Industry Insights
March 1st, 2007

March-April 2007

Rosenkrantz named President

Schechner Lifson is both pleased and proud to announce the elevation of Marc Rosenkrantz to the position of President of the firm. Marc merged his company with ours ten years ago and quickly proved himself as one of the top salespeople in the industry. Simultaneously, he has taken the reins of the Property Casualty Division of Schechner Lifson and helped it to grow to over $30 million in revenue in 2006. The members of the Stone Industry have long recognized his unique ability to serve the industry’s insurance needs and now wish to recognize his strong leadership in the corporate structure.


ParexLahabra, Inc. announced the acquisition of Mer-Kote Products, Inc., a Torrance, California-based manufacturer of the Mer-Krete Systems™ line of waterproofing and crack isolation membranes, thin-set mortars, grouts, underlayments, and decking products. MerKote has successfully provided over 500 million feet of exterior deck coatings and one billion square feet of waterproofing for ceramic tile and stone installations with their Mer-Krete Systems™ brand. Mer-Kote has become one of the tile market’s highly recognized brands for their leadership, technical knowledge, and unique products. The acquisition of Mer-Kote is consistent with ParexLahabra’s growth strategy, a mix of internal growth with new products, services, and expanded distribution and external growth through the acquisition. In 2004, ParexLahabra launched Davco tile setting materials and grouts in New Mexico, Colorado and California leveraging their strengths in powdered goods manufacturing. The Mer-Krete and Mer-Ko brands will improve the company’s presence in the national market while adding products, expertise, distribution network and a prime manufacturing location. Mer-Kote increases the product offerings of the ParexLahabra brands with the addition of products such as waterproofing and crack isolation membranes, unique floor preparation and tile installation products. Mer-Kote customers will benefit from an extended line of products with the ParexLahabra worldwide expertise in the powder products. The company plans to continue to provide excellent products and services as well as promote teamwork between all brands within the ParexLahabra group. Mer-Krete and Mer-Ko will maintain a strong presence in their existing market. Mer-Krete and Mer-Ko will maintain the current management team including Mr. Tim McDonald as operations officer and Clint Anna, national sales manager. ParexLahabra, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Parex Group, a division of Materis-France, with over 35 manufacturing locations worldwide.


Jim Dougherty, Executive Vice Pres-ident of Sales and Marketing for Florim USA, has announced the addition of industry veterans Ron Spezzaferri and Gene Dingman as Regional Vice Presidents of Sales. Their appointments are effective immediately.

Spezzaferri is Regional Vice Pres-ident of Sales for the East Region and is based outside of Boston, Massachu-setts. He brings over 20 years of industry experience to this position, including 13 years as a Regional Manager at Crossville, Inc. Dingman, Regional Vice President of Sales for the West Region, comes to Florim from StonePeak. He has more than 25 years of industry experience. He is based in Fort Collins, Colorado. “Ron and Gene both bring extensive experience that will be vital to Florim as we move into a whole new era of product design, merchandising and logistics.,” Dougherty stated. “Both have worked with many of our distributors and look forward to renewing these relationships and establishing new ones.”


International Wholesale Tile Inc. (IWT), a value-added distributor and merchandiser of ceramic, porcelain and natural stone, floor and wall coverings, announced the recent appointment of industry veteran Bruce DePasquale as their new national sales manager. DePasquale has over 25 years of industry experience, having served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Laufen Ceramic Tile and as Senior Brand Manager for Shaw Industries. DePasquale will provide a central liaison for field sales representatives and executive management for the implementation and deployment of its national sales initiatives and branding campaign of Tesoro, The CollectionTM. Paul Boucher, president of IWT said, “Bruce’s experience and skill sets will provide focus and dedicated leadership for the Company’s national sales team as they continue to meet growing customer and market demands in 2007. We more than welcomed the opportunity for him to join the family here at IWT.” Mr. DePasquale said that, “IWT is one of the most progressive and creative companies for the merchandising of ceramic tile that I have seen, and it is one of the few distributors with a nationally recognized brand. I am pleased to have the opportunity to help strengthen the Company’s brand image while continuing to expand the merchandising programs that Tesoro’s clients have come to expect. As an industry professional, I have watched IWT’s progression over the last few years, and it is truly a pleasure to be a part of the team.”


The Marble & Granite Gallery, a European style showroom with Michigan’s largest display of marble, granite, limestone, travertine and onyx from around the world, announces the appointment of Jeanne Zamojski as showroom consultant. The appointment was made by John Moran, general manager. Zamojski brings several years of design and consulting experience to her new position. Her responsibilities include assisting individuals and fabricators in making their natural stone and tile selections. She will spend most of her time working one-on-one with clients, but is also responsible for such tasks as completing and processing orders and scheduling deliveries and pickups.

Zamojski previously worked in sales in the home building industry, where she assisted clients in making interior and exterior design selections. She has also worked independently doing home design consulting. Zamojski has a Bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University in merchandising management with a concentration in interior design. “We’re excited to have Jeanne working with us,” commented Moran. “She’s very talented and has a great deal of experience. I’m confident she’ll be a valuable asset.”


On December 4, 2006, Giorgio Squinzi, CEO of the Mapei Group, based in Milan, Italy, was officially awarded the Leonardo Quality Prize for Italy by Giorgio Napoletano, President of the Italian Republic. This prestigious prize was given by the Italian Quality Committee “Comitato Leonardo.” The “Comitato Leonardo” was established in 1993 by a group of business people, artists, scientists and representatives of the cultural world, with the support of ICE (Italian Institute for Foreign Trade) and Confindustria (Confederation of Italian Industry), to promote and enhance Italian quality throughout the world. The Squinzi family turned a small firm, founded in 1937, into a multinational company, world leader in the field of chemical products for building. In 1978 Mapei started its internationalization strategy by opening the first subsidiary outside Italy in Canada. In 1984, when Giorgio Squinzi became CEO of Mapei, he began implementing a corporate strategy based on three main principles: specialization, internationalization and innovation. In 1998 the honour of “Cavaliere del Lavoro” was conferred upon Dr. Squinzi. The Industrial Group today consists of 53 companies with 46 plants, seven in Italy, while the others are strategically located in 23 other countries on the five continents. Mapei’s employees now number 4,500, 12% of whom work on research. The Company’s investments in research and development are over 60 million Euros per year. During the last five years the Mapei Group has doubled its annual revenues to approximately $2 billion U.S.


Master Tile, a leading nationwide distributor of ceramic and porcelain tile, cut stone, stone slabs and setting materials, announced the appointment of two new senior managers.

William Kennedy has been appointed to the position of Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Kennedy has a strong background and experience in the flooring industry, holding positions at Shaw Industries as Senior Sales/Builder Specialist and most recently at Mohawk industries as National Sales and Marketing Director. “Bill is a very capable leader, and team builder. His extensive experience in the flooring industry will help propel Master Tile’s sales efforts to the next level,” said Bobby Glennon, CEO. Bill will be responsible for coordinating all of Master Tile’s sales and marketing efforts on a national basis.

Donald Yokovich has been appointed Vice President of Supply Chain Management. He is a seasoned operations and supply chain specialist, a Certified Practitioner in Inventory Management (CPIM), APICS, a member of the Association of Supply Chain management and has Total Quality Certification and Kawasaki Production Systems Training. “Our supply chain today spans the globe and Don possesses the skills, experience and leadership to gain control and grow efficiencies throughout our network of suppliers,” said Bobby Glennon, CEO. Yokovich will be responsible for all vendor management, purchasing and procurement strategies across all of Master Tile.


Italian stone and tile manufacturer GranitiFiandre has announced the promotion of Jeanne Nichols to vice president—sales and marketing, and Marcello Sassi to vice president—national accounts, effective immediately. Nichols and Sassi work for TransCeramica, the marketing and sales arm of the GranitiFiandre brand of products in the United States. Both will report directly to Graziano Verdi, CEO of the GranitiFiandre Group. Nichols and Sassi hold a combined 40 years of experience in the flooring and design industries. Most recently, both served as vice presidents for TransCeramica. In their new, expanded roles, Nichols and Sassi will oversee key divisions within GranitiFiandre’s American arm, strategically steering the company’s sales, marketing and growth/business development efforts. Nichols will develop and implement GranitiFiandre’s American sales and marketing strategies and will continue to oversee the marketing, public relations, strategic sales and business development initiatives for the company. She will oversee a team of 10, and will continue to actively interface with distributors and clients in the United States on an ongoing basis. Sassi will oversee the company’s U.S. national accounts program, directing the efforts of GranitiFiandre’s national account project managers as they serve new and existing clients, ensuring these global companies have easy access to GranitiFiandre’s comprehensive product selection, regardless of need or location. “Jeanne and Marcello are consummate professionals,” said Verdi. “Their wide-ranging knowledge of the architectural design industry and commitment to building mutually beneficial partnerships with clients and distributors have been a key factor in our success, and we are excited as they take on these important roles within the company.”

Best Tile Names Boynton

Best Tile Distributors of New England, part of the East Coast Tile family, recently acquired five Boston Tile showrooms, four in Greater Boston and one in Warwick, Rhode Island, and has announced the appointment of Jane Boynton to vice president of sales at the Warwick location. Boynton will spearhead Best Tile’s concentrated efforts to re-enter the commercial and wholesale dealer markets in the Greater Rhode Island area, with an additional emphasis on the specification community. This April, Boynton will have spent 22 years with Boston Tile and in her new position will be responsible for all outside sales in the Rhode Island area with her husband John, who manages the Warwick location. “Our intention is to open the dealer, architectural and builder markets to provide the same service that we are providing to our existing retail market,” said Boynton. “In my new position I will be working with my husband as “on the road” salespeople for all of Rhode Island.” Boynton opened the Boston Tile Rhode Island store in 1985 and became the district manager in 1989. Ten years later, Boynton became junior partner of Boston Tile. As a former owner, Boynton anticipates that her vast experience will create an easy transition into her new position.


Bonsal American has announced that National Gypsum Company, headquartered in Charlotte, will be the company’s new supplier for cement backer board, an important component as a substrate for ceramic tile on walls, floors and countertops. “We are pleased to have National Gypsum as a marketing partner,” said Kevin McFadden, director of marketing, Bonsal tile products. “They are a leader in the backer board industry with their PermaBase® brand Cement Board. National Gypsum has excellent quality products, packaging and customer service, which is consistent with the way we do business at Bonsal American. Our continued goal is to provide value added, high quality products and services to our distribution partners.” In other news the company has promoted Jeff Lax to general manager of the Pavement Coatings Division. Lax will continue to serve in his role as vice president of development for Bonsal American. As general manager of the Pavement Coatings Division, Lax will coordinate the marketing strategy of both the commercial and retail segments. Bonsal American has also expanded its management team by naming Dennis Bowman as Director of Engineering, responsible for capital projects, as well as planning and management of engineering activities for all of Bonsal American’s production facilities.

Saint Gaudens acquires Deborah Hart Glass

Saint-Gaudens has announced plans to enter the glass tile segment of the tile industry. As part of that plan Saint-Gaudens has agreed to buy the Deborah Hart Collection of glass tiles from Trimlite LLC. Saint-Gaudens’ strategy is designed to expand their collection of uniquely designed and hand made solid bronze tiles, hardware, and ceramic tiles within the tile and stone industry. “We are excited to have this unique collection of glass tiles,” said Valerie Saint-Gaudens, President. “It will add a new dimension to the Saint-Gaudens product line by offering our customers a wide assortment of glass field and creative art tiles. I’m very excited about designing in this colorful new media.” The Deborah Hart Glass Tile Collection will be renamed “Saint-Gaudens Glass” and blends perfectly with Saint-Gaudens’ philosophy of designing beautiful tiles of the highest quality materials. The glass tiles are made of 3 fused layers, blending color over color, and were recently featured in “House Beautiful” magazine. Estudio Marketing Group, already representing both companies, will continue to handle the line, under the direction of Fred Jackson.

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