Scott McKain | Eric Astrachan | Frank Miles | Specification Smack Down | Shannon Vogel | Mike Clancy | Sandy Smith |Distributor's Forum | Al Bates |Tommy Conner | Best Practices for Successful Tile Contractors | Training For Success |Managing a Project for Profit | Rod Sigman


Opening Keynote: Scott McKain, The Collapse of Distinction: How to Differentiate Yourself in a Crowded Marketplace

Scott McKain creates captivating presentations and bestselling books which clearly reveal how to create more compelling connections between you and your customers and how to stand out and move up, regardless of the economic climate in your industry.
Scott McKain’s calling is business – and his passion is platform presentations. He is a unique combination of vast speaking experience and new, cutting-edge information. His presentations bene­fit from three decades of experience, combined with his innate talent for articulating successful ideas. McKain has spoken before and consulted for the world’s most influential corporations.

Social Media in Action.
In today’s Facebook/Twitter/social media world, a dissatisfi­ed customer now has a platform to broadcast his or her opinions regarding your organization to the world instantaneously. In this environment, it’s never been more important to understand and execute the steps necessary to create the “ultimate customer experience.” McKain is one of about 150 living members of the Professional Speakers Hall of Fame. He was also recently recognized by Social Media Marketing Magazine as one of the ­fifty most influential marketing authors on Twitter and GenJuice, a leading resource for emerging professionals, as one of the “Top 25” people for Gen Y and Millennial leaders to follow on Twitter.

Creating Differentiation.
There are a myriad of choices in the marketplace for prospects and customers seeking the products and services of your industry. So, how does your organization – and the professionals who work with you – stand out from the plethora of competitors? In his book, Collapse of Distinction, McKain takes a revolutionary approach by showing how organizations and individual professionals create di­fferentiation in the marketplace. Collapse of Distinction was named one of the “Top 10 Business Books” of the year by the Miami Herald, Huffington Post, and other major media outlets and reached the number one spot on’s list of business bestsellers.

McKain has appeared multiple times as a commentator on FOX News to discuss business, politics, and American culture. In his earlier career as a broadcast journalist, two million people saw his commentaries each week on 80 television stations in the United States, Canada, and Australia. He has also been a news anchor for a CBS-TV affiliate in one of the nation’s 25 largest markets.

McKain has been named as a “Hoosier Hero” in his home state because of his commitment to youth and philanthropy He was selected by Arnold Schwarzenegger to be the emcee and speaker for the Great American Workout, held on the White House lawn with the President in the audience carried live on CNN and NBC's "Today" show. He also portrayed the villain in a film by internationally esteemed director Werner Herzog, acclaimed by critic Roger Ebert as one of the “best movies” ever made.



Keynote: Eric Astrachan, TCNA- Standards, Science, Education, Advocacy- Today's Critical Industry Issues

Tile Council Executive Director Eric Astrachan will discuss standards-based issues, trends, and recent developments in thin tile research, water absorption, OSHA regulations, contractor and installer certification, and more! And, you won’t want to miss his report on the latest in sustainability, including a tile industry major milestone being announced first at Total Solutions Plus. Don’t miss this chance to get up to speed on changes to standards and exciting news in an entertaining and compelling fast-paced presentation. Mr. Astrachan will open the morning keynote presenting the TCNA Tile Person of the Year Award. All are welcome and encouraged to attend and congratulate this year’s award recipient.



Tuesday Lunch Keynote: Frank Miles, Laugh at Fear

Comedian Frank Miles, who had thrilled Las Vegas audiences for over a decade with his feats as a juggler and magician, found himself with some unique new material – after being pronounced dead following a hang gliding accident. When emergency room doctors gave him a second chance at life, he learned his first lesson. Courage, he realized, isn’t facing death – it’s facing life every day. Laugh at Fear is Frank Miles’ off the wall, hilarious response to his near-death experience and long road to recovery. With help from the audience, he uses magic, juggling, unicycling, acrobatics, music, and even fire eating to illustrate the simple truths that can free them from self-imposed and imprisoning fears. He also demonstrates ways to confront issues of change and accompanying stress, while reminding them of what’s really important in life, and puts them on the road to achieving their goals.

This off-the-wall, hilarious, refreshing, and absolutely unique presentation focuses on helping people address the issues of change, fear, stress, and achieving goals. Frank Miles uses his many talents (magic, juggling, unicycling, acrobatics, music, and even fire eating) to deliver a wildly entertaining and powerful keynote presentation. With audience volunteers and non-stop variety he illustrates a simple approach to clobbering fear--the #1 obstacle to success.

Click below to watch a short video of Frank or copy this link into your browser:

Specification Smack Down

Panelists will include an architect, manufacturer, distributor, designer and contractor. Names of panelists will be made available here as they are confirmed.

Olivia Boone, Horizon Tile - Distributor
Mary Yocum, Crossville, Inc. - Manufacturer
Rick Engebretson, The RLE Group - Architect
Susie Jauregui, Jauregui- Architect/Designer
Al Grazzini, Grazzini Brothers - Contractor

Shannon Vogel, Social Media

It’s fair to say that Shannon was quite literally born into the residential construction and design business! Both of her parents own and operate a building company and interior design service. Shannon was well versed in everything from paint to hardwood to shingles before the age of 6. Growing up in the family business, Shannon developed a passion for working with people and honed her design skills.

As her interests flourished so did her opportunities. After more than 10 years in the business, Shannon changed her focus from commercial and residential flooring sales and interior design to helping others in the flooring industry promote and grow their businesses through social media. In 2008, Shannon launched and drove one of the flooring industry’s most successful blogs and has since achieved certification as a Social Media Strategist. Shannon is currently the director of Social Media for Creating Your Space where she works daily to strengthen the brand awareness of flooring dealers throughout the country. Shannon currently resides in Denver, Colorado with her husband Kevin where they enjoy traveling, wine and the culinary arts.

In this session, you will learn about content strategy and development in order to give your social audience the information they need or want to choose you! After you develop your content strategy, we will cover what to do beyond posting to step your social media up a notch with tools like advertising and promotions. All of this wrapped up with time saving tools and tips to help you have an effective and efficient social media program.


Mike Clancy, Estimating Bidding Strategies

As a principal with FMI, management consultants and investment bankers for the engineering and construction industry, Mike Clancy works with companies across the country to help them leverage their unique organizational resources and capabilities  to build competitive
advantage. Mike’s key focus areas are developing corporate strategies and improving the work acquisition results of his contractor clients.

Mike is FMI’s internal practice leader in estimating and the creator of the FMI Estimating Advantage. He has written numerous articles for industry publications on the estimating and procurement  discipline  and speaks to audiences around the country on developing a strategic insight towards work acquisition. He has also developed training programs for his customers to build best-in-class cost and pricing systems.

What's it about?
After a multi-year trend towards negotiated, cooperative procurement of construction services, the pendulum has swung dramatically back to lump sum work. Has your firm lost its edge? Best in class contracting organizations are looking at estimating and work acquisition in a completely new way. Are you getting everything you should be from your estimating function? Topics of discussion include FMI's experience with our clients regarding:

• The size of the shift – bid work growing as the overall market shrinks
• The seven most demoralizing (and untrue) words in estimating
• Building a best practices approach to estimating
• Why cutting your margin is not a strategy
• Why software and hardware will not solve your problem
• Keeping your subcontractors close – while taking back your role as GC
• Have your most profitable year ever

Al Bates, Profit for Distributors

Most companies have not made any significant improvement in profitability over the course of the last decade.  Part of the problem, of course, has been a sluggish economy.  A more significant reason is that firms continue to believe old, worn out ideas regarding profit.  They serve as significant barriers to improvement.

The Breaking Down the Profit Barriers session will demonstrate how to overcome the barriers.  The result will be to improve financial results—not just a little, but a lot. 

The program will address three issues.  First, it will review what it is that we know about profitability that is actually wrong.  Only when the profit barriers are well understood can they be overcome.  Second, it will lay out a game plan for actually making proper adjustments in key areas of the business.  Third, it will identify where firms need to be in terms of profitability to ensure long-term success.

James Woelfel, Dan Welch, Brad Trosturd and Jennifer Panning - Best Practices for Successful Tile Contractors

Leading contractors from the National Tile Contractors Association and Tile Contractors Association of America will participate in a lively discussion related to Best Practices in the field and the office.  Topics being discussed include Quality Assurance, Training, Bidding Strategies, Differentiating your company from the competition, and more.  Attendees will be encouraged to ask questions and to participate in the discussion.  

Chris Walker & Anthony Jung, Training for Success: A Look at Developing Successful Tile Sub-Contractor Collaborations

This session will discuss the pros and cons of direct labor vs sub-contract labor as a primary sources of manpower

Martin Howard, Lucinda Noel and Paul Felleisen - Managing a Project for Profit

Once the tile contracting company is awarded a bid, the work is just beginning.  It is essential to have an effective project management strategy in place in order to reach the desired profit goals. Successful tile contractors will share what are the most important components of successful project management, and will discuss a case study in which brand new technology was introduced, making the daily process extremely challenging.   

Rod Sigman, Tile & Stone Maintenance Strategies

This presentation will focus on some of the most common challenges, misunderstandings and opportunities that are associated with sealers and maintenance programs for tile and stone. Lack of understanding and knowledge with regard to the use of sealers and cleaners is a daily problem that can have serious consequences whether you are using, recommending or selling them. Worse yet, a lack of understanding and confidence can lead many to not discuss the importance of how to protect and care for their customers investment too often leading to serious problems.

For the contractor, the issue of incorporating sealers, cleaners and problem solvers into their normal installation methods can be highly profitable in many different forms. For the distributor, insuring that sealers and cleaners are part of the discussion and sale when needed is critical to insuring satisfied tile and stone customers and avoiding some of the most common industry pitfalls. These and other related topics will be covered to help include proper protection and care as part of a complete installation system leading to  profitable and successful outcomes for the user, seller and customer.

Tommy Conner, Design Build Obligations: You May Not Know It, But You Own It

Design-Build is a project delivery method that provides the owner with a single point of contact for both design and construction.  The practice has gained great popularity in recent years as owners seek greater simplicity in directing and executing their new projects.  Some of these design-build projects achieve great results and rewards, while others are saddled with unexpected consequences. A basic awareness of the unique financial and liability risks associated with design-build is essential to avoiding some of the unpleasant, surprises that can occur

Sandy Smith, Creating a Culture of High Employee Engagement

In 2012 The Gallup Organization conducted a major survey on employee engagement in US businesses. Their findings were shocking as they discovered 70% of employees are disengaged. This means that 30% of the workforce is carrying the heavy load and could eventually burnout.

This Sandy Smith interactive workshop will reveal the key reasons behind employee disengagement and more importantly feature specific strategies for leaders and managers in tile distribution to create a culture of high employee engagement.

For over twenty years Sandy Smith has been a special consultant with tile manufacturers, distributors and dealers.  Over the past few years Sandy has been a frequent speaker at Coverings, CTDA and Five Star Contractors events. Sandy is a member of the National Speakers Association and the World Futurist Societ

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.