Industry Insights
January 1st, 2007

January-February 2007

Q.E.P. Promotes Clingan to Senior Vice President

Q.E.P. CO., INC. announced the promotion of Jamie Clingan to Senior Vice President of International Marketing. In her new role, Ms. Clingan will be responsible for the Company’s direct import programs to all large volume buyers and customers globally, direct selling within the China domestic market, expansion of existing product lines and strategic realignments of current and potential target markets served. Lewis Gould, Q.E.P.’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, stated: “Ms. Clingan has been with the company for over 12 years. She has traveled to all of our international subsidiaries and spent last month working in our China Buying Office, visiting vendors and contacting both international and domestic American retailers. Jamie has a unique knowledge of our business and is highly qualified for this position.”


Marmo Machinery USA announced the appointments of Keton Sompura as CNC specialist to handle the increased demand for CNC machinery and Eric Fitzgerald and Mike Johnson as service technicians. Sompura is responsible for installation, service and training for the company’s extensive line of CNC machines and software, including the CTEC-2, CTEC-3 and the new CTEC-3A machines. For the last six years he has been a skilled machinist working exclusively on CNC machines at the company’s Southfield, Michigan headquarters. Fitzgerald brings several years of machine knowledge to his new position. He is responsible for installing and servicing CNC machines, bridge saws, and edge polishing machines. Johnson also has an extensive background in the machine industry. His responsibilities include installing and servicing CNC machines, bridge saws, and edge profilers. Johnson & Fitzgerald will spend most of their time traveling to shops around the country.


LATICRETE International founder and chairman emeritus, Dr. Henry M. Rothberg, has made a major financial contribution to fund 20 scholarships annually for students to pursue a degree in chemical engineering at his alma mater, the University of South Carolina’s School of Chemical Engineering. Today the Henry M. Rothberg Bicentennial Scholarships are a powerful recruiting tool used by the School of Chemical Engineering at USC. “Rothberg Scholars” represent the top 5 percent of their graduating high school class and have SAT scores that average 100 points higher than other students enrolled in chemical engineering at the university. In order to qualify, applicants must be a U.S. citizen and maintain a B average or higher. With the enrollment numbers for chemical engineering on the decline at universities across the country, the Rothberg Scholarship program has helped USC maintain a stable level of enrollment. Dr. Rothberg, a graduate of the University of South Carolina’s School of Chemical Engineering, founded LATICRETE International in 1956. His dedication to the science of chemical engineering not only fueled the success of LATICRETE International; it is now offering students at the University of South Carolina the opportunity to pursue their own success within that profession. Tile and stone industry members and their families are encouraged to apply for these Rothberg– LATICRETE scholarships by contacting the admissions department at the University of South Carolina.

NTCA unveils new logo

In honor of its upcoming 60th anniversary, the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) has commissioned a new logo. The new design was developed by the Brazilian firm Opera Designs, with the assistance of Davis Leichsenring, owner of Holland Tile, a Rockville, Md., tile contractor. The image symbolizes that the association has its base in tile. The original logo was a trefoil design of stylized mosaics, stone and terrazzo—all materials important to the tile contractor. The new logo is part of NTCA’s goal of raising its visibility, starting in its 60th year. “The NTCA board of directors and staff felt that an increased dedication to public relations, marketing and awareness of our products and services to the trade was essential to our growth,” said Bart Bettiga, NTCA executive director. “A new logo indicates a new approach to the industry. This logo reassures our members and the industry that NTCA staff and board of directors are building awareness about the benefits our products and services bring to various segments of the industry: builders, architects, general contractors and consumers. The logo emphasizes that companies supporting this association —as well as association members—are serious about maintaining highly professional and ethical standards in their business approaches, and are committed to staying informed about all technical matters relating to proper tile installation.” Beginning in January, NTCA will feature the new logo prominently on all materials, literature, advertising, websites, and promotional items.


Ilva S.A., leading Argentinean producer of porcelain tile, recently teamed up with Harold Yarborough to make Ilva’s industry leading products available at D&B Tile Distributors, one of the largest tile distributors in the United States. With nine locations in Central and Southern Florida, D&B Tile Distributors now offers Ilva’s Oxide, Pietre Traventine, Crema Marfil and Pietra Patagonica tile series to buyers in yet another convenient location. Ilva’s high quality products created with advanced and unique technology make Ilva a leading competitor in the international market. “Ilva has some exciting new products,” said Harold Yarborough, vice president/general manager of D&B Tile. “But they have exciting products that have become classics, too. One of the best things about Ilva is that its tile always has perfect coloration. It’s partly due to the manufacturing process but also because of the unique designs. We feel Ilva’s products appeal to a wide variety of clients, from residential remodelers to commercial clients, as well as our architectural and design orientated client base. There is just a lot of potential there.”


The Marble & Granite Gallery announces the appointments of Julie Gilbert as design consultant and Bobby Goetzke as outside sales representative. Gilbert brings several years of design experience to her new position. Her responsibilities include working with fabricators and individuals to select stone materials and make thematic and design choices. She is also responsible for administrative tasks such as generating quotes and pricing lists, and completing and processing orders. Goetzke has an extensive background in the marble and granite industry. He will spend part of his time in the showroom educating customers on various stone materials, as well as helping them select among a wide variety of colors and styles. The remainder of his time will be spent outside the Gallery generating new contacts and meeting with customers and designers.


The Association of Ceramic Tile Manufacturers of Spain (ASCER), The Association of Italian Ceramic Tile & Refractory Manufacturers (Assopiastrelle), and the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) join the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) and other industry supporters in addressing the growing need for trained tile installers in America. According to Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) Executive Director, Dave Gobis, these organizations are committed to helping CTEF expand and provide more installation training nationwide. In addition to financial donations, TCNA and NTCA will be providing two instructors to CTEF, Stephanie Samulski and Gerald Sloan, to teach courses and workshops that deliver hands-on techniques and the latest information on standards. The board of CTEF is well-represented and committed to expanding installation education in our industry, said Mr. Svend Hovmand, Chairman of Crossville and President of the Board of Directors of CTEF. Distributors, contractors, domestic manufacturers, and foreign manufacturers are all represented with the recent additions of Mr. Harold Yarborough of D & B Tile, Ms. Patti Fasan of Professional Attention to Tile Installation, representing ASCER, and Mr. Donato Grosser of D. Grosser and Associates, representing Assopiastrelle. Other board members are Jim Isaminger with DMI Tile and Marble, Eric Astrachan with TCNA, Bart Bettiga with NTCA, Steve Rausch with Georgia-Pacific Dens-Shield, and Peter Nielsen of Schluter Systems. “Over the past ten years, the number of tile installers has not kept pace with large increases in the amount of tile manufactured abroad and sold in the U.S. Clearly, this shortage will impact the future growth of our market. We are excited by the participation of our European colleagues in the continued growth of CTEF and the positive impact this will have on quality installation education,” said Eric Astrachan, Executive Director of TCNA. “CTEF’s objective is to expand our curriculum and course availability on an even greater national scope with this infusion of resources and financial support,” remarked Mr. Gobis. “We have grown due to the generous support of manufacturers and the Tile Council, but this new surge of industry support will take us to the next level.”

Richard Anderson Joins Esquire

Richard Anderson has joined the Esquire brand sales team as Sales Manager for the East Coast. He is based in Rhode Island. Anderson, a 20-year tile industry veteran, comes directly to Esquire from a five-year tenure with American Marazzi, where he served as Northeast Sales Manager. Previously, he worked for fifteen years with an East Coast tile distributor. “Anderson’s background in both sales and distribution brings real strength to the Esquire team,” states Clyde Black, Vice President of Distributor Sales for Florim USA. “He has a great understanding of his customers’ needs because he has been there himself.” Anderson’s knowledge of the East Coast territory is also a solid advantage.


Sicis, the world-renowned producer of Italian mosaics recently unveiled its 13,000 square foot showroom at 470 Broome Street—a landmark building in the heart of SoHo’s cast-iron district. The U.S. flagship showroom opened on Monday, July 24th. The opening of Sicis in New York City will centralize distribution in the U.S. market. Sicis believes in providing an extremely efficient distribution system in addition to offering exceptional product. In addition, the showroom will support the marketing of Sicis Collections for authorized Sicis Dealers and Distributors nationwide. Known as “The Art Factory” for its quality, creativity and innovation, Sicis designed this showroom with the objective of showcasing the infinite possibilities of mosaic. Over 25,000 square feet of mosaics were imported from Ravenna, Italy to decorate the three floors of the building. The first level has a glass floor which has been covered in mosaic and illuminated from beneath, creating an evocative futuristic setting. Twenty-eight colorful panels introduce Sicis’ newest mosaic collection, Flower Power. The beauty of the Flower Power Collection is emphasized by the brilliancy, transparency and dynamism provided by the mosaics. The floor of the lower level was lowered an additional 3 feet to allow maximum showcase space. The floor masterfully combines 43 patterns of classic white on white marble and glass mosaic, highlighted with a dazzling assortment of Sicis’ famous mosaic rug patterns.


Colwell Industries, Inc. announces the promotion of Donovan Freeland to President, Indiana Operations, and Robert Cook to Executive Vice President of their Kendallville, Indiana, facility, and the addition of Phillip Fourie to its Toronto, Canada sales and marketing team. Freeland will oversee all aspects of Colwell’s Indiana manufacturing facilities and will continue to head up domestic sales efforts. Freeland joined Colwell in 1978 and has held various management positions in manufacturing and sales of coated and non-coated products. Cook will oversee all aspects of production including matching and coating, printing, finishing, engineering, logistics and Lean Manufacturing. Fourie will be responsible for developing new markets for Colwell’s direct color deposit business and supporting existing accounts. He comes to Colwell with an extensive background in advertising, marketing and publishing.


The Marble Institute of America (MIA) has announced that an update of its acclaimed Dimension Stone Design Manual (Version VII) will be published in January 2007. The manual is the most authoritative technical resource in the industry, used by thousands of natural stone contractors, design professionals, and construction specifiers. “There is a great deal of new and modified information in Version VII,” said Charles J. Muehlbauer, technical director for the Marble Institute of America, the world’s leading resource for information on dimension stone and its applications. “Among the many updates, the highlight is the modernization of the drawing details,” he added. Among major additions are information on the “Green” movement as it relates to stone, modified details on using stone in wet areas, clarification of the information on tile setting methods, 75 new terms in the glossary, and incorporation of the most current countertop specifications. Version VII also includes modification of the vertical surfaces anchorage descriptions, modified cleaning and maintenance methodologies, a new chapter on soapstone and much more.

Siri North America

Siri North America was formed in August 2006 by Ron Rongholt and David Jost. It is located at 7635 W. Oklahoma Ave., Suite 208—Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53219. All products are stored and shipped directly out of Boca Raton, Florida. Ron and David have over 30 years of combined experience in the contractor’s supply business. They have spent the last six years importing and selling high-end Italian machines and equipment through distribution for the tile and stone industry. Siri manufactures professional tile and stone installation tools and is located in Modena, Italy. They are celebrating their 30th anniversary this year. The guiding principle of Siri North America’s company is “Success through Distributorship.” The company is first and foremost concerned with the success of distributors and uses all of its combined assets to ensure that distributors achieve success in selling its products.


The Stone News Channel, a powerful new quarterly video and Internet-based communications vehicle featuring news about the natural stone industry around the world will be launched in mid-February by the Marble Institute of America (MIA). The SNC, approved by MIA’s board of directors at StonExpo in Las Vegas, will be featured on the association’s popular website, distributed to all of MIA’s nearly 1800 members via DVD, and made available via the Internet to thousands of others in the industry. The Stone News Channel is being produced by MIA’s marketing firm, Levy Media Group of Cleveland, which has vast experience in developing video and marketing programs for use by the natural stone industry. Sponsorship for the 20-minute quarterly program will be provided by a limited number of suppliers to the industry, said Gary Distelhorst, executive vice president of MIA. “By using video and the Internet, sponsors will be able to dramatically demonstrate how their machinery, tools and other stone industry products really work in real time,” said Distelhorst. “This concept really breaks the mold of traditional media communications and provides sponsors an opportunity to separate their companies from others in the marketplace. The first program will be available for viewing in mid-February, providing sponsors an outstanding opportunity to preview what they will be showing at the new StonExpo East in Atlanta in late March and/or at Coverings in Chicago in mid-April. To view a pilot of SNC, visit

In other news, MIA announced the winners of its prestigious 2006 Pinnacle Awards competition, honor projects that demonstrate exceptional beauty, creativity, ingenuity, and craftsmanship in the use of granite, marble, travertine, limestone, and other natural stones. The competition is open to MIA members around the world. The 2006 Pinnacle Awards winners are: Commercial Interior Award of Excellence to Dan J. Sheehan Company of Savannah, Georgia, for Telfair Museum’s Center for the Arts. The Dan J. Sheehan Company also received an Award of Merit for the exterior of the project. Commercial Exterior Award of Excellence to Carnevale and Lohr of Bell Gardens, California, for the new construction of the Getty Villa, in Malibu, California. Restoration Award of Excellence to Rugo Stone of Lorton, Virginia, for Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church in Potomac Falls, Virginia. Rugo Stone also won two Awards of Merit. The firm was honored in the Commercial Interior category for its stone work on the Commodore Uriah P. Levy Center, a new Jewish chapel at the U.S. Naval Academy, and in the Commercial Exterior category for the Divinity School addition at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Two Awards of Merit were presented in the category of kitchens and baths. Millennium Marble and Tile of Pembroke, Florida, was selected for their work on a kitchen in a Boca Raton, Florida, home. Walker Zanger received an award for a unique bathroom application of natural stone in a show house in New York City, which highlights the best in interior design as a fund-raising initiative for the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club.

Ceramic Tiles of Italy Call For Entries 2007

Ceramic Tiles of Italy is now accepting entries for their 14th annual Design Competition. The award honors design excellence in projects that feature Italian ceramic tile. North American architects and interior designers are invited to submit residential, commercial and institutional projects completed between January 2002 and January 2007. Entries may be submitted for domestic and international new construction and renovation projects. A panel of design professionals will judge the projects on overall design of the project, innovative use of tile, tile design, quality of installation and degree that tile enhanced the setting. Winners in each category will receive a cash prize of $5,000 and a trip to Coverings, which will be held in Chicago, Illinois, from April 17-20, 2007. Winners will also be treated to a 5-day trip to Cersaie 2007, the world’s largest exhibition for ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings, and join a delegation of leading design media journalists. The organization will once again offer an additional $1,000 to be shared by the winning contractor/distributor team. Sponsored by Ceramic Tiles of Italy and The Italian Trade Commission. Deadline for entries is February 9, 2007. For information contact Novità Communications,

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