Pictured is outgoing National Tile Contractors Association president Frank Canto, owner of Canto Tile & Stone in Riverview, Fla., passing the mantle to John Cox, president of Cox Tile in San Antonio, Texas. Cox was elected president of the NTCA during the group's recent Total Solutions show near Washington, D.C.

The National Tile Contractors Association reported a 29 percent increase in attendance at this year's Total Solutions conference in National Harbor, Md., near Washington, D.C. The two-day show, which included a range of presentations, hands-on demonstrations and manufacturer exhibits, "enjoyed some of the best participation we have ever experienced," said Bart Bettiga, executive director of the NTCA.

"The Mid-Atlantic region supported our efforts in helping to encourage local attendance, and their assistance is reflected in the positive figures," he said. "We are indebted to all who assisted us in our most comprehensive efforts ever to attract industry professionals to our conference."

The NTCA elected its new officers during the event, and named John Cox, president of Cox Tile in San Antonio, Texas, the new president. He succeeds outgoing president Frank Canto, owner of Canto Tile & Stone in Riverview, Fla.

Paul Sherba, president of Youngstown Tile & Terrazzo in Canfield, Ohio, is named to NTCA's Ring of Honor by Joe Tarver, NTCA's executive director emeritus.

A series of seminars including discussions on moisture, quality management and a look at the latest TCNA handbook was also a highlight. Other presentations included a keynote address by business partnership expert Ed Rigsbee on "Developing Alliances and Partnerships"; a seminar led by noted tile expert Patti Fasan called "Advantages of Ceramic Tile vs. Competitive Products"; and an update on the CTEF's Certified Ceramic Tile Installer program.

The two-day meeting concluded with the annual NTCA Awards Banquet. Tommy Cox of Memphis Tile & Marble was named Tile Person of the Year. Leigh Hightower of Texas Cement Products in Houston and Paul Sherba of Youngstown Tile & Terrazzo in Canfield, Ohio, were honored as Ring of Honor recipients. Additionally, the NTCA awarded Ally Fertitta Venugopal, executive director of Tile Partners for Humanity; and Phil Halcomb, vp of David Allen Co., with Best Practice nods.

Total Solutions 2009 is set for Sept. 17-18, 2009 at the Hotel Valencia/San Antonio Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas. For more information, call (601) 939-2071 or visit www.tile-assn.com.