Coverings 2005 is set to take place from May 3 to 6 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, with more than 435,000 net square feet of exhibition space. Organizers of the event expect a solid turnout and brisk activity on the show floor.

“The high volume of sales and upgrades tells us that the industry understands that Coverings, unlike any other show out there, is the most comprehensive tile and stone marketplace in the Americas and that it is truly the preferred forum for all things hard surfaces,” said Tamara Christian, president, National Trade Productions (NTP) and Coverings' show director. “The 2004 show proved without a doubt that Coverings is the place where the flooring industry comes to do business.”

According to independent research coming out of Coverings 2004, attendees spent an average of 30% of their yearly product-related budgets at Coverings. In addition, of those attendees polled, 92% indicated they planned to make purchases as a result of attending Coverings. “We are witnessing a major change in the flooring industry, as interest in -- and sales of -- hard surfaces such as tile and stone are challenging sales of other flooring materials,” said Christian. “Ceramic tile has doubled its share of the flooring market over the past decade and has had double-digit sales gains for four of the past five years. At the same time, demand for marble and natural stone increased 57% between 1995 and 2000, with granite up 76%. Hard surface flooring is a major player in the industry.”

For well over a decade, Coverings has been considered to be a preeminent showcase for ceramic tile and natural stone floor coverings. It features the entire spectrum of tile and stone products, tools and machinery. This event spotlights thousands of new products and new suppliers from all across the globe.

More than 26,000 industry professionals from all over the world will converge in Orlando at Coverings 2005 to meet with 1,200 exhibitors. In addition to the extensive exhibit floor, the four-day event will also feature the largest educational conference program focusing on all aspects of the flooring, ceramic tile and natural stone industries from distribution to market trends. The conference program has been designed specifically to benefit the diverse audience that the show attracts, increase knowledge, provide real world answers and enhance professional development.

Included will be many sessions specifically of interest to the stone industry (see “Coverings 2005 Seminar Program”). “We strive to present educational sessions for fabricators, architects and contractors that speak directly to what they need to build their businesses,” explained Gary Distelhorst, executive vice president of the Marble Institute of America, which organizes the stone portion of the seminar program. “With that in mind, we've partnered with such leading authorities as James Dion and Chuck Muehlbauer to present information on productivity measures for increasing profits as well as stone selection, engineering considerations and other topics of critical importance to this audience. We're confident that our partnership with Coverings 2005 will further position the show as a premier forum for the stone industry.”

Additionally, syndicated columnist and humorist Dave Barry will be the keynote speaker for the Coverings 2005 show. Barry's speech will take place on May 3 at 8:30 a.m. during the General Session. “We're very excited to have Dave Barry opening Coverings 2005,” said Christian. “Dave's well-known brand of humor, coupled with his high energy and enthusiasm, will be a great jump start to the Coverings experience. His witty, engaging and thought-provoking commentary will be a great complement to the Coverings show, which is well known for being an experience that is both an informative and enjoyable environment in which to do business.”

Barry is a humor columnist for the Miami Herald, and his column appears in more than 500 newspapers in the U.S. and abroad. In 1988, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. Barry has also written a total of 25 books, and he plays lead guitar in a literary rock band called the “Rock Bottom Remainders,” whose other members include Stephen King, Amy Tan, Ridley Pearson and Mitch Albom.

Sponsoring organizations of Coverings are Assopiastrelle (Association of Italian Ceramic Tile and Refractories Manufacturers), ASCER (Spain's Ceramic Tile Manufacturers Association), TCA (Tile Council of North America), CTDA (Ceramic Tile Distributors Association), and NTCA (National Tile Contractors Association).

The co-sponsors of Coverings include: the Marble Institute of America, American Institute of Architects (Orlando Chapter), The American Society of Interior Designers (Florida North, Florida South and Florida West Coast), International Interior Design Association (Florida Chapter), the National Association of Floor Covering Distributors, the Terrazzo Tile and Marble Association of Canada, the Tile Contractors' Association of America, and the Tile Heritage Foundation.

Celebrating its 27th anniversary, National Trade Productions is a leader in the production, management and marketing of trade expositions, conferences and special events. NTP has expertise in a variety of industries, including security, transportation, government, communications, health-care, public works, information technology, education, manufacturing and engineering. NTP also has the industry's longest history of launching and managing events for the Dederal government, including GOVSEC, U.S. LAW and FOSE.

Coverings 2005 Seminar Program

The educational sessions taking place at Coverings 2005 in Orlando, FL, include many seminars on natural stone fabrication, specification, design, maintenance and installation. The following is a look at some of the sessions of interest to stone users:

Tuesday, May 3

8:30 -10 a.m. Keynote
Dave Barry, syndicated columnist
and humorist
Dave Barry's well-known brand of humor, coupled with his high energy and enthusiasm, will jump start the Coverings experience. His witty, engaging and thought provoking commentary will be a great complement to the Coverings show. Barry is a humor columnist for the Miami Herald. His column appears in more than 500 newspapers in the U.S. and abroad, and he won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1988. Barry has also written a total of 25 books, and he plays lead guitar in a literary rock band called the Rock Bottom Remainders, whose other members include Stephen
King, Amy Tan, Ridley Pearson and
Mitch Albom.

12:30 - 2 p.m.
Architecture and Design
Color Trends: How Will They Change? 2005
Speaker: Leatrice Eiseman, Eiseman Center for Color Information and Training
Leatrice Eiseman, principal of the Eiseman Center for Color Information and Training and executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, returns to Coverings. Once again, she identifies the newest trends in color and how consumers are responding to them. Eiseman is the author of four books on color, and is regularly quoted in a wide range of fashion, interior design and graphics publications.

Installation and Specification
Changes to the TCA Handbook
Speaker: Eric Astrachan, Tile Council of North America
TCA presents the highlights of the new 2005 Handbook for the Installation of Tile.

3 - 3:50 p.m.
Architecture and Design
Getting Published
Speakers: Jennifer Busch, Contract, and Jen Renzi, House and Garden
Two of the most prestigious magazines for the architectural and design community will discuss what it takes to get products and projects published in their publications. Jennifer Busch, Editor-in-Chief at Contract magazine and Jen Renzi, Senior Editor at House and Garden magazine will give attendees the inside scoop on materials and methods for successful publicity pitches.

4:30 - 5:20 p.m.
Architecture and Design
Design Ethics -- How the Little Decisions We Make Affect the Big Picture
Speaker: Kimberly Love, International Academy of Design and Technology
Kimberly Love shares ways in which the design/build community can make a difference to the community and the environment.

Installation and Specification
New Generations of Polymer Mortars
Speaker: Otto Laszlo, Southern Grouts
and Mortars
In the “Now” industry, with an increased number of tiles in a variety of formats, mortars are being formulated to accommodate this ever-changing technology.
How to Avoid Ceramic Tile and Stone Installation Failures
Speaker: Donato Pompo, CTASC
Learn about what products to use for installing porcelain tile and natural stone. Study how to prevent mold issues and other problems leading to failures. This session will provide a chance to answer questions about ceramic tile and stone tile installation from an unbiased consultant. Review the differences between installing ceramic and various stone tiles. Discuss how to properly prepare surfaces for tile and the various quality methods of installing each.

Selling Skills for Contractors and Fabricators (Three Part Series) Part I
Speaker: Wally Adamchik, Firestarter Speaking and Consulting
In 2004, Wally Adamchik received rave reviews on his presentations from the contracting audience. The message he consistently heard from the audience was that they are getting beat by the low bidder/poor quality work. Price seemed to be the big issue. One of the reasons they are getting beat is because they do not know how to explain the value they bring. Part I of a three-part series will focus on marketing versus sales and the organization of the sales call.

Interior Stone Presentation
Speaker: Joseph Tramuta, Esq.,
New England Stone, Inc.
This presentation uses actual photos that have been taken over the past several years, beginning with the quarry and describing how blocks are quarried. The quarry is followed by blocks and gangsaws, and the end product is slabs that are mirrored imaged. The difference between granite, marble, limestone and onyx will be discussed, along with the various applications of stone as used in vanities, kitchen countertops and islands, stone sinks, backsplashes, drain boards, tub surrounds and fireplaces. The session will also address the various finishes of stone as well as edges that are available. The discussion will then address various case studies -- with before and after photos. Sealers will also be discussed and demonstrated.

Solutions for Granite Countertop Installation Problems
Speaker: Fred Hueston, The National Training Center for Stone & Masonry Trades
Natural Stone installations are growing at a rapid rate, yet many fabricators and restoration professionals are not familiar with the techniques for repairing and polishing these surfaces. The impact of slab resining and stone sealing also play a factor. This session will cover some of these techniques, as well as provide useful tips for removing scratches and making repairs. Learn the answer to “Are repairs acceptable?” along with a variety of other questions.

Wednesday, May 4

8 - 8:50 a.m.
Distributor and Retailer
What's Available in Distribution/Retail Software and Why Should I Use It?
Panelists: Joe Flannick, American Business Computers, representatives from Dancik and Prophet 21
This panel addresses distributors and dealers to make them aware of the products available in the marketplace. It will educate attendees on the importance of software systems for tracking inventory and customer relationship management.

Training the Ceramic Tile and Stone Industry Online
Speaker: Donato Pompo, CTASC
Online courses are becoming an increasingly popular education alternative. Learn about the advantages of online education as you are taken through an actual course demonstration.

Installation and Specification
Proper Surface Preparation for Successful Installations
Speaker: Art Mintie, Laticrete International
This seminar will cover the requirements of proper surface preparation. It will also describe and illustrate the various types
of surface preparation, including the techniques utilized and the equipment used to apply them.

Tile and Grout Care 101: Issues, Options and Opportunities
Speaker: Ron Sigman, Aqua Mix
This session will focus on three key areas, including issues, options and opportunities directly related to protecting and maintaining grout and tile. The session will cover different types of grout, including epoxy, modified and unmodified grout, and the different types of tile. They will then cover issues facing homeowners, contractors and distributors about how to properly care for their tile and grout, and how to choose the right product for the right job. The talk will then summarize how this knowledge can be an opportunity to avoid problems and grow our industry in the future.

Advanced Countertop Fabrication
Speakers: Rich Booms, Booms Stone Co. and Scott Lardner, Rocky Mountain Stone Co.
This seminar will cover all aspects of high-production stone fabrication systems, including the safest versus the fastest methods to template a project; shop drawings and their value in custom fabrication; how to maximize saw productivity in a granite shop; the right time to buy an automatic edging machine; whether a CNC really fixes all problems; how to train, reward and retain quality shop fabricators; and installation tricks from the field.

Floorings, Finishes, & Friction
Speaker: Chuck Muehlbauer, MIA Technical Director
Chuck Muehlbauer will help familiarize the audience on basic stone types and methods for stone installation commonly found in the industry, the surface finishes applied to these natural stones, and the measurement techniques used to evaluate the frictional properties of the material, as well as their influence on pedestrian safety. This seminar will cover five critical aspects: natural stone products used in pavement applications; installation methods; finishes for natural stone pavements; pedestrian locomotion and friction.

8 - 9:50 a.m.
Stone Trends 2005
Speaker: Vince Marazita, Marazita & Associates
Vince Marazita, education director of the Marble Institute of America, will discuss the boom in use of natural stone in the U.S., from countertops to skyscrapers. This Seventh Annual “State of the Industry” presentation will give attendees a bird's-eye view of the dimensional stone market in the U.S., covering information, sourcing, marketing and application trends in the stone industry over the past year, including examples of award-winning projects that have been recognized for their use of natural stone.

9 - 9:50 a.m.
Distributor and Retailer
Improving Your Bottom Line
Speaker: Al Bates, Ph.D., Profit
Planning Group
This session focuses on helping distributors better understand their profit and potential, and will demonstrate how to improve financial results. The program will walk you through every financial aspect of your business, including sales, gross margin, expenses, inventory and accounts receivable. In each area, you will be given specific targets and a “road map” for reaching those targets. At the end of the session, you will know exactly where you need to be during each of the next five years. You will also know how you are going to get there.

Installation and Specification
Proper Placement, Specification and Installation of Expansion Joints
Speaker: Jim Caron, The Noble Co.
Often times, expansion joints are overlooked or ignored because of issues regarding cosmetic appearance; or just plain misunderstanding of when and how to place them. A clear explanation of the types of expansion joints will be given, including control joints, cold joints, construction and expansion joints, etc. This program will discuss both commercial and residential installations.

Selling Skills for Contractors and Fabricators, Part II
Speaker, Wally Adamchik, Firestarter Speaking and Consulting
Part II of this program will take an in-depth look into the nature of the selling process, including opening, questioning and closing of a sales call.

Fabricators Forum: Residential Projects
Panelists: Rich Booms, Booms Stone Co.; Scott Lardner, Rocky Mountain Stone Co.; and, Jose Rodriguez, Total Design on Marble and Granite
This open forum is designed for fabricators to get answers to questions or problems they may have with regard to residential fabrication and/or installation. It is a chance to discuss items that may not be covered by other seminars.

12:30 - 2 p.m.
Installation and Specification
Embracing Change in the Building Industry
Speaker: Tom Vaughn, Construction Technology
This presentation is intended for the entire industry. The way homes are being built and the materials being used are greatly different from only five or 10 years ago. These changes have a great impact on how ceramic tile and stone installers need to evaluate which materials and methods they use to ensure successful jobs. This discussion will look at some of the trends in homebuilding, such as more open spaces; larger kitchens and bathrooms; and changes in ceramic tile and stone.

4:30 - 5:20 p.m.
Architecture and Design
The Feng Shui Approach to Color
Speaker: Nancilee Wydra, Feng Shui Institute of America
In this presentation, you will learn not only the emotional messages that colors have when viewed from above (or as flooring) but also how the surrounding colors affect that response.

Distributor and Retailer
The Secrets of Doing Business with Homebuilders
Panelists: TBD
This panel will provide insight to distributors/dealers into what homebuilders are looking for when considering tile and stone for their housing developments. At what point in the planning process does a homebuilder identify tile or stone sources for their homes? How do they select products to specify? What are the most effective ways for distributors/dealers to collaborate with homebuilders?

Retailer Forum: Showroom Policies
Panelists: TBD
Besides having a great product to offer, a showroom's policies can often make or break a sale, not to mention the development of new customer relationships. Learn how to set policies that can create mutual benefits. Do you have a good return policy? How do you handle samples? What's the backorder policy? This roundtable session will help you answer these questions.

Installation and Specification
Shower in an Hour
Speakers: Art Phenis, Kevin McFadden, and John Hamby, Bonsal Adhesives
A complete shower (less the tile) will be built in an hour. The session will include all of the pre-formed materials like curbs and niches, as well as a trowel-applied waterproofing system to reduce mold growth.

Increase Profitability
for Tile Contractors
Speaker: Albert Bates, Ph.D., Profit Planning Group
Dr. Bates, owner of Profit Planning Group, will share results of the 2004 NTCA Profit Survey for Tile Contracting Companies. He will outline his ideas as to key areas of a financial plan that can be improved to maximize profitability for contractors.

How the Expanded MasterFormat
Will Affect Specifications and Bid Documents
Speaker: Dan Hill, Hill Architects and Paul Bertram, PRB Design
The Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) MasterFormat 2004 Edition aids delivery of most commercial and institutional buildings as the predominant organizational standard in the U.S. and Canada for specifications and other construction information. The new edition, the most significant upgrade in MasterFormat's 40-year history, was released in November 2004, expanding from 16 divisions to 50. Functioning as the “Dewey Decimal System” for construction information, MasterFormat organizes data by dividing it into divisions, each of which is composed of sections. The sections are the building blocks of specifications and other construction documents. MasterFormat 2004 Edition has additional divisions and many more sections. This expansion facilitates project delivery by enabling specifications -- the written instructions for construction -- to address the spectacular advances that have taken place in construction technology since MasterFormat was last revised in 1995. The new edition also provides means for specifications to better address building owners' evolving construction priorities such as security, life safety and environmentally responsible facilities.

Stone Shop Safety &
Insurance Dos & Don'ts
Speaker: Marc Rosenkrantz,
Schechner Lifson Corp.
Employee and consumer safety is a full-time job. Preview the “Basics of Stone Shop Safety” video produced by the Marble Institute. Additionally, as the business owner, general manager or controller of the company, you need to understand the pitfalls of property/casualty insurance. Learn about general liability, workers compensation, property valuation and lost control techniques.

Working with Interior Designers
Can Be Great Revenue
Speaker: Lisa McCauley, McCauley Design -- Kitchens, Tile & Stone
There is a perception that interior designers can be difficult. However, if you know how to work with them, they can be a great source of continuous business. What is a “designers discount?” Do you sell to the designer or their client? What prices do you quote to a designer's client? How do you get the designer and professional trade to bring clients into your showroom? How do you keep a designer from shopping your prices?

Thursday, May 5

8 - 8:50 a.m.
Distributor and Retailer
Product Selection
Speaker: TBD
Do you know exactly what your customers need? Are you up to date on the latest tile industry trends? How do you determine the perfect product mix for your store? Should you specialize or should you appeal to the masses? This session will reveal effective product selection strategies for your retail store.

Green Building Movement: What Is It and How Will It Affect the Ceramic Tile and Stone Industry?
Speakers: Nigel Howard, USGBC, LEED, and Rich Dooley, NAHBRC
Environmental awareness within the construction industry has become a hot topic over the years. This session will educate you on the ever-growing green building movement and how it could affect your company's outlook. Learn how demonstrating your consciousness toward this cause could give you an added competitive edge.

Installation and Specification
Understanding Deflection in Joists and Subfloors
Speakers: C.K. Patel, Ph.D. and Charles Martin, Halex Corp.
There is a lot of confusion in the industry as to what 1/360 means, where it comes from and how the number came about. Halex Corp. has built a Robinson Floor Tester for its laboratory, and it is testing with actual test floors using engineered “I” joists and solid lumber to determine the actual deflection on joists and subfloors and how this relates to ceramic and stone floors. This is intended to clear up all the confusion about l/360 and make it more understandable to the layperson. Comparisons will also be made to L/480 and L/720.

Sound Deadening Underlayments . . . Solutions For Consideration
Speakers: Larry Lyons, Amorim/Accousticork; Patricia Bohnert, National Applied Construction Products; and Jim Caron, The Noble Co.
Building Codes in high-rise and condominium projects differ around the country, but generally have requirements to control sound in order for tile or stone to be installed properly. The presenters will outline code requirements, paying close attention to the Southeast. Solutions for sound deadening will be introduced for consideration, with attention on how to properly install tile and stone over these systems.

Proper Specifications to Ensure Successful Tile and Stone Installations
Speaker: Howard Pryor, CTC, CCS Conestoga Tile
This presentation includes discussions on proper specifications to avoid installation failures. Among issues discussed are: specifying expansion/control joints and cleavage membranes; problematic substrates, lightweight suspended slabs; and radiant-heated floors. Proper trowel size for larger tiles will also be discussed, along with ANSI and ASTM standards. Proper specifying to meet ADA ASTM_C1028 requirements will also be addressed.

Be Ready When OSHA Comes Knocking at your Door
Speaker: Kevin Padden, KM Padden
This seminar is based on the concept of “being prepared” -- how to make sure that your shop is compliant with EPA and OSHA regulations before you get inspected. Areas discussed will include evaluating your operation for EPA and OSHA compliance, the importance of taking OSHA seriously and making sure you will pass a potential inspection, and methods of preparing for and maintaining compliance.

8 - 9:50 a.m.
Introduction to Stone Design
Speaker: Chuck Muehlbauer, MIA Technical Director
This “Stone 101” course is especially designed for architects and members of the design community. Discussions will include: stone selection, engineering considerations, ASTM testing, aesthetic considerations, horizontal substrates, designing for wet areas, stair treads and vertical cladding. As is customary, this seminar will also cover useful “Tips and Techniques” in stone sourcing and design.
9 - 9:50 a.m.
Distributor and Retailer
How to Focus on Selling to the Boomer Generation and What Will You Do When They Aren't Around Anymore?
Speaker: TBD
The Baby Boomer generation is getting older, and consequently, demand for stone and tile products in this influential segment will decrease over time. How do you prepare for this shift, and what can you do to revitalize sales in this area? This session will discuss ways your company can adjust to this economic phenomenon.

Good, Better, Best. How Ethical Distributors Approach the Topic of “Upselling”
Speaker: TBD
Where do you draw the line between “upselling” and being a pushy salesperson? This session will show you effective ways to go beyond the original sale by improving or adding on to your customer's needs. Learn how to upsell in an ethical manner, while maximizing your profits.

Installation and Specification
Selling Skills For Tile Contractors and Fabricators Part III
Speaker: Wally Adamchik, Firestarter Speaking and Consulting
The final phase of this three-part series is aimed at helping you to combat objections to the sales process based
on price.

Installation of Large Format Wall Tile: Challenges and Solutions
Speaker: Tom Plaskota, TEC Specialty Products
The growing trend for the selection of large-format tile presents challenges for wall installations. This session addresses the key considerations necessary for the successful installation of larger tile on walls. Both installation and service environment issues are identified
and discussed. Key topics include: identification of market trends and installation references; review of substrate conditions and challenges; tile and setting material selection and performance; and potential service environment challenges, including discussion of mold and mildew.

5 Key Productivity Measures That Will Increase Your Sales And Profits Now
Speaker: James Dion, Dionco, Inc.
In this fast-paced presentation, you will learn not only what the five most important productivity measures are, but how to use them to increase your sales and profitability right away. The five key measures discussed will include: Turnover, Average Transaction, Items Per Ticket, Conversion Rate and Gross Margin Return on Inventory Investment (GMROII).

10:15 - 11:05 a.m.
Architecture and Design
Trends in Mosaic: Considerations in Designing, Specifying and Creating
Speaker: Sonia King, Sonia King Mosaics
This presentation will address arch-itectural uses of mosaics (floors, wall treatments, murals, etc), using an extensive slide presentation to showcase a variety of projects from around the world. Topics will include current trends in mosaics, suitability of materials for different applications, design con-siderations, mixing materials, custom creation versus fabrication, impact of design decisions on project budgets, working with mosaic artists and more.

12:30 - 2 p.m.
Architecture and Design
Barry Wood, FAIA, “Trading Spaces” (attached photo)
Barry Wood of “Trading Spaces,” one of the top-rated shows on The Learning Channel, is best known for rooms that are layered with a balance of precedent, theory, exploration and invention.
Wood is described as “one part artist, one part architect, and one part rock and roll.” His diverse professional experience and wide-open spirit allow him to create thoughtful, yet fun, environments. Wood, who discovered his passion for architecture at 12 years old, developed his theory-based design process both in Florence, Italy, and at Syracuse University, graduating with a Bachelor of Architecture. Wood honed his skills working as a designer for several firms in San Francisco, Baltimore and New York, before becoming licensed and launching his own firm, b.wood Architects.

3:30 - 5:20 p.m.
Architecture and Design
Unlimited by Design: Kitchens
and Baths
Speaker: Linda Elliott Smith, FASID, Education-Works, Inc.
Linda Elliott Smith, FASID of Education-Works, Inc. will discuss the increasing awareness of the need for residential spaces to adapt to an aging population's changing needs. This challenge is particularly evident in the design of kitchens and bathrooms. Along with reviewing the accessibility guidelines for universally designed kitchens and baths, this course will also answer the question of “what products on the market help create kitchens and baths that are unlimited by design?” This session will review research relating to the loss of independence often caused by the design of a home and how that might be avoided.

4:30 - 5:20 p.m.
Distributor and Retailer
Trends, Trends, Trends: We Know What Designers Are Saying, But What Are Your Customers Buying?
Speaker: TBD
Trends are often a driving force behind sales. Learn how to take advantage of current preferences in colors, materials, styles and applications. Knowing “what's in” will help you determine which products to focus on and how to market them more effectively.

Installation and Specification
Everything You Ever Needed to Know About Backerboards, But Were
Afraid to Ask!
Panelists: TBD
A group of carefully selected panelists will be asked to explain uses and benefits of various types of backerboards for both wall and floor installations. A significant amount of time will be left for moderator and audience questions and answers.

Ten Ways to Avoid Common Tile and Stone Installation Problems
Speaker: Dale Kempster, Terrazzo, Tile and Marble Association of Canada
The TTMAC has accumulated data on the 10 most common reasons why problems may occur in a tile or stone installation. This program will outline these issues and address ways in which our industry can prevent them from impacting a quality installation.

Water Systems for Your
Fabrication Shop
Speakers: Kevin Padden, KM Padden
This session is an objective review of the different kinds of water recycling systems that are appropriate for different sizes of shops with varying levels of water demand. If you are setting up a fabrication operation or planning to expand your existing shop, you should not miss this highly informative seminar.

Countertop Fabrication (Presented in Spanish)
Speaker: Jose Rodriguez, Total Design on Marble and Granite
Jose Rodriguez will cover fabrication methods, transport, installation techniques, maintenance procedures and follow-up. It will also address frequently asked questions such as how to make a seam invisible, and what is the best way to polish an ogee edge. This session will be presented in Spanish.

Friday, May 6

8 - 8:50 a.m.
Distributor and Retailer
Assessing Your Warehouse Operations Efficiency
Speaker: Dr. Leon McGinnis, Georgia Tech University
Are your warehouse operations running efficiently and productively? How does your company benchmark itself against other firms within the industry? This session will help answer these questions, as well as identify basic techniques for improved warehouse performance.
The Ins and Outs of Working with Distributors
Panelists: TBD
This panel will help dealer/retailer attendees understand the “ins and outs” of working with distributors. Panelists will address issues such as how to select a distributor and how to train retail salespeople.

Installation and Specification
Electric Radiant Heat
Panelists: TBD
Representatives of electric radiant heat will demonstrate proper installation of electric heat systems. Uses and benefits, as well as limitations and installation requirements, will be addressed.

Media and Its Impact in the Floor Covering Industry
Speaker: Bruce Van der Linde,
Virginia Tile
Bruce Van der Linde has his own talk radio show in Virginia on which he is known as “The Tile Guy.” With the popularity of talk radio, he is creating an impact in his region and has even instituted the “Great Bathroom Makeover” with other local companies, calling more attention to his company and the other supporters. With “makeover madness” sweeping the nation, Virginia Tile has created a model any small contractor can use in the community to create brand awareness.