Claudio Bizzaglia


Jennifer Ariss

The Tile Council of North America (TCNA) has hired Claudio Bizzaglia as its new director of laboratory services.  Mr. Bizzaglia’s responsibilities include developing new testing services and markets, providing technical assistance, and directing overall lab operations, while maintaining TCNA’s commitment to quality, confidentiality, and customer service.

Fluent in four languages, Mr. Bizzaglia brings to TCNA almost twenty years of experience in the tile industry.  His background includes numerous assignments in product design, research and development, sales, technical services, and laboratory management.  He has traveled and worked extensively throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and North and South America. 

Mr. Bizzaglia received a chemical engineering degree from F. Corni College in Sassuolo, Italy.  He began his career working in quality control for tile manufacturers and was responsible for production lines.  Subsequently, he worked as a technical/commercial manager for Gamma Due (Sassuolo, Italy), managing the research and development of new products and directing the technical staff and laboratory.  He later worked as a technology transfer manager for Dal Tile Corporation before working as sales director for Stylgraph in Italy.   

Dr. Virgil (Sonny) Irick, who has served as TCNA laboratory services director since 2006, will remain as the laboratory sales and special projects manager.   

“Claudio possesses a great combination of skills, experience, and knowledge to lead the lab.  His arrival allows us to address future goals and allows me the opportunity to focus efforts on designing custom testing and research projects,” remarked Dr. Irick.

TCNA has also hired Dr. Jennifer Ariss for the newly created position of Research and Standards Development Scientist. Dr. Ariss will be responsible for developing and modifying industry standards, assisting with TCNA’s Green Initiative, and handling research projects for TCNA members and TCNA’s Product Performance Testing Lab. 

Dr. Ariss received degrees in English and biology from Oakland University in Rochester Hills, MI.  Additionally, she earned an M.S. and Ph.D. from Ohio State University. She has extensive experience in research, experimental design, and statistical analysis and is widely published in scientific journals.  

“Dr. Ariss brings a unique set of skills to this position.  Her scientific and strong research background, as well as her publication experience, will greatly benefit TCNA in the standards development process.  We are very pleased to have her join our staff,” commented TCNA Executive Director, Eric Astrachan.

Bill Griese



 TCNA has also promoted Bill Griese to the newly created position of Standards Development and Green Initiative Manager.  In addition to his responsibilities as coordinator of TCNA’s environmental efforts, Mr. Griese is involved in the development and revision of ASTM, ANSI, ISO, and other industry-specific standards.  He will continue to serve as chairman for the ASTM C21 Committee on Ceramic Whitewares and Related Products and work closely with TCNA’s Product Performance Testing Laboratory.  Mr. Griese holds a Bachelor of Science in Ceramic and Materials Engineering from Clemson University.

Katelyn Simpson



In addition, TCNA has promoted Katelyn Simpson to Laboratory Manager.  Ms. Simpson will be responsible for continuing TCNA’s commitment to provide excellent service to lab clients, quality assurance, and daily lab operations.  Her background as a laboratory engineer provides her with years of experience in tile, stone, and installation materials testing to ASTM, ANSI and ISO Standards.  Ms. Simpson also holds a Bachelor of Science in Ceramic and Materials Engineering from Clemson University.

“TCNA is committed to serving the needs of our industry, and with Bill and Katelyn filling these positions, we are better able to do so,” said Eric Astrachan, TCNA Executive Director.  “With the development of new testing methods and standards, as well as the importance of green issues, we are dedicating key staff to coordinate our efforts.”