Industry Insights
November 1st, 2005

November-December 2005

Alfonso Panzani elected president of Assopiastrelle

The Assembly of Assopiastrelle has elected Alfonso Panzani, President of Assopiastrelle for a two-year term 2005-2006. Panzani is president of the Italian ceramic manufacturer, Settecento Valtresinaro. His background with Assopiastrelle began in 1986, when he was elected a Board Member. He was most recently President of the Energy Commission of the Association; President of Gas Intensive, the consortium for the acquisition of methane gas among Italian energy-intensive sectors; and a member of the Administrative Boards of Cer-Energia and Cofim. From 1995-1997, he was President of the Assopiastrelle Commission for Promotional Activity and Tradeshows and a member of the council of CFI, the Confindustria organization that brings together associations that run tradeshows. He succeeds Sergio Sassi, who has been president for two consecutive terms, and due to bylaws, was no longer eligible for the presidency.

Master Tile announces new CEO

Master Tile announced the appointment of Bobby Glennon as Chief Executive Officer. Glennon’s leadership will drive Master Tile’s national expansion in the ceramic tile and stone distribution business. The company recently completed acquisitions that expanded the company’s geographic presence in its existing regions and added new territories in New Jersey, Georgia and Arizona. These additions significantly increase the company’s reach beyond its historic roots in Texas, Oklahoma, Florida and California. “Bobby is exactly the right leader for Master Tile. His extensive distribution background and vision for the floor covering industry complements our commitment to lead the ceramic and stone distribution segment,” said Hazem Farra, Chairman of Master Tile, who has served as interim CEO since November, 2004.

Delta relocates

Delta Diamond Tools, Inc., a leading tooling supply company to marble and granite fabricators in North America, has relocated to a newer, larger facility in Southfield, MI. This move has been part of the continued growth of the company, according to Delta Diamond Tools’ President Phil Mularoni. The new facility will increase Delta Diamond’s current space, allowing for the expansion of both its sales staff and inventory. Commenting on the move, Mularoni said, “We consider our new facility to be a critical part of our growth plans and therefore we are pleased to have achieved this milestone. The new facility will allow us to process and expedite sales and better service our customers.”

Staff additions at Alpha

Alpha Professional Tools® is pleased to announce the additions of Shawn Gilreath and Suzanne Wolf to the company’s sales team. Gilreath will be responsible for the Northwest Territory, which consists of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana and the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta, Canada. Wolf will be responsible for the New England Territory, which consists of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Eastern New York State and Quebec, Canada. Both come to Alpha will many years of experience in related fields.

First comprehensive shop and consumer safety video programs in Spanish

Aqua Mix, Inc., and the Marble Institute of America (MIA) are teaming up to offer the natural stone industry the first comprehensive shop and consumer safety video programs in Spanish. Introduced at StonExpo, the two-part training CD is a Spanish version of the Basics of Stone Shop Safety video that was introduced by MIA late in 2004. The first segment is a comprehensive overview of fabrication shop safety—from slab handling to working with hazardous materials. The second segment focuses on protecting consumers who visit stone shops and showrooms. The latter was trigged by the tragic death of a six-year old Florida boy and injuries his parents sustained when wooden A-frames loaded with stone collapsed while they were in the display area. E.Rick Baldini, president of Aqua Mix, Inc., a major supplier to the natural stone industry, said the company funded the Spanish versions for three reasons. “We clearly recognize the growing importance of the Hispanic community in the stone fabrication industry,” he said. “We recognize and support the great work that MIA is doing to help the stone industry. Aqua Mix’s mission statement includes the role of being a responsible corporate citizen and the Spanish-language safety video is a perfect fit.”

Villane joins Bostik Group

The Bostik Flooring Group has appointed Dennis M. Villane—a former customer—as the territory manager for Hydroment® and DURABOND® ceramic products in central California. Villane brings with him 10 years of flooring industry sales and customer service experience. He has served as a sales representative for Hydroment distributor Dal-Tile Corp. in Fresno, California, and as a customer service representative in Fresno for Hydroment distributor Bedrosian. Villane reports directly to Rick Tredwell, Bostik Flooring’s Western Sales Manager.

Marmo teams with MIA for seminars

Jim Callaghan, vice president of sales at Marmo Machinery USA, will speak at a series of educational seminars of the Marble Institute of America (MIA) that his company is sponsoring. Called the MIA Natural Stone Continuing Education Program, the seminars train architects, interior designers, general and residential contractors and stone industry employees. They are taught on a local or regional basis by members of MIA who cover such topics as an introduction to natural stone, natural stone selection criteria, and how natural stone goes from the quarry to the residential countertop or commercial project.

Marmo is sponsoring the institute’s regional one-day seminars for one year, which began in April 2005, and will run through March 2006. They are being held in five cities that include Phoenix, AZ, Austin, TX, Boston, MA, St. Cloud, MN, and Seattle, WA.

“I am very pleased and excited to be involved in this worthwhile program,” said Callaghan. “Education is key to becoming competitive and successful in the North American stone industry, especially with the backdrop of worldwide competition.”


Coverings, the largest and most comprehensive annual marketplace for tile and stone and the preferred forum for hard surface education, will be staged alternately between Orlando and Chicago, beginning with the April 2007 show. Announcement of the added venue at Chicago’s McCormack Place Convention Center was made by the show’s Board of Directors, which includes representatives from the five sponsoring organizations: Assopiastrelle (Association of Italian Ceramic Tile and Refactories Manufacturers), ASCER (Spain’s Ceramic Tile Manufacturers Association), TCNA (Tile Council of North America), CTDA (Ceramic Tile Distributors Association) and, NTCA (National Tile Contractors Association).

In commenting on the decision, Tamara Christian, president, National Trade Productions (NTP), show management for Coverings, said, “We’re very excited about this opportunity. Being in Chicago for alternate years will expand the audience for our exhibitors’ products and enhance the entire market for Coverings. The close proximity of major markets and the specifiers in those markets will be of great value to Coverings exhibitors. At the same time, the diverse nature of the expected attendees will create a meaningful total show experience and, together with the many cultural and entertainment offerings, will make their attendance at the show a profitable and rewarding experience.”

Chicago is home to a vital community of design and construction professionals. It’s also a convenient hub for national and international transportation, as close to being the “center” of the country as any American city. “This is exciting news,” said Christina Michael, principal of CSM Design Studio, Gurnee, IL. “Our business is high-end residential and hospitality and because of the sheer variety of exhibitors, no other trade show is as important to us as Coverings. It is essential for us to attend, though not always easy making the trip down to Orlando each year, so this change to Chicago is fantastic.”

Bohdan Gernaga, of Chicago-based Tymedesign, said, “I know so many of my peers who have had to put traveling to trade shows on the back burner because of the expense. The decision to add Chicago is so smart. I think Coverings in Chicago will attract even more attendance from nearby and further west. I’m all for it!”

Coverings 2006, April 4-7, will return to Orlando, where this year’s attendance hit a record high of more than 32,000. “In 2005, Coverings had a phenomenal show,” said Christian. “ Orlando has proven to be the appropriate location for us, and, now as we head to Chicago in alternate years, we’re confident that its growth will be fueled further.” Coverings 2007 is scheduled for April 17-20.

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