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Tile ProSource Supports CTI Testing and CTEF

Tile ProSource Supports CTI Testing and CTEF

There's no denying that without companies like Tile ProSource to support CTEF, the Certified Tile Installer program would not be what it is today.

The CTI program requires hands-on testing locations around the country, not just in Pendleton, SC where CTEF is headquartered. Furthermore, in addition to the hands-on test itself, the program includes an orientation the evening before the test, not to mention cleanup.

So committing to being a CTI test location host means you're willing to give up a good bit of space for some serious tile installation action over more than a day.

In the case of Tile ProSource in Tennessee, the owners not only generously offered CTEF warehouse space but also treated everyone involved in the CTI test to a tile-themed feast. Plus, they've also added to their online checkout process an option to donate to the CTEF Mission!

Meet the Tile ProSource Owners Who Generously Support CTEF and CTI Testing

CTEF recently caught up with Tile ProSource owners Bob and Kate Atchley to ask them about their experience hosting the CTI hands-on test and the role CTEF plays in their world. 

Meet the Tile ProSource Owners Who Generously Support CTEF and CTI Testing

CTEF: Tell us about yourself and your family business. 

TP: Tile ProSource is a family-owned, husband-and-wife team, business. We are Bob and Kate Atchley, both Tennessee natives, and parents to two wonderful future tile industry participants.

Originally, we worked together in a floor covering store in a small town in East Tennessee. The vast majority of our floor covering knowledge was based in the carpet industry.

In 2009, Bob attended a Schluter Training course at CTEF, where he developed an extreme interest in the tile industry. Bob was presented with an opportunity to purchase an existing storefront from a wholesale client. We packed up the family and moved to a larger town and started peddling floors, just the two of us.

CTEF: How did you create this tile business?

TP: Bob worked sunup to sundown making deliveries, visiting job sites, and teaching contractors and installers about the newest options for installation and tools in the floor covering industry.

Kate worked the showroom, designing for clients and educating end-users on appropriate methods for installation and correct material choices for project application.

We quickly realized that our area was ready and willing to learn about tile installation best practices, tile tools, and techniques to increase profitability and professionalism in their trade. Call after call from clients, contractors, and installers, day after day, asking:

"What do I do when.."

"What can I use for..."

"How do I get this to work with..."

Bob's desire for knowledge coupled with his heart for people had men and women from all over the region calling to get advice and find the best materials. "No call is insignificant if they need to know how best to do their job, that's my job," says Bob.  The more he learned, the more he shared until people were asking him to please order them what they needed for any particular project.

CTEF:  How did tile industry suppliers react?

TP: Suppliers started noticing the orders, and enthusiasm behind the work. Relationships were put in place to purchase directly from tool manufacturers.

When we see something new in the market, we get our hands on it.

Our mission is to quickly connect tile professionals with quality tile tools that solve problems, improve efficiency and make life easier. Thanks to eCommerce, we are able to reach people nationwide, worldwide for that matter, and help them become the best they can be. 

The CTI hands-on test in action

CTEF: What do you see in regard to installer training/education in your circles of influence?

TP: How grateful we are to each person willing to share their experiences. Feedback is absolutely critical to us as tool suppliers and it falls hand in hand with training. Most of us love to learn from others who are in the trenches too - discussion style, sharing the good and the bad.

When we do round table discussions, people are able to advise one another and offer different solutions and different schools of thought. All experiences are unique, and combining them in a conversation, respectfully, builds the greatest understanding of the capabilities and limitations of every piece of equipment or type of material we encounter.

Daily we receive calls from installers who have had no formal training, and rarely any type of apprenticeship. This runs them through the wringer, making the work harder, the days longer, and pay less. I personally believe most of them feel giving up the time to attend training will put them too far behind in payments to invest in their education.

Time and time again, we see immediate and obvious growth in their businesses when they take the time to learn new things.

CTEF: What drew you to the CTEF CTI program?

TP: Teach a man to fish is a principle the world must put into practice. Our local market desperately needs and continues to need, professional tile contractors.

We work with large panels, delicate mosaics, onyx, radius walls...all of the above. The number of men and women qualified to handle some of these materials, with confidence, is limited in our area. I would dare say limited in most areas. 

We hope by promoting this professional certification, more will want to come to the forefront and become certified in this craft.  

The CTI program, we feel, gives the best test for proving you truly know the fundamentals this trade was built upon. In order to successfully pass the written portion, you must fully study to learn the material and understand the reasoning behind the answer. This gives you a deeper understanding of both new, and old, techniques, and gives the decisions you make on the job site credibility.

Any person who can pass the field installation portion of the test most definitely has a strong understanding of the requirements, and best practices, for tile installation.

CTEF: What made you want to become a host for the CTI hands-on test?

TP: Tile ProSource is centrally located and we have the facility to give guys an opportunity to take a test in a remote corner of Tennessee.

Just like getting the right tile tool in their hands as quickly as possible, we have a strong desire to see that anybody who wants to improve is given the option.

If we can help in any small way, why would we hesitate?

Grading the toughest 25 square foot tile installation

CTEF: What did you think about the CTI test and the hosting experience?

TP: Mad props to every man and woman who has tackled that beast of a test. You think of 25 square feet as, well, 25 square feet. Watching it happen in real-time, I honestly couldn't look away.

>> See Grading the Toughest 25 Square Feet of Tile You'll Ever Install (Video)

The determination to push through the day was so inspiring. I was ready to jump in and do it too, terrified to distract them, sappy from being proud of their dedication... It was a wild day.

You know those guys are holding a burrito in one hand and spreading mud with the other? Some of them didn't look up, some of them didn't speak, and some of them looked around to make eye contact for a little encouragement. Man, it was an experience I was so proud to be a part of this time and I cannot wait to host more people.

CTEF is such a great thing for our industry and a standard that everyone needs to know they are capable of achieving. Everyone should desire to be counted amongst this elite.

Certified Tile Installer. That accreditation means a lot more to me today.

CTEF: Tell us about Tile ProSource

TP: Tile ProSource, it's definitely where all you guys should get your tools...

In seriousness, Tile ProSource is an online tile tool company. We specialize in tile tools only because that is what we know.

We can advise you and teach you what you need to know on anything you need from us. We get all your orders out the day you place them and strive to get them to you as fast as possible. We all know time is money and having the right tool at the right time saves the day.

CTEF: How is Tile ProSource helping CTEF?

TP: Customer service is our main objective and education falls into that category. Because we want the industry to have additional education, we have decided to increase our options for CTEF donations.

As you checkout on the website, you are prompted to add a donation to CTEF to your order. It is by no means a requirement, but it is opening doors for people to drop some in the bucket for other people to get additional training from CTEF at decreased costs.

Not only do the donations help the program, but we are also getting people asking about CTEF and what it means to them.

Circle back to the fact we get to start having conversations about the CTI Test, CTEF, and industry standards.

Our hope is that more in the industry will be inspired to try and improve. People helping people, honestly, that's what it's all about.

CTEF: Any last thoughts to share? 

 Thank you John Roberts of Beno J. Gundlach

TP: We want to say thank you to everyone with CTEF and John Roberts of Beno J. Gundlach for your commitment to our industry. It was truly one of the greatest experiences of our professional careers to host this CTI Exam.

You have our full support as you continue to help spread the understanding of quality and professionalism.  Kate and I are incredibly proud of each of the installers who made the trip to Tennessee for this.

We hope each of you enjoys immense success in your lives and in your careers. You deserve it. 

CTEF: Thank you, Kate and Bob, and the Tile ProSource team for supporting CTEF and the CTI program!

Thank you, Kate and Bob, and the Tile ProSource team for supporting CTEF and the CTI program!Are You Interested in Supporting CTEF and the CTI Hands-on Test as a Host?

If you'd like to learn more about supporting CTEF and becoming a host for the hands-on portion of the Certified Tile Installer program, don't hesitate to let us know.  Those who participate consider it inspiring and game-changing for the tile industry. Here's what other test hosts say about the experience:

>> Meet a Serial CTI Test Host: Brent Stoller, Virginia Tile

>> Daltile San Antonio, Texas, Hosts Hands-On CTI Test

>> Schluter Hosts First New Jersey Hands-On Certified Tile Installer Test

>> Tile Industry Teamwork in Action at Artistic Tile in Nashua, NH

Thank you for reading!

Learn More About Becoming a Certified Tile Installer Click Here to Download the CTI Kit.