The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) announced the 2019 recipients of the NTCA Tom Ade Ceramic Tile Scholarship. Recipients were awarded $5,000 and recognized during the association's annual awards ceremony that took place during the Coverings trade show in Orlando, Fla. As part of the award, scholarship winners received an expense-paid trip to the trade show.

This year, three winners were chosen out of 53 applicants. Applicants were required to submit an application, a letter of recommendation, and an essay detailing their career goals. Their submissions were reviewed by a committee made up of NTCA board members and staff.

"Each year, I am impressed with the submissions we receive,” said Bart Bettiga, NTCA executive director. “This year, we had an amazing group of applicants and received one of the most well-written essays ever submitted to us in the four years we’ve offered this scholarship.”

The 2019 NTCA Tom Ade Ceramic Tile Scholarship winners are:

Riley Sullivan, son of Dirk Sullivan and his wife Beth of NTCA Five-Star Contractor Hawthorne Tile in Portland, Oregon. Sullivan is an international baccalaureate diploma candidate. He plans to use his scholarship to further his studies, specifically focusing on ecosystem protection.

Tyler Kleinsasser, son of Roger Kleinsasser, owner of Tile Creations in Rapid City, S.D. After Kleinsasser graduates with a degree in Civil Engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, he will be pursuing a Master's degree in Construction Engineering and Management.

Tara Wadford, daughter of Nyle and Teresa Wadford of NTCA Five-Star Contractor Neuse Tile Service in Youngsville, N.C. Wadford plans to enroll at Liberty University, majoring in nursing and minoring in Spanish, and aspires to become a physician’s assistant.

NTCA also awarded 10 other applicants $1,000 each. The additional scholarships were made possible through a sponsorship from LATICRETE International.

The NTCA Tom Ade Ceramic Tile Scholarship was established in 2016 to provide educational opportunities for children and grandchildren of NTCA contractor members. The scholarship was named after long-time NTCA member Tom Ade, who was present for this year's ceremony. Ade helped make the namesake scholarship possible by bestowing a generous donation to the association earmarked to support students of NTCA members who wish to continue their education.

Bettiga said he was grateful for Ade’s dedication to the tile industry, NTCA, and furthering education. “Tom’s foresight and financial support led to the creation of our scholarship program several years ago. In conjunction with the philanthropic support of sponsors like LATICRETE, I am happy that we are able to continue Tom’s legacy.”

Ade is a former NTCA Regional Director and recipient of both NTCA's Ring of Honor and Tile Person of the Year Award. Ade is also the 2019 recipient of the NTCA Joe A. Tarver Award, an award that recognizes service to the tile industry.

For more information, visit