March 29, 2015

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

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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 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!

ntca-trailer-1 ntca-trailer-2

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 wally@beafirestarter.com 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