Educational sessions are organized into curated tracks for each segment of attendees —distributors, retailers, architects, designers, fabricators, contractors, builders/remodelers, as well as those professionals seeking green education — and are open to all attendees and exhibitors, based on their individual areas of interest. The Coverings conference component is consistently ranked as one of the show's most valuable features, and has been a critical element since its inception in 1990. The experience yields unparalleled education and, in most cases, the benefit of highly valuable CEU credits.
Among the impressive lineup are four keynote speakers – Eric Astrachan, Executive Director of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA); Edie Cohen, Deputy Editor of Interior Design Magazine; Harris Rosen, President of Rosen Hotels & Resorts and Joey Shimoda, Chief Creative Officer of The Shimoda Design Group – who are innovators and influencers in their respective industries. Each keynote session will serve a complimentary breakfast or lunch and promise to shed light on a range of topics at the forefront of industry conversation.
Astrachan will discuss "Industry Update: Latest News on Tile Standards, Specification Issues, and Other Important Developments" on Tuesday, April 14 at 8:00 a.m.
Back by popular demand, the TCNA Executive Director will report on industry current events, including regulatory issues, consumption data, changes to standards and the TCNA Handbook. Astrachan also will discuss a host of other issues and controversies, with a focus on how they affect segments of the tile industry. The broad-spectrum update will cover latest developments from the TCNA Lab, the latest on tile and green construction and various pitfalls and liabilities to avoid.
Cohen will host "Interior Design Magazine’s Hospitality Design Power Panel" on Wednesday, April 15 at 9:15 a.m. The panel will showcase top designers from Interior Design’s Top 100 Hospitality Giants, who will discuss innovations, trends and developments in hospitality design, growth sectors, and how tile and stone comes into play. Panelists will offer their insight and tips on creating inviting and innovative spaces through case studies, projects and more.
Shimoda will present on "The Sensuality of Surface," on Wednesday, April 15 at 12 p.m. The Shimoda Design Group has spent more than a decade crafting spaces that celebrate the sensuality of surface. The firm specializes in creating spaces that elevate each client's brand vision and the innovative use of surfacing materials that set a tone to deliver a focused message about culture and design.
Rosen of Rosen Hotels & Resorts will round out the keynote sessions on Thursday, April 16 at 8 a.m. Bart Bettiga, of the National Tile Contractors Associationand Coverings' 2015 Chairman, will sit down with Rosen for a one–on–one exclusive interview that will address the hospitality business, the design industry and his view of the future of design.
What’s more, Coverings offers six featured sessions that provide additional vantage points from the tile and stone industry:
"Future Color/Design Trends: Innovation and Impact" – Leatrice Eiseman of the Pantone Color Institute will discuss how to stay on top of the latest color forecasts in a highly visual world in order to sell products or services. Eiseman will examine how traditional media such as print and T.V. commercials have become more inventive and sophisticated and how new technologies have introduced unexpected color stories. This session will also address what is driving these color trends and how they impact ones business to better know how to make critical color decisions.
Tuesday, April 14, 9:30–10:30 a.m.
"Secrets to Creating Remarkable Customer Experiences" – Sandy Smith of Sandy Smith Seminars notes the decreased dependency of the customer on the seller for information due to the emergence of the Internet. Smith's presentation will identify the escalating expectation of today's 24-hour customer and highlight best practices of organizations that consistently deliver remarkable customer experiences.
Tuesday, April 14, 10:45–11:45 a.m.
"Stone Trends 2015" – Vince Marazita of Marazita & Associates, will provide an overall view of the market and market trends at this 17th Annual "State of the Industry" presentation on the dimensional stone market in the U.S. This session covers information, sourcing, marketing and application trends in the stone industry over the last year with examples of award–winning projects that have been recognized for their use of natural stone.
Tuesday, April 14, 1:30–3:30 p.m.
"Designing Wellness" – Randy Fiser, Executive Vice President and CEO of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), will advise on how ASID and its members are improving lives through better design in response to the increased attention to wellness. With policy makers and the public focusing on health and well–being initiatives, interior designers have taken on a valuable role in this wellness movement.
Wednesday, April 15, 1:30–2:30 p.m.
"Design Build Obligations: You May Not Know It, But You Own It" – Superior Tile and Stone's Tommy A. Conner will explore Design Build, a project delivery method that provides the owner with a single point of contact for design and construction. This session will provide awareness of the unique financial and liability risks associated with design build that are essential to avoiding unpleasant surprises.
Thursday, April 16, 9:15–10:15 a.m.
"10 Best Practices to Maximize Your Store Experience & Sales" – Retail Minded's Nicole Leinbach Reyhle will present on the 10 best practices in today’s crowded marketplace to help retailers and designers increase their success. This session will review current market trends, in–the–know retail tips, and realistic ways to maximize time and sales. Attendees will have the opportunity to develop a checklist to evaluate their own store "best practices" to grow beyond existing store goals. These 10 tips may be quick, but they are spot on and will offer effective support in surviving in today’s competitive marketplace.
Thursday, April 16, 10:30–11:30 a.m.