Ringing in the new year with new educational opportunities

By Becky Serbin, Training and Education coordinator

As we start a new year, each of us typically reflects on the previous year and then decides to make resolutions that hopefully we will keep through the month of January.

Well, I wanted to do something similar to start the year.

We completed one full year of offering an online system for training. Within that time, we created several new introductory courses for new hires, moved to a new learning management system to house NTCA University, and created a pricing structure going forward so that all members – no matter the size – could afford to sign up and take courses.

In case you haven’t heard, NTCA University is a member benefit so we wanted to make sure that it was affordable for all members. You can have users come together in a meeting, so only one login is required for your company – or you could have a login for each user. It is up to you.

Here’s the current pricing structure:

1 Person – $50

2 People – $99

3-15 People – $149

16-50 People – $199

51-100 People – $299

101-150 People – $399

151-200 People – $499

Keep in mind that NTCA’s Partnering for Success program now has a $50 voucher for the NTCA store that contractors can choose as one of their vouchers. That means that if you are a one- person shop and choose to use the $50 voucher for access to NTCA University, you would have access for free to the site for the whole year.

To purchase your subscription, you can visit the NTCA store at https://tile-assn.site-ym.com/store/ListProducts.aspx?catid=490398 to make your purchase (or enter http://bit.ly/2taYmOO in your browser).

So what are our resolutions for the year? As I said, many of us break our resolutions early in the year so I don’t plan to make any resolutions that will be quickly broken, but here are some items that NTCA will be working on this year.

We will continue to develop online training for new hires. So if you have apprentices, this means that we will start working on a three-year setter program.  For all others, you can use these courses to train your new hire on how to plan and set tile.

We will also be working on courses from the Training and Education sub-committees.  The CEU Technical sub-committee is working on courses explaining the necessity of documentation and how to properly document and the CEU Management sub-committee is developing introductory courses to estimating.

We will also be assisting Scott Carothers of CTEF with developing courses for people to take prior to completing the hands-on Certified Tile Installer Test.

Again, it looks like it will be a busy year again in 2018.  If you have any questions or have ideas about courses that you’d like to see us pursue, please give me a call or send me an e-mail. 770-366-2566 or [email protected].

Happy New Year!

Becky

New Wi-Fi Thermostat for DITRA-HEAT System Allows you to Control the Floor Warming System from Anywhere, at Any Time

Schluter®-Systems is adding smart home technology to its award winning DITRA-HEAT electric floor warming system with a new Wi-Fi thermostat.

The new DITRA-HEAT-E-WiFi thermostat makes programming the floor warming system fast and simple, whether the user is at home or on the road.  The touchscreen on the thermostat features an intuitive and interactive color display screen that provides quick access to system settings and features.  In addition to showing all relevant information about the current functions of the heating system, the display is also used to input programming information and make information requests with the simple touch of a fingertip.

Users can also access their thermostat settings via an app or website, so connecting to the system, on the fly, is easier than ever before.

Programming is also simplified with the thermostat’s set-up wizard which guides the user through the process.  To help make better programming decisions, the system displays the local outdoor temperature and weather forecast.

The new thermostat provides added flexibility to accommodate any lifestyle by allowing homeowners to create up to six programming periods per day.  By using the built-in adaptive function the thermostat learns, through its own experience, to turn the floor warming cables on and off with an appropriate time interval to reach the target temperature at each specified time of day.

A touch-driven energy consumption log can quickly display energy used by the system for three different time periods: hourly for the past 24 hours, daily for the past 7 days, or monthly for the past 12 months.  Homeowners can use this data to optimize the settings so the floor warming system provides the comfort they want for the least energy use.  Homeowners can also enter their current energy tariff (i.e., user’s current Kilowatt-hour rate) and the thermostat will calculate energy cost over the same time periods.

The new thermostat is available in spring of 2018 and is compatible with all DITRA-HEAT systems, so owners can upgrade their installed system with the Wi-Fi thermostat.

About Schluter®-Systems
Schluter®-Systems products are specifically designed for the tile industry to ensure that installations maintain integrity and durability. The company’s product line includes over 4,000 items, including tile trims, uncoupling membranes, waterproof building panels, and shower systems.  Schluter-Systems is renowned for its state-of-the-art technology with attention to detail for highly functional and visually appealing results.  For more information, visit www.schluter.com.

 

CTEF Holds CTI and ACT Demonstrations During TISE WEST

 

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

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

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

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

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

Scott Carothers, Director of Certification and Training, CTEF

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

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

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

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

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

The CTI program includes two separate tests.

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

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

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

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About the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation

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

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

CPC releases revision to “Bonded Abrasive Polished Concrete Specification”

ST. LOUIS, MO–The Concrete Polishing Council (CPC), a specialty council of the American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC), St. Louis, MO, has just released the  revision to the Bonded Abrasive Polished Concrete Specification, a document of significance to polishing contractors, concrete contractors, designers and facility owners.

The original polished concrete specification, published by the Concrete Polishing Association of America (CPAA, now the CPC), did not meet standard specification terminology or layout. “It was also often buried in Division 03 00 00, the Concrete Division of the Construction Specification Institute’s master format”, said Bruce Suprenant, technical director, ASCC. “Due to the number of polishing specifications concealed in 03 00 00, this specification for the slab to be polished, was not acknowledged or fully understood by concrete contractors, and was overlooked in the planning of the floor”.

“Assigned a separate number, 03 00 01, and written in proper specification terminology, the document now better defines the intended use of the concrete, helps the cast-in-place contractors understand how the slab will be finished, and opens the door for communication between the specifier, place and finish contractor, and the polisher,” said Chad Gill, council director, CPC.

“The founders and charter members of the CPAA kick started the polishing industry by creating standards to help achieve acceptance by the design / build community”, says Todd Scharich, ASCC director of member services. However as polishing continues to achieve tremendous growth as a flooring option it became necessary to update these documents. Updated standards will continue to make polished concrete a primary flooring choice that owners can count on for its durability and low maintenance features.

The CPC was formed to provide standards, education and a professional network for polishing contractors and others serving in the industry. The primary goals are to furnish training opportunities and certification programs for members and to share information on best practices with the design and construction community.

The ASCC is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the capabilities of those who build with concrete, and to providing them a unified voice in the construction industry.  Members include concrete contracting firms, manufacturers, suppliers and others interested in the concrete industry such as architects, specifiers and engineers.  There are approximately 750 member companies in the United States and 13 foreign countries.

For more information, visit www.ascconline.org or call the ASCC office at (866) 788-2722.

 

 

Startup company Target Freight creates huge savings for heavy industries

Mike Wagner, Target Freight

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Target Freight Management:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://targetfmi.com/

Sleek New Schluter Shower Grates Enhance Bathroom Design

A series of new shower drain grates from Schluter-Systems features brand new designs that fit into a virtually invisible frame, resulting in a stylish and truly seamless look for shower floors. Three new grate designs are available for both the standard 4” square point drains, and for Schluter’s linear drains in lengths from 20” to 48”.
The Schluter®-KERDI-DRAIN-STYLE grates (for point drain) and KERDI-LINE-STYLE grates (for linear drain) were developed through an in-depth project between European and North American designers, who came together to combine unique design trends from both sides of the globe into three fashionable shower grates. The design objective was to tie in to today’s latest tile trends, while providing distinctly different looks that will fit in with various bathroom decors. The drain grates do not contain any screw holes, creating an uninterrupted design that adds to the seamless appearance.

“Pure”: This grate features a clean yet elegant design that provides a subtle touch of style to the shower. This grate is fresh yet trendy, and ideal for those wanting a more refined look in the shower.

“Curve”: This curvaceous drain grate style really strikes a pose in the shower. Soft, rounded lines adorn this shower grate to add a touch of flare, while keeping a crisp and clean look.

“Floral”: This floral drain grate features soft, rounded petals that combine to create a harmonious and symmetrical pattern. Inspired right from nature, this grate truly blossoms in the shower.

The new “STYLE” grates are designed to integrate with the Schluter®-KERDI-DRAIN point drain and KERDI-LINE linear drain.  Both types of drain feature an integrated bonding flange that provides a secure connection to the KERDI waterproofing membrane at the top of the assembly. This is an integral part of a sealed system that creates waterproof showers by protecting the substrate from water infiltration, hence preventing mold and mildew. Creating waterproof showers ensures their longevity, thus enhancing the sustainability aspects of these products.

The KERDI-LINE is a low-profile linear drain that is ideal for barrier-free spaces and can be installed adjacent to walls or at intermediate locations in showers, wet rooms, and other applications that require waterproofing and drainage.

All of the new KERDI-DRAIN-STYLE and KERDI-LINE-STYLE grates and frames are made with brushed stainless steel.  The interior of the grate assembly is smooth and free of protrusions for easy cleaning.  These new designs will be available in March of 2018.

About Schluter®-Systems
Schluter®-Systems products are specifically designed for the tile industry to ensure that installations maintain integrity and durability. The company’s product line includes over 4,000 items, including tile trims, uncoupling membranes, waterproof building panels, shower systems, and most recently thin-set mortar.  Schluter-Systems is renowned for its state-of-the-art technology with attention to detail for highly functional and visually appealing results.  For more information, visit www.schluter.com.

 

MSI’s CARRARA WHITE MARBLE COLLECTION: INTRODUCING THE ENCAUSTIC-LOOK, ETCHED TETRIS LINE

Carrara White is a time-honored Italian marble featuring elegant shades of white and gray with subtle feathery veining. MSI’s Carrara White Marble Collection celebrates this iconic natural stone in a full line of clean, versatile looks.
In honed or polished finishes, Carrara White Marble lends luxury to countertops, waterfall islands, and backsplashes for distinguished kitchens that transcend the ages. Equally alluring in the master bath on floors, walls, and showers, each product makes a signature statement on its own, while pairing perfectly with other Carrara offerings for ultimate design flexibility. This sophisticated stone gives any space a timeless yet contemporary look in the most natural way possible.
The collection consists of 2cm and 3cm slabs, floor tiles in numerous sizes (including sought-after 18×18 and 24×24), and backsplash and wall tiles in a stunning variety of choices running classic subway to 1×2 3D polished.
And now there’s even more Carrara White Marble to fall for with the recent introduction of the hugely popular Carrara White 1×3 Herringbone mosaic tiles and the new Tetris Blanco encaustic-look tiles. Tetris Blanco 6×6 features a charming floral-inspired motif, while Tetris Blanco 10mm features a captivating mix of geometric looks that take this distinguished marble places it has never been.
Discover MSI’s extensive Carrara White Marble Collection.

NeoCon Celebrates 50 Years of Tomorrow’s Design: June 11-13, 2018 at The Mart, Chicago

Mart Carrier.png
CHICAGO, IL – January 2018 ­– Registration is now open for the 50th edition of NeoCon. NeoCon 50 will take place from June 11-13, 2018 at The Mart in Chicago.
Since its launch in 1969, the show has served as a launching pad for iconic brands and products in the commercial design world. Furthermore, NeoCon has evolved into an international design hub that brings together more than 50,000 professionals for networking opportunities as well as dynamic and diverse learning experiences.
Its powerful conference program is at the forefront of thought leadership, delivering distinguished speakers, ideas and innovations that are shaping the global landscape of workplace, healthcare, hospitality, government, education, retail and more. This year’s marquee presentations will feature a series of headliners addressing the future of design and the industry. Special events will include inspiring retrospectives and a festive NeoCon 50 party on Tuesday evening.
NeoCon partnered with an award-winning creative agency, Maiarelli Studio, to develop a new campaign and an updated logo that aligns with NeoCon’s design expertise and position as a market leader. It also has launched  the NeoCon blog, which will include exclusive one-on-one conversations with industry notables as well as interesting and entertaining history about the people, products and parties that made up the first 49 years of NeoCon.
Looking back, NeoCon’s future wasn’t always so certain. In 1967 a fire destroyed Chicago’s McCormick Place building, the original site of the first NeoCon (then known as INTERCON I). Recognizing a “vital and compelling need for a truly international contract convocation,” the Merchandise Mart came to the show’s rescue. Held on June 25, 1969, the inaugural edition attracted nearly 10,000 architects and designers who were looking for a merchandising and educational platform.
According to Byron Morton, Vice President of Leasing for the Mart, “Our foundation is built on the highest standards and on presenting, what W.O Ollman, then Mart General Manager called, ‘the most extensive and representative selection of contract goods ever assembled under one roof.’ He also stressed the importance of programming that will bring ‘outstanding spokesmen from all parts of the world’. This has been a winning combination since the beginning and is an essential piece of the show’s DNA. NeoCon 50 will celebrate the show’s rich tradition and continue to explore the future of commercial design and business trends.”
Occupying floors 1, 3, 10, 11 and the 7th Floor Exhibit Hall of the Mart, the 50th edition will feature 500 companies including heavyweights such as Herman Miller, Knoll, OFS Brands, Shaw, and Steelcase as well as new showrooms from Scandinavian Spaces and NappaTile. New exhibiting companies on the 7th floor exhibit hall will feature a number of international companies including Narbutas Furniture Company (Lithuania), DeVorm (Netherlands), Polarmoss USA (Finland), Luceplan USA (Italy) and Lovair (UK).
Four marquee presentations include panels, talks and keynotes and will explore hot topics such as the integration of technology and design, as well as the struggles and victories of women in the industry. Details will be announced in February.
Morton continues, “This is all part of the NeoCon Experience. For 50 years, it has been so much more than a show. It has been the industry’s best opportunity to showcase and discover the newest offerings, to learn and share knowledge and expertise, and to engage with each other and nurture important relationships.”
NeoCon is open to trade, media, C-Suite executives and other industry-related professionals. The redesigned NeoCon 2018 website and complimentary registration is now live at www.neocon.com. On-site registration: $40. Marquee/Keynote presentations: Free. CEU seminar details and registration will be available March 6.
NeoCon press registration is complimentary to credentialed media and also available online at www.neocon.com.
For showroom and exhibitor news, images and real-time information, follow NeoCon Shows on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and by using the hashtag #NeoCon50

Sicis wins “Best Booth” at KBIS; displays innovative Vetrite line

This year SICIS was awarded Best Booth at KBIS, one of leading trade shows in North America for the kitchen and bathroom industry. The company showcased innovative lighting materials that express a new and evolved concept for surfaces. In particular the company has added to its mosaic collections, artistic mosaic panels, special units and solutions for kitchens and bathrooms.


On display was Vetrite, Sicis’ latest product, created in the company’s research and development laboratories, it is a combination polymeric fabrics or films sandwiched between layers of glass. Original shapes and patterns along with textures and stunning colors further enhance its look. It is especially suitable to use both in interior coverings and in furniture, from kitchens, tops, doors, to whole bathrooms.

Sicis has married practicality and robustness to aesthetic beauty in a single material.

Vetrite comes in large slabs, with a maximum format of 120×280 cm, and with a thickness that ranges between 6 mm up to 12 mm depending on the use. It is available in a variety of options that can realize the most ambitious and refined design ideas, with an extraordinary attention to details.

Among the Vetrite range, one of the latest Sicis novelties is the ‘Electric marble’ line, a combination within the glass slab of marble texture with psychedelic-effect pigments similar to an electric fluid coursing through the marble aesthetic.

Lastly, the new Vetrite Tile takes this material to small formats allowing a geometric look to the surfaces. Vetrite Tile comes in 25 colors and it is also available in combination with numerous patterns, style details that designers can customize.

The variety of formats makes Vetrite a very versatile product, utilizable in different types of environments, from bathrooms, to kitchen walls, architectural structures such as large hotels, showrooms and much more. All formats, on request, are available in beveled and satin version along with the anti-slip treatment for floors. The product is very easy to cut on site.

Vetrite by Sicis displays the perfect balance of functionality and durability, combined with creative design innovation for exclusive and comfortable environments.

Fascinating combinations are made of Vetrite and artistic mosaic in vitreous paste, where artistic ability and craftsmanship discover new refined executions, surfaces that combine with details, such as artistic mosaic door handles, often developed with precious mosaic in gold or silver.

For more information, visit http://www.sicis.com.

LATICRETE Employee Recognized for Exemplary Research and Development Efforts

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

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

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

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

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

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