Leadership Letter: Two Closing Thoughts
October 2nd, 2009

Fourth Quarter, 2009


It is a cliché to say that the people in our companies are our greatest resource, but these days I’m realizing it more than ever. The saying is a cliché because we hear it so much. However, we hear it so much because it is so true. In today’s economy most of us have pared our businesses down to the bare essentials, including the essentials in personnel.

Employees are now taking on multiple jobs. Workers are adapting to the loss of their coworkers—both in their contributions to the workforce and in their camaraderie—as organizations reduce their headcount. In the midst of this I have experienced amazing accomplishments and a fantastic attitude of cooperation. Challenging times tend to bring out the best in people.

Our customers and business associates are another critical people resource. Those relationships that we have worked to cultivate pay off when times are lean. We value those friends who stand by us when we need them both inside and outside our organizations. I think I speak for many business owners when I say that we value our relationship with our banker now. None of us take that support for granted today.

No matter how many times we hear it, the fact remains that people are our greatest resource! We simply have a better opportunity to reflect and appreciate that fact when the chips are down.


As I complete my CTDA presidency, I look back on many amazing accomplishments that this organization has made happen.

With the help of the TCNA we have created the Porcelain Tile Certification Agency to test tile to the definition of porcelain in the ASTM standards, defined as, “a ceramic mosaic tile or ceramic paver tile that is generally made by the dust-pressed method of a composition resulting in a tile that is dense, impervious, fine-grained, and smooth with sharply formed face that has a water absorption of 0.5% or less, when tested in accordance with ASTM C373.” This will, no doubt, become a major criterion for the market to evaluate tile products. Nine manufacturers have already stepped forward to have a total of 87 tile series tested for certification, with more in process every day.

The 2008 Trade Mission to China was a fabulous success and a proud accomplishment for all involved in the CTDA. A large group of American tile distributors got a great view of China and of the Chinese tile industry. Of course we had lots of fun, but we also formed many lasting and potentially profitable relationships.

CTDA’s webinars affordably deliver education and training. Because webinars are priced per company location, a number of attendees can participate for one low price. Webinars are presented by experts in their field and have included industry-specific topics like ISO Standards and Tile & Stone Failures as well as business topics like Collections and Recession Issues.

More recently we have begun building a network of distributors sharing ideas in an on-line discussion group. We pose questions, compare experiences and support one another through our forum on Facebook.

These are just a few recent achievements of our association. They are ideas that became reality thanks to a dedicated team of industry leaders. I have simply had the privilege to be involved in the process. These experiences make me realize how amazing our Ceramic Tile Distributors Association truly is. I can’t wait to see what’s next!

Rob Henry

CTDA President

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