In a nutshell, tile installation certification programs transform the tile trade and industry for the better. Those programs include the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program as well as the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT) program. #TransformTheTrade
How Did #TransformTheTrade Get Started?
#TransformTheTrade began with Certified Tile Installers, naturally! It represents a groundswell of passion from those who know firsthand how critical quality tile installations are. They represent craftspeople who bring together artistry and technique.
The statement "Transform The Trade" encapsulates the Mission of the CTEF which states:
CTEF will expand the knowledge of professional ceramic tile installation through training, education, and certification.
CTEF will promote the applicable industry standards to new and experienced tile installers, architects, designers, builders, and tile industry related people.
The overall goal of CTEF's activities is to raise the quality of ceramic tile installation.
Transform The Trade includes encouraging installers to Take The Test, Support CTEF, Partner with CTEF, and any other endeavors that promote Qualified Labor and support the mission of bringing about consistently high-quality ceramic tile installations.
>> See Why Certification
It has taken off in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic as TileLetter describes in A new initiative to promote qualified and quality labor.
CTI Perspectives on #TransformTheTrade
To illustrate the richness of #TransformTheTrade, here are five perspectives from those intimately connected with Qualified Labor.
Mark Heinlein CTI #1112
Here's what Mark Heinlein, Training Director for the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) says when asked what #TransformTheTrade means:
To me, #transformthetrade begins with an individual installer or an individual company that has already taken advantage of CTEF, CTI and ACT and is using the power of their certification in standards-based knowledge and experience to empower and encourage others like them to do the same for themselves.
Ultimately, the CTIs and those who employ CTIs will transform the tile trade by bringing a return of respect for the craft, its workers and its employers who have been empowered through the CTEF education and certification process.
Joseph Mattice CTI #1155 and CTEF Board Member
Joseph, from your perspective, what does #TransformTheTrade mean?
Transform the trade is the boiled down essence of the mission of CTEF and the CTI and ACT program.
For decades, our trade has been losing the craft and knowledge. Master setters used to guard their knowledge jealously, and would often take important skills and know-how to their graves out of fear that their apprentices would steal business from them. This resulted in apprentices becoming frustrated and going to work for themselves with an incomplete skill-set.
This pattern repeated itself, like making a photocopy of a photocopy, while losing precious details every time. Transform the trade is a clear mission statement that open education, sharing of skills, and qualifications will raise the quality of work throughout the industry as well as raising wages and reducing failures.
The fact that the qualification for taking the ACT is equivalent between open shop and union shops is a huge indication of where we want our trade to go.
How do we make #TransformTheTrade happen?
Approaching it from all sides and educating.
From installers and distributors to manufacturers and even local and federal governments and underwriters, showing the value of people who understand the right way to do things and have proven that they know it.
A qualification isn't a replacement for experience, but weeding out installations that will fail due to improper materials or methods will only benefit our trade and especially benefit the end user.
Joseph, what do you think #TransformTheTrade means to other CTIs?
Hopefully it will mean a more focused message and a clearer explanation of why someone should strive to improve themselves and take the test.
It also shows what every CTI sees, the bigger picture.
It's not just about our individual businesses, it's about changing the way homeowners, contractors, architects and designers value our trade.
Erin Albrecht, Proud CTI & ACT Employer and CTEF Board Member
Erin, from your perspective, what does #TransformTheTrade mean?
Showing that Qualified Labor and certification not only create a competitive advantage for tile contractors, but also elevate the trade with our current 5 Star Contractors and CTIs showing leadership to return our trade to the skilled craftsmanship it once was.
How do we make #TransformTheTrade happen?
We can accomplish this by a grassroots level effort across the U.S., with our local level stakeholders partnering with Qualified Labor, as a united front of tile installation assembly systems, and demonstrating best practices highlighting ANSI & TCNA methods and standards.
Erin, what do you think #TransformTheTrade means to other CTIs?
Making the certification mean something, and not just a "bragging right".
When the manufacturers, distributors, and adhesive companies begin to promote CTIs and recommend them for the best value, business and certification will thrive and grow. We need designers, architects, builders, and homeowners to know what a CTI is, and why it is important to hire professionals.
It's simply not apples to apples when comparing price points (many times), and it will take the entire community of sales professionals to partner on the local level for a unified front to make this happen.
Why wouldn't we want to #transformthetrade? Every poor installation affects all of us on every level!
Here are past articles featuring Erin and her team at J&R Tile:
For Ken Ballin CTI #1392, #TransformTheTrade Goes Beyond Tile
Ken sees #TransformTheTrade as so much more than just a CTEF initiative. What Transform The Trade is all about is coming together to help others.
The Anabelle Project is one such example:
- Watch The Anabelle Project, 8 days 1200 square feet of flooring down and a bathroom remodel completed (4:44-minute video recap).
- This project involved Jim Tsigos CTI #1619, Ken Peirson Sr., Ken Peirson Jr., Ken Ackerman CTI #1518, Roland Thompson, Bill Baille and Ken Ballin.
- From a product perspective, vendors included Ardex, America's Floor Source, Avalon Flooring, Metrofloor, Morolla Tile, Schluter, and Tileware.
- Kyle Hedin edited the video.
Roland D. Thomspson, CFI
Roland Thompson is a Certified Flooring Installer and senior CFI evaluator. Although not directly involved in tile installation, he believes strongly in the power of certification for installers.
He says about #TransformTheTrade:
To use what is going on right now, the pandemic is being spread one person at a time. It started with one person getting it and moved on from there. Now it has gone everywhere.
So If I can transform one person, be it an installer, sales person or even an owner, and make them understand that this industry is a true trade and all aspects need to work together for the best of the industry. Then that person along with me make two more who understand. Before long this industry could become one that young people would hear about and want to be a part of it. It starts with one.
Join the #TransformTheTrade Facebook Group!
Transform The Trade is a open group for Certified Tile Installers as well as those within the industry who would like to become a Certified Tile Installer and further their education. Ken Ballin, Brandt Garrison CTI #1642, and Jim Tsigos are the administrators.
As the group description explains, most CTIs will agree that going through the process and taking the test has helped them in many ways.
After speaking as a group, CTIs would like to help others achieve that experience. This is the venue for asking questions of current CTIs, and posting installation work to help everyone in the group help take installing to the next level.
Ready to #TransformTheTrade?
Let us know what #TransformTheTrade means to you.
And, then, join the movement. Become a Certified Tile Installer and participate in the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers.