Industry Insights
January 2nd, 2008

January-February 2008

CTDA Hall of Fame welcomes Graham & Pompo
The Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA) recognized two long-time members for their association and industry leadership by welcoming them into the CTDA Hall of Fame at the association’s 2007 Management Conference. Vince Pompo and Tom Graham were both honored for their numerous contributions.

Tom Graham, who retired in 2007 after 35 years with Florida Tile, has always been a supporter of independent distribution, and his strength has been in developing relationships with his customers and potential customers. In nominating Tom for the Hall of Fame, one of his industry peers said, “He truly cares and is concerned about the needs of the distributors. The number of people he has touched in the industry is unparalleled and he has many friends and colleagues who would agree.” Tom has been an enthusiastic CTDA supporter since the association was founded. While calling on the Florida Tile Distributors who were his customers, he encouraged them to join. In addition to his long association with CTDA, Tom served on the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) Board and Executive Committee, including as President in 2003 and 2004.

When Vince Pompo joined the ceramic tile and dinnerware manufacturer Gladding McBean & Company in 1949, he launched his lifelong career in the ceramic tile industry. After eventually purchasing the San Diego Franciscan Tile distributor location in San Diego, he became one of the largest independent tile distributors in the country with Southwestern Ceramic Tile and Marble Company. Vince started the importing company Certico in 1980 and opened retail locations called Tile Depot in the early 90’s. Along with building his business, Vince was one of the charter members of CTDA and served as one of the association’s first presidents. He was involved in starting the Ceramic Tile Promotion Fund and participated on the TCA Handbook Committee representing CTDA for many years. Vince is a long-time member and supporter of the Producers Council, CSI, AIA, and ASID and still actively working in the industry after 58 years.

Previous recipients include: Fred Blackwood, Clarence Dowdy, Jack Vogel, Mike Miles, Manuel Magallanes, Svend Hovmand, Phil Stalcup, David Yarborough, Ted Clear, Jack Knies, Frank L. Garcia, Mary Yocum, Sam Widener, S. M. Van Kirk, Gail Schovan, Bill Ives, Ralph Marra, and Henry M. Rothberg.

Heaton joins Ceramic Tile And Stone Consultants, Inc.
Ceramic Tile And Stone Consultants, Inc. (CTaSC) announced that Ruth Ellen Heaton will fill the newly created executive position of Director of the University of Ceramic Tile and Stone (UofCTS). She will be responsible for the development of all e-Learning and other training programs for the ceramic tile and stone industries. Heaton is responsible for varied aspects of knowledge development and distribution to the tile and stone industries through the University of Ceramic Tile and Stone. Heaton is a veteran e-Learning professional with over sixteen years of experience in project management and market development roles inside several industries.

Online registration for 2008 Coverings opened on November 12, six months out from the April 29–May 2 international tile and stone exposition and conference at Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center. Nearly 80 percent of the 37,000 registrants who attended this past year took advantage of the online service, and it’s expected that equal numbers will avail themselves of the convenience of the advance processing as well. The site is “Exhibit space already is nearly sold out, and that’s a strong early indicator that attendance will reach peak levels,” said Glenn Feder, president of client events for National Trade Productions, which manages and produces Coverings. “So, for anyone planning to attend in 2008, nothing beats the ease and instantaneous results of registering from your own desktop. It’s far preferred over waiting in line and maximizes time that can be spent on the show floor.” Online registration yields other benefits, including mail and email updates on events, conference sessions and other programs of interest at the show. Links to participating Coverings hotels that are offering packages are another time saving bonus. A toll-free hotline is available by dialing 866-285-3691 or, direct dial at 703-706-8257.

Laticrete appoints Davis
LATICRETE has appointed Kirby Davis, CSI, CCTS, to the position of Senior Architectural Specialist for its South Central, USA, territory, consisting of Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, parts of Alabama and the major metro markets of Tennessee. In her new position, Davis will report to Nick Macrino, LATICRETE Architectural Group Manager, and will work to secure proprietary specifications for LATICRETE system materials in the south central United States, aggressively promoting the benefits of the LATICRETE 10-Year System Warranty to architects, design professionals and specifiers. Davis comes to LATICRETE with 10 years of closely related professional experience as a former branch manager for Dal-Tile’s wholesale distribution warehouse in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where she helped grow the top five dealer accounts in her region by an average of 15 percent, and recorded the highest percent in accuracy of inventory at 99.3 percent for 2007. Prior to her appointment as branch manager at Dal-Tile, Davis was the firm’s Architectural Representative in Colorado and New Mexico, where she wrote installation and product specifications for bid packages on high-profile projects. Davis was the Architectural Manager of International Marble and Granite when the firm was purchased by Dal-Tile in 2001.

New staff at Florim
Alexandra Deehan has joined Florim as a Regional Sales Manager for the Southwest and West Coast. Deehan will represent both the AFI and Esquire brands to distribution customers throughout her assigned territory. Deehan comes to Florim from a 2½-year tenure in sales with Dal-Tile in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Deehan, who holds a degree in Interior Design, is knowledgeable regarding tile products and design trends. Her professional experience spans both commercial and residential tile applications. Deehan will continue to be based in Albuquerque. Mike Pannucci has joined Florim as East Coast Regional Sales Manager. Based in Orlando, Florida, Pannucci brings years of practical experience in the tile industry as well as a background in sales to his position. Pannucci learned the tile business from his father, a contractor specializing in remodeling. After graduating from the University of Central Florida, he took a position as a corporate trainer. Eventually he returned to the family business, becoming a tile contractor specializing in new construction. In his new role with Florim, Pannucci will blend his firsthand knowledge of the tile business and his career experience in sales to grow relationships with distribution customers throughout the East region. His familiarity with Florida’s unique tile market will be very beneficial as Florim seeks to maximize the presence of its Esquire and AFI brands.

Hardware Donations to Habitat for Humanity
Hickory Hardware™ recently donated cabinet hardware for the kitchen and bath areas and door hardware for all interior and exterior doors for Nashville Area Habitat for Humanity homes located in Providence Park, the largest all-Habitat community built by volunteers. The Nashville-based hardware manufacturer donated hardware to all 40 homes in 2007. Last year, Hickory Hardware also provided hardware for 10 homes built in Providence Park during a one-week blitz called Whirlpool Building Blocks, during which John Westendorf, president of Hickory Hardware, his wife, Cari Lou, and John Pelka, vice president of marketing, served as volunteers. “Hickory Hardware has been extremely generous to donate the door locks and hardware for all the houses we are building in 2007,” said Nashville Area Habitat for Humanity president and CEO Chris McCarthy.

McMurdie Leads R&D for MAPEI Americas
Dr. Neil McMurdie has joined MAPEI as Director of R&D efforts for the Americas. A graduate of Yale University, with a Ph.D. in Physical Organic Chemistry, McMurdie will guide his group in thinking outside the usual roles of MAPEI products. “Our team will be developing innovative technologies that will help us find synergies between environmental requirements and efficient, effective products for our industry,” McMurdie said. After leaving Yale, McMurdie worked at PPG Industries for 14 years before coming to MAPEI. His work in the coatings division involved research on anti-corrosion and substrate protection as well as the development of organic and inorganic solutions to problems encountered in the marketplace. At MAPEI, he is especially interested in working with the new lightweight materials and further developing resin-based products such as Opticolor™ stain-free grout. “I am very excited at the opportunity to be part of such a dynamic organization as MAPEI,” McMurdie commented.

Barker Joins Bostik
Steven L. “Woody” Barker has joined the Bostik Flooring Group as territory manager of Ceramic Products–Central California. A seasoned building-industry veteran, Barker has held various customer service, sales and management positions with global leaders. Barker holds a bachelor of science degree in business administration. “Woody brings with him strong contractor and distributor relationships, vast experience and a broad perspective of the building industry,” says Rick Tredwell, Bostik Flooring Group’s Western Region Sales Manager. Barker says Bostik’s proven people and products were the big draw for him.“There’s a great deal of longevity—long-term employees and customers—at Bostik,” Barker adds. “This continuity, in turn, helps both in the development and support of Bostik’s world-class floor covering solutions. Being part of such a talented team with a winning tradition was an opportunity I simply could not pass up.”

Interstate Expands In St. Louis And Kansas City
The Interstate Family of Companies (through its Case Supply and AMC Tile Supply companies) has opened two new showrooms: The Gallery in Lenexa (Kansas City), Kansas and The Gallery Marble & Granite Annex in Overland (St. Louis), Missouri. These two showrooms join The Gallery in Olivette (St. Louis), Missouri which opened in the fall of 2005. The Gallery features custom-designed concept panels which showcase the artistic beauty of the products and generate ideas for our customers’ dream projects. The Gallery in Lenexa features a 10,500 SF showroom with 200+ concept panels showing tile, stone, hardwood, glass, metal, and laminate flooring; marble, granite and other natural stone used for countertops and vanities; high pressure laminate and solid surface countertops; and decorative hardware. Its attached Annex has 45,000 SF where natural stone slabs are displayed. The Gallery Marble & Granite Annex in St. Louis is exclusively dedicated to natural stone and features 115 different colors of granite and 25 colors of marble, travertine, onyx, limestone and slate. Slabs are imported from 20 different countries, and quality is ensured by the on-site selection of two Interstate employees who live overseas. This showroom is the perfect complement to The Gallery in St. Louis, which features 150+ concept panels showing ideas for tile, stone, glass, and metal flooring as well as smaller samples of natural stone slabs.


Extraordinary and innovative use of tile and stone in architecture and design will be recognized at Coverings 2008 with the annual presentation of the prestigious Spectrum and Prism Awards. Prize money for the dual honors—Spectrum for tile, Prism for stone—totals $30,500, and will be presented to winners at a special awards ceremony inaugurating the international tile and stone expo and conference, April 29-May 2, at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. More than 15,000 entry forms have been mailed, plus downloadable versions are available at

The deadline for receipt is Friday, February 1. Historically, the top criteria for the awards include a mastery of the materials, overall creativity and imagination, plus installation competency. The Spectrum Awards will be presented for usage of porcelain and/or ceramic tiles, and separately honor projects featuring glass and/or mosaics. A $3,000 first prize each will go to winners of both residential and commercial projects in those two separate categories. Additionally, $1,500 Awards of Merit have been earmarked for the two different tile classifications. Judges will have the option to acknowledge one other submission with a $1,000 Special Recognition Award—it might be a community project, uniquely “green,” a standout for its detail and design, or just overall architecturally worthy. The Prism Awards also reflect a slight restructuring: $3,000 First Prizes and $1,500 Awards of Merit for use of stone in Residential, Institutional and Commercial projects will be presented. A $1,000 Special Recognition Award also will be offered. Projects must have been completed between January 2004 and December 2007. Each submission must be accompanied by an electronic file; a pocket folder with an official entry form; a typed project description and identification information; and, high-resolution photography. The entry fee is $100 for a single project, but multiple entries are accepted and encouraged, with a reduced $60 fee for each additional entry. Past winners have leveraged the awards for their business value. “We recommend others to enter because it brings great exposure for your work and winning is extremely exciting and rewarding,” said Kristin Powers, president and owner of Trikeenan Tileworks, which walked away this year with the Spectrum Award of Merit for Residential. “Not only is a Spectrum Award well respected within the tile industry,” she said, “but it’s also well regarded within the broader architectural and designer community, as well.” For its work on The Getty Villa, Carnevale & Lohr received the 2007 Grand Prize Prism Award and the firm’s principal, Michael Carnevale, said, “It was a tremendous honor. This project was challenging because of the many elements involved, so it is wonderful to have our work recognized. Winning only added to the excitement of Coverings—the premier show and the only one of its kind.” The 2008 Spectrum and Prism Awards are sponsored by Coverings and coordinated by the five sponsoring organizations of the show including ASCER (Spain’s Ceramic Tile Manufacturers Association), Confindusrtria Ceramica (Italian Association of Ceramics), CTDA (Ceramic Tile Distributors Association), NTCA (National Tile Contractors Association) and TCNA (Tile Council of North America).

Charlie Bryan named Tile Person of the Year
The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) presented Charlie Bryan from Campbell Tile Company in Greenville, South Carolina, with the Tile Person of the Year award at NTCA’s annual Total Solutions Conference last October in St. Pete Beach, Florida. A native of South Carolina, Bryan graduated from Clemson University in 1958 with a degree in industrial management and served three years in the U.S. Army Aviation Unit before entering into the tile industry. In 1961, Bryan accepted the position of project manager and estimator with Campbell Tile, installers of ceramic tile, terrazzo, flagstone, and natural stone. In the 1980s, Bryan purchased the company—originally established in 1912 by G.P. Campbell—and has continued to run Campbell Tile to this day. Five years ago, Bryan invested in stone fabrication, which has grown to represent about 25 percent of the company’s operation. He has been active in the NTCA for many years, and has served on the association’s board of directors and Technical Committee. Bryan has also served on the TCA Handbook and ANSI A108 Committee, on behalf of the NTCA. “To be considered by your peers for such an award is the ultimate professional recognition anyone can expect,” said Bryan. “Remembering many of the recipients over the past 20 to 25 years is a very humbling experience and I deeply appreciate the honor.”

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