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Somerset receives NWFA/NOFMA certification

St. Louis—Somerset Hardwood Flooring has earned NWFA/NOFMA Mill Certification from the National Wood Flooring Association. NWFA/NOFMA certification assures a manufacturer’s wood flooring meets or exceeds industry standards for grade, configuration, moisture content and average board length.

“NWFA is pleased to welcome Somerset as the newest NWFA/NOFMA Factory Finished member,” said Michael Martin, NWFA president & CEO. “It’s encouraging to see the factory finished segment of the NOFMA Program grow right alongside the increased demand for factory finished products in the marketplace. This is a clear indicator of the unification of our domestic manufacturers, and the continued value they see in the NWFA/NOFMA Program.”

Certified mills must meet rigorous production standards, and are inspected a minimum of two times per year to ensure consistent grade standards are maintained.

“Somerset Hardwood flooring has a balanced product portfolio of both solid and engineered wood flooring products,” said Paul Stringer, Somerset vice president of sales & marketing. “We continue to see great potential in the solid sector, and certifying our factory finished products to the NWFA/NOFMA Program is an effective way for us to add value to our line and to communicate that to our customers.”

A full list of NWFA/NOFMA certified manufacturers can be found on the NWFA website.

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NWFA’s Miller to present at IWF Symposium

St. Louis—Brett Miller, vice president of education and certification, National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA), will be presenting at the International Woodworking Fair (IWF) Wood Flooring Symposium on Tuesday, Aug. 21, in Atlanta.

During the first segment of his presentation, Miller will discuss common problems, causes and cures in the world of wood flooring. For the second segment of his presentation, Miller will look at some of the differences between wood flooring finishes in use today.

Miller’s final segment will focus on the many benefits of choosing wood in the flooring world. The presentation will end with an open discussion about ways the industry should promote wood products to the consumer.

For more information, visit:

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Wood: NWFA Awards showcase craftsmanship, creativity

April 16/23, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 22


Tampa, Fla.—The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) announced the winners of its 2018 Wood Floor of the Year contest during its annual conference and expo here earlier this month. The awards recognize innovative craftsmanship and design in wood flooring installations.

All entries featured installations completed between January 2017 and January 2018 and were evaluated by a panel of industry members and press editors. NWFA membership voted for the Members’ Choice winner.

And the winners are…

Members’ Choice & Best Parquetry/Inlay Application

Contractor: ArtParquet, Khimki, Russia

Project notes: This 10,705-square-foot, nail-down/glue-down installation entailed 16 different species to naturally incorporate the color and overall style of the room into the flooring. The parquet layers were designed according to schemes provided by the project engineers.

After the design was approved, engineers prepared AutoCAD drawings that were sent to the factory where CNC machines cut patterns. The components were then assembled manually, and the panels were packed and delivered. It took five months to design and produce the flooring, followed by another two months to install the floors. No stains were used to achieve the look.

Best Circular/Curved Application

Contractor: Acorn Hardwood Flooring, Sylmar, Calif.

Project notes: This 8,900-square-foot, nail-down/glue-down installation featuring light rustic hickory/pecan was installed in a plank, herringbone and parquet pattern. All gallery parquet patterns were hand cut, routed, fitted with a tongue and groove, and then center matched. All pieces were cut, prefinished and assembled in the factory, then reassembled on the job site.

Best Color & Finish Application

Contractor: Treadline Construction, Tualatin, Ore.

Project notes: The design is a 400-square-foot, glue-down installation featuring 21⁄4 x 3⁄4-inch-thick red oak, white oak and maple. After the floor was sanded, aluminum custom circular-shaped inlays were routed into the floor and installed. The floor was resanded, then each section was masked before a custom application of colored water conditioners, reactive chemicals and custom blends of oil- and water-based stains and penetrating oils were applied. Select sections received a final application of acid-cured finish.

Best Restoration/Makeover 

Contractor: Endurance Floor Co., West Park, Fla.

Project notes: The three-dimensional look was achieved using a mix of species, including Gaboon ebony, English sycamore, massaranduba, sapele and Brazilian ebony for the field; Macassar ebony, padauk, birds-eye maple, bocote and pink ivory were utilized for the border.

Best of Social Media 

Contractor: BC Hardwood Floor Co., Vancouver, BC, Canada

Project notes: This 5,500-square-foot/nail-down installation of first-grade northern Canadian and hard maple wood flooring was utilized to replace the original floors laid down circa 1927. Following subfloor remediation, installers added a layer of plywood and installed the new floor as per the original specifications.

Best Textured Wood Application 

Contractor: WD Flooring, Laona, Wis.

Project notes: This 2,050-square-foot, nail-down/glue-down installation of white oak was installed in a new construction spec home. The floor was finished with a multi-step process and then UV cured.

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NWFA 2018 Preview: New products, education, training abound

March 19/26, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 20

By Reginald Tucker


Excitement is building for the 2018 National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) conference and exhibition, set to kick off April 11–14 at the Tampa Convention Center. Continuing on its steady growth trajectory for the past seven consecutive years, NWFA will feature scores of vendors showcasing the latest in hardwood flooring products, installation tools and accessories; and dynamic keynote speakers and expert technical demonstrations.

NWFA 2018 expects to draw hundreds of specialty hardwood flooring contractors, retailers and distributors from around the globe. The three-day event offers attendees 20-plus hours of educational programming, invaluable networking activities, an exhibition teeming with stylish new products and installation tools as well as special events and entertainment. It’s all part of an evolution designed to deliver greater value to all participants.

“We are really looking forward to bringing our industry together for another tremendous show,” said Michael Martin, NWFA president and CEO. “With the continued success of NWFA University and increased engagement with our members, we have more to offer than ever and know that will make this year’s show even better.”

Among the key focal points of the event:

Opening Splash. An opening welcome reception on Wed., April 11, from 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., will be followed by a keynote presentation featuring special guests Jim Tselikis and Sabin Lomac, owners of Cousins Maine Lobster who appeared on TV’s “Shark Tank” series. The businessmen, known for growing their small food truck start-up into a national franchise success, will share their experiences with attendees during the keynote presentation.

The owners started their small business in 2012 with one food truck in Los Angeles. In a few short years, they’ve grown to having 20 trucks in 13 cities throughout the U.S. “No matter what facet of the industry you are in, they have a lot of knowledge and expertise we can all benefit from and take back to our own businesses,” Martin said.

Tselikis and Lomac are also expected to serve as judges on NWFA’s “Plank Tank” competition, a play on “Shark Tank,” where contestants pitch their business ideas in the hopes of securing private investment funds to develop those ideas and concepts. The celebrity judges, along with a team of wood flooring professionals, will review previously submitted industry-related business ideas to determine their merits. Three finalists will then present their ideas on stage at the NWFA Expo. The grand prize winner will receive a customized package of NWFA marketing and education products and services valued at more than $15,000. It’s all designed to help the winner bring his or her product/idea to market.

Live entertainment immediately follows the keynote presentation by Cousins Main Lobster. NWFA has invited the Hammerhead Band, which will kick off the Expo with a heart-throbbing steel drum performance.

Expo and product showcase. The trade show floor runs from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 12, and from 10:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. on Friday, April 13. Here, more than 260 exhibitors spanning hardwood flooring manufacturers, as well as suppliers of adhesives, tools and accessories, will showcase their goods and services.

In addition to the booth presentations, attendees will have an opportunity to view 15 exhibitor demonstrations taking place across the show floor. Following seven consecutive years of growth, this year’s Expo will offer even more education, more hands-on demonstrations and more opportunities to engage with industry professionals.

“Our trade show has grown for the seventh consecutive year, with dozens of first-time exhibitors on the show floor,” said Anita Howard, COO of the NWFA. “Contractor attendee prizes will top $20,000 this year, including a
Lägler TRIO worth $6,000.”

Educational sessions. NWFA attendees are invited to participate in quality programming that will focus on a variety of topics, including sales and marketing, management or industry-specific technical topics. With 20-plus sessions addressing the entire supply chain, this year’s education offers something for everyone.

“This year’s education sessions will take a deep dive into relevant industry topics, including sales, management and technical issues,” Howard noted. As we continue to implement adult learning principles, our Think Tank sessions will combine conventional presentations with attendee-directed collaborations. It’s a hybrid of traditional and modern learning methods that will engage all generations and learning styles.”

This year’s education program is going to look different than years past. Sessions will include a mix of traditional speakers lecturing on a topic as well as roundtable discussions facilitated by an industry expert. “These interactive sessions are designed to allow attendees to have a more meaningful and impactful experience through peer-to-peer interaction and reflective discussions,” Howard added. “Our hope is that each attendee will leave with something they can practice when back in their daily routines, and that a collaborative and reflective environment will lend to this experience.”

Floor of the Year Awards presentation. The winners of the popular NWFA Floor of the Year Awards will be announced during a special reception from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, April 13, during the “Final Drive.” NWFA developed the coveted awards program to encourage and recognize innovative craftsmanship and design in wood flooring installations.

For this year’s competition, NWFA has revamped the categories to align the awards with its refined Master Craftsman program. The new categories now focus on specific skill sets taught during NWFA training:

  • Best circular/curved application
  • Best color & finish application
  • Best parquet/inlay application
  • Best restoration/makeover
  • Best textured wood application

The event comes to a festive close after the Floor of the Year awards ceremony with a performance by the Landsharks Band, the official Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band members who also play the music of the Beach Boys.

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NWFA completes 25th home with Gary Sinise Foundation

St. Louis—The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) has provided flooring for its 25th home in partnership with the Gary Sinise Foundation R.I.S.E. program (Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment). The R.I.S.E. program builds custom, specially adapted smart homes for severely wounded veterans and first responders. The home dedication for US Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Petty Officer 1st Class Andrew Bottrell took place in San Diego, Dec. 12. Flooring for the project was donated by NWFA member Mullican Flooring.

EOD1 Bottrell attended Explosive Ordnance Disposal school in 2008 and reported to EOD mobile unit 3 a year later. In 2011, he was deployed to Afghanistan with Seal Team 10. His injuries occurred on Oct. 1, 2011 when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED), resulting in the loss of both legs, and his left arm.

“EOD1 Bottrell has an amazingly positive attitude,” said Michael Martin, NWFA president and CEO. “He embraces the belief that we all have control of our lives and that if you don’t like your situation, it’s up to you, and you only, to change it. He’s an inspiring individual who leaves an impression on everyone he meets. We’re honored to partner with Mullican to provide flooring for his new home.”

In addition to the 25 homes already completed, NWFA currently is working with its members to source wood flooring for 19 additional R.I.S.E. homes in various stages of planning and construction. Currently, 52 NWFA member companies have donated product, logistics and installation services in locations throughout the United States, with a total value of more than $3.52 million. A list of all NWFA R.I.S.E. partners is listed at

By the end of this year, 59 specially adapted smart homes will be completed or underway through the Gary Sinise Foundation R.I.S.E. program. To learn more about the program, contact the NWFA at 800.422.4556, or e-mail

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NWFA Education & Research Foundation creates Virgil Hendricks scholarship

NWFA new 2013 (4-C) 2St. Louis—The NWFA Education & Research Foundation has established a scholarship fund in honor of Virgil Hendricks.

Hendricks is considered the founding father of the NWFA and served as its first president. He was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 1990. Hendricks was also the owner of Lockwood Flooring and president and owner of Mid-West Floor Co. in St. Louis.

Earlier this year, a fundraising campaign was launched by Harry Lindquist, PanTim Wood Products, to raise $20,000 to create a scholarship fund to honor Hendricks and the significant and lasting contributions he made to the wood flooring industry.

“We are pleased to be able to recognize Virgil Hendricks in this way,” said Michael Martin, NWFA president and CEO. “It is an honor to carry on his legacy through this scholarship fund by providing education for the generations of wood flooring professionals to come.”

This contribution will go to the NWFA Education & Research Foundation scholarship fund that aids in providing hands-on education to individuals in the wood flooring industry.

To learn more visit

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NWFA wins Learnies award for NWFA University

NWFA new 2013 (4-C) 2St. Louis—The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) has won a 2017 Association Trends “Learnies” award for the Biggest Success Story for establishing NWFA University, an online learning platform.

The Learnies recognize organizations that have pioneered a new way of learning to benefit their members. The award for Biggest Success Story recognizes an association that grew revenue, membership or brand awareness by implementing a new learning program.

The NWFA developed its online learning platform to provide its members with valuable wood flooring training, when and where they want it. Since its inception in July 2016, more than 20,000 courses have been completed by more than 4,800 users, with an average of 42 courses completed per day.

NWFA University user, Sean James, owner and operator of SJ Hardwoods in Santa Cruz, Calif., has noticed a huge increase in his business since becoming involved with hands-on and online training through the NWFA. “I get a lot of work through being part of the NWFA,” he said. “Most conversations start with, ‘I found your name through the NWFA website,’ or ‘I noticed all of the digital badges on your website and want to hire you.’ There is never a question of cost. Customers want someone they can trust who will take all the right steps to ensure a quality job.”

NWFA University currently has three learning paths for sales, installation, and sand and finish. Additional learning paths are currently being developed. “We look forward to expanding our library of educational experiences through NWFA University and providing our members with an invaluable resource that allows them to continue their education and grow in their careers,” said Stephanie Owen, NWFA education and member engagement director.

For more information, visit

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NWFA Wood Floor of the Year contest accepting applications


NWFA new 2013 (4-C) 2St. Louis—The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) recently opened the application process for the 28th annual Wood Floor of the Year contest. Recognized as the “Academy Awards” of the wood flooring industry, this competition celebrates innovation and quality craftsmanship in wood floor installations.

“Over the years, we have had the honor of presenting more than 200 awards to the artists and craftsmen behind these incredible floors,” said Michael Martin, president and CEO. “We are looking forward to showcasing these remarkable floors once again during our 2018 Expo in Tampa.”

This year’s awards will include the following categories:

  • Best Restoration/Makeover: Entries in this category include all types of restorations, repairs or refinishes, in either a residential or commercial application. Applications can include jobsite finished, manufacturer finished, solid or engineered wood flooring.
  • Best Color & Finish Application: Entries in this category include jobsite-applied applications of dyes, reactive colorants, layered colors and faux finishing.
  • Best Circular/Curved Application: Entries in this category include any circular shape within a flooring system, such as circles, ovals, curves and bent material. Applications can include jobsite finished, manufacturer finished, solid or engineered wood flooring.
  • Best Parquet/Inlay Application: Entries in this category include any parquet pattern, medallion, marquetry or intarsia inlay. CNC and laser cut applications are acceptable, but must be identified.
  • Best Textured Wood Application: Entries in this category may include scraped, wire-brushed, distressed or any surface that is not traditional flat. Applications can include jobsite finished, manufacturer finished, solid or engineered wood flooring.

NWFA also will recognize the Members’ Choice Award. All entries submitted will be eligible to receive this award, which will be presented to the floor that receives the popular vote among NWFA members.

New this year, a Best of Social Media award will be featured. The floors will be featured on NWFA’s social channels, allowing followers to share, like and comment on their favorite. The floor receiving the most engagement will receive this award.

The NWFA has updated the submission period to Oct. 1-Nov. 30. This will provide adequate time for the judging process and time to correspond with winners prior to the public reveal at the NWFA Expo in Tampa, Fla., April 11-14, 2018.

For more information and to submit an entry, visit

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NWFA completes 18th home with Gary Sinise Foundation

GSF - MitcheltreeSt. Louis, Mo.—The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) has provided flooring for its 18th home in partnership with the Gary Sinise Foundation R.I.S.E. program (Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment). The R.I.S.E. program builds custom, specially adapted smart homes for severely wounded veterans and first responders. The home dedication for US Army Sergeant First Class Wade Mitcheltree took place on Aug. 11, in Tigard, Ore. Flooring for the project was donated by NWFA member Mullican Flooring.

SFC Mitcheltree was injured in 2012 by an improvised explosive device (IED) while serving in Afghanistan. The blast resulted in the loss of his right leg above the knee and his right arm below the elbow. He also suffered muscle and nerve damage in his lower left leg, a snapped pelvis and ruptures to both ear drums. In 2016, due to the severity of his injuries, his left leg was amputated below the knee.

“Sergeant First Class Mitcheltree’s motivation to serve is inspiring,” said Michael Martin, NWFA president and CEO. “He enlisted in the Army during high school and left for basic training just two weeks following graduation. After spending some time at Ft. Bragg and Ft. Richardson, he was deployed overseas, serving one tour in Iraq and two in Afghanistan. While there, his platoon worked with local police to ensure the security of their surrounding areas. His work has helped to ensure the safety of thousands of civilians and military personnel alike, and we’re honored to partner with Mullican Flooring to recognize his sacrifice by participating in the construction of his new home.”

In addition to the 18 homes already completed, NWFA currently is working with its members to source wood flooring for 26 additional R.I.S.E. homes in various stages of planning and construction. Currently, 51 NWFA member companies have donated product, logistics and installation services in locations throughout the U.S., with a total value of more than $3.52 million. A list of all NWFA R.I.S.E. partners is listed at

By the end of this year, 59 specially adapted smart homes will be completed or underway through the R.I.S.E. program. To learn more contact the NWFA at 800.422.4556, or e-mail

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Retail education: Training remains priority No. 1

Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 10.30.07 AMThis special FCNews Retail Education series, sponsored by 3M, is designed to help specialty retailers build their business through proven merchandising and marketing strategies as well as general best practices.



August 14/21, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 5

A flooring retailer stood up at a trade conference and bemoaned the amount of training he was providing his staff. “What if I spend the next year training them and then they leave—maybe even go to the competition?”

Sitting nearby, a second retailer stood up and said: “That may be true but what if you don’t provide any training, and they decide to stay with you?”

Professional training—whether it’s for sales associates or installers—may be a necessary evil in the flooring trade but it is necessary nonetheless.

Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 10.26.37 AM“Training your employees will give you a return on your investment that is practically immediate—and it never ends,” said Donato Pompo, president, Ceramic Tile and Stone Consultants.

Tom Jennings, vice president of professional development for the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA), said training is more important than ever. “The bottom half of most any market is gone whether you are selling flooring or T-bone steaks. For the independent retailer I think their real fertile fields are middle and up, and the customer is going to want more from an associate than what she can find with a national chain. Those who are succeeding are doing so selling better goods, and the better goods need to be sold with the right sales help.”

To that end, the WFCA continues to refresh is training curriculum, which is divided into management and sales modules. The association is working on a certification for its online university so it can “hold people accountable,” Jennings said. “The average retailer does about $2.4 million and not all of those people have had business management classes. You’d be amazed how many people don’t know ‘mark up’ from ‘margin.’”

Following is an update on the various training programs available from several major flooring industry associations.

WFCA University has expanded training programs by nearly 20%, with 46 training modules available online through its subscription program and 11 new destination camps planned in seven locations across the U.S.

Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 10.27.55 AMThe extensive training program offers educational courses for professionals in a wide variety of functions such as sales, merchandising and human resources. The coursework is broken down based on the career path and professional stage. “Upon initial launch of the WFCA University program we saw many middle-, senior- and owner-level executives tapping into the training program,” said Freida Staten, vice president of marketing and communications. “Since that time, the adoption rate of our program has broadened to include many professionals in the early and middle stages of their careers.”

The CFI Institute offers accelerated training and professional certification to individuals seeking to learn how to install all types of flooring. “We created our school and launched the first accelerated carpet installation training course as part of our commitment to tackle the installation problem that touches everyone in our industry,” said Robert Varden, vice president. “Together with WFCA and our many supportive partners, we are working continuously to put an end to a problem that affects everyone.”

Through the proprietary class, CFI can take individuals with no prior experience or knowledge in flooring and—after an intensive, five-week course—turn out certified residential carpet installers capable of completing a highly professional job in a standard three-bedroom home. In addition to the accelerated carpet class, the school offers long- and short-term training programs in every flooring product category for students at all levels.

With polished concrete flooring growing in popularity as an attractive option for large commercial and retail spaces across America, INSTALL—the Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 10.26.42 AMInternational Standards and Training Alliance—is are working quickly to produce dedicated training for the installation and finishing process. “There is a surprising amount of care that goes into concrete floor polishing,” said Mark Olson, INSTALL flooring instructor at the North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters. “Untrained installers can miss critical steps, including scratch-testing to ensure the concrete has reached an adequate level of hardness.”

Large installations can have hundreds of pours, meaning multiple rounds of scratch and moisture testing are necessary. Much like hardwood flooring, it is critical that installers use special vacuums to remove all dust and debris between polishings, experts say. If anything is left over, it can easily scratch the floor and the team will have to start over. As an INSTALL subject matter expert, Olson flies to the Carpenter’s International Training Center once a month to develop curriculum that will help prevent these failures from occurring in the first place.

“We are hard at work developing classroom and hands-on training specifically geared toward polished concrete flooring,” he said. “From dying concrete to creating insets with logos, INSTALL will be the only organization with a formal training manual for concrete polishing and resinous flooring. It’s cutting edge.”

Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 10.26.46 AMThe National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) offers training for wood flooring sales both in person and online through NWFA University. Since being launched a year ago, more than 15,000 online courses have been completed. Online training, in particular, is extremely convenient because large sales crews can be trained simultaneously. At the same time, individual members can complete the training at their own pace. “It also allows us to provide timely, accurate education in a way that is extremely affordable,” said Stephanie Owen, NWFA director of education and member engagement. NWFA’s training costs $100 per company per year, and any number of company employees can participate in the training even if they are in multiple locations.

Another advantage of NWFA University, according to Owen, is the digital “badging” component. Digital badges are graphic images that represent a learned skill; in NWFA’s case they also contain metadata verifying the recipient’s proficiency with that skill. This metadata includes the date the badge was earned, information about NWFA as the issuer of the badge and the specific skill that was learned and confirmed through testing. These digital badges can be shared publically on social media platforms, websites and e-mails to market the sales associate’s expertise. They also can become part of the sales associate’s life-long digital resume.

The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) has completed the first year of related content for its Apprenticeship Program. Year one of the two-year online training program consists of 64 courses that serve as an introduction to the tile industry beginning with the basics of cutting, mixing and grouting before moving on to surface preparation, underlayment application and other installation processes.

With 500 enrollments for the first year of curriculum, these courses are intended to support contractors in training by serving as a training resource for employees who are new to the industry or for those who may be affiliated with the contractor’s Department of Labor-approved apprenticeship program.

In addition to proper training for new hires, these courses may also serve as continued education for tile professionals who would like to refresh their memory on basic industry knowledge. “When we started developing these courses, I knew very little of the actual tile installation process including materials, tools and all of the steps required before installing tile,” said Becky Serbin, NTCA training and education coordinator. “We worked with experienced contractors and manufacturers to simplify the courses so someone such as myself, who is new to the installation process, would be able to understand industry terminology and apply course information on the job.”

Ceramic Tile and Stone
Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 10.28.29 AMAt Ceramic Tile and Stone Consultants, Pompo developed a university ( tool featuring online training courses for tile and stone salespeople and installers. The courses are developed with the latest technology to maximize learning and retention. The courses take five to eight hours to complete, and the student can take the course in one night or over a two-week period with 24/7 access. Upon completion, students receive a personalized certificate and a student reference guide that can be downloaded and kept for reference.

The “Understanding the Basics of Tile” and “Basics of Stone” courses are designed to give students the requisite background and technical information while teaching them how to professionally sell using consultative approach. “Students who complete these courses become immediately more effective in their jobs,” Pompo explained. “It gives them knowledge, confidence and credibility in the eyes of the customer. The student becomes confident and feels good about their knowledge, which motivates them and improves their performance.”

UofCTS includes the “Tile Installer Thin-set Standards” (ITS) verification course, which teaches installers the industry installation standards, practices and methods so they can avoid costly failures. The course is available in English or Spanish.