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        May 31st, 2016


        (ALEXANDRIA, VA — MAY 20, 2016) The growth and energy at the 2016 Coverings show strengthened the show’s position as the leading international tile and stone exhibition in North America. More than 25,000 industry professionals attended the week-long expo, April 18-21, 2016. This figure is an increase in overall attendance from the 2015 show, and to industry insiders, affirms positive movement in the tile and stone market.

        The 25,000-attendance count is a remarkable 15-percent increase from 2009, the last year Coverings was held in Chicago. This year’s most impressive attendance segment is held by distributors, which increased by a noteworthy 18-percent since 2009.

        “The uptick in overall attendance from last year signals continued vitality and vigor in the tile and stone industry,” said Alena Capra, Coverings’ Industry Ambassador. “There was an onsite energy that emanated from the show floor, and it is encouraging to have that excitement verified with these recap figures.”

        Veteran Coverings exhibitors noted the excitement on the show floor as well as the ample opportunities for networking and education that took place during the show.

        “This year we had great feedback from key customers that came to the show. It’s important for us to have these quality interactions with attendees,” said Sarah Eamigh, director of U.S. marketing for Stone Peak. “The feedback from the architecture and design crowd is always exciting; there was a great turnout from that segment due to the show’s location in Chicago this year.”

        There was also plenty of buzz from the Ceramics of Italy pavilion, which impressed attendees with a new central booth design in addition to the bevy of tile products from manufacturers.

        “The atmosphere at Coverings 2016 was fantastic – we saw an exciting turnout in attendees here in Chicago,” said Dave Bouchard, representative of Emil America. “Chicago is a great town for the show, drawing in the architecture and design crowd, as well as retailers and distributors. We feel confident with the sales relationships generated by being at the show.”

        Natucer, a long-time Spanish exhibitor, found the show to be an imperative part of the company’s global business for sales and relationship building.

        “We have been at Coverings since 1998 and have always found tremendous value in the show. The North American market is always one of our top priorities after the domestic market in Spain,” said Victor Gasque Balaguer, area manager for Natucer Ceramica. “All of the programming and networking opportunities at the show are important in growing our relationships and increasing awareness of our products.”

        There was no shortage of opportunities for attendees to build on their technical skills or to network with others, as Coverings offered an extensive conference program with more than 75 sessions and CEU courses.

        Coverings 2017 will be held April 4-7 in Orlando, Florida.


        Coverings Social Media

        Facebook: facebook.com/CoveringsShow

        Twitter: @Coverings, #Coverings2016

        Pinterest: pinterest.com/Coverings

        Instagram: instagram.com/CoveringsShow

        YouTube: youtube.com/TheCoveringsShow

        LinkedIn: linkedin.com/groups?mostPopular=&gid=1693367

        Google +: google.com/+Coverings
        Blog: coverings.com/blog


        About Coverings

        Coverings is the largest and most important ceramic tile and natural stone trade fair and expo in the United States. It features exhibitors from more than 40 countries and is the stage for introducing some of the most innovative tile and stone products in the world.

        The exposition serves as a valuable resource for continuing education for all segments of the industry, with more than 75 informative, accredited seminars and live demonstration sessions throughout the show, all free of charge. Coverings attracts thousands of distributors, retailers, fabricators, contractors, specifiers, architectural and design professionals, builders and real estate developers, as well as journalists and bloggers who cover this vital and dynamic industry.

        Sponsors of the show are The Ceramic Tile Distributor Association (CTDA), Tile of Spain/Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturer’s Association (ASCER),Ceramics of Italy/Confindustria Ceramica, National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) and the Tile Council of North America (TCNA). The show is managed by National Trade Productions.

        Coverings 2016 takes place April 18-21 in McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois. For more information, visit coverings.com or contact National Trade Productions, Coverings Show Management, 703-706-8257.


        Press Contacts:

        Josh Schoenfelder


        Kate Harrington


        Sharp Communications


        The University of Ceramic Tile and Stone’s (UofCTS) Online, “Understanding the Basics of Ceramic Tile” Course is Updated
        May 20th, 2016

        The University of Ceramic Tile and Stone’s (UofCTS) Online
        “Understanding the Basics of Ceramic Tile” Course is Updated

        UofCTS also releases CTDA Certified Ceramic Tile Specialist (CCTS) Study Guide online course

        Education is the fastest and easiest way to increase sales and profits!
        San Diego, CA, May 19, 2016?– The University of Ceramic Tile and Stone (UofCTS)?just released an updated version of the popular?Understanding the Basics of Ceramic Tile?online technical and sales training course. ?Both the USA version and the Canadian version of this course were updated.

        The updated course offers a comprehensive look at ceramic tile uses, including industry standards, installation methods, avoiding problems, sales training, and how to work effectively with clients.

        The updated course has an expanded section on glass tile and mosaics. ?There are new sections on Thin Porcelain Tile Panels, tools, tile patterns, tile layout process and options, steam rooms and curbless showers; including updates to important industry standards. ?The updated course was created with the latest HTML5 technology?that allows students to access the courses with mobile devices such as smart phones and ipads.

        UofCTS created and recently released a new online course for the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA). ?The online course is called the CTDA Certified Ceramic Tile Specialist (CCTS) Study Guide. ?This course is for those who are planning on taking the CCTS test. ?It gives them all of the information they need to know for the CCTS test, and the student gets access to the course up until the time they pass the test.

        UofCTS is currently in the process of updating the UofCTS Tile Installer Thin-set Standards (ITS) Verification online course. ?Due to the high demand for this ITS course, the updated course will have additional sections on how to install Gauged Porcelain Tile Panels (thin porcelain tile panels), how to grout with cementitious and epoxy grouts, how to installed shower receptors, steam showers and curbless showers, and how to layout your tile work. ?There will be an expanded section on installing glass tile and mosaics, and most important all of the relevant industry standards will be updated or added. ?Both the USA version and the Canadian version of this course are being updated. ?Also both the English version of this course and the Spanish version will be updated. ?The updated ITS courses should be ready for release by the end of June.

        UofCTS is currently in the process of developing a new UofCTS online course.? Due to many requests from architects and architectural sales representatives, UofCTS is developing an online course called?“Tile and Stone Specifications and Working with Architects”. ?The objective of this course is to teach how to write quality tile and stone architectural installation specifications, and to teach sales reps how to work with architects to generate specifications for their products. ?This course is designed both for the architect and arch rep to teach them how to write a proper tile and stone specification. It is also designed to teach the sales representative how to develop what we call a “bullet proof spec”, and how to track and protect that spec in order to turn it into an order. ? We expect this course to be released in late summer. ?This course will be part of the requirements for those who want to become a Certified Tile Specialist (CTS) or a Certified Stone Specialist (CSS) through the UofCTS.

        UofCTS Online courses are available through many key organizations in the tile and stone industry, where members receive special discounts. ?Courses can be purchased through CTDA at?www.ctdahome.org, through Fuse Alliance at?www.fusealliance.com, through Local 18 Tile Union at?www.tileunion.org, through NTCA at?www.tile-assn.com, through TTMAC at www.ttmac.com, through WWCA at www.wfca.org for member rebates, or at the UofCTS website at www.uofcts.org.

        As is clearly understood by successful businesses, the fastest way to increase sales and profit is through education. Once employees and customers are trained they will become more confident, credible, and effective in their jobs, and there will be less costly failures and problems, resulting in more sales and profit.

        To see video previews of each of the courses visit the www.UofCTS.org website at https://uofcts.org/online-courses/.

        Tuition is only $150 per person and once registered, students have 14 days to complete the course which is accessible online, 24/7. Students can print a personalized certificate when they have passed all lesson assessments with a score of 80% or better. ?Upon passing the course the student is provided a link to download a student reference guide that contains all of the key information from that respective course. ?Volume discounts are available.

        The UofCTS is the training division of Ceramic Tile and Stone Consultants (CTaSC) and is committed to developing training programs for the ceramic tile and stone industry utilizing the latest and most effective technology and learning methodologies. Launched in 2003, UofCTS has enjoyed many years of success with trade and design professionals and is the leading online training University for the Tile and Stone Industry.

        For more information please contact:

        Tricia Pompo
        Marketing Director
        University of Ceramic Tile and Stone
        Tel. 866/669-1550; Email: info@uofcts.org
        Website: www.UofCTS.org

        NAW Update on Overtime Regulations
        May 5th, 2016

        CTDA Wants You To Know



        Wants You To Know

        CTDA Members


        Jade West, Senior Vice President-Government Relations

        National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors

        As we reported last month, the Department of Labor (DoL) is moving forward with its proposed changes to the Wage & Hour Division’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime regulations.

        As you know, in mid-March the Department sent its draft of a final rule to the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for their required review. This was the next step toward promulgation of a final rule.

        For the last 6 weeks, OIRA has been reviewing comment letters and meeting with stakeholders on the rule’s real world effects. A number of members of the Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity (PPWO), the business coalition NAW helps manage which is leading the effort in opposition to the proposed regulations, have met with OIRA (and the representatives of other federal agencies including the White House’s Domestic Policy Council, the Small Business Administration (SBA), and DoL) to explain in oftentimes granular detail, the impact of the rule.

        While most of the PPWO member meetings have involved businesses or business associations, a number of the meetings were requested by individuals representing the non-profit community, higher education, local governments, etc. We are hopeful that these non-traditional allies will be effective in persuading OMB that the proposed rule will cause harm to a broad cross section of employers and employees.

        All meetings with OIRA in the regulatory review process are a made a part of the public record. If you are interested, you can see a list of the meetings and participants on the regulations.gov website (please note that they are now more than two weeks behind in posting the meetings): http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/eom12866SearchResults?view=yes&pagenum=0 NAW requested a meeting with OIRA, and on April 22nd four NAW member company executives met for 45 minutes with officials from OMB/OIRA and the Department of Labor. This meeting gave us a great opportunity to give the government officials real-life and real-time information on the distribution industry and the negative impact of the Wage & Hour Division’s proposal not just on wholesale-distribution companies, but on the workers you employ and whom DoL claims to be helping. CURRENT STATE OF PLAY: Timing: As of this writing, the last date on which OMB has scheduled a meeting is May 10th, and we know they have declined a request for a meeting on May 17th. Based on those dates, we believe that a final rule could be released as early May 15th. (The just-released Fiduciary rule was released only 3 days after OMB completed its review, and Labor Secretary Perez is scheduled to make a speech at the National Press Club on May 16th.) Content: Late last week, Politico reported that DoL has moved to a slightly lower threshold salary in the final rule ($47,000) than was set forth in the proposed rule (50,400). The slightly-lower proposed salary threshold is the only change we know of in the rule DoL sent to OMB.

        We do not know what action OMB will take – whether they will approve the rule now before them or instead recommend changes in the rule in response to the extensive comments they have received and meetings they have had in recent weeks.

        We remain hopeful that the salary threshold will be further reduced, regional economic differences taken into consideration, the increase phased in rather than immediate, and a longer time allowed for initial implementation. In light of the President’s personal interest in this matter, we see no possibility that the rule will not move forward.

        Legislation has been introduced in Congress calling on DoL to withdraw the rule and do more extensive and credible studies of the economic impact of their proposal, and several Members of Congress have contacted DoL making the same request. Unfortunately, we are not optimistic that these Congressional initiatives will influence upcoming DoL action.

        We will continue to keep you apprised of the situation as this rule moves forward.


        CTDA is excited to announce the Distribution Performance Project, free of charge to CTDA members!
        May 4th, 2016


        Wants You To Know

        CTDA is excited to announce the Distribution Performance Project, free of charge to CTDA members!

        A note from DPP Principal, Albert D. Bates:

        The Distribution Performance Project is a new think tank devoted to providing associations and their members with a wide array of tactical and strategic information free of charge. I believe your members will find it invaluable in managing their businesses.

        At this early stage (the group is about one-month old), the website features:

        • A business valuation tool.
        • A financial planning tool.
        • A ten-part video program to bring key managers up to speed on financial issues. The program allows firms to use their own numbers in the training.
        • Articles that I have written over the past few years.

        During the remainder of 2016, we will be preparing three white papers:

        • Financial Benchmarking – Guidelines for associations on how to reverse the trend of declining participation for this key service.
        • GMROI – An analysis of why GMROI, which is widely used in distribution, actually causes firms to make poor inventory-utilization decisions.
        • Customer Profitability – A discussion of how to measure the profitability of customers as well as a tool for actually conduction the measurement process.

        We are planning a number of equally-exciting projects for next year. To restate what was said in paragraph one – these services are free. Similar services are provided by industry consultants at prices ranging up o $25,000. It is a great deal for your members.

        I am providing these services for free because I have had a very enjoyable Thirty-year career working with distributors in a wide range of industries. It is a way to pay back those firms that have helped me enjoy a modicum of success in life.


        Albert D. Bates







        Foster and Clark Real Estate
        CTDA - Membership
        CTDA - Online Education