The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) has announced its 2023 Tile Setter Craftsperson of the Year Award in both the residential and commercial categories.

On the commercial side, the winner is Tommy Vu, of Westway Construction Services Flooring Division in Houston, Texas, while the recipient in the residential category is Joshua Nordstrom of Tierra Tile in Homer, AK. 

Winners will be recognized during the NTCA Ambassador Reception on January 22nd at TISE, in Las Vegas.

Tommy Vu was nominated for the award by Gary Sharpe, operations manager, Westside Construction Services Flooring Division, while Joshua Nordstrom was nominated by three different people:  Seth Ready, Ready Set Tile & Mosaic, Matthew Blood, Paragon Tile and Chris Resti, Crest Tile & Mosaic, Inc.  This is the first time one person was nominated by multiple individuals.

Tommy Vu, Westside Construction Services Flooring Division

After escaping from Vietnam and immigrating to the U.S., Vu found the language barrier challenging but eventually found a home in the tile industry.  He has been setting tile for over 25 years and has a passion to get others to take and pass the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) exam from the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF).  Vu is known for attending pre-installation meetings, coordinating with other trades, and presenting solutions to installation issues.  Sharpe stated, “I have watched him win over even the most cynical architects as he describes how a tile has to be installed as opposed to how it was drawn up.”  

Joshua Nordstrom, Tierra Tile

Nordstrom has been setting tile for 24 years. While he resides in Alaska, Nordstrom’s tile artistry is well known across the tile industry due to the social media posts on the “Kraken” shower.  Nordstrom proposed and worked with a team to develop a new artisan chapter in the NTCA Reference Manual, and he is a co-founder of the Tile Trade Artisans Guild on Facebook. Earlier this year, he was a lead trainer and co-developer of the first-ever tile artisan training program.  Resti stated, “Although I live on the other side of the country, he has always returned my calls and offered sound advice.  It was great meeting him and learning of his artistic process – his passion is contagious.”

The judging criteria looks at technical correctness of the tile installation, craftsmanship and artistry, the ability to resolve tile installation problems, mentoring others and continuing education.