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HomeNewsTCNA Tile Person of the Year Award presented to Schluter Family  

TCNA Tile Person of the Year Award presented to Schluter Family  

(Clemson, SC)—The Tile Council of North America (TCNA) presented its prestigious Tile Person of the Year honor to the Schlüter family—Werner, Barbara, Udo, and Marc—at Coverings 2024 in Atlanta, GA. This recognition is reserved for individuals whose contributions have significantly impacted the North American tile industry.

“We proudly celebrate the Schlüter family as they are honored with the TCNA Tile Person(s) of the Year Award,” stated TCNA Executive Director, Eric Astrachan. “Their family’s unwavering dedication, visionary leadership, and commitment to advancing the craft of tiling have left an indelible mark on our industry. This accolade is a testament to their commitment to excellence and profound impact on the world of tile. Congratulations to the Schlüter family on this well-deserved recognition.”

“As a team, we’re truly humbled by this recognition,” expressed Udo Schlüter. “Being integral to the tile community is a privilege, and our commitment to supporting installers and propelling the tile industry forward is at the core of our mission. This award carries significance for our entire family, especially for my father, whose lifelong dedication to this remarkable journey has paved the way for our shared success.”

Before Schluter®-Systems was founded, a young German boy named Werner Schlüter had a dream to become a tile installer. Following a seven-year education program, beginning as an apprentice and advancing to a journeyman, Werner obtained his Master Craftsman’s diploma in 1966 and established his own tile installation business, “Fliesen Schlüter” (Schlüter Tile).

In 1975, while working on a unique project, Werner identified a critical issue: exposed tile edges were susceptible to chipping and breakage. Determined to find a solution, he began developing, prototyping, and eventually testing, warehousing, and producing his first product: Schlüter®-SCHIENE. Initially utilized for his own installations, demand from fellow installers prompted Werner to open Schlüter Systems, then known as Schlüter Schiene, as a small sideline to his installation business, with encouragement from his wife, Barbara.

In 1985, Reinhard Plank, a tile setter living in Montreal, discovered the SCHIENE profile on a visit to Germany. He recognized its value and sought a means to import it for his own installations. This led to the establishment of Schluter Systems Inc. in Plattsburgh, NY in early 1989. Concurrently, Schluter Systems expanded its presence in Europe, establishing additional companies in France, Spain, Italy, the UK, Turkey, and beyond.

Schluter Systems soon thereafter introduced products such as DITRA, the first uncoupling membrane, the KERDI waterproofing membrane, and the KERDI-DRAIN with its integrated bonding flange a few years later. This marked the evolution towards a systems approach, providing installers with comprehensive solutions.

Complementing business growth was a commitment to education, evident in Schluter’s Innovation Workshops, which now attract thousands of tile industry professionals annually. This strategic approach, centered on installer needs, continues to drive innovation.

As Werner begins to take a less active role in the business, sons Udo and Marc have assumed greater roles, focusing on technology, processes, R&D, sales, and marketing. Barbara also remains actively involved in the company. The Schlüter family’s dedication to understanding installer needs and fostering industry relationships are the foundation of Schluter Systems’ enduring success.

The award presented to the Schlüter family was a beautiful, framed tile mural handcrafted by the artist Mr. Barry Perez (Elgin, TX).


About Tile Council of North America (TCNA)
TCNA is a trade association representing manufacturers of ceramic tile, tile installation materials, tile equipment, raw materials, and other tile-related products. Established in 1945 as the Tile Council of America (TCA), it became the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) in 2005, reflecting its membership expansion to all North America.

The Tile Council is recognized for its leadership role in facilitating the development of North American and international industry quality standards to benefit tile consumers. Additionally, TCNA regularly conducts independent research and product testing, works with regulatory, trade, and other government agencies, and publishes installation guidelines, tile standards, economic reports, and promotional literature.

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