Industry Insights
July 1st, 2007

July-August 2007

Vitra Acquires Villeroy & Boch

VitrA has acquired a 51 percent share of the tile division of Villeroy & Boch, the world’s oldest and best known ceramic brand. The Share Purchase Agreement signed in Istanbul in March gives VitrA full management control of the production and marketing activities of Villeroy & Boch’s tile division. As a result, VitrA’s tile production capacity will increase to 350 million square feet. Including Villeroy & Boch’s two tile plants in Germany and its plant in France, VitrA now operates eight tile plants. With this agreement, VitrA’s net ceramic tile sales will rise to €300 million and the number of its employees in the tile business to 2500.

Lee & Vogl Join Florim

Bryan Lee has joined Florim as Regional Sales Mana-ger servicing distributors throughout the East coast region. He is based in Florida. Lee has experience in many facets of the floor covering business, having built his 19+-year career focusing on hard surface flooring. He comes to Florim directly from distributor RA Siegel, where he was responsible for commercial sales in the state of Florida. As a Regional Sales Manager for Florim, Lee will work closely with distributors for both the Esquire and AFI brands, using his varied background to bring product knowledge and sales expertise to his customers. Marissa Vogl is Florim’s new Marketing Specialist for the West region. Vogl brings several years’ experience in interior design and sales to her new role, having served as representative to builders needing custom specifications for a furniture/flooring retailer in her home state of Montana. As Marketing Specialist, Vogl will offer market-specific expertise and support to distributors in Arizona, California, Texas, parts of New Mexico, as well as Las Vegas. She will be based in Arizona.

MAPEI & NTCA Promote “Safety First”

MAPEI has agreed to sponsor the NTCA’s Contractor Safety Program for tile and stone installation contractors. Safety and environmental sustainability are of paramount importance to MAPEI and a personal conviction of MAPEI Americas President and CEO, Rainer Blair. “MAPEI’s commitment to safety starts within our own company and extends to those contractors and installers who use our products,” Blair said. “We feel the sponsorship of this program is a concrete way to show how much we value a safe workplace.” According to the latest available report from the Center to Protect Workers’ Rights, tile setters annually experience 3-4 injuries resulting in missed days from work per every 100 full-time employees. (This rate is slightly lower than the average for the entire construction industry.) The leading causes of injuries on the job site are contact with objects, falls, overexertion, exposure, and other injuries. Worker compensation spending by employers in the construction industry (5.17% of payroll) is 2.5 times the average amount spent by all industries. These figures prompted the NTCA to develop a Contractor Safety Program in coordination with Jim Isaminger of D.M.I. Tile and Marble in Birmingham, Alabama. Isaminger successfully introduced the Contractor Safety Program at his company and worked diligently with the NTCA to provide the components of the program to other tile and stone installation contractors. “Implementing the Contractor Safety Program 10 years ago led to an annual reduction in our worker’s compensation EMR rate; for 2007 our EMR is .67,” Isaminger said. “The resulting savings in worker’s compensation insurance premiums has directly increased our net profit. In addition, productivity has remained at peak levels as we have not incurred lost work days due to careless accidents, and our employees have benefited from having a safe work environment.” The NTCA Contractor Safety Program includes plans for developing a safety committee within the company; a program for reviewing accidents/injuries with employees and discussing outcomes; and programs for a monthly “Safety Practices” meeting, including safety topics and discussion guidelines.


TJ Ceramic Tile Sales, Inc., a leading retailer of ceramic, porcelain, slate, granite and marble tiles from around the world, announces the appointment of Karen MacLachlin as showroom manager. The appointment was announced by Phil Mularoni, president. MacLachlin previously worked at TJ Ceramic Tiles for several years and is able to transfer that extensive design and consulting experience to her new position. Her new responsibilities include managing the showroom and assisting clients in the selection of natural stone and tile. MacLachlin is currently pursuing certification from the Associated Society of Interior Design. “We’re very excited that Karen has rejoined our team,” commented Mularoni. “She has always been a great asset to our organization and she carries a solid knowledge of interior design and natural stone.”

Martindale Manager of Contractor specific showroom

Best Tile Distributors of New England, part of the East Coast Tile family, has appointed John Martindale to location manager for its brand new contractor specific showroom in Woburn, Massachusetts. Best Tile recently acquired five Boston Tile showrooms in the Greater Boston area, then added the new, 7,550 square foot facility in Woburn to further its concentrated effort to re-enter the commercial and wholesale sectors. In his new position, Martindale will have numerous inside sales, inventory and operational responsibilities for the location. Martindale joined Best Tile at its Dedham location in 2003 as an inventory control specialist. His promotion in 2007 is part of Best Tile’s efforts to stockpile top-industry professionals at each of its six new locations in and around Greater Boston.

Virginia Tile honored with Pro Patria Award

Virginia Tile Company based in Livonia Michigan, received the Pro Patria Award which is the highest award given at the state level and recognizes the one employer within the state that has most excelled in supporting their Guard/Reserve employees. The award is presented annually by the Michigan Committee for Employer Support of the Guard (ESGR) to the selected employer. Nominations for this award are evaluated by the Committee, and at the annual Awards Dinner, held April 13, 2007, the presentations were made. The Company was nominated by their employee, SGT James Dean, who did so in appreciation for their support to him and his family while deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During the period of deployment, Virginia Tile continued his pay and benefits, provided moral support for the family, and provided several hundred “care” packages that were distributed to Jim and members of his unit at the holidays.

The photo at the awards ceremony pictures guest speaker, State Representative Rick Jones (71st District), Major General Thomas Cutler, The Adjutant General of Michigan, Mark A. Ott, Senior Vice President, Virginia Tile Company, SGT James Dean, Richard Snider, Committee Chairman, ESGR.

Noble Sales Performance

At a sales meeting conducted during Coverings, Noble Company recognized two of its sales agencies. Steve Young and Bryan Keenon of Steve Young & Associates received the Eastern Region Sales Performance Award. The award is based on professionalism, sales growth and implementation of sales and marketing plans. Bobby Caron of Southeastern Flooring received the Eastern Region Outstanding Sales Award. This award is based on sales volume and growth.

Questech Receives 2007 ADEX Awards!

Questech is proud to announce they have received three 2007 ADEX Awards, in the Kitchen and Bath category. The Awards for Design Excellence (ADEX Awards) are bestowed annually and constitute the largest and most prestigious awards program for product design of furniture, fixtures and finishes marketed to the design trade. Questech’s Tumbled Marble with Q-Seal™ received a PLATINUM ADEX Award. Q-Seal™ is a permanent factory-applied sealer that is baked right in to the tiles and never needs resealing. Q-Seal is guaranteed for life to prevent the effects of water and stains, so homeowners can now enjoy the beauty of their natural stone tiles without worrying about special cleaners or resealing as they would with ordinary sealers. The 12 x 16 Dorset Fruit Bowl Mural, featuring stunning detail on premium cast metal, was also awarded a PLATINUM ADEX Award. Questech’s exquisite cast metal accents possess a unique beauty that results from both the artwork and the rich detail the material renders. Capturing the beauty of metal, an icon of permanence and durability, and transforming it into a more lyrical form has been the foundation of the award-winning company’s success. Questech’s Cast Stone Switch Plate received a GOLD ADEX Award.

Bonsal American® Hires Wright

Bonsal American® recently expanded its management team by hiring Amy Wright as its marketing manager for Bonsal American. Wright will manage Bonsal American’s new ProSpec brand of professionally-specified building products. Wright has experience in public relations, brand management and marketing. In other news the company announced it has expanded its sales efforts in the western United States by naming Scott Springs, Regional Sales Manager of its ProSpec brand. Springs is responsible for all tile/stone setting and concrete repair and restoration products in Arizona, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas.

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