The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) recently announced that the local tile industry came together as one, at the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia’s (CEFGA) Career Expo and SkillsUSA competition. This event was held at the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park, Ga. Local NTCA Five Star Contractors, Rod Owen of C.C. Owen Tile and Woody Sanders of DW Sanders Tile and Stone, gathered area companies to support the effort by donating both material and/or time. These included the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF), Specialty Tile Products, John Roberts Design, Custom Building Products, Laticrete International, Schluter Systems, Barwalt Tools, Steve Young and Associates, Interceramic, A Tile Experience, and the NTCA.

Nearly 7,000 students registered to participate in this year’s CEFGA career expo. In past years, students were able to make their own mosaic art pieces. For the most recent edition, the focus was on showcasing the tile installation process.

DW Sanders Tile and Stone employees Jamie Desarno, Ben Garland, and Omar Trujillo worked with students, meticulously installing tile on three benches that will be showcased at Coverings 2018. On the first day, they worked with students demonstrating how best to cut and set tile. The second day, they explained and demonstrated the most up-to-date grouting processes.

New this year at the Career Expo, students were able to register and interview with potential employers. Owen and Sanders met with many faculty members to discuss potential tile setter training in school construction programs; they actually met with many students interested in getting into the tile industry after graduation.

In all, 10 of 12 students registered for the SkillsUSA tile competition completed the challenge. Due to the ease of finishing the test module last year, this most recent test was changed to a larger size that incorporated heftier challenges such as applying sealant to all joints. The skill level of the competitors ranged from no experience, to working as a helper on tile projects, to competing in tile at SkillsUSA last year. While all didn’t finish, each of them were graded on what they had completed. Winners were determined by the scores of hands-on work combined with their answers to a quiz on tile installation.

Winning recipients included first place winner, Martin Sanchez from Griffin High School; second place winner, Christian Mendoza from Kennesaw Mountain High School; and third place winner, Nathaniel Selby from Shaw High School.

For more information, visit