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editor's letter
Growing wiser by learning from each other
Lesley Goddin
Editorial Director and Senior Writer
“Be your own hero. Do what you need to do, so you can be who you want to be for those around you. No one is coming to save you – it’s up to you to control your destiny. Be selfish to be selfless.” – Matthew Blood, Paragon Tile Installation
Some of the delights of developing stories for TileLetter, connecting with industry folks on social media and planning ahead for future issues and events are the conversations I get to have with people. This month I discovered a couple of books I’d love to read, ways to defeat the “imposter” that lives in our heads, and the wisdom of being present to what I am doing while I am doing it. I got to learn about ways to engage an audience, whether it’s a group of adult tile professionals or schoolchildren. I was privileged to connect with a powerful and inspiring cadre of women as I prepare to moderate the Women’s Talking 2024 panel at Coverings. And I even discovered a shared passion with a tile artisan friend for a new hobby – cultivating mushrooms at home – when I posted my flush of pearl oyster mushrooms and my subsequent gourmet meal with them on Facebook.
So I get to learn, connect and be enriched by my conversations with y’all as I go about my day-to day work, and for that, I thank you!
In this issue, there is plenty of inspiration, by the way. Our Workplace Wellness story chronicles Matt Blood’s amazing trajectory from the worn-out grind of fire-fighting to embracing his passion for tile setting and tile artistry and taking steps to cultivate the life he wants, in an industry he loves. In Training and Education, read about NTCA Technical Trainer Matt Welner and his “return to school” -- this time to introduce young people to the possibilities in a career of tile setting.
Looking for fresh new tile styles? Check out the A&D story that details the 10 top tile trends you’ll see at Coverings. And we all know large-format porcelain slabs are growing in popularity, but some folks think their impervious, low-absorptive porcelain and expansive size means they don’t need actual waterproofing in a wet area. CTEF’s Scott Carothers dispels THAT myth in our Technical story.
Amanda Mourelatos sits down with Malachi Hilkey in our Member Spotlight to explore his passion for the craft and his attempts to educate his clients about standards-based, doing-it-right-the-first-time tile setting. And page over to see how he brought the soul of a non-profit skate park to life with his tilework.
Remember that big CAT5 hurricane – Ian – in September 2022? That is definitely NOT the kind of working condition you would hope for. But our cover story details how Sika’s setting materials helped the newly-renovated Ritz-Carlton in Naples, Fla., withstand the deluge and how fast action by the company helped replace materials in areas that were unprotected.
I hope you come away from this issue inspired, uplifted and just a little bit wiser. We do it all for you! I look forward to seeing many of you at Coverings in a few weeks. I’m usually zipping from appointment to appointment, but feel free to stop me and say hi!
God bless,
Correction: In our March Member Spotlight, the company Artisan Tile Inc. was misreferenced twice in the text as "Artistic Tile." The correct name of the Brighton, Mich., company, founded by president Jennifer Panning, is Artisan Tile Inc.