The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), the largest tile contractors association in the world, presented John Frank Canto of Canto Tile & Stone in Tampa, FL, with the Tile Person of the Year award at the industry’s Total Solutions Plus Conference this past November.

Canto, an NTCA member for many years, became the association’s regional director in the late 90’s, serving four years. He also has been a member of the NTCA Technical Committee and was invited to join the NTCA Executive Committee in 2002. He served as NTCA president from 2006-2008 and chairman of the board from 2008-2010.

The Canto family has been associated with tile contracting for almost 80 years.  Frank Canto started going to tile jobs at the age of 15, working summers for his father, but did not plan to follow in his footsteps. In 1969 – married, with a two-year old son John -- he moved from Neptune Beach to Tampa with intentions of working for Delta Airlines. The airline job never panned out, and Frank's professional tile career took off… at $2.50 per hour.

Canto worked for his father at Hillsborough Tile from 1969 to 1982, specializing in both commercial and residential tile work. Already a seasoned mechanic, Canto soon learned the business side of the family business. Soon thereafter, Frank joined Craig Tile, a growing commercial and residential contracting company and worked for that Tampa-based Company for 25 years. Starting as an estimator, Canto subsequently held positions in sales and project management. During his tenure with Craig Tile he was promoted to vice president, and eventually president.

Canto has always been committed to training. In 1990, he helped the Gulf Coast chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) launch a federally-approved tile apprenticeship course which ran for five years. After that, Canto remained active in the ABC, serving as chairman in 2007, and on their board and executive committee. He was also a board member for the American Subcontractors Association’s Tampa Chapter.

He formed Canto Tile and Stone in 2007, along with wife Linda, son John and daughter Natalie. In 2009 Canto Tile was awarded the prestigious NTCA Five-Star status – one of only 18 firms to do so to date. In 2010 Canto was recognized as an industry consultant, passing a rigid set of association criteria to honor industry experts for jobsite investigation and reporting.

Upon receiving his award, Canto stated, “I would like to thank God for this blessing and to acknowledge my wife, Linda, who has been by my side since we were 15… helping me become the person I am today. Of course, thanks to my children John and Natalie, my daughter-in-law, Lisa -- the mother of my four beautiful grandchildren -- my loyal employees, all my clients and customers, my suppliers and vendors… and, all my family and friends who have made this long journey a wonderful experience I would not trade for all the money in the world!”