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John Bridge
Internet pioneer and tile industry ambassador
Bart Bettiga
NTCA Executive Director
One-to-One with Bart Bettiga
In the One-to-One column, NTCA Executive Director Bart Bettiga interviews industry leaders about pertinent topics.
John Bridge, a seasoned professional and pioneer in the tile sector, was recently honored by the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) with a special industry award in acknowledgment of his outstanding contributions to the field. Leaving the army in 1968, John Bridge applied for apprenticeship training in the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, becoming a carpenter. He later obtained the Arizona General Building Contractor’s License, Class B, and joined his older brother as a ceramic tile contractor. With an extensive career in the industry, Bridge has been a tile setter since the 1970s and has contributed significantly to the tile community through his expertise and the creation of the John Bridge Forum at www.johnbridge.com.
He shares his journey with us in a special One-to-One interview.

How did your career lead you to where you are today? I went broke in the carpentry business, so I needed to do something different. I had two older brothers who had been in the tile business for a long time. I had served 10 years in the Army before going through a carpentry apprenticeship. When I realized carpentry wasn’t for me, I joined my brother in tile. I started at the bottom and learned all aspects of tile installation on the job.
I worked in Arizona and California in tile for a few years. Then, I bought a restaurant in Indianapolis and failed miserably at that. Needing to make a living again, I relocated to Houston, Texas, in 1982 when the economy was booming, got back into tile and was successful at it for over 30 years. We focused on bathroom remodeling, and this proved to be an excellent niche for my company.
How did the innovative John Bridge Forum come about? My brother-in-law was in the computer business, and he encouraged me to develop a website. In 1998 I started this and by 1999 we added a discussion group. We put that on the Internet. Before I knew it, some tile people started joining the group and people started finding us and asking questions. In 2000, I invested in new software and launched the Forum the way it looks now.
What objective did you hope to accomplish with the Forum, and how has it evolved in the past 23 years? Primarily, the Forum was designed for consumers to get information. This is still the case today. We wanted to promote better practices in the tile industry. We also wanted to answer common questions consumers had about tile installation. We struck a nerve because very soon we became the most visited tile information site in the world I believe.
John Bridge launched a website in 1998 that morphed into the John Bridge Forum, helping both consumers and tile professionals learn more about ceramic tile installation.
How were you or are you able to control content and develop professional interaction between consumers and the trade? We have several moderators I developed a relationship with, and they help me to answer questions, maintain professionalism and collaborate on our responses. My partner, Dave Misovich, keeps the software running and he is integral to our success as well. Our team of moderators manages this process diligently. We have never allowed foul language and we don’t let people argue to the point where it becomes contentious. We bill ourselves as the friendliest tile forum on the Internet, and quite frankly we keep it that way.
In addition to the John Bridge Forum, John has authored several tile installation books, joining respected peers like Tom Meehan and Michael Byrne, who have done the same.
What does it mean to be recognized by the NTCA with a special industry award for being an ambassador to the tile industry in your support of the trade? I take credit for launching the Forum. From that point, I think it took on a life of its own. Thousands of people have made the Forum work, and that credit goes to the individuals who dedicate their time to support our industry. I am humbled to be recognized by the NTCA and thankful for the friendships I have developed through this effort.

How did the forum positively impact the tile installers as a way of getting information as well? We have two divisions of the forum. One is the Professional’s Hangout, and this is open to anyone. The other one is a Pros only forum and this has been beneficial for the installers to learn from each other. We are proud that we have helped a lot of young people make connections and get technical and business advice. This has been an invaluable component of the forum and something I am really proud of.

John and his wife Janie have enjoyed the friendships they have made at tile industry events like Coverings over the years.