Industry Insights
March 2nd, 2008

March-April 2008

Tile and stone distributors and retailers will have their choice of 18 educational seminars during Coverings 2008, Tuesday, April 29 through Friday, May 2, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. The conference component of the premier tile and stone trade show and expo has always rated highly, due, in large part to the exceptional caliber of experts who are recruited to speak. And, with nearly 15% more sessions being offered—a total of 80-plus seminars are planned—Coverings 2008 is headed to be a record-breaker. All of the seminars are free of charge and offer CEU credits from AIA, ASID or NKBA. The track developed especially for Distributors & Retailers will include a variety of options, such as “Negotiating Skills for Buyers, Sellers and Everyone,” a keynote presented by James Dion, one of North America’s leading retail authorities. He also headlines a session, “30 Things to Do When Business Is Tough to Get.” Other presentations of interest: “How To Work With A Designer & Increase Profits,” “The Secrets of Closing The Sale,” “Show Me the $$$$$ Through Branding,” and “Remodeling Update: Where Customers Are Investing Their Money.” Additionally, industry consultant Donato Grosser returns to Coverings with “Forecasting the U.S. Ceramic Tile Market,” a look at consumption, manufacturing, imports and distribution that has always yielded vital information on the state of the industry. The curriculum is designed to help sharpen marketing and business operations skills, with a clear focus on bottom-line business. “Making the best even better is a challenge, but Coverings clearly is striving to attain this goal,” said Glenn Feder, president of client events for National Trade Productions, which manages and produces Coverings. “We keep raising the bar on ourselves, and I think attendees will find that the 2008 edition, with such an unprecedented offering of educational programs, is not-to-be-missed. From show floor to conference room, the opportunities for professional enrichment are tremendous.” According to Feder, because so much of the programming touches on topics of universal interest about improving business practices and state of the industry progress, attendees are unrestricted in their choice of sessions. “An architect is more than welcome to attend a Stone track program, or a retailer may find a Contractor & Installer offering of interest. And, most importantly, we’ve ramped up the offering of Green Building sessions, with 12 presentations on the bill. So, we strongly encourage anyone who wants to cross over to do so,” he said.

NevaSlip™ anti-slip floor service, which helps architects, builders, and owners of large commercial properties prevent the dangers and liability involved in slip-and-fall accidents, has expanded its service nationwide. With the recent additions of trained technicians in Oregon, Washington, Alabama, and Georgia, NevaSlip is now available to make floors slip-resistant and safe in all 50 states. An industry leader for over 18 years, NevaSlip™ applies the most advanced anti-slip formula available on tile, marble, granite, terrazzo, and concrete floors—indoors or out—to give them a Static Coefficient of Friction (SCOF) reading that meets or exceeds requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for at least 8 years. “Around 25,000 falls occur every day. But our NevaSlip™ service makes it easier than ever for a company anywhere in the country to protect employees and customers from falls while also protecting its bottom line,” said Owner and President Stan Handman.

LATICRETE, a world leader in the manufacturing of innovative systems for the installation of ceramic tile and stone, recently celebrated the completion of an $8-million, 50,000-square-foot expansion to its Grand Prairie, Texas, manufacturing and warehousing facility in Dallas County. The new expansion more than doubles the size of the existing operation, resulting in a 90,000 square foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing and fully-automated warehousing facility, necessary to meet increased demand for LATICRETE system materials in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. LATICRETE co-owner and senior vice president, Henry B. Rothberg, cut the ceremonial ribbon to officially commemorate the expansion and modernization of the environmentally-friendly Grand Prairie, Texas, facility, which was realized without any interruption to LATICRETE customers and valued partners in the Dallas-Forth Worth Metroplex. In addition to Henry B. Rothberg, top LATICRETE officials from world headquarters in Bethany, Connecticut, were on hand for the opening ceremonies and Texas style barbecue that took place on the grounds of the facility. James “J.B.” Bouldin, LATICRETE vice president, operations, Ed Metcalf, LATICRETE president, North America, and Dr. Will Martinez, LATICRETE president, international & executive vice president, traveled to Texas for the grand opening. LATICRETE was the first ceramic tile and stone installation materials manufacturer to obtain GREENGUARD Certification for an entire product range, and the LATICRETE System can contribute points towards LEED certification for projects within 500 miles of the Grand Prairie, Texas, facility.

Further your knowledge on the characteristics of certain natural stone products which make them more or less suited for specific applications, rate the performance of natural stone using ASTM Standard Test Methods, learn which LEED credits are applicable to using natural stone in your project, all from the comfort of your home or office—at no cost! After this one hour course/presentation, participants will be able to state the features and benefits of natural stone products, analyze the stone quarrying and stone fabrication processes, list the applications of natural stone in a variety of market segments, rate the performance of natural stone using ASTM Standard Test Methods, and identify the characteristics of certain natural stone products which make them more or less suited for specific applications.

Louisville Tile Distributors announced the promotion of Don Kincaid to National Sales Manager, a newly created position within the company. In this new role, Kincaid will oversee all sales of tile and related products for the company and will supervise consolidated account/customer service functions for the distributorship. Kincaid has been with Louisville Tile Distributors since 1983 and most recently served as Manager of Dealer Sales.

Italian stone and tile manufacturer GranitiFiandre has announced the promotion of Joy Klein to the position of Director of National Accounts effective January 1, 2008. Klein is charged with oversight of all aspects of the company’s National Account Program for the US Market. “Joy has shown outstanding leadership and initiative during her tenure with us, and we are excited to promote her to this important role within our operations,” said Jeanne Nichols, vice president for TransCeramica, the sales and marketing arm of GranitiFiandre for the United States. Klein has been associated with GranitiFiandre since 1998 and was quickly promoted to various management positions, including hospitality division manager and national accounts manager. “I am very excited to oversee all aspects of our national accounts, which are such an important part of our business plan. During the past ten years, I have been involved in the development of our national account programs and have cultivated a vision of how to take our programs to the next level,” said Klein. “With our Italian and US produced product offerings and US distribution centers, I see no limit to our growth potential, and more importantly, to our ability to meet our customer needs. This new role will allow me to continue to manage and develop the details that make our programs so successful,” she adds. Klein holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business, Finance and Italian Language from Florida State University and an MBA in Leadership, Marketing and International Business from the University of South Florida.

Custom® Building Products announces the death of company co-founder Thomas R. Peck, Sr. on January 3, 2008. He was 91. Born October 29, 1916 in upstate New York, Tom moved to southern California with his family in 1919. After graduating from Bell High School, he served his country in the U.S. Army, stationed in the South Pacific during WWII. Upon his return, Tom joined his aunt in a small paint business and thus began a life-long career marked by success and the admiration and respect his colleagues, customers, employees and peers in the building and construction industry. Over the next decade he worked tirelessly as sole owner and operator of his fledgling business. During this time he demonstrated his remarkable ability to see and create opportunity without compromising ethics. Tom’s rare combination of genuine warmth and keen business vision made him admired and loved by everyone he met. In 1964 Tom and the late Mike Bilek, Sr. established Custom Building Products with little more than an idea and the determination and willingness to make it happen. The dream eventually grew to be the leading tile installation product supplier in North America, with over 1,500 employees in 15 locations. He was so devoted to his work and his employees that he continued to go to work until he was hospitalized in November 2007. “It is difficult to overestimate Tom Peck’s influence on Custom Building Products. His almost daily presence at our corporate office served as an example of what is important to us in business: focus on our customers, employees and vendors, and treat each of them with respect and fairness,” said Tom Peck, Jr., president of Custom. “My father lived to that standard and he became a wonderful example of how to successfully grow a business. ­­His legacy and that of his late partner and co-founder, Mike Bilek, will continue to guide us in the future.” Tom is survived by his wife, Ruth, four children and 10 grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family would graciously accept a donation to the American Diabetes Association Thomas R. Peck memorial fund at

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