at their vo-tech schools or churches. David Rothberg of LATICRETE noted that the company holds a masonry/tile trade day at its Connecticut facility for local state trade school students with hands-on demos and information on available opportunities, and offered its help to support such an effort.

And Ken Ballin, of Skyro Floors in Tuckerton, N.J., got fired up and suggested, “I’ve already sent a message to a teacher friend of mine about putting a ‘tradesman (and women) night’ together and it will go to administration this week. I encourage all to do the same. Let’s brainstorm and get some ideas together. Let’s stop complaining about what’s happened in the schools and do something. There’s no time like the present and there’s no better reason to do something for our kids.”

Let’s think about it. And do something about it. Is there an opportunity at a technical school, high school, community center, church, synagogue, mosque or spiritual center to organize or participate in a career night for trades people and technical workers to come together to expose kids making decisions about their future to the possibility that a trade might be the ticket to a lucrative, fulfilling future for them; something that would never be in danger of being outsourced or automated?

Everyone is busy; everyone is tired at the end of the day. But hopefully, you have some enjoyment and pride in the work you do, and would like to see our trade continue. I’d love to hear the ideas you come up with and actions you are taking to promote our trade and ensure there is a new generation of skilled craftspeople to carry it forward into the future. Write to me at the email below!

God bless,

Lesley

[email protected]

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