Bart Bettiga and Dan Welch
Bart Bettiga (left), The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) executive director, presents Tile Person of the Year Award to Dan Welch (right) of Welch Marble & Tile at the second annual Awards Ceremony during Coverings.

The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) recognized industry leaders at its second annual Awards Ceremony, during Coverings at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Over 200 guests were present to see NTCA recognize two exceptional individuals for their dedication to the industry, as well as to present its Best Practice Awards and Five Star Contractor Grand Prize Awards for outstanding installation.  

"This was the best Awards Ceremony in which we've ever been involved. The attendance and enthusiasm were at an all-time high, indicating just how passionate everyone continues to be about our industry. We are very proud of the winners and wholeheartedly congratulate them," said Bart Bettiga, NTCA executive director. 

According to the association, an independent panel of judges evaluated submissions, based on execution and installation, original usage, and overall design and purpose. Special recognition was given to those projects exemplifying stunning tile and stone. 

Martin Brookes, Heritage Marble and Tile of Mill County, Calif. received the Best Practice Award for his active promotion of NTCA membership on the west coast. A member of NTCA since 2005 who has been instrumental in recruitment of new members, Martin continually promotes the benefits of membership and assists trainers at workshops in his region.

Brent Stoller of ISC Surfaces in Kansas City, Kan. was given the Distributor Award by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation. Whereas the name ISC Surfaces was introduced in January 2008, the company's history dates back to the 1940s and encompasses that of three companies - Interstate Supply Co., Case Supply and AMC Tile Supply.  With six distribution centers, ISC Surfaces also operates two showrooms for retailers, contractors, designers, and their customers.  

NTCA’s Five Star Prize awards were presented for both commercial and residential tile installations. The Five Star winners received $2,500 each in prize money, sponsored by Daltile Corp. Submissions were received and judged by the following criteria: scope (size of project), complexity (challenges), technical soundness (resolution of challenges) and design  and presentation (overall appearance, layout and artistic value).

Artcraft Granite Marble and Tile of Mesa, Ariz. was the recipient of the Five-Star Grand Prize for commercial tile installation. The firm's installation of glass and porcelain tile at GateWay Community College’s Integrated Education Building was a glowing example of the company’s technical expertise.  

Collins Tile and Stone of Aldie, Va. was the recipient of the Five-Star Grand Prize for Residential Tile Installation. The firm's project “Carrara Elegance,” which started off as a simple remodel, quickly morphed into true masterpiece of luxury and indulgence with no expense spared, according to the association.

Special awards were presented to Dan Welch, NTCA president for receiving the Tile Person of the Year Award. Welch has led NTCA for the past 10 years, and was the first person to be certified in both the CTEF CTI program and the ACT Certification Programs, according to the association. His firm currently employs the most certified installers, and has been active in the executive leadership of NTCA for many years. 

Luciano Galassini, deputy director of Italy's Confindustria Ceramica, received the prestigious Joe A Tarver Lifetime Achievement Award, offered by the NTCA to a leader in the tile and stone industry who dedicates his/her career to advancing our trade. It was especially appropriate this year, as Coverings celebrated its 25th anniversary as a leading trade show in our industry, and both Joe Tarver and Galassini played key roles in the development of the exposition. Galassini has been on the Board of Governors for Coverings for all its 25 years, and was instrumental in the development of the joint venture partnership that currently sponsors and manages the event.  He is an active participant in many world forums and committees that improve our industry. Eric Astrachan, TCNA executive director  presented the award to Galassini on behalf of NTCA.

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