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HomeNewsEventsGet Ready… The Ceramic Tile Installer Challenge is ON!

Get Ready… The Ceramic Tile Installer Challenge is ON!

The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), the world’s largest tile contractor association, in partnership with the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation, has announced details on new interactive events taking place at Coverings 2018 in Atlanta.

One in particular, the “CTI Challenge,” is a live event designed by Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) director Scott Carothers, slated to take place between rival teams, both consisting of NTCA members and Certified Tile Installers. The Challenge will begin Tuesday, May 8th and conclude on Wednesday, May 9th. Upon completion, not only will attendees be able to view this excellent workmanship, but winners will be chosen, as well.

“This is a new event at Coverings,” stated Carothers. “In the past, CTI Certification testing was conducted on the show floor. This year, we opted to showcase the skills our CTIs possess and emphasize the importance of standards and methods. Our challengers will be judged on how well they stayed within installation guidelines, their practice of standards/methods and finally, the overall quality of their work.  Each team has the exact same project to create (wall and floor) and each will be segregated, unable to see what each other is doing. Neither team will know what they will be creating until Tuesday morning.”

The CTI Challenge Competitors, who have light-heartedly dubbed this event “East versus West”, are:

  • Jason McDaniel, Stoneman Construction LLC (Portland, OR) and Shon Parker, Hawthorne Tile (Portland, OR)
  • John Martin, Martin’s Custom Tile (Decatur, IL) and Greg Twarog, Surfaces 15 (Chicago, IL)

Shon Parker commented, “This is a great opportunity for us to build industry awareness… and, have fun while doing so. The CTI Program and this Challenge are all about education. Via my role as an inspector, I’ve learned there are more installation failures out there than there are tile failures.  It’s so important for installers to follow methods and standards.  Having a Certified Tile Installer perform the work ensures a properly installed tile project which in turn, creates a positive overall image for tile installations.”

His teammate, Jason McDaniel added, “This Challenge affords an opportunity to show others how things are done “by the book.” Frankly, most installers don’t even know there is “a book.”  Installers need to know these methods, work with the correct tools and understand the standards. Many do not know about the associations which are fighting for us and our industry. Over the years, I’d love to see this Challenge evolve and become an industry event which people greatly anticipate… aspiring to be reigning champions!”

Greg Twarog and John Martin of the opposing team were in complete agreement. Twarog stated, “Being a Certified Tile Installer gets you involved. You are investing in yourself and your company. With less labor entering this industry, it’s even more important that installations are being done correctly the first time… without failure.Everyone participating in the CTI Challenge has great skills. We will be showcasing these skills to all the attendees and will welcome questions and dialog. We want people to get excited again about tile… make it cool, make it fun and make it even more appealing to younger installers.”

“When Greg asked me to participate in the CTI challenge, I was excited!” stated Martin. “Any chance I get to challenge myself, I do it. Being a Certified Tile Installer means that I must continue to push myself to be the best I can be, practice the methods and know the standards.  I’m not only looking forward to the Challenge and showcasing our skills… but also, to meeting all the great people behind the scenes… especially those involved in the social media industry chat groups. It will be quite a learning experience. Not just for the CTIs, but for all the attendees as well.”

The Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program is a comprehensive testing of the skills and knowledge of experienced tile installers, which includes a multiple-choice exam and a hands-on test. Both are based on current industry standards and best practices for producing a sound installation that exhibits good workmanship. The tests, therefore, require that both the observable and non-observable characteristics of a finished installation are executed properly.

“The CTI Program and this Challenge were created to give back to our industry,” concluded Bart Bettiga, NTCA’s executive director. “Developing the next generation of skilled installers and promoting quality craftsmanship remains the top priority of the NTCA and the CTEF. The energy and excitement driving this new event makes it the perfect workforce development initiative for recruiting new bodies to the profession, while motivating experienced installers to reach higher levels of performance.”

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