June 30, 2015

NTCA Benefits Box – May 2015

NTCA_logo_100pixelsNTCA expands its role in education with CEFGA, Career Quest

By Lesley Goddin

It’s no surprise that NTCA is involved in education at every level, but this year the association and its members have expanded their involvement in reaching young students with information about tile contracting and apprenticeship programs. The eventual goal? Promoting online education and hands-on training as a NTCA initiative.


The first outreach was NTCA’s ongoing involvement in the 2015 Construction Education Foundation of Georgia (CEFGA) CareerExpo and SkillsUSA State Championsips, held March 26-27 at the Georgia International Convention Center. The event drew in record numbers: 7,307 total attendees; 5,179 students; 920 influencers (teachers, counselors, parents, school administrators) and 1,208 industry volunteers, exhibitors and guests all assembled in a space that was as large as six football fields.

NTCA and co-sponsors Rick Payne with Specialty Tile Products, Tod Canfield with Custom Building Products, and Craig Hoffman with Daltile participated in a 40’ x 40’ booth. NTCA was represented by Rod Owen of NTCA Five Star Contractor C.C. Owen Tile Co. of Jonesboro, Ga., and NTCA past president Dan Welch, along with NTCA trainer/presenter Gerald Sloan.

2-BB-0515The perimeter of the space displayed a range of tile-related exhibits: tile types, safety equipment, tile cutting tools, plan table and specs, job titles and descriptions and a PowerPoint of finished installations, said Owen. The center of the space featured opportunities for students to install small tile designs on a 12” square Durock® board they could take with them.

Dan Welch of Welch Tile & Marble in Kent City, Mich., is chairman of the NTCA Apprenticeship Development Subcommittee. He was on hand to show and explain his Career Path Matrix. “The Career Matrix worked great because we were able to show the students how the knowledge and skills acquired within the tile industry equate in compensation over time. It was a road map to success as a tile mechanic,” Owen observed.

Owen continued, saying “convincing the students of the opportunities in tile is just part of the challenge. The students, peers, parents and counselors are the second part of the hurdle. With the Career Matrix we have a better chance of legitimizing ourselves. The tile industry has been so fragmented for many years with everybody training and doing their own thing. The matrix helps ‘defragment,’ or give the industry a unified standard to visibly see, gauge, and execute proper career development for a tile mechanic. It’s going to be an exciting time to be in the tile industry.”

A wide-eyed 11th grader who was attending his first CEFGA CareerExpo and SkillsUSA State Championships exclaimed, “I’m speechless. I thought it would be something where you could look at a lot of things, but there are a lot of opportunities where you can actually work the equipment and really have a hands-on experience. It’s mind-blowing.”

The next 2016 CEFGA CareerExpo and SkillsUSA State Championships will be held March 17-18, 2016, at the Georgia International Convention Center, College Park, Ga.

Career Quest

The following month, on April 28, Welch Tile & Marble partnered with Daltile, Virginia Tile and Genesee Tile at the Grand Rapids, Mich., Career Quest at DeVos Place, an initiative of Michigan Works! Kent, Allegan and Barry counties. The one-day event provided 5,400 students from 6th through 12th grades the opportunity to learn about four industry sectors: construction, health science, advanced manufacturing and information technology. Tile industry participation in Career Quest was sponsored by Welch Tile & Marble, TEC/H.B. Fuller and The Noble Company.

The tile sector had a 30’ x 30’ booth that showcased a range of important areas: career path and apprenticeship opportunities, safety, showroom design, industry-sanctioned Handbook and certifications, and thin tile. Actual modules used in Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT) were on display for students to observe.

“Career Quest offers a look into the different industries for middle and high school students,” said Dan Welch, of Welch Tile & Marble. “Our focus was to show [students] that this trade can offer a path to success, both educationally and financially. Apprenticeship today needs a fresh look involving technology, and the work force is in need of a clear career path. As young people move into the work force, education needs to be factual, visual, competency-based and rewarded. Those days of ‘just do it because I told you so’ are long gone,” he said.

Michigan governor Rick Snyder sent a message via video to Career Quest, saying the event fostered a real synergy between educators and industry, and predicted that it will result in increased resources for career counseling in the schools.

A follow-up meeting about the flagship event resulted in a majority of educators saying Career Quest was “valuable, helpful, needed and engaging;” and a majority of students responding that employers were “prepared, interesting and engaging,” and that they “learned about education opportunities that will help them in high school classes and plan for after high school. “

There was another bonus that Welch discovered – an opportunity to market to general contractors and other contractors about what the tile industry is doing and the emphasis on certifications and qualified labor, Welch said. In addition, other industry segments such as glaziers, plumbers, etc., got to learn about tile apprenticeship programs and new technologies like thin tile, he said.

Full speed ahead

Events like these are just the tip of the iceberg, confirmed Bart Bettiga, NTCA executive director. “Our goal is to develop an apprenticeship program, offer it to our members, and submit it for consideration for community colleges, vocational schools, colleges and online curricula,” he said. “The program will be promoted at local career days and job fairs like these, and will be supported by contracting companies who can either use it themselves through NTCA staff support, or who will partner with a trade school to offer the curriculum and self-source the needed hands- on training component.”

For more information, visit www.tile-assn.com, www.cefga.org or http://michiganworkska.org/


NTCA Benefits Box – April 2015

In an unending quest to provide more value to its members, NTCA is on the brink of rolling out LegalShield, a new benefit for NTCA members.

In our litigious society, it’s important to have access to affordable legal services and identity theft protection. LegalShield gives NTCA members the power to access legal and identity theft advice and services when needed – no matter how large or small the issue – for one low monthly fee.


You may wonder why you need a legal plan. A legal service plan can help with all sorts of planned and unplanned legal issues such as traffic tickets, foreclosures, will preparation, warranty disputes and much more. As a LegalShield member, you can rest assured that whether you’re facing a legal issue that’s big, small or somewhere in between, you’ll have access to legal advice and services when you need them. That means advice on an unlimited number of legal issues, attorney letters or calls made on your behalf, contract and document review and much more – from a dedicated law firm in your area. There’s even 24/7 access for covered emergencies.

And every day it seems, one hears about problems that arise due to identity theft. Victims of identity theft can face issues such as lost job opportunities, problems with securing a loan or harassment from debt collectors. You can get the experts on your side with an identity theft protection plan. Services include access to your credit report (or consumer credit disclosure), consultations, expert restoration and more – a vast array of services from detection to resolution, as close as your phone.

Let LegalShield – provided as a NTCA member benefit – help you worry less and live more. Visit https://w3.legalshield.com/gs/init?grp=tileassn for more information.

Benefits Box – February 2015

NTCA Partnering for Success

0215-vouchersPartnering for Success is a continually growing exclusive benefit for NTCA members. Manufacturing sponsors of this program feel so strongly about the value NTCA provides, they have agreed to offset membership investment by providing product vouchers good for varying levels of product or services from the sponsor.

As a paid new or renewing contractor member of the NTCA, you can choose $1,800 of FREE product vouchers of the $4,500 that is available – almost $300 in benefits more than what was offered last year. Each year this program continues to grow as more sponsors come on board.

In 2014, a record number 5,781 vouchers were issued to new and renewing members for a value of $902,450 – nearly one million dollars in available product. This is a tremendous benefit, giving you money right off your bottom line on products you may use every day or products you’ve been yearning to try. Since the voucher benefit is over three times the cost of annual membership, this is truly a win-win program.

Participating sponsors for 2015 include: Alpha Professional Tools, American Olean, Aqua Mix, ARDEX Americas, ATR Leveling, Compotite/Composeal, Custom Building Products, Daltile, Dependable Bagging, Florida Tile, LATICRETE, MAPEI, Marazzi USA, Mark E Industries, Metropolitan Ceramics, Noble Company, National Gypsum, NuHeat, OceanCare Products, Proflex, QEP, Rubi Tools, Schluter Systems, Spray-Lock, SunTouch, TEC/H.B. Fuller Construction Products, Texrite, University of Ceramic Tile & Stone, USG, VanHearron, and Warmly Yours.

If you are interested in membership, contact NTCA assistant executive director Jim Olson at jim@tile-assn.com or 601-939-2071. Or visit NTCA’s brand-new, user-friendly website at www.tile-assn.com.

Benefits Box – December 2014

BB-1214Where can you get free, expert and essential education on some of the most pressing issues in the industry in one hour’s time – without leaving the comfort and convenience of your computer?

The NTCA Webinars – that’s where!

Over the last year, NTCA has presented free, archived webinars on Building a Bulletproof Spec, Grouting Solutions for Commercial Kitchens, Barrier-free Design, Residential Contracts and Other Standard Business Practices, Linear Drains, Grout and Tile Specifications, Membranes, Thin Tile Installation, Large Format Tile & Substrates, and Showers.

These conference-grade talks – sponsored by industry experts and their representatives and moderated by NTCA assistant executive director Jim Olson – also offer the opportunity to ask questions of the presenter and review the information or share it with your team through the archives.

On the calendar so far for 2015 is a Thin Tile Update in January, sponsored by LATICRETE; Curbs, presented by The Noble Company in May, and another LATICRETE-sponsored webinar in September on updates to the 2015 TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation.

Other sponsors for webinars yet to be determined will be sponsored and presented by Custom Building Products (March and November), Coverings, Schluter-Systems, MAPEI, TEC®, Wausau Tile, and Daltile, with more on the roster.

Though you don’t have to be a member of NTCA to access the webinar through the link at Training/Education opportunities at www.tile-assn.com, being a member ties you into a community that values excellence at all levels of business. Enjoy and profit from the webinars and consider becoming a NTCA member. Contact Jim Olson at jim@tile-assn.com or 601-939-2071 for details.

Benefits Box – November 2014

NTCA Insurance Programs

One of the essential benefits offered to NTCA members is comprehensive insurance products through Schechner Lifson Corporation of Summit, N.J.

Members can receive free quotes on a variety of insurance needs. This members-only agreement for property and liability insurance features many benefits to NTCA member firms including worldwide liability coverage, selling-price valuation on sold inventory, workers compensation, coverage for property at job sites and employment practices liability (harassment/discrimination).

In addition, Schechner Lifson Corporation (SLC) has numerous loss control and safety programs that will assist you in controlling your contractual obligations-subcontractor risk transfer, and hold harmless agreements. SLC can also help with travel and accident coverage and international liability exposure coverage. It offers rate discounts for general liability and worker’s compensation, and a convenient pay-as-you-go premium payment option for workers compensation – a great cash flow management tool that eliminates large deposits.

New is a cyber liability program, geared towards small and medium business. Marc Rosenkrantz, SLC’s liaison for NTCA members, said this service protects against data breaches or if a handheld or laptop is stolen.

Rosenkrantz outlines insurance services available for NTCA members:

  1. Property Casualty Insurance program covering worldwide liability for contractors’ equipment, property in transit and at job sites.
  2. Workers Compensation programs with up-front discounts and Safety Programs specific to tile and stone installation.
  3. Employment Practice Liability for 1st party (employees) and 3rd party (customers) exposures including HR assistance and free legal guidance by a national labor law firm.
  4. Cyber Liability coverage to protect you and your company in the event of a data breach.
  5. Loss Control and Safety Programs specific to the tile industry.
  6. Risk Transfer Program to assist in transferring liability to the proper entity.
  7. Pay-As-You-Go options for Workers Compensation and General Liability, linked to payroll as a great cash flow mechanism.
  8. Additional discounts are available to NTCA Five Star Contractor businesses.

“We have been a partner for 12 years and continue to promote safety in the shop and workplace,” Rosenkrantz said. “Safety starts at the top, and owners must lead by example. A safe shop doesn’t happen by accident.”

For more information, contact Jim Olson, assistant executive director, at 601-939-2071/jim@tile-assn.com; or Marc Rosenkrantz, Schechner Lifson Corporation, at 1-800-279-9360 or
marcr@slcinsure.com for a free quote or to discuss your insurance needs.

This one service alone could literally save you thousands of dollars. SLC is eager to work with you towards meeting your insurance needs through programs that are specifically tailored to your company and the tile industry.

Benefits Box – October 2014

MbrDir_siteIn 2012, The NTCA published its first Membership Directory, vowing to update it every two years.

The 2014 Membership Directory is now available and is an invaluable tool for contractor and product specification and sourcing. This handy-format, spiral-bound publication is an easy way to locate a firm’s name, address, phone and fax numbers, websites, and also the products and services it has to offer. Companies are listed both geographically and alphabetically with easy references to their products sold, manufactured or distributed.

Plus, this easy-to-use guide highlights information on the NTCA and lists contractor and associate members. This directory is designed with a special section that is categorized by product for easy reference. Looking for a Five Star Contractor, Certified Tile Installer or Recognized Consultant? Special tabs make navigating to resources in your region a snap.

For more information, visit www.tile-assn.com, click on NTCA Store, Books & Periodicals.

NTCA hits a record with new members in August

AUGUST 26, 2014 — JACKSON, MS — Thanks to a new partnership with Starnet® commercial contractors, and a strong summer National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) Tile & Stone Workshop Program on the East and West Coasts, the NTCA has set a new membership record —  50 membership applications in the month of August.  With new memberships — including the August group — NTCA is inching closer to its goal of 1,000 members by the end of 2014.

Many new members joined in the Pacific Northwest, a geographical region the NTCA has targeted with strong growth potential.  NTCA trainer Michael Whistler, who resides in California, continues to reach people on the West Coast with great new information in the Workshop Program, while Gerald Sloan, NTCA’s trainer who has been with the association for many years, utilizes his Alabama residence to hit the Midwest, South and East Coast Regions.

All new members of the NTCA will receive the TCNA Handbook 2014 edition, ANSI Standards, and the new 2014 printed version of the NTCA Reference Manual as part of their joining package.  In addition, NTCA members get to choose up to $1,800 in Partnering For Success product coupons.  For more information on joining the NTCA, contact Jim Olson at jim@tile-assn.com

Benefits Box – August 2014

Bid Rx

shutterstock_15773416BidRx is a patent-pending system for presenting you with the lowest cost drug pricing across the nation, enabling you to obtain needed medications at reasonable costs. It connects patients and doctors with the lowest-cost medications gathered from bidding pharmacies across the nation. It’s fast, it’s easy and it can save you up to 80% on the drugs you pay for every month.

Here’s how it works: subscribe to BidRx and compare pricing using its system with what you are now paying. When you have the best pricing, print out the quotes for your doctor and have them fax your prescriptions to the new pharmacy. One call to the pharmacy and you’re done! The pharmacy will mail your prescriptions right to your door.

So you can see for yourself that BidRx will save you money, you have a five-day trial period after you subscribe to compare prices and see how it works, risk-free! If BidRx can save you money, your subscription will start automatically. If for some reason it can’t, just click the unsubscribe link. It’s that easy – you won’t be charged until your trial period is completed.

With over 2.5 million subscribers, BidRx is the premier cost-savings system for individuals, civic groups, corporations, and government. Its vast knowledge and experience with the drug industry combined with BidRx’s cost-savings system ensures that you are getting the best prices available.

BidRx also has a special form that you can take or fax to your doctor along with your auction bids to help your doctor understand that you don’t have to spend as much of your hard-earned money each month on medications.

If you are part of a larger company with a more complex situation, help is available to explain how blending BidRx into your current plan can save potentially thousands of dollars annually. Just phone NTCA headquarters at (601) 939-2071 and ask for Tricia or send an e-mail to tricia@tile-assn.com. We’d be happy to have the opportunity to show how we can save you and your employees money every month.

Benefits Box – July 2014

Update your knowledge with free NTCA webinars

Looking to update your knowledge about industry issues, but don’t have time to travel? Worry no more!

BB-0714The NTCA is offering an exciting monthly webinar program in 2014. This is a great way to experience a professional technical or business presentation from your home or office, with a professionally-presented one-hour presentation offered by experts and gurus from many different industry sectors.

The next Webinar Program is set for Wednesday, August 6 at 1 p.m. CDT, sponsored by MAPEI. Dan Marvin, director of Technical Services for MAPEI will present “A118.15 – Taking Mortar to the Next Level,” which will focus on the new standard for high-performance mortars adopted in 2012. Dan will explore the origins of the standard, how it compares to similar ISO standards, and which Handbook methods require an A118.15 mortar. You’ll also learn how to identify a compliant mortar to make sure you are getting the required performance for your project.

Visit www.tile-assn.com and click under Training & Education, then Education Opportunities to register and get information about the webinars, scheduling, course descriptions, dates and times of upcoming programs. Once you register, you can take part in the webinar live or access the program for later viewing through the archives. For more information on the NTCA Webinar Program, contact Jim Olson at jim@tile-assn.com.

Benefits Box – May 2014



Whoever thought that NTCA Tile & Stone Workshops are all work and no play, well, must never have been to one.

Yes, it’s true that for over 30 years, the NTCA’s “road show” – one-stop, one-evening training events – free of charge to the trade – have been wowing contractors, helpers, salespeople, and A&D professionals with news of the industry’s latest developments, technical information, materials and installation methods. NTCA technical consultants Gerald Sloan and Michael Whistler travel around the country to 70+ locations, supported by industry experts and sponsors, bringing an evening of information, food, fellowship and fun.

That’s right, I said fun. Whether it’s Michael Whistler throwing sponges into the audience for those who give the right answers to his technical questions, to host sites that go the extra mile, these NTCA Tile & Stone Workshops are a thoroughly enjoyable and valuable experience.


In addition to the valuable industry information the 55-60 Boise attendees gleaned at the workshop, you can rest assured that they’ll never forget the fun they had posing with other attendees and just having a ball!

In doubt? Take a look at the hardworking attendees literally pictured at a “Fun Box” – a modern version of a photo booth – set up at Daltile in Boise, a recent host of a NTCA Tile & Stone Workshop on February 19. “I thought that it would be a great way to create a lasting memory with our customers, vendors, and employees,” said Justin Carr, sales representative for the Daltile Boise location. “I think that it worked too because now I’m seeing them in my customers’ offices and around Daltile. It was a very fun night!”

“Some locations get extra creative in making our event a real success,” added Jim Olson, assistant executive director, NTCA.

And that’s not all – this year, at each workshop, NTCA will give away a free one-year membership. If you have already paid your 2014 dues then you will receive 2015 for free. Also, tickets will be handed out at each workshop and a drawing will take place to be eligible for all-expense-paid trips to both Total Solutions Plus 2014 (TSP) and Coverings 2015. NTCA will draw one name at each workshop for the chance at a free Total Solutions Plus giveaway and one for the chance at the free Coverings trip. Those winners will qualify for the trip giveaways. The first drawing will take place at the end of August to announce the winner for the trip to TSP in San Antonio, TX at the end of October. The second drawing to announce the Coverings 2015 winner will take place at TSP. For more information contact Jim Olson, at jim@tile-assn.com.

Those of you attending workshops on the eastern side of the country may see this trailer soon – it’s Gerald Sloan’s brand new workshop trailer, which he pulls with a Ford F-150 to all the NTCA Tile & Stone Workshops in his region. This is a well-supported program, as evidenced by the logos of all our generous sponsors, emblazoned on the trailer sides. Visit www.tile-assn.com and click on Training & Education to see the next workshop located near you!

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