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NTCA, TCNA event highlights Five Star Awards

Atlanta—The inaugural National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) and Tile Council of North America (TCNA) Awards show, held here at this year’s Coverings featured the first NTCA Five Star Awards. Winners were chosen in both residential and commercial installation, with grand prize recipients awarded $2,500 for the winning project submission.

The grand prize winner in the residential category was Lambert Tile & Stone of Eagle, Colo., for its renovation called the Red Sky Project. The Lamberts were honored for the installation in a challenging setting, having to inform the homeowners that the existing tile work of over $100,000 needed to be torn out and replaced to correct the failed installation that did not meet industry standards. “They accomplished the impossible,” said NTCA executive director, Bart Bettiga, “and turned a nightmare into a positive experience. The installation is beautiful and will stand the test of time.”

Screen Shot 2013-06-03 at 3.01.41 PMReceiving special recognition in the residential category for the McLean Project in Rockville, Md., was Vallefuoco Contractors. With a design aimed to convey a subtle yet elegant look, Vallefuoco installed 24 x 24 porcelain on the kitchen floor in the project home, with narrow grout joints and a seamless transition to other flooring products. The home also featured extensive tile and stone in the powder room.

Receiving the grand prize for commercial installation was the David Allen Co. of Raleigh, N.C., for its work at the EPIC Center at University of North Carolina Charlotte. This four-story institutional facility contained eight different cut-to-size granite floor patterns wet-set on a 2-inch mortar bed over depressed concrete slabs.

The cut-to-size patterns incorporated various geometrical shapes including ellipses, circles, squares and rectangles designed to coordinate with several different features installed by other trades.

Two contractors were chosen for special recognition in commercial installations. Fox Ceramic Tile of Fort Hays, Kan., was recognized for its YMCA installation under a challenging time schedule. Utilizing all its resources, Fox installed approximately 50,000 square feet of tile and trim in multiple formats and sizes in 15 weeks.

Also awarded was Superior Tile & Stone of Oakland, Calif., for the Smith Performing Arts Center in Las Vegas. The project also earned the Pinnacle award for stone from the Marble Institute of America.

David M. Schwartz Architects and the Smith Center’s board proposed the Art Deco style incorporating a 1930s motif echoing the design elements of the Hoover Dam. In the end, the success of the project was due to the quality of the engineering team; the accuracy of the fabrication and the skill of the masons, setters and finishers that installed the stone, Bettiga noted.

In addition to the Five Star awards, both NTCA and TCNA recognized individuals and organizations for lifetime innovation and leadership in the tile industry. Kicking the evening off was Lt. Gen. John Sattler, who also spoke in a keynote address earlier in the day at Coverings.

Following the general’s presentation, NTCA named its chairman, Nyle Wadford, as its Tile Person of the Year. Wadford was recognized for numerous contributions to the industry, including playing a key role in the inclusion of qualified labor language in the TCNA Handbook, and the continued development of the NTCA Five Star and the Tile Contractors’ Association of America (TCAA) Trowel of Excellence promotions.

TCNA executive director Eric Astrachan followed with a presentation honoring the late Filippo Marazzi of the Marazzi Group as the TCNA Tile Person of the Year. With many from Marazzi’s management team and Ceramics of Italy present, the audience “witnessed the growth of one of the industry’s ceramic tile manufacturers, and the legacy of a great leader,” Astrachan said.

In the final presentation, NTCA executive director emeritus Joe Tarver gave the award created in his honor, the Joe A. Tarver Award for lifetime service, to Werner Schlüter, founder of Schlüter Systems. Schlüter, a trained tile contractor in his native Germany, was there to receive the award with his wife, sons and a group of Schlüter North America representatives.