<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=2223002471257760&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Skip to content
Tile Industry Recognized

Meet the CTEF Board Members

Ceramic Tile Education Foundation: Qualified Labor, Certification, Tile Industry Recognized

Board Members With a Strong Commitment to the CTEF Mission

The mission of the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation could not become a reality without the vision and strategic guidance of the CTEF Board.

Here you will meet the members of the CTEF Board. As you read about each board member's background, you will quickly realize the extent of experience and perspective that each one brings to CTEF. 

You can imagine how grateful we are at CTEF to have each one involved in delivering ceramic tile education and certification for tile installation professionals.

The CTEF Board


Mark Shannon

Chair, CTEF Board

Mark Shannon retired as the Executive Vice  President of Sales for Crossville, Inc.

Mark has over 35 years in the ceramic tile industry. He began his career in building materials with Kohler and transitioned to the ceramic tile industry as sales manager for Buchtal USA, Distribution ownership in Dallas, Texas. He was then recruited to Crossville, a high-end manufacturer of porcelain tile, in February 1986.

At Crossville, Mark has held numerous positions including Executive Vice President of Sales and National Accounts, Executive VP of Sales and Marketing, Vice President of Sales, Northeast, and Southwest Regional Sales Manager.

Mark's involvement with numerous trade and industry associations such as TCNA, NTCA, CTEF, IIDA, ASID, and others has helped him develop a broad yet thorough understanding of the tile industry. 


Eric Astrachan

Secretary, CTEF Board

Eric Astrachan is the Executive Director of the Tile Council of North America and present Chairman of the Tile Council of North America Handbook Committee, Co-Secretary of the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) Accredited Standards Committee A108 and Head of Delegation representing ANSI’s vote in ISO TC-189 (the International Organization for Standardization Technical Committee on ceramic tiles).

He is the Convener of ISO TC-189 Working Group 2 on ceramic tile standards and a member of many industry technical committees. Additionally, he is a member of the Board of Directors for the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation, the board of the Porcelain Tile Certification Agency and the Board of Governors of the international tile trade show Coverings. Astrachan is a recognized industry consultant and keynote speaker regarding the ceramic tile industry on issues relating to tile standards, tile installation, international tile trade and slip/fall litigation. He is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a degree in Chemical Engineering.


Bart Bettiga

Treasurer, CTEF Board

Bart Bettiga has over 30 years of experience in the ceramic tile industry, and has been the Executive Director of the National Tile Contractors Association since 2002. 

He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation and is on the board of governors of Coverings, and is a voting member of many tile industry standards and methods committees. 

He is the publisher of TileLetter Magazine and has authored numerous articles related to the promotion of proper tile installation and qualified labor. 

The NTCA has over 1200 members and represents thousands of installers and contractor business owners. 


Andy Acker

CTEF Board Member

Andrew Acker is Schluter®-Systems Manager of Education, where he develops the education program and is the lead presenter at the Innovation Workshops. His focus is developing workshops and classes that provide the tiling community with access to industry-approved tiling methods and an overview of how Schluter products can increase the durability of these installations.

Before joining the company in 1997, Andrew was a tile installer for 20 years, with over half his experience as a California state C-54 licensed tile contractor. 

Andrew also serves on the Board of Directors of the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF). 


Erin Albrecht, M.Ed.

CTEF Board Member

Erin Albrecht is the Principal at J&R Tile in San Antonio, Texas, which has performed the most NTCA 5 Star Contractor projects in North America. This is a direct result of Erin’s involvement with the Architectural and Design community, her attention to pre-construction preparation and Qualified Labor language as well as partnering directly with clients.

She has been actively involved in the tile industry since 1999 and brings 10+ years of education and management experience to her work with local and statewide organizations such as Texas Workforce Commission, Austin and San Antonio Community Colleges on using Federal Funding to address the skilled labor shortage and help contractors build their businesses.

Erin helps architects write their specifications by giving education presentations and teaching best practices and TCNA methods. She mentors contractors and stone fabricators, including Women in Stone, on industry standards and best practices, while consulting with major tile, tool, and adhesive manufacturers on training, development, and writing curriculum.

Active in the NTCA, Erin has served on the Education & Training and Apprenticeship Committees and the NTCA Gauged Porcelain Tile Subcommittee. She is the founder of the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation – Texas.


Sam Bruce

CTEF Board Member

Sam Bruce, President of Visalia Ceramic Tile, was born into the tile industry. He is 3rd generation in a family business started by his mother’s grandparents. He has over 25 years working full-time at Visalia Ceramic Tile and many summers as he grew up in the family business. He has worked at every position or department at Visalia Ceramic Tile which has been his foundation of understanding, operating, and leading the company in his current role as President.

Sam currently serves as President of the NTCA, Co-Chairman of the NTCA Training & Education Committee, and as a member of the NTCA Technical Committee. 


Darin Compton

CTEF Board Member

Darin Compton, a Journeyman tile setter, has many years of experience in the ceramic tile industry, and as a BAC member. 

He serves as West Region Director, Tile Marble and Terrazzo Director, and is a 35-year member of the International Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers, having spent 28 years in the construction field as a tile layer and foreman.

Darin is a graduate of the IUBAC Tile Apprenticeship with 5 ACT Certifications.

Stephen Fischer Jr.

Stephen Fischer Jr.

CTEF Board Member

Stephen Fischer Jr. is the Co-President of Garden State Tile working alongside his brother as the third generation of leadership at GST.

He has grown up in the company working in all positions over the last 24 years. Stephen and the team at GST have performed dozens of CTEF training events and many other forms of qualification and educational seminars over the years and firmly believe in qualified and educated tile installations.

They continue to support the CTDA as a long standing member as well as winner of the 2017 Confindustria Ceramica North American Distributor of the year award. 


Elena Grant

CTEF Board Member

Elena Grant is with the NTCA. She was previously Vice President for Taffy Event Strategies which manages Coverings. She joined Taffy Events in June 2016. She previously was Vice President of Marketing and held other positions at National Trade Productions. 

Elena graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Dickinson College and an MBA from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.


Joseph Mattice CTI #1155

CTEF Board Member

Joseph Mattice is Certified Tile Installer #1155. He started installing tile when he was 15 years old, learning the trade from his father and older brother, and later learning about industry standards such as ANSI and the TCNA Handbook at CTEF.

He quickly developed a passion for education in proper installation methods and practices and has built a reputation in his hometown of Greenville, SC as an expert in tile installation and assembly construction. 

Joseph is an active member of the National Tile Contractors Association and has served on sub-committees of the NTCA Technical Committee. 


Simone Ricci

CTEF Board Member

Simone Ricci represents Confindustria Ceramica of Italy, one of the owners of the Coverings organization.


Elena Romani

CTEF Board Member

Elena Romani represents Confindustria Ceramica of Italy, one of the owners of the Coverings organization.

Heather Ruhl

Heather Ruhl

CTEF Board Member

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and certificates in Technical Communication and International Engineering with a focus on Europe, Heather Ruhl began working as an Area Technical Specialist for H.B. Fuller Construction Products, where she focused on tile installations.

After almost three years in this role, she transitioned into the position of Training Program Manager, where her responsibilities include strategic planning, content creation, logistics, and running each training by HB Fuller CP.

>> Learn more about Heather at TileLetter.


Woody Sanders

CTEF Board Member

Woody Sanders founded DW Sanders Tile & Stone in 1994. He grew up in the tile industry, becoming a journeyman tile and stone setter at a young age.

In college, his focus of study was in the School of Environmental Design. After college, he worked as a technical service manager for a mortar and grout manufacturer before starting his own tile contracting firm. 

Woody, a Certified Tile Installer, serves on NTCA Technical and Educational Committees, and is a Regional Evaluator for the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation. 


Harold Yarborough

CTEF Board Member

As a son of founders Dave and Betty Yarborough, Harold Yarborough is one of four children born into the Tile business. He grew up working in his father’s contracting business, “Dave’s Tiling Service,” taking it over when his parents became focused on growing D&B Tile Distributors. Harold ran the installation business for 18 years until he stepped into D&B Tile and closed the installation business.

D&B Tile Distributors supports and is involved in many associations related to the tile industry. Harold has served as Chairman for the Associated Builders and Contractor’s local chapter in 1991. He actively served as a committee chairman and board member for 10 years with the Ceramic Tile Distributor’s Association. Currently he serves on the Board of Directors for the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation. 

Emeritus Board Members


Donato Grosser

CTEF Board Member Emeritus

Donato Grosser is the retired president and founder of D. Grosser and Associates, Ltd. of New York.

He was born in Milan, Italy, completed high school in Milan, received a BA in Economics from the University of Jerusalem (1969) and an MBA at New York University (1972). After working for Unilever in Milan, he moved to New York in November 1973, where he worked for the Italian Trade Commission from 1974 to 1984. In 1980 he was placed in charge and organized the Italian Tile Center and in 1984 he was asked to direct the Italian Marble Center.

In December 1984 Mr. Grosser founded the consulting company that bears his name. D. Grosser and Associates Ltd. is Assopiastrelle’s advisor for american market and includes among its clients prominent Italian and American companies in various industries. In 1989 Mr. Grosser received the Cesery Memorial Award presented by the Tile Contractors’ Association of America, "For Outstanding Service to the Industry."


Svend Hovmand

CTEF Board Member Emeritus

Svend Hovmand is Chairman Emeritus of Crossville Inc.

He received his master's degree in chemical engineering from the Technical University of Denmark (Copenhagen) in 1961, and his doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Cambridge (England) in 1968.

He served as R&D manager of NIRO Atomizer in Copenhagen, vice president of NIRO Atomizer in Maryland, and then president of NIRO Ceramic Inc. before joining the board of directors for Crossville Ceramics at the company's inception in 1985. (NIRO Ceramic built Crossville's first manufacturing facility.)

Hovmand was named president of Crossville Ceramics in 1989.



Past CTEF Board Members

Thank You to Our Past Board Members


Martin Brookes - Heritage Marble & Tile


Mike Hawthorne - International Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers

Chris Walker - David Allen Company, Inc.


Martin Howard - David Allen Company, Inc.


James Woelfel - Artcraft Granite, Marble and Tile Co.


John Mason, IUBAC


Dan Welch - Welch Tile & Marble


Steve Rausch - USG, Inc.


Note that this list is not complete.

Sign up for our newsletter