Industry Insights
March 1st, 2006


March-April 2006

CTaSC Announces Winners of U.S. Stone Survey Contest

Ceramic Tile and Stone Consultants, LLC (CTaSC), a national company providing marketing research and business planning services, announced that Bob Traxler, president of Arizona Tile, Phoenix , AZ and Larry Mattero, general manager of Marble Crafters Inc., Trainer, PA, are the winners of Apple iPod nanos for their participation in the recent U.S. Stone Survey. The winners were randomly chosen from a record number of industry members that completed the U.S. Stone Survey that was conducted last fall by CTaSC. Over 2,000 manufacturers, quarries, exporters, importers, distributors, fabricators and retailers were invited to take the stone survey developed by CTaSC using progressive online technology that ensured the confidentiality. Each person who completed the survey will receive a free summary of the survey results. Importers, distributors and retailers were quizzed on the types of stone they carry, slab and tile sizes, sales by type of customers and sales by types of applications. Fabricators were asked to answer questions about their fabrication business, including shop size, equipment brands and value, purchase and selling price of stone, annual sales, and types of products and stone that are fabricated. Each group was asked to indicate their business performance during 2005 and their forecast for next year. Donato Pompo, owner of CTaSC, underscored the importance of the information gathered from the survey by stating, “In-depth information about the stone industry is very hard to come by.” Pompo cited the difficulty in pinpointing the amount of slab versus tile sold in the U.S. since much of imported stone is not clearly differentiated by size when it enters the country, so the survey allows CTaSC to extrapolate that information. CTaSC’s partner, Catalina Research, a prominent research firm for the tile and stone industries, will incorporate the stone survey findings into the 2006 Stone Study that will be released in early February. For information, contact CTaSC at

Great Lakes Ceramic Tile Council appoints new Consultant

The Great Lakes Ceramic Tile Council is pleased to announce the appointment of Kurt von Koss as Consultant. Kurt has 26 years of tile industry experience. The Great Lakes Ceramic Tile Council was formed in 1958 to promote ceramic tile, related products and proper installation methods to the professional design community for the Detroit Ceramic Tile Contractors Association. Kurt replaces Mr. Robert Hund who guided the council since 1963.


LATICRETE’s North American division is proud to announce that its salesperson, Ron Nash, was unanimously selected by officials at Inland Northwest Distributing as Outstanding Vendor Sales Representative for 2005. Based in Utah , Nash’s territory includes Utah , Wyoming , Idaho , Montana and eastern parts of Washington State . In 2005, his territory returned a remarkable increase in sales above last year’s totals.

Nash credits tremendous support from LATICRETE, and his regional sales manager Matt Sparkman, as well as Northwest’s dedicated team of sales representatives for enabling him to meet and exceed his goals for 2005. “I partner with my customer’s sales representatives,” Nash said, “I go as far as I can to meet their needs.” Nash combines a great understanding of Inland Northwest and LATICRETE’s business objectives with the will to rise above the “call of duty” to help achieve sales goals. His work ethic, product knowledge and enthusiasm set him apart in an ultra-competitive industry. “The effort that (Nash) puts forward and his absolute focus and dedication to the end result are amazing,” said Gary Verhey, President of Inland Northwest Distributing.

Joe Renzetti Joins Specialty Construction Brands

Joe Renzetti has been named president and general manager at Specialty Construction Brands (SCB), the manufacturer of TEC® brands. Renzetti was previously general manager of Adalis, a global consulting firm that serves the consumer packaging, wood panel and corrugated manufacturing industries. Under his strategic guidance, Adalis extended its reach by redefining its brand and service offering. SCB and Adalis are both in the H.B. Fuller Company’s Full-Valu and Specialty Group. Renzetti has held multiple positions with H.B. Fuller since joining the company in 1994 after serving as an officer in the U.S. Army. A native of Virginia , he holds bachelor’s degrees in economics and history from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in management from Purdue University .



The Tile Council of North America, Inc. (TCNA) Product Performance Testing Laboratory is meeting increased demand for product testing by expanding its facility, purchasing equipment, and adding staff. “Over the past six years, we have seen a steady increase in the demand for our testing services,” said Eric Astrachan, the TCNA Executive Director. “In part, this is due to the growth of new materials coming on the market, and in part, due to our expanding client base.”

“We expect the demand for product performance data will continue to grow. To meet this demand, we expanded the testing area, purchased a new Instron machine, and hired Dr. Virgil (Sonny) Irick as Senior Laboratory Manager,” remarked Noah Chitty, Director of Product Standards and Laboratory Services. “We are now evaluating additional equipment to provide further services for the tile industry,” said Mr. Astrachan. “New ISO standards and future changes in the A137.1 standard will require additional test equipment.”

MIA installation video demos thin-set method

A major new training video that provides a comprehensive overview of how to measure, prepare the surface and install natural stone with the thin-set method has been produced by the Marble Institute of America (MIA) as part of its continuing educational video series. This video was sponsored by Walker Zanger, one of the industry’s most prestigious companies. Called “Basics of Natural Stone Flooring Installation: Thin-Set Method,” a major focus of the program is proper substrate preparation, without which there is a high probability of failure. It also covers measuring, preparing a grid, installing the stone tile and applying grout. “We are pleased to be working with the Marble Institute of America on its expanding program to provide quality video training programming for the natural stone industry,” said Jonathan Zanger, president of Walker Zanger. “We believe that when there is consistency of quality throughout the marketplace, it eventually benefits the entire industry. The only way to achieve it is through continuing education.” Two industry veterans collaborated with MIA’s video production team to create the program. They included Ralph Williamson, Ceramic Tile Consulting of Arizona, Inc. of Phoenix , Arizona , a leading consultant on stone floor installations, and Kevin Padden, KM Padden, of Pinal County , Arizona . “We expect the new training program will have wide usage throughout the industry and hope it will help raise the level of professionalism and quality in the industry. We are extremely pleased to have Walker Zanger’s sponsorship for this important element in MIA’s continuing series of training programs,” said Ken Krebs, the 2006 president of MIA.

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