September 20, 2014

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 [email protected]

Benefits Box – May 2014

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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.

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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 [email protected]

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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Benefits Box – April 2014

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NTCA offers interactive virtual training

NTCA has partnered with expert leadership consultant Wally Adamchik to bring his interactive virtual training system at www.firestartervt.com to NTCA members. His system is compelling, engaging, convenient and effective at developing leadership skills in your business.

At his website, Wally states, “Effective leadership at all levels is the one non-negotiable element for real business success.”

FireStarterVT doesn’t provide you with only academic solutions that work in the classroom. You get proven solutions that actually work in the real world. Leadership experience and ongoing research insures FirestarterVT content is best of class.

In addition, FireStarterVT is user friendly, translating theory into relevant and usable education that will help your people and teams be more successful – with a successful track record of over 20 years.

To give you an ongoing idea of what FirestarterVT offers, Wally is authoring our Business Tip section in selected TileLetter issues this year. You’ll find his article in this issue, in fact.

Interested? Here are the NTCA/FireStarterVT partnership benefits:

 

Course 1: Leadership vs. Management

Description: Leadership vs. Management examines the differences between these two important, yet very different, things done by successful leaders at all levels. At the end of this course, you will know the difference, how to do both better and why it matters to you.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Characteristics of Leaders

Chapter 3: Leadership

Chapter 4: Management

Chapter 5: More Leadership As We Advance

Chapter 6: Summary

 

Course 2: Generations at Work

Description: The difference between the generations isn’t about whose music is the worst…it’s about understanding why people think and act the way they do. This course helps you understand and work better with members of each generation in the workplace today.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: How Did We Get Here

Chapter 3: The Four Generations,

Plus One

Chapter 4: Growth And Dilemmas

Chapter 5: Three Rs and Three Cs

Chapter 6: Summary

For more information, contact Wally Adamchick at [email protected] to learn more about how the NTCA/FireStarterVT partnership can save you training dollars while improving your leaders at all levels.

Benefits Box – March 2014

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NTCA offers a huge range of benefits to members, including networking opportunities, Fleet Truck Pricing, the Partnering for Success voucher program that now makes $1,800 vouchers available to new and returning members, the NTCA Membership Directory, Bid Rx Prescription program, PartnerShip.com freight program, NTCA Contractors Safety Program, property and liability insurance program, professional web page and much, much more. NTCA promotes, advocates for and supports the trade, providing training and education for aspiring and practicing tile setters.

Why is this important? The letters below detail just a few reasons why – growing our trade with new blood and equipping tradespeople with the knowledge and support they need to excel. Visit www.tile-assn.com and find out more about NTCA today!

Where have all the young tile setters gone?

BenefitsBox-greenI recently had the pleasure to attend the Surfaces show in Las Vegas. While standing at the CFI Ceramic Installation Training & Certification area, I saw a variety of men and women doing the hands-on installation requirements to achieve the “certification.” What struck me most was the relatively low amount of “young” installers at that certification. I started installing tile when I was 13 years old. That is now 43 years ago.

I got into tile from my neighbor who was a tile setter as well as his father. He asked the kids in the neighborhood if they wanted to learn a trade. I was the only taker. I went through school and was actually accepted to Purdue to become a mechanical engineer. I had all the advanced math and science classes in high school. But there was something about setting tile that struck a chord with me personally. I loved the idea that I was able to “change the landscape” by setting tile. This trade rewards the installers to actually SEE a difference when we leave the job site.

No offense to the kids going to college to become computer geeks so they can create the next video game. But, don’t look down on the TRADES as anything LESS than a rewarding career.

Remember who you call when your toilet doesn’t flush. I’ll bet you are glad then that somebody decided to get into the trades.

As the “older” tile guys hang up their tools, let’s brainstorm ways we can bring more interest into the TRADES, TILE SPECIFICALLY, to the young generation. Most of the “artists” that set tile have tile in their blood.

I’ve heard it said, “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” – If that’s true, I haven’t worked for over 40 years!

– Phil Green, Edge Strip Kits

NTCA: a vital resource for our industry

BenefitsBox-CoronaMy father, Joe (president of Corona Marble and Tile), was the one that introduced me to the NTCA a few years ago and made it known from the very beginning, that it was a vital resource to expanding our business and upholding quality in our industry. At 27 years old – with six full years under my belt installing (plus the summer/ winter breaks I spent working throughout college) – I am personally thankful to have an organization like the NTCA behind my company to assist in raising the bar for the work we do. I regularly run into customers who are skeptics of my abilities/knowledge because of my age, which, to them, equates to “lack of experience.” It can be a heavy burden on an installer doing work in somebody’s house and when the client doesn’t have confidence in them. If it weren’t for the NTCA/TileLetter, my confidence and technical knowledge in what I do would not be where it is today. For that, I’m very thankful.

– Mike Corona, Corona Marble & Tile, Woodbine, MD

PartnerShip® Freight Program: save on every shipment

As you may have read in our December issue, the #1 objective for NTCA this year is “To save our members money and to find them work.”

To that end, we draw your attention to a prominent benefit of membership – the PartnerShip® Freight Program. To date, the 32 members (including six members who joined the PartnerShip program in third quarter 2013) currently enrolled in the program have saved a total of $60,845 – $1,962 on FedEx shipments; $23,757 on LTL shipments;  and $35,126 on service shipments.

PartnerShip helps you save on every shipment you send and receive. It is open to all NTCA members with no obligations or minimum shipping requirements.

These significant savings go directly to your bottom line:
• Save up to 26%* on select FedEx Express® services
• Save up to 15% on select FedEx Ground® services
• Save up to 10% on select FedEx Home Delivery® services

NTCA members also save at least 70% on less-than-truckload (LTL) freight shipments arranged through PartnerShip with leading national and regional carriers.
Intrigued? Interested? Visit https://www.partnership.com/micro_site/index/74ntca for complete program information and to enroll. Questions? Call PartnerShip at 800-599-2902, or email [email protected].

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Benefits Box – December 2013

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New NTCA/Firestarter VT online training partnership features key factors

wally_adamchikOnline training systems are flooding the inboxes of contractors as they become must-have tools for training employees. But leadership consultant Wally Adamchik asks, “How can a busy manager in a construction firm decide which system is the best to use?”

The good news is NTCA has done the research for you. NTCA has partnered with Adamchik to provide contractor-focused, time-efficient, engaging, online employee training as a new benefit to members, starting in 2014. Adamchik is president of FireStarter Speaking and Consulting, a Raleigh-based leadership consulting and development firm, and a presenter of keynote speeches about leadership, management and training issues at construction industry meetings and conventions, including Coverings. He is author of Construction Leadership From A to Z; 26 Words to Lead By.

“Online training has come a long way in just a few years. It doesn’t have to be the clunky, ineffective, and painful process many of us have experienced,” said Adamchik. “Savvy contractors are aggressively integrating online learning into their training curriculum. Previously hard-to-teach subjects, such as supervisory skills, are finding a new home online. The payoff is having a better-trained employee while maintaining production because you don’t shut the job site down for a few hours to bring the leaders in for training.”

“In the past few months I researched what is out there from a technology perspective and what is actually being used by contractors,” Adamchik said. “I did user demonstrations on nine different online platforms. I interviewed more than 20 contractors across disciplines. This research led me to 13 key factors to consider when buying training systems,” said Adamchik. His new system, FireStarterVT.com, has all these essential features. View it at www.firestartervt.com.

He suggests considering these four tips when contemplating bringing online training into your company:

1. It is not about the technology – it is about the return on your investment. The technology you select to meet your needs should actually train people and improve performance.

2. Full-motion video – is the instructor talking to you directly? Most online learning is mind-numbing voice-over-PowerPoint or a bad recording of a live presentation. That is so 2010! Best-in-class today features the speaker delivering content.

3. Interactive questions – Just like in a live classroom where the instructor asks questions, in the best virtual classrooms the instructor asks questions, too, before users can continue.

4. Other language subtitles – In our increasingly diverse society, it is important to make training available to students who are not fluent in English by using subtitles. However, most programs do not support this option.

Adamchik listed several benefits for contractors with the NTCA/FirestarterVT partnership.

• New employees will view you as a progressive firm that invests in people.

• The cost advantage gained from effective implementation of a blended employee development curriculum is compelling. You train more people for less money.

• You maintain production while training employees.

• You make yourself more attractive to the next generation while educating all your leaders.

“We are finally at a time where new technology is creating real value in employee learning,” Adamchik said. “Your key to recognizing maximum value is to get the right system. These tips will point you in the right direction. Ask your training provider or potential technology provider if they have these features. The savvy buyer recognizes the payoff delivered from these features and reaps the benefits.” Contact Adamchik at [email protected] to learn more about the NTCA/FirestarterVT partnership.

Benefits Box – November 2013

benefitsboxNTCA Members Speak Out

If you’ve been following the benefits presented in this section for the last few years and you STILL aren’t sure why becoming a member is a good idea, take it from a few of the members themselves:

Jon Donmoyer

JD Tile
Annville, Pa.

Why do I belong to the best tile association in the world?

One word, passion. Over the years since joining the NTCA, the biggest word that comes to my mind when I think of this organization is “passion.” Passion for people and passion for improving this industry step by step. Whenever I call the NTCA for help or support, I am always inspired. When I go to an event I am inspired as well to be around people who have worked hard to get in a position to represent and help others in this industry. There is no substitute or shortcut in doing our job the right way. The NTCA is there to provide the education, training, and support. I have made many lasting friendships in this organization. Thank you all, I am grateful to be a part of the NTCA.

Gary Kight
Conceptual Tile Solutions
Jacksonville, Fla. 

I belong to the association because of what it believes in, what it is willing to do to help tile installers be better installers, and what it does for the tile industry itself.

The NTCA offers me many great resources. The NTCA Reference Manual in itself is a valuable tool. The NTCA offers me contacts throughout the tile industry, including tile installers, tile inspectors and numerous other people within the trade that I can ask questions of and trust the information I am getting. NTCA offers Tile & Stone Workshops throughout the United States, by trained professionals who have worked in the trade, giving us hands on-training, where we can ask questions and learn new techniques. Along with the training workshops, there are also videos that show installation techniques that I can use to show my helpers. Training manuals and other literature are available.

The greatest benefit is that I know I am part of a group of people who are willing to learn and better themselves in a trade I am passionate about.

People like to do business with  people who want to better themselves and their industry. I use NTCA membership as marketing tool to let my customers know it is one of the ways I stay up on the growing trends and products in our industry.

Tom Hambrock
T & J Construction Services
Manchester, Tenn. 

Hambrock has been a John Bridge Forum member for many years, and via John Bridge, attended Coverings five years ago. That’s when he learned about NTCA and was persuaded to join.

“Being a real small contractor in a remote locality, I didn’t know what benefit it would be to me at first,” Hambrock said. “The carrot was the rebate (Partnering for Success Vouchers). Being a one-man contractor, $400 to join an organization at that time was a lot of money. But I thought, ‘If they will give me the money back on products I use, it’s a no-brainer.’

“Well, having done that and gotten involved with it, I gained more knowledge and more personal and professional relationships from it,” Hambrock continued. “I stepped up to the plate and volunteered to take the middle state of Tennessee state directorship for NTCA – from Chattanooga to Nashville, Crossville to the Tennessee River.”

Since then, Hambrock has become close personal friends with NTCA trainer/presenter Gerald Sloan, and has been on hand to support Gerald’s Tile & Stone Workshops in Hambrock’s area.

“NTCA membership has been a tremendous benefit to me, being in a remote area. Without the NTCA, I would not have the knowledge and experience that I have now, because there is nobody here to give me any insight.”

Fleet pricing for NTCA Members

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The National Tile Contractors Association now provides its members with fleet pricing on vehicles they purchase from authorized Chrysler dealerships via a Fleet Pricing Program the NTCA has set up with Howard Wilson Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, located in Flowood, Miss., near NTCA headquarters. With this program, members are eligible to purchase vehicles from the dealership at prices that will compete with pricing received by major corporate fleet customers who purchase hundreds of vehicles annually. For more information about this program, please contact Jim Olson, assistant executive director for the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) at 601-939-2071 or by email [email protected]

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NTCA Benefits Box – September 2012

NTCA Fleet Pricing Program

Your association is actively investigating programs, products and services that will enhance and provide advantages in your business such as the new Fleet Pricing Program partnership between NTCA and Howard Wilson Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram. The dealership, located in Flowood, Miss., near NTCA headquarters, will provide fleet pricing to NTCA members who purchase from authorized Chrysler dealerships via the NTCA Fleet Pricing Program. With this program, members can purchase vehicles from Howard Wilson Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram at prices that compete with major corporate fleet customers who purchase hundreds of vehicles annually.

For more information about this program, please contact Jim Olson, NTCA assistant executive director at 601-939-2071 or email [email protected]

NTCA Benefits Box – August 2012

The NTCA Executive Committee is currently revising the Association Strategic Plan for 2013/2014. It will be presented to the Board of Directors at Total Solutions Plus, taking place October 27th-30th in Palm Springs, Calif.

One of the main objectives identified for the NTCA is to continue to save our members money and find them work. Our mission is simple: eliminate any confusion or objections about why a tile contractor or business would NOT be a member of the NTCA. Here is a quick snapshot for those who are not yet members of the NTCA to consider:

Total NTCA Membership
Cost Per Year: $500
(Monthly billing of $45 on credit card or direct draft available)
Benefits of your membership: saving you $$$$$$$$

• Partnering For Success: $1,500 of free Product Vouchers (You get to pick the vendors with which you wish to partner. This benefit alone offsets your membership and allows you to actually MAKE money!)
• Free subscriptions to TileLetter and TADA magazines
• Free technical advice from association staff (over 150 years of industry installation, sales and technical experience)
• Strong voice on the development of industry standards (our members fight for the tile contractor)
• Free access to the NTCA Reference Manual (used in both customer and supplier correspondence)
• Discounted registration for  the Certified Tile Installer Program offered by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF)
• Discounted freight on Freightquote.com and Partnership
• Discounted insurance programs in liability, auto, property, workers’ compensation
• A complete low-cost program to assist the tile contractor in developing a marketing plan

These are just a few examples of programs NTCA has established to save you money. We are exploring new programs for 2013 in the health field, discounts on purchases of vehicles for your business, and more. Our staff will continue to strive to find programs that will offset expenses to your bottom line. It does not take a lot of time for you to do the math. Being a member of the NTCA is an easy decision!

NTCA: Dedicated to finding you work

New language in the TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation and MasterSpec recognizes approved company recognition efforts like the NTCA Five Star Contractor Program and the CTEF Certified Tile Installer Program as viable resources for designers and specifiers to consider. At a minimum, we strongly recommend that those individuals involved in specifying or hiring installers request proven performance of successful projects of similar size and scope. This effort will only protect all NTCA members who are dedicated to the successful installation of ceramic tile and natural stone. Our staff is working on future partnerships with companies that sell ceramic tile and natural stone to consumers and project owners to be  resources for installation referrals and recommendations. We expect several announcements in 2013 that will result in unique opportunities for you and your business. In addition, we will continue to explore developing national account specifications for Certified Tile Installers and NTCA Five Star Contractors.

To obtain more information on NTCA membership, contact Jim Olson, NTCA assistant executive director, at [email protected] or call us at 601-939-2071.

Join the hundreds of new NTCA members now and see why your association makes perfect sense for your business!