One definition of “titan” is “one that stands out for greatness of achievement.” Mikaela Fedor of Tile Titan LLC, is a brand new NTCA member, having just joined at the end of 2020. Her specialty is residential tile installs in new homes in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania, but also in a few “historic gems.” Her enthusiasm for tile and what she can create for her customers has led her to truly embody the name of her company.
Her journey of becoming a tile setter is a fascinating one. She explained: “When I was fresh out of high school I was unsure what I wanted to do for my career,” she said. “I had a long list of opportunities, but I couldn’t bring myself to pay for a four-year degree in something I wasn’t positive I wanted to do for the rest of my life, so I was in a typical after-high-school rut. I started researching all different careers paths, not once looking at the trades.
“I was actually forced into the trades because when I had my son a year later,” she added, “I was working a waitressing job with no way out of poverty. My dad John Fedor actually let me work as his helper at Fedor Construction even though he was very skeptical. Our first job together was a subway tile tub surround; little did I know I’d be doing these over and over again. I was the helper on this job with no previous experience, so in typical fashion it was my job to clean the buckets, make the cuts, go up and down the stairs 100 times throughout the day, and clean up. I was eager to learn though, so my dad walked me through the process and showed me how to set my first tile. When that project was finished, I realized the satisfaction you get after looking at something you created with your own two hands.
“I owe so much to my father for what he taught me over the years both about tile installations and life,” she said. “I worked under him for five years until I went out on my own. Now, after one year on my own, I have realized how important education is in the industry, and I think what sets me apart is my eagerness to learn, rather than be set in my own ways. I often offer full manufacturers’ warranties on my installations to give my customers reassurance that – even though I’m young and newer in the industry – I know what I’m doing and have warranties to guarantee the work I install is to the best of my ability.”
Fedor’s eagerness to learn and get more involved in the industry led her to NTCA. “There are so many benefits I’ve already received from the NTCA, including vast amounts of reading to stay educated and up to date on industry standards, as well as a community group of connections I will and have used to give me advice or hands-on learning,” she said. “I’m hoping to expand my business and be an installer worth learning from one day, from all the education I have received and the excellence and precision I practice in my work. I want to always have confidence in the work I install and the ability to walk away knowing I’ve done everything to industry standards.”
Though Fedor is not yet a Certified Tile Installer (CTI), she is looking for new ways to “learn more and get involved in the industry I love so much…I plan to take the test this year and see how I can use it to expand my business.”
Her customers’ delight and gratitude spur Fedor on to practice her craft with artistry and excellence. “My greatest joy I get from being a contractor is definitely the text or phone call I receive after the job is completed from the customer, thanking me and telling me just how much they love the work and how they just can’t stop staring at it – and the fact that I helped bring them that joy,” she said. “Also standing back and looking at the different things I’ve have created with tile, stone and my own two hands feeds into my creative soul.”
Editorial Director and Senior Writer for TileLetter and TileLetter ARTISAN
Lesley Goddin has been writing and journaling since her first diary at age 11. Her journey has taken her through a career in publishing and publicity, landing her the editor position of TileLetter and its special publications in 2006. Her goal is to educate, inspire, recognize and encourage those in the tile industry -- especially the tile and stone contractor. Other interests include the soft, purring marvels known as cats, labyrinth walking, drumming and percussion, and a range of spiritual, musical and artistic pursuits.