Total Solutions Plus - Partners in Progress: CTDA, NTCA, TCNARegister Now!


Connie Podesta | Eric Astrachan | Pat Williams | James Dion | Albert Bates | Chuck Muehlbauer | Greg Andrews and David Fatula | Dr. Neil McMurdie | NTCA | Distributor's Forum | Larry Mersereau | Mike Micalizzi | NTCA Five Star Contractor Forum


Opening Keynote: Connie Podesta, Expert in Psychology of Human Behavior and Leadership Development

Click above to watch a short video about Connie!

When Webster defined “dynamic” he must have had Connie Podesta in mind.  Connie has been a FEARLESS advocate for personal and professional growth for more than two million people world-wide.  This and her ability to help people "close the gap" between where they are now and where they want and need to be in their career and life has made her one of the most in-demand international speakers today. 

Topic: StandOut Leadership - How to Achieve Success by Influencing Others to be Successful

You have the power and opportunity everyday to lead others to success. Leadership is not defined by title or corner office, but rather by how you DECIDE to live your life. Your personality, beliefs, character, values and intent are reflected in your choices, words, actions – and your ability or potential to INFLUENCE the thoughts, behaviors, attitudes and lives of the people around you either positively or negatively.

Ask Yourself:
Are you the type of person that others would CHOOSE to imitate, follow and respect?

Do you STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD because of your skills, talents, ethics and expertise? With humor, insight and her “no-nonsense” style, Connie will share the secrets of being the leader others can’t WAIT to follow.

Click here to read more about Connie


Keynote: Eric Astrachan

This is your chance to learn about updates within the industry.

I am speaking about the latest standards and areas of research in the industry:

New legal requirements related to slip/fall criteria
Advance look at the 2013 TCNA Handbook
Update on sustainability
And more…




Closing Keynote: Pat Williams, Senior V.P. of NBA's Orlando Magic

As one of America’s top motivational, inspirational, and humorous speakers, he has addressed thousands of executives in organizations ranging from Fortune 500 companies and national associations to universities and nonprofits.  Clients include AllState, American Express, Cisco, Coca-Cola, Disney, Honeywell, IBM, ING, Lockheed Martin, Nike, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Tyson Foods to name a few.  Pat is also the author of over 55 books.   

Pat served for seven years in the United States Army, spent seven years in the Philadelphia Phillies organization—two as a minor league catcher and five in the front office—and has also spent three years in the Minnesota Twins organization. Since 1968, he has been in the NBA as general manager for teams in Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia—including the 1983 World Champion 76ers—and now the Orlando Magic, which he co-founded in 1987 and helped lead to the NBA finals in 1995. Twenty-three of his teams have gone to the NBA playoffs and five have made the NBA finals. In 1996, Pat was named as one of the 50 most influential people in NBA history by Beckett’s, a national publication.  


Topic: The Magic of Teamwork

When you see his diamond-encrusted NBA Championship ring, you understand that Pat is a master at building successful teams.  Based on what he has learned from his experience in building sports teams for over 45 years, Pat offers proven principles for building a winning team in your business or organization.  After implementing the techniques presented in this speech, you can expect an organization that will produce better results while working more cohesively.   

Click here to read more about Pat

James Dion, Sales & Service Excellence
Service is Sales, Building An Unbeatable Sales & Service Team

“Service is Sales, Building An Unbeatable Sales & Service Team”  In this fast paced presentation you will learn how to build a powerful team in your salesroom that will really impress your customers and drive higher sales. These past couple of years have been all about strategies that involved cutting and reducing for many businesses. As a result, companies with their resources downsized, became known for their ‘good enough’ approach to serving the customer. Unfortunately, while this approach might have worked for the bottom line, it did not work for the customer. With less money in their pocket yet plenty of options, guess where they would go to spend it? Not at the ‘good enough’ stores but at salesrooms that know that this is the time to upgrade their service level. ‘Give more for less’ has become the new imperative where ‘more’ means more attention to the customer’s real needs. From the time when you welcome the customer in your salesroom, to the time you ask them questions about their unique tile needs and get to really know their likes and dislikes, to when you make them trust your recommendations for a complete solution to their needs and finally to when you re-connect with them after the sale to get them to continue recommending and buying from you, that is when you can truly make a difference in their life and, of course, in your company’s profits. (Based on James Dion’s book "Retail Selling Ain’t Brain Surgery, It’s Twice As Hard")

Click here to read more about James

Albert Bates
Triple Your Profit

Only about 10% of all companies make as much profit as they should.  This is true across almost all industries.  The Triple Your Profit! seminar will demonstrate how to improve your financial results--not just a little, but a lot.

Part of the problem is that most firms have an income statement that misleads them about the profit they are actually generating.  They also have reports that help them look over their shoulder, but do nothing about planning for the future.

In addition, very few firms really plan because it is too time consuming and too dull.  Most plans also don't actually help improve profitability.  This session will demonstrate how to develop a profit-based plan.  Not a meaningless budget, but a plan that will ensure financial success.

Finally, most firms fall into the trap of doing what everybody else does.  The reality is that everybody else is making the same mistakes.  The session will identify those actions that actually improve profit the most.

Click here to read more about Albert


Larry Mersereau
Juggling Priorities

In an age of everyone ‘doing more with less,’ choosing the most advantageous and beneficial priorities has to be a day-to-day priority in and of itself. In this session, Larry will help you see the difference between ‘demanding’ tasks and ‘productive’ ones. You’ll learn the three levels of priority, and quickly see which one each of your actions and assignments falls under. It’s a simple shortcut to success that you can’t afford to miss!

You’ll learn Larry’s Success Triangle, a simple outline for accomplishments of all kinds. Whether you want to advance your career or business, be a leader at work and in your community, or build a balanced personal life, Larry’s three simple constraints will help you make the all right moves. You’ll look at basic project management techniques, that when combined with the success triangle will keep you focused on high-payoff activities while delegating or just deleting the ones that waste your time. You’ll accomplish more…and more important…priorities every day.

Why Should I Buy From You?

Don't leave it up to the prospect to come up with an answer on their own. Position yourself and your organization as the only seller they should even consider buying from. Whether you’re a business owner or executive responsible for building and protecting market share, a sales rookie just starting to build your network, or an established veteran defending your turf, you’d better be able to differentiate your company, your products and yourself clearly from the multitude of options your prospects have to choose from.

From now on, your sales conversations, marketing materials, blog posts (even tweets!) will position you as the ideal vendor for your prime prospects. Your differentiation points and value propositions will make you stand out from the crowd. Plus, you’ll learn Larry’s sale triangle - a simple tool to help plan for any sales conversation. Add to that the Five Traits of a Sales Leader, and you’ve got tons of valuable information and ideas that will help you get more customers, and more(and bigger!) orders from the ones you already have.

Click here to read more about Larry


Chuck Muehlbauer
Stone Tile Installations

Perhaps nothing is as challenging or complex in our industry than understanding the different characteristics of natural stone.  In fact, an intrinsic component of its beauty is its uniqueness in color, veining, and composition.  Stone tile is versatile and durable, yet poses many challenges to specifiers, designers, salespeople and installers.  Chuck Muehlbauer is the Technical Director of the Marble Institute of America and is one of the most respected experts in the stone industry.  He will address the many types of stone and examine its unique characteristics.  Attention to product selection and performance as its relates to successful installations will be the primary mission of this highly important technical seminar.  

Click here to read more about Chuck


Greg Andrews and David Fatula
The Art of Glass Tile Pool Installation

A realistic approach to glass tile installation in pools and water features.  This program will offer a step by step approach to making an all tile pool into a work of art.  Starting with proper pool coping installation, the attendee will then begin a journey through an all glass mosaic pool from start to finish.  

Click here to learn more about Greg and David


Dr. Neil McMurdie
Thin Tile Installations

Presented by Dr. Neil McMurdie of Mapei, with Noah Chitty of Stonepeak, and Tim Bolby of Crossville -  Thin or "Slim" tiles is the latest trend, and it is indeed exciting technology for many reasons.  Lighter and more versatile, thin tile presents opportunities to specify tile in areas that are unprecedented and can potentially impact per capita consumption immediately.  The caution is that there are presently no installation standards that can guide the specifier or contractor towards success.  And there is much confusion as to its application and durability.  Representatives of leading tile industry suppliers Crossville and Mapei will discuss the types of thin tile technology currently available, and will address handling, specifying and installing with this unique new and exciting product line.  

Click here to lear more about Dr. Neil McMurdie

Installations over Concrete Substrates

The most common finish or substrate for ceramic and natural stone tile installations continues to be concrete.  As our industry technology rapidly changes, it has become apparent that the conditions of the concrete surface is imperative for installation success.  The NTCA will moderate a panel of construction experts that will examine the relationship between concrete industry requirements and tile industry standards.  Included on the panel will be a general contractor, architect or design professional, tile contractors, and concrete industry professionals.  

Bart Bettiga: Moderator
Panelists: Jeff Keck: General Contractor Adolphson and Petersen
Richard Goldberg: Professional Consultants
James Woelfel: Tile Contractor: Artcraft Granite Marble and Tile Company: Tile Contractor
Ward Malisch: American Society of Concrete Contractors

Click here to read more about NTCA


CTDA Forum
Distributor's Forum

Every year CTDA distributor's gather to discuss several topics and issues they are facing in the tile industry. Submit your topic suggestions and Distributor Forum ideas to CTDA staff.

Click here to learn more about CTDA

Mike Micalizzi
Panel Discussion on Grout Residues – Know the Causes, Prevention and Solutions

The Panel Includes:

Nyle Wadford, President - Neuse Tile Service, Inc. and President, National Tile Contractors Association
David A. Earl, PhD. Vice President Research & Development – Mohawk/Daltile Corporation
Noah Chitty, Director of Technical Services and Quality Assurance –Stonepeake Tile
Tim Bolby, Director of Technical Services –Crossville Tile
Rod Sigman, Business Development Manager, Technical Installation and Care Systems Custom building products
Mike Micalizzi, Director, Technical Services, Custom Building Products

Even a perfect tile or stone installation can be ruined by grout haze or residue under certain conditions. Some of these problems will arise when you least expect it when using Porcelain and many other tile materials. It can be very costly to remove grout haze and at times the tile or stone can be permanently damaged. Learn the causes of these issues from tile manufacturers, grout manufacturers and professional contractors to help you prevent these from happening. Also see what techniques can be used to solve most of these issues when they happen.

Click here to read more about Mike


NTCA, Why the Industry Needs NTCA Five Star Contractors  

Moderated by Jim Olson and Bart Bettiga
Five Star Panelists:  Chris Walker:David Allen Company, Rod Owen: CC Owen Tile:, Dan Welch: Welch Tile and Marble, Kevin Fox: Fox Ceramic Tile

NTCA Five Star Contractors are required to successfully complete a thorough company recognition application process.  In this forum, representatives from the group will discuss many of the pressing issues facing quality tile contracting companies today.  Distributors and Manufacturers are encouraged to join in the discussion.  Topics will include national accounts, manufacturer warranties, specifications and the importance of recommending qualified labor, efforts to unify the labor industry through advanced certification, and more.  This open and frank discussion will be beneficial to all industry professionals.

Click here to read more about the NTCA Five Star Contractor Forum  



Partners in Progress
Total Solutions Plus is brought to you by the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association, the National Tile Contractors Association, and the Tile Council of North America. To learn more about these organizations, click on their logo to the right.