Industry Insights
May 1st, 2006

May-Junel 2006

Crossville, Inc. Celebrates 20 Years of Success

Crossville, Inc. will mark its 20th anniversary on May 6 with an employee celebration, followed by a series of distributor meetings designed to commemorate this achievement and lay the foundation for future success. “As we prepared to mark this milestone, we wanted a way to acknowledge the role our distributors have played in our success. So we decided to bring everyone home to Crossville to share some fond memories, recognize accomplishments, and start looking forward to an exciting future together. Our time together will be very productive, but also a lot of fun,” said Vice President Sean Gibbons, who is himself among Crossville’s 26 original employees. A seven-week series of meetings will begin May 15 and run through June 26. All meetings will be held in Crossville at the Hovmand Center, Crossville’s new state-of-the-art design center and training facility, named for former president Svend Hovmand in recognition of his dedication to education and lifelong learning.

In other news, Crossville announced that Mikeal Jensen has joined the company in the newly created role of Residential Design Director. His responsibilities include heading the Residential Advisory Council and working with the Crossville team on all aspects of design for the residential market. “Mikeal has a wealth of experience and expertise in the residential market—an area that Crossville is looking to grow,” says Sean Gibbons, vice president of sales for Crossville. “We feel very fortunate to have attracted talent of Mikeal’s caliber and welcome him to the team.” Jensen was showroom manager at Contempo Ceramic Tile in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he worked for ten years in showroom sales, design and management. He has also worked with other design groups in Utah and has served on several residential advisory councils in the tile industry. He holds a degree in interior design from LDS Business College in Salt Lake City.


Robert “Bob” E. Daniels was awarded the Tile Council of North America’s (TCNA) prestigious 2006 Tile Person of the Year award during Coverings 2006 in Orlando, Florida. For more than 20 years Daniels has worked on behalf of the tile industry. He has served as Chairman of ISO TC-189 Committee for international tile industry standards; Chairman of the Tile Council of North America’s Handbook Committee; Chairman of the board of directors of the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation; Board member of Tile Partners for Humanity; Member of Board of Governors for the International Tile Exposition, which operates the Coverings trade show; and Member of the ITAC 16 Committee to advise the U.S. Department of Commerce on technical trade issues.

After a successful engineering career in consumer electronics, Daniels entered the tile industry in 1984 as the founding president of KPT, Inc., a leader in manufacturing glazed floor tile. Daniels played a key role in developing a partnership between Clemson University and the Tile Council. The fruits of his labor helped to build a joint research and training center for ceramics, which includes a 20-meter roller hearth kiln, 680-ton press, and other laboratory equipment available to conduct innovative and cooperative research. The growth of the TCNA Product Performance Testing Laboratory, the success of the Clemson University partnership, the scale of industry participation in standards development, and the recognition of the Tile Council within the industry reflect his vision and leadership abilities. As TCNA’s spokesman, Daniels has written numerous articles regarding ceramic tile, education, and installation. He continues to educate our industry at architectural training seminars across the country in his capacity as TCNA’s Executive Director Emeritus.

TCNA also announced the appointment of Stephanie Samulski to the newly created position of Project Manager. Samulski’s responsibilities include coordinating industry training programs, developing educational materials, lecturing, working with product standards groups, and project inspection and consulting. “We are planning for the future. We have witnessed increased interest in three key areas—training, product standard development, and inspection services. Ms. Samulski’s educational responsibilities include being a guest instructor at the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation and assisting in a variety of educational projects. She will also be participating in the ANSI A137.1 standard discussions along with project work for TCA Team,” said Eric Astrachan, TCNA’s Executive Director. She brings seven years of residential and commercial tile installation experience, project management, crew supervision, estimating, customer/trade relations, and technical writing.

World Sales Group, LP named Importer of the Year

Pacific International Corp. names World Sales Group, LP of Dallas, TX its Importer of the Year for 2005. Pacific International is a producer of fine ceramic and porcelain tiles in China and has chosen World Sales Group for this honor based on sales volume and product development.

Polycor appoints Niedbalski

Polycor, the second largest supplier of natural stone in North America, appointed Alexandra Niedbalski to the position of Regional Sales Manager, Tiles and Slabs Distribution, for the eastern United States. Her responsibilities will include developing the tiles and slabs market to meet the important strategic objectives established for the sales organization as well as promoting new Polycor products throughout the eastern United States. “We are confident Alexandra will further enhance customer satisfaction with Polycor and promote our company as a one-stop shopping experience. She is an outstanding team leader, a creative person, and great to work with. Her new colleagues are thrilled to have such a dynamic person on board, and so am I,” said Mr. Jean St. Onge, President of Polycor Tiles and Slabs.

Iberia names Quimby vice president

Iberia Tiles named Jason T. Quimby Vice President. Quimby has been with the company more than 11 years and has been a true journeyman, experiencing nearly every facet of the business during his tenure. He began as a Management Trainee in the Pompano Warehouse. From here he quickly moved up the ranks, serving as Purchasing Manager, Sales Manager, General Manager of the Atlanta office and General Manager of the Florida office. After earning his MBA in Finance from Florida International University, Mr. Quimby also became the head of the Accounting Department. Rosa Sugrañes, Chairman of Iberia Tiles stated, “We are extremely excited about Jason’s new leadership role with the company. His dedication has been an invaluable asset to Iberia Tiles for more than a decade. Jason believes in our products and our team and has expressed his excitement at this new chance to strengthen our brand.”


Hacker Industries, Inc., the leading supplier of gypsum floor underlayments, acoustical control products and cementitious self-leveling underlayments, announces a new series of comprehensive training seminars for Licensed Applicators. The 2-day training seminars will focus on the company’s self-leveling underlayment product line—TRUE-SCREED® Cementitious Leveling Underlayment (CLU) and DYNA-SCREED™ SLU. Hacker Industries, Inc.’s underlayment specialists, technicians and outside experts will provide professional instruction regarding preparation techniques and installation guidelines for the new hydraulic cement-based floor underlayments. Other topics include step-by-step methods for successfully preparing slabs before installation, industry terminology, estimating and sales.


Activant Solutions Inc. is hosting a series of FREE Distribution Technology Demonstrations to show distributors what Activant Prophet 21™ can do for their businesses. “Even if you are not currently in the market for a new enterprise software solution, you should keep up-to-speed on what is available,” said Steve McLaughlin, senior vice president and general manager of Activant’s solutions for wholesale distributors. “Distribution Technology Demonstrations will show you how leading distributors use technology to keep ahead of their competition.”

Trikeenan Purchases NY Tile Factory

Trikeenan Tileworks announced the purchase of a 45,000 square foot tile manufacturing facility in Hornell, NY. The factory, equipped with state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment, will allow the artisan tile company to produce up to 1,200 square feet of tile daily. Trikeenan plans to utilize the facility to produce its newest line, Modulus. Trikeenan will also maintain its West Swanzey, NH facility, where it will continue to produce many of its smaller handmade field and Elementals collections, decorative tiles and trim. “Put simply, we’ve had the good fortune to outgrow our current space,” say owners Kristin & Stephen Powers. “Trikeenan has attracted a lot of attention among designers, homeowners and the press, and the demand for our unique tile continues to grow around the country. The purchase of this facility enables us to meet that demand. It also allows us also bring mid-priced artisan lines to the market, such as Modulus, making Trikeenan tile accessible to a larger range of customers. People are about to see some very exciting new things from Trikeenan.”

MIA and OSHA agree to provide training

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Marble Institute of America (MIA) in Cleveland have signed an alliance to provide MIA members and others with information and training resources to help them protect employees’ health and safety. The alliance was also signed by the state OSHA consultations services of Ohio, Minnesota and Wisconsin that offer free job safety and health advice, primarily for small businesses in high-hazard industries. State consultations services are confidential and separate from OSHA’s enforcement arm.

“This partnering effort with OSHA is another important step in MIA’s aggressive safety initiative,” said Gary Distelhorst, executive vice president of MIA, which has more than 1500 members around the world. “In the past two years, MIA has produced four safety videos, each of which was distributed to more than 10,000 stone industry companies. In addition, MIA created several safety posters which are being rolled out to industry companies.” Distelhorst said impetus for the alliance with OSHA began when MIA worked with the agency in developing a video promoting the importance of OSHA compliance. During the two-year alliance, OSHA and MIA will develop information to help MIA member employers and workers recognize and prevent such hazards as exposure to silica and handling slabs of stone. The alliance will also develop safety and health training and education programs and will provide expertise to develop workplace safety and health curricula on the prevention of silicosis in the stone industry. OSHA will encourage states that have OSHA State Plans to participate in the alliance.

Ilva names Torres

Ilva S.A., the leading Argentine producer of porcelain tiles, has named Javier Torres as export manager. Torres brings to the position experience in sales as well as time spent as marketing manager and foreign trade manager in the food industry. Ilva’s Board of Directors expressed their confidence in Torres’ ability. “Javier’s previous experience makes him a perfect fit for this position. We have no doubt he will bring a fresh approach to Ilva and continue making great progress with the company.”

In the position of export manager, Torres will be based out of the company’s Buenos Aires office and will work with the exports team, continuing to provide the quality service to customers that Ilva has become known for. “I’m looking forward to the challenges of this position and the opportunity to work with our clientele,” said Torres.

2006 Cornerstone Award to Craig Hamilton of MAPEI

The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) gave one last honor to Craig Hamilton, MAPEI Corporation’s Director of Research and Development, at the 2006 Coverings event. Hamilton, who passed away unexpectedly in September 2005, was awarded the Fourth Annual Joe Tarver Cornerstone Award for Service to the Tile Industry. A commemorative plaque was presented to his wife and family during the Tile Letter Awards ceremony on April 6. Hamilton was in the tile and stone industry for more than 20 years. In 1989, he joined the MAPEI Corporation, headquartered in Deerfield Beach, Florida. While at MAPEI, Craig first managed the Technical Services Department. More recently, he served as the Director of Research & Development, working on new technologies such as Mapecem® Quickpatch, Ultra SkimCoat™, and BioBlock™ antimicrobial technology. In fact, Hamilton last spoke at Coverings on the topic of antimicrobial technology and its importance in the tile and stone industry.

Hamilton served on a number of committees, including his role as convener of ISO Technical Committee 189, which was responsible for drafting the recently approved ISO 13007 Classification Standards for ceramic tile adhesives and grouts. At the time of his death, Hamilton was also serving as President of the Materials and Methods Standards Association (MMSA). Because of his interest in standards, Hamilton also worked with the ANSI Standards Committee and was a member of NTCA. His articles appeared in numerous industry publications as well as being published by the Ceramic Tile Institute of America (CTIOA).

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