Disaster Relief: Avoiding Installation Failure with Sound Installation Planning and Implementation

Speakers:Nyle Wadford, Neuse Tile Service, Inc.; James Woelfel, Artcraft Granite, Marble & Tile

Experience Level:Mid-Level/Leader
Tile installation failure is the single biggest obstacle to growing the market. NTCA Five Star Contractors will look at projects where the installation failed, and discuss how this could have been avoided. They will also highlight projects that contained the proper planning and skilled installers necessary for success. 



Color Theory and Its Application

Speaker:Feras Irikat, Oceanside Glasstile/Mandala Tile

Experience Level:New to Profession/Mid-Level
Please join Feras Irikat, design director for Oceanside Glasstile and Mandala, as he examines the impact of light, vision and texture on color in the design environment. Feras will lead a presentation outlining the basics of color theory and psychology followed by an engaging discussion of how materials such as wood, textiles, glass and ceramics are fully integrated to create and defined cohesive, beautiful spaces.



Combining Traditional Advertising/Marketing and Social Media to Build Your Marketing Plan

Speaker:Lisbeth Calandrino, Fabulous Floors Magazine

Experience Level:Mid-Level
Social media is the new wave of communication. This doesn't mean that traditional advertising and marketing is out, but smart companies are becoming the two. To do this, traditional advertising must be presented in a form that's compatible with social media. To be most effective when embarking on a marketing plan you must understand the differences and similarities, and how they can work together to reach your goals.



PROJECT: Green Roundtable – Environmental Stewardship Through Tile + Stone

Speakers:PROJECT: Green finalists

Experience Level:All
Each year, PROJECT: Green acknowledges sustainable projects featuring tile and stone which inspire environmental stewardship. This session will bring together representatives from selected projects to discuss how they were able to successfully use tile and stone in their residential, commercial or institutional green building projects. Lessons learned and helpful tips will be shared. All are welcome to attend.





3:15 – 4:45 p.m.


Understanding Merchandising Real Estate

Speaker:  Nicole Reyhle, Retail Minded

Experience Level:Leader

From how a customer reacts to a store window display to how a consumer responds to the floor plan of a store, attendees will learn the tricks of retail real estate -- and how to make these tricks help increase their sales. Using props and displays as part of the seminar, retailers will have a chance to experience the critical components of retail real estate through interactive display challenges, sales scenarios and customer role playing. And just like any real estate, we’ll identify what’s worth what in regards to retail floor space in retail stores. Questions will be answered, mouths will drop and retailers will walk away with ah-ha moments. Finally, attendees will each have the chance to re-create their own store space with a hands-on game that lets them imagine their store laid out differently.



Wednesday, May 1



8:00 AM - 9:00 a.m.


Wholesale/Slab Distributors Forum

Moderator: Vincent Moiso, Quarry Collection

Panelists: Eric Schigiel, Opustone Natural Stone Distributors; Rupesh Shah, MS International; Jonathan Zanger, Walker Zanger

Experience Level:All
Back by popular demand. Join us for the fifth annual discussion of strategic issues critical to running successful wholesale/slab distribution companies. This open discussion will cover a host of operational issues including building strong fabricator relationships, networking with the design community, freight issues and much more.



The Restoration and Maintenance of Stone & Terrazzo Using NO CHEMICALS

Speaker:Fred Hueston, Stone Forensics

Experience Level:All
There are many perspectives about floor maintenance and this session presents the viewpoint that stone and terrazzo floors DO NOT need a topical coating of any kind. Waxes, sealers, etc., act as a sacrificial coating grinding the grit and dirt into the surface meaning every time a force is applied to the floor it is scratched and damaged. In addition the chemicals necessary to strip and wax can be extremely hazardous. Naturally polished stone and/or terrazzo uses ZERO chemicals, using diamond abrasives and water, the floor is polished to a high shine and left in a natural state. Join this session to discuss proper restoration and maintenance of stone and terrazzo based on continuous, simple maintenance procedures. Avoid the treacherous cycles of waxing and stripping again and again.



Thin Tile Technology & Installation Considerations

Speakers:Tim Bolby, Crossville, Inc.; Noah Chitty, StonePeak Ceramics; Dan Marvin, Florida Tile; Dr. Neil McMurdie, Mapei Corporation

Experience Level:Mid-Level
Reduced Thickness or "Thin Tile" is the new emerging technology capturing the attention of the entire tile industry. Continued education on these products is a must, as there are currently no manufacturing and installation standards that exist to guide professionals on this latest advancement. Join Noah Chitty and Dr. Neil McMurdie to discuss the technology, the opportunities it presents for the market, and to take a look at the importance of proper specification, installation considerations and selection of appropriate installation materials and tools.



The Effect of the Housing Recovery on Ceramic Tile Sales

Speaker:Donato Grosser, Grosser Consulting

Experience Level:Leader
This session will examine the developments in the ceramic tile market following the housing recovery: who will benefit the most from this trend; how the distribution system will be impacted; how the future of the industry will look.  Join Donato as he presents his annual industry outlook.  This session is a not-to-be-missed event.



How to Build Profitable Customers Through Experience Marketing

Speaker:  Lisbeth Calandrino, Fabulous Floors Magazine

Experience Level:Mid-Level
How we communicate with customers has changed. It used to be that businesses were in charge of communicating with their customers, now customers choose when and how. Customers are doing business with those who provide more than products; they are choosing to give their money to those who also offer a unique shopping experience. To win the profitable customer you will have to learn to provide your own unique experience. Join Lisbeth as she provides proven ideas to bring in profitable customers.



Artistry Meets Innovation:  Designing with the Newest Tile, Stone and Glass

Speaker:  Joshua Levinson, Artistic Tile

Experience Level:All
As a result of advancement in technology and production, tile, stone and glass are now available in formats never before available to designers and architects. This CEU will review some of the newest tile and stone and glass available, showcase how they differ, talk about specifying these products, feature the looks that can be achieved with these new materials, and provide guidance on their installation and care.



Sustainability – For Those Who Haven’t Been Paying Attention!

Speaker:Dan Rea, Cold Spring Granite Company; Todd Schnatzmeyer, Indiana Limestone Institute

Experience Level:All
You've been busy managing your business and haven't kept up with what the stone and tile industry is doing in the sustainability arena. This is the session you'll want to attend. Get perspectives from a stone industry executive with an architectural background. Learn what the industry is doing in 2013 -- hope it impacts your business -- and how you should be communicating with the design community.





9:15 AM - 10:45 a.m.


Leadership and Ethics

Speaker:Lieutenant General John F. Sattler (USMC ret.)

Experience Level:All
Leadership and ethics, what do they mean to you? Hear from a career military officer and an experienced instructor as he shares his experience both on and off the battlefield. From Iraq and Afghanistan to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, leadership and ethics are key to the success in the military. What does it take to be a leader? What role do ethics play? Don’t miss this inspirational presentation.


Lt. Gen. Sattler has had a decorated career, serving in various capacities over the years including Director of Strategic Plans and Policy the Joint Staff from 2006-2008; Commanding General of First Marine Expeditionary Force and Commander, Marine Corps Forces Central Command from September 2004-2006, in which he commanded all forces in Al Anbar Provence in Iraq. Currently, Lt. Gen. Sattler serves as the Leadership Chairman in the Vice Admiral James Stockdale Ethical Leadership Center at the U.S. Naval Academy.




9:30 AM - 10:30 a.m.


Specification 2.0: Understanding Ceramics to Use Their Full Potential

Speaker:Ryan Fasan, Professional Attention to Tile Installations

Experience Level:Mid-Level
The modern age of ceramic tile began around 1970. Since then the innovations in aesthetics and quality have jumped by leaps and bounds. In this updated version of Specification: facts, myths & tools we will explore the four types of tile. Production techniques and an easy rule of thumb will be applied to provide simple language to explain choices to clients easily and select the optimal tile for every job. Once a solid foundation of knowledge is built we can get creative utilizing all the new products available to their maximum potential. As the industry changes, new production and glazing techniques give rise to new materials – it's up to us sales people and specifiers to take full advantage of this highly innovative industry. Modern technology like large formats, slim porcelains, ventilated facades and ceramic screens provide nearly limitless potential to grow our specifications outside kitchens and baths or even floors and walls.



A US Case Study in Ventilated Façade:  First Bank of Skokie

Speakers:  Joseph Behles, Behles & Behles; other TBD

Experience Level:New to Profession/Mid-Level
Ventilated Façade, it isn’t new, but to date it still isn’t a common sight in the US.  How does it become the choice of the architect for a project?  What are the steps necessary to get it installed?  What are its benefits over traditional materials?  From design to completion, join the architect behind the First Bank and Trust of Skokie to understand how and why ventilated façade was selected and installed in this US project.  An overview of ventilated façade systems will also be presented.



9:30 AM – 11:00 a.m.


Know Before You Import: US Customs Classification of Building Stone

Speaker:Jacob Bunin, U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Experience Level:Mid-Level

Importers of building stone should be familiar with the applicable tariff provisions and rates of duty before they import the merchandise. Importers often assume certain incorrect provisions apply and plan their pricing incorrectly. Knowledge of the principles of tariff classification is crucial to American importers and foreign shippers of stone. Jacob Bunin of U.S. Customs will explain distinctions in the classification of building stones under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule based on the identity of the stone (marble, granite, etc.), and distinctions based on the degree to which the stone is worked. He will also discuss the applicability of NAFTA to stone produced in Canada, Mexico and the United States. In addition, he will explain the procedures that one should follow when requesting a ruling on tariff classification. The rulings program allows an importer or foreign shipper to determine the proper classification of a product prior to importation.




10:45 AM - 11:45 a.m.

Promoting with Pinterest

Moderator:  Paul Anater

Speakers: TBD

Experience Level:All
Pinterest is all the rage but how do you jump onboard? How can you use it to promote yourself and your business? Where do you find what to pin and how do you pin? Join our panel of expert pinners, all gathered through the Coverings 2013 Pinterest promotion, as they discuss the ins and outs of how they use Pinterest to promote their brand and their business. Plan to actively participate -- bring your questions and ideas -- this is your chance to unlock the mysteries of Pinterest and show your Pinfluence.



Selling and Marketing Green the Easy Way

Speaker:Paul Bumblauskas, PFC Services

Experience Level:Mid-Level/Leader
Finally, an easy way to demystify the drivers of the green buying decision. Understand green from your customer’s perspective as we swiftly take participants through the seven drivers of the green decision. Using these seven drivers, virtually anyone can relate to customer needs and this process works whether you sell business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C). This unique and practical green session will immediately drive more sales and profit. As an added benefit, manufacturer green programs will become more meaningful as you will be able to translate their objectives into satisfying your customers’ needs every time!





1:45 PM - 2:45 p.m.


ANSI’s Response to ISO 13007

Speaker:  Leigh Hightower, Mapei Corporation

Experience Level:Mid-Level/Leader

With the implementation of ISO 13007 making it easier to delineate the performance characteristics of specific setting materials, it became necessary to develop modifications to the existing ANSI standards to establish some kind of equivalency between the two specification entities. The ASC A108 committee has produced modifications to ANSI A118.1 and ANSI A118.4 and, in addition, has developed a new specification, ANSI A118.15, to address the needs of the industry providing the ability to specify specific products with clarity in a non-proprietary way. This presentation explores the new specifications, their similarities and differences with ISO 13007.



Innovative Technology for the Tile Trade

Experience Level: All

Join us in this new and interactive demonstration session where you will view up close the latest in technology for the tile trade. NTCA will provide live demonstrations of the latest technologies providing attendees the chance to view, touch and ask questions.




3:15 PM - 4:15 p.m.


The Marketing Diet: How to Improve Your Marketing & Lose Weight!

Speaker:Marty Gould, Focalize Now

Experience Level:Mid-Level/Leader
Nearly everyone who owns a business struggles with two things: their weight and their marketing. But, crazy as it may sound, there are seven specific things that, if you do them regularly, will guarantee weight loss and make your marketing more effective. You can improve your health and your company’s too, if you master these seven simple things.


Marty Gould knows it's true because it happened to him. A marketing consultant and business owner for nearly 30 years, Marty lost more than 60 pounds following these seven steps, from which he developed a similar program to transform any company into a lean, mean marketing machine. It's never too late to get in shape -- for you, or for your business. One way or another, you'll come away from this session with a plan for creating better marketing, and a better you!


BONUS! Every attendee will receive a 90-day healthy eating plan developed by Marty’s own personal trainer, the legendary Billy Beck III, a $99 value -- FREE!



Managing a Successful Family Business

Moderator:Tony Malisani, Malisani Inc.

Speakers:Michelle Goetzinger, Blume’s; Michael and Jeremy Twiss, Columbia Stone
Experience Level: Mid-Level/Leader
Working in a family business can be a challenge. Why are some businesses successful, while others struggle? What are the best practices? Join a panel of stone professionals from three different family businesses as they share their positive and not-so-positive experiences.



Advanced or Task Specific Certification – Phase II of CTEF Certification Program

Speakers:Bart Bettiga, National Tile Contractors Association; Scott Carothers, CTEF; other TBD

Experience Level:All
The tile industry has recognized the need for certification of installers for some time; and now, for the first time ever, specific skills required to be a successful tile installer will be offered in a certification developed, recognized and supported by the entire tile industry. Representatives of the organizations that worked to create the certification program will be on hand to explain the process and the importance for supporting this effort. 



New Ideas for the Management of the Installation-Based Business

Speaker:  Paul Bumblauskas, PFC Services

Experience Level:Mid-Level/Leader
This session features ten management techniques that must be implemented to optimize the value of any installation-based business. Drawing on many years of experience and research, we contrast installation businesses with product providers. This must be done whether you provide both or not. Those engaged in the installation business must be experts at "conversion," including not only the process of changing raw materials into finished designer goods, but also with optimizing the logistics experience. We will also reveal important financial techniques that are followed by the best installation-based companies and we will share an approach to financial information that will convert meaningless financial data into powerful sales and management information that will immediately drive more sales and profit.



Selling Tile: The Internet, the Industry & the Consumer

Moderator:Christine Whittemore, Simple Marketing Now, LLC

Speakers:Steve Slutzah, Westside Tile; Bill Buyok, Avente Tile; others TBD

Experience Level:All
Join this interactive panel discussion on how the internet is influencing the sale of tile to the consumer. From strict sale policies, to reduced prices and no sales tax, the internet has created a new frontier for the industry to navigate. Join the discussion and learn from all of the players how the internet is affecting the industry and the consumer.



The 10 Essentials to Selling Interior Designers and the Decorative Trade

Speakers: Barbara Marini, FASID, ASID International; Chris Ramey, Affluent Insights and The Home Trust

Experience Level:Leader
There are some very serious "dos" and "don’ts" when selling to interior designers. This forum, led by Barbara Marini, FASID, president of ASID International and Chris Ramey, president of Affluent Insights and The Home Trust will review exactly what you need to know to ensure you successfully serve this most important customer.



Why Am I Being Sued When I Did Nothing Wrong?

Speaker:Marc Rosenkrantz, Schechner Lifson Corporation

Experience Level:  All

As a business owner you must protect yourself and business from law suits that emanate from actions or inactions of your employees or representatives. The class will provide methods and techniques that will help avoid many claims that may lead to law suits. Having appropriate insurance and risk transfer programs are critical to minimizing your chance of suit.



Green Squared®—North America’s Standard and Certification Program for Tile Product Sustainability


Experience Level:All

The Green Squaredstandard ushers in a new, more meaningful conversation when it comes to tile and green building. It requires product sustainability in all aspects, from raw material extraction to end of product life management. Gone is the need to evaluate single-attribute sustainability claims like recycled content or low VOCs. Green Squaredrequires both, plus a host of additional properties to ensure balanced, thorough product assessments. This session breaks down the technical criteria of the Green Squaredstandard and explains how the Green Squared Certifiedmark facilitates marketplace specification and identification of products with the full range of social and ecological attributes most important to the North American green building community. 





3:30 PM - 4:30 p.m.


Installation Design Showcase Deconstructed
Speakers:NTCA Five Star Contractors and Atlanta-area design firm representatives
Experience Level: All

Meet with the Atlanta-area designers and NTCA Five Star Contractors of the Installation Design Showcase and learn what it takes to pull together these annual vignettes in just five days. During this one-hour interactive session, you will tour the four unique spaces of the showcase -- a bar/lounge, hotel lobby, inpatient room in a women’s birthing center and a master bathroom -- and discover every detail of the spaces. From the types of tiles chosen and why, to the thought-process behind the designs, to the exceptional installation techniques, the participants will leave no stone -- or tile -- unturned. Press, attendees and exhibitors are all invited to the session and the Installation Design Showcase Reception immediately following at 4:30 PM in the Showcase.




Thursday, May 2


8:00 AM - 9:00 a.m.

Exotic Stones – Expectations, Issues and Resolution Tips for Fabricators

Speakers:Filippo Emanuel, Tenax USA; Ron Hannah, Cadenza Corporation

Experience Level:Mid-Level

Due to technology/process advances, the industry has seen an explosion of exotic stones which has added to the appeal of natural stone among consumers. Sometimes the same technology that helped bring that stone to market is a struggle for the fabricator. Join this session to learn about exotic stone, how they are classified, and the new technology for quarrying and processing. Understand how to recognize slabs -- the good, the bad and those that could cause major headaches. From fixing color issues and variances, to edge polishing differences in colors, you will walk away with the knowledge you need to work with this growing trend.



Ready to Use or Premixed Grouts and Their Place in the Trade

Speakers:  Steve Taylor, MMSA; Leigh Hightower, MMSA

Experience Level:New to Profession/Mid-Level
Join representatives from the MMSA to learn the history of grout and ceramic tile before delving into the most recent developments in pre-mixed, ready-to-use grout. This session will detail the similarities and advantages of everything from the latest ready-to-use grout, traditional cement and epoxy-based grout. Understand the compositional differences and the curing mechanism of each type of grout and garner advice on installation of ready-to-use grout and the benefits to the end customers.



How to Market your Showroom Online

Speaker:Eric Edelson, Fireclay Tile

Experience Level:Mid-Level/Leader

If you ever wanted to learn how to better market your showroom online, this is the session for you. Online marketing is not new. Yet many in our industry are slow to respond to the demands on the modern customer who discovers, researches, and purchases online. While we are far from being Amazon.com, we can all dramatically improve the way we market our showroom or business online.


The focus of this session will be tips and tricks to marketing your showroom online. The goal is not to spend unnecessary money, but take key action steps that are free or inexpensive and will ensure your company has a strong presence and that your customers will find you. The session will focus on key tips for ensuring you have a great Web site, as well as basic search engine optimization strategies and local directory strategies to make sure you company is found online. Social media and online advertising will be briefly discussed as well. All attendees will also receive Eric’s free guide on "How to Market your Showroom Online."



Demystifying the Design Professional and Manufacturer Relationship

Speakers:  Michael P. Johnson, Michael P Johnson Design Studio; Lira Luis, ALLL

Experience Level:Mid-Level

Finding the right product for a project is equally important as finding the right manufacturer to work with on a project. A designer’s idea is only as good as the products he/she specifies as well as how the manufacturer executes this idea. Recent advancements in tile have allowed designers more opportunities for creativity. However, unless these advancements are communicated to designers and designers adopt these into projects, they remain just another product to sell. What happens when the innovative product is embraced by the designer, applied on a project that meets the client’s basis of design, and could deliver the design objective? How do those projects turn out as a result? This seminar examines the best practices related to the designer-manufacturer relationship and how both sides can benefit from the process. Several case-study projects will be presented demonstrating aesthetically pleasing projects resulting from successful designer-manufacturer collaborations.



Six Essential Strategies to Creating Passionate Customers

Speaker:Chris Ramey, Affluent Insights

Experience Level:Leader
This fast-paced, interactive and entertaining presentation will begin by defining and demonstrating the distinction between affluent and luxury customers. Providing counterintuitive insights and a fresh perspective from the most recent research, we will continually illustrate how it affects flooring consumers. The session will consider that affluent consumers judge companies by their collective experiences, so we will review everything in the context of the broad luxury segment; including the most effective current marketing and merchandising strategies.




8:00 AM - 9:30 a.m.

Best Practices for a Business-to-Business Content Marketing Strategy

Speaker:Vincent Moiso, Quarry Collection

Experience Level:Leader
This presentation will focus on best practices for businesses selling to other businesses on how they can incorporate a content marketing strategy into their current marketing plan. Attendees will learn what a content marketing strategy entails as well as how to maximize ROI from such a strategy. Content marketing is one of the hottest trends in marketing today. Using the right marketing channels to get your message out to your customers is vital to success. This presentation will provide the path to a current and successful strategy using not only general business best practices but best practices from within the tile and stone industry. Learn what other leading tile and stone industry professionals are using to promote their products and educate their customers.




8:00 AM - 10:00 a.m.

Stone Trends 2013

Speaker:Vince Marazita, Marazita & Associates

Experience Level:New to Profession/Mid-Level

From countertops to skyscrapers, the use of natural stone is a well accepted building material in the U.S. Especially in these lean construction years, it is crucial to understand the direction of the market for dimensional stone. Get an overall view of the market and market trends by attending this 15th Annual "State of the Industry" presentation on the dimensional stone market in the U.S. This session will cover information, sourcing, marketing and application trends in the stone industry over the last year, including examples of award winning projects that have been recognized for their use of natural stone.




9:30 AM - 10:30 a.m.

A Sales Seminar for Fabricators Who Hate Sales

Speaker:Thomas Robinson, ANO, Inc.

Experience Level:All

Many in the stone industry are business owners who know production and how to create a quality product -- but don't they know sales? If you are looking for more sales to help pay your overhead and generate long-term profits, then this session will provide you with a great foundation. Learn to recognize that all employees and all processes are part of the sales process and create a framework for sales in your business. Come prepared to develop strategies for sales success!



Social Media and Business: Creating Content to Engage, Build and Grow Customer Relationships

Speaker:Melissa Harrison, Allee

Experience Level:All

The new era of business means being accessible and engaging online. Learn how to build a creative online content strategy using social media tools to connect with your customers and, ultimately, drive sales. Those utilizing push marketing need not apply; businesses must adapt to online conversations that showcase their expertise and products all while accommodating what the audience wants. Learn how various social media channels are used, how they can be effective for your business and how to keep it all together, consistent and relevant. We're talking best practices, case studies, examples and a whole lot of templates that you and your team can take back to the office to start strategizing your own online content strategies using social media.




9:30 AM - 11:00 a.m.


Advanced Google Sketch-Up

Speaker:Alex Oliver, Igloo Studios

Experience Level:Mid-Level

Whether you've been using SketchUp for years, or you've recently begun to learn to use the program, this course is designed to make you aware of some of the more intermediate and advanced features of SketchUp that will help you take your 3D design and presentation skills to the next level. We'll deconstruct how to properly use groups, components, layers and scenes to keep your model well organized and highly functional. Additionally, we'll demonstrate tips and tricks for working with CAD drawings inside of SketchUp and how to take information out of SketchUp for use in creating construction documentation. 


To succeed fully in this course, students should already be able to: 

·         Define fundamental geometrical terms, including polygon, parallel, perpendicular, axes, arc and array. 

·         Define 3 dimensional drawing terms, including rendering, field of view and point of view. 

·         Demonstrate mouse skills, including double-clicking, drag, single-clicking and context-clicking (right-clicking). 

·         Demonstrate proficient use of the line (pencil), move, erase, orbit, zoom and select tools in SketchUp.