Ours has long-been perceived as a male dominated profession, but the National Association of Home Builders has designated this week to recognize the amazing contributions of the women in our world.
Neuse Tile is a woman-owned business, and, let’s be honest, the women in our office keep things ticking on a daily basis. 🙂 So, we’re happy to have a reason to give a shout out in recognition of the many contributions of our female workforce, both in the office and on job sites!
The NAHB’s designation of a week to celebrate women in construction is something new, but those of us who have been in the field a while know that women have been working in construction for a very long time. Some don hard hats and kneepads and install tile; others are superintendents; and many are project managers and estimators. The work of both men and women in this field is difficult and underappreciated, no doubt, but no other profession offers such tangible satisfaction at the end of every project.
We applaud all the changing faces on construction jobsites while also giving honor to women who have done the accounting, the purchasing, the scheduling, the inventory management, and the marketing for our profession for all these years. You may not see them on a daily basis, but, without them, the jobs probably wouldn’t happen.
All our team members are essential to getting our work done to your satisfaction, and we know that the person who answers the phone or makes the sale is just as valuable as the technically adept project manager or the master craftsman. It takes us all to get things planned, built, and maintained with quality.
Let’s celebrate all those who work so hard in construction, with a special tip of the hat this week to the women among us!
We said goodbye to a longtime co-worker and friend this past week. And, judging by the hundreds of people at his remembrance gathering, his life had a powerful impact. The eloquent reflections presented at his service provided a summary of a man who could teach us all a few things.
There was coaching and leadership: Scott ‘Stump’ DeShields was a mentor who made a difference to future generations. We met Scott because he coached our brother in high school in the early ’90s. In more than 25 years on the sidelines, Scott never hesitated to get in a player’s face and order him to “get his head out of his duffle bag,” but he also didn’t hold back with an arm around the shoulders for a player who needed encouragement or support. They knew his booming voice of instruction, but they also discovered that he really cared.
There was a passion for excellence: Scott held us all to the highest standard. Whether it was in tile, football, or being on time, Scott didn’t accept excuses. “Do your job,” meant Scott was calling you to do your best, to do what you were capable of, to not accept less than your 110 percent.
There was loyalty: Scott was the essence of a ‘foxhole buddy.’ If Scott counted you in his inner circle, he’d do anything in the world to back you up, to come alongside – no matter what. He might call you to task later on, but there was no question as to whether he would be there for you. Even when our dad was in his last days and struggling with his surroundings, he frequently asked for ‘Stump’ to come help him.
There was family: Scott loved his wife and kids beyond measure. His face lit up when he talked about their achievements and plans for the future. He always wanted the best for his children, and they are truly excellent young adults. They will continue to be a very proud legacy for him.
There was personality: Scott would agree that he wasn’t always the easiest person to work with, but he was always himself. Our homogenous world has watered down the ‘characters’ among us, but Scott wasn’t really bothered by social norms. He was true to what he believed, to the people he loved, and to his passions in life. He was true to himself.
Nyle’s salute to Scott at the service was perfect: “To you and those like you. Damn few left.” May we all try to take the best of ‘Stump’ with us into our coming days.
We celebrated a big birthday last week with a party for our local contractors and industry friends. The party was our way of saying ‘thanks’ to the ones who keep our business going: our great customers, our supportive community, and especially our fantastic staff.
We had a great time collecting photos and reflecting on the personalities and talents of folks we’ve worked with through the years. The types of tile we install and the sophistication of our methods have certainly advanced through the years, but the reliance on talented people has never changed.
Sometimes we get calls from homeowners who need a grout touch-up 30 years after their original install, and we’re honored that they remember us and still count on Neuse Tile to provide them quality service. That kind of continuity is a tribute to our family and the quality of our employees’ work over time.
Neuse Tile Service was incorporated May 22, 1964, by founder Homer Wadford and his business partners. In 1967, Homer’s brother Al came into the business and soon assumed the company’s leadership when Homer moved on to other pursuits. In 1987, Al’s son Nyle took over as company president, and daughter Paige joined the company in 1995. Today, we are North Carolina’s only residential 5-Star Contractor recognized by the National Tile Contractors Association.
A big thanks to the sponsors of our birthday celebration event: Best Tile of Raleigh, Mosaic Tile Company, Florida Tile, and Laticrete. Thanks for the journey, and here’s hoping we’re here to serve you for many years to come! Cheers!
It’s a new year, and we’re hoping for a good one! As we’ve been doing our end-of-year analysis and new-year planning, we are reminded of those who make our existence possible – OUR CUSTOMERS!
We’d like to say ‘Thank You’ to all who have given us the opportunity to participate in your projects. The miles of tile we’ve installed in the Triangle area wouldn’t have happened without the thousands of homeowners and builders who have trusted us with their installations.
(Our great installers and their consistent good work are a big part of that, too, of course, but we’re focusing on customers today.)
Some of our builder and remodeler friends have stayed busy through the downturn, and, because their business has been built with a reliable team, they stayed true to their high-quality subcontractors. Others have found us more recently because they needed reliable, quality tile installations done at a fair price.
So, in an effort to say thanks and help promote their great work (with positive Google searches), we’ve added some contractor credits to our website photos. They’ve kept us going in 2014 (and in previous ones), and we appreciate them! Check out their beautiful work (highlighting the tile, of course) at www.NeuseTile.com. We’ve labeled photos with a lot of contractor names and are adding to the info. every day.
Also, as we were reviewing our data, we realized that several of our contractor customers have been working with us for almost 20 years, so we’d like to give a special thanks to: Jay at Beaman Building & Realty, Mark at Massengill Builders, Jim and Dan at J.L. Williams Construction, Mark and team at Prime Building Company, Walt at Dillon Construction, and to Kemp Harris Inc. You guys have lived through the ups and downs with us, and we greatly appreciate your loyalty and your good work!!!
Here’s hoping 2015 will be a good year for all our local contractors and for those of us who are part of their teams! We’d love to add to our list and help make sure the area’s quality level remains high. If you have a builder friend who is tired of headaches and no-shows from his current tile guy, tell him or her to give us a call. We’d like to keep adding to the miles of tile we’ve installed for the area’s great contractors. And, if you want a recommendation for a general contractor for your next project, give us a call.
Our family business is on its 2nd generation of owners but we’re also on our 2nd generation of tile installers. And, since most of them are over 35, we’re starting to think about who comes next.
And we’re a little concerned.
Ours is an artistically rewarding business with practical and beautiful finished work. The trends and materials are ever changing, so the trade can be one of growth and opportunity. A good tile installer can provide for his family and find daily rewards in a job well done. We are, however, still part of the construction industry, and we’re finding that’s not a popular career choice these days.
The recent recession hit the trades particularly hard, and many experienced workers had to find other means of making a living. Statistics show that these departures, baby boomer retirements, and a decreasing number of workers entering the construction fields are likely to bring significant shortages.
For consumers, this will mean longer waits for quality work and higher prices to get knowledgeable craftsmen. We’re trying to be proactive and recently had a good visit with two of Franklin County’s Career and Technical education professionals. They’re helping us think through ways we can reach out to local young people as they’re making career decisions. While we are optimistic, we realize the looming problem is bigger than our limited capacity. To that end, we’d like to share some suggestions made by Angie Hicks of famed “Angie’s List,”
She addressed the coming shortage of skilled trade workers in a recent column, and made several good suggestions:
1) “Let’s agree not to take the trades for granted. Some observers and service company owners believe a general devaluing of skilled labor – a societal stigma, even – is one reason for the shortage.
2) Look around where you live. Do vocational education opportunities exist? Is that an issue you might get involved in? Do you have a skill set you could pass on to the next generation?
3) Perhaps you can encourage a young person or someone making a career change to consider the trades. Don’t assume that working with one’s hands pays less or is less satisfying than other work.”
We agree, Angie! It will take all of us working together to make sure we can find, as she says, “skilled hands and heads to solve our home maintenance and improvement challenges. Where would we be without them?”
50 years! Many things have changed in our world since Neuse Tile started in 1964, but our dedication to customers and to jobs done right has not. It may seem silly and ‘old fashioned,’ but we really think it matters that we treat customers with respect and provide them quality, long-lasting installations.
We don’t offer flashy deals or gimmicks, we just provide a dependable service at a fair price. This month that hasn’t been enough to bring in many customers, so we thought we’d use this blog to tell you a little more about ourselves.
We are a second-generation, family-owned company. We got into this because it was the ‘family thing,’ but we’ve stayed in it because we think you should be able to get quality work done right the first time. We specialize in tile and stone installations because they are unique, technically challenging, and complicated enough to require our full attention. We stand behind our work and up-front give you complete pricing that includes the tile, setting materials, and labor, as well as our extended warranty service. Surprise “change orders” are not our style.
Our superintendent and president closely monitor our installers to ensure the quality of the work, and most of our team members have been with us for more than 10 years. We are passionate about correct tile installations and want you to be confident that your project will last.
Tile installation is a craft and an art, but it has also become an increasingly complex industry with ever-evolving techniques and scientifically advanced materials. We are unique in our area in that we are active members of our national trade organizations and have Ceramic Tile Education Foundation certified installers on staff. We are the only National Tile Contractors Association Five-Star residential contractor in the state. Hopefully, those credentials provide reassurance that we have the knowledge needed to do your installation properly and run our business professionally.
We also offer a lifetime warranty on the underlayment product we use as well as a 25-year system warranty through one of our mortar manufacturers. Because of our longevity in the tile industry, we’re usually able to purchase our quality installation products at volume discounts, and we pass those on to you.
Thanks for taking the time to learn a bit more about us. We realize you have a choice in tile contractors, and hope that you will choose us to create your beautiful and long-lasting installation. We’d like to be here to serve you for another 50 years!
As we celebrate this season of thanks, we’d like to send a special ‘Thank You’ to our customers and our work family! The past few years have been tough for all of us in the construction industry, and we are very appreciative of the work we’ve been privileged to perform and of those who have been part of our team.
We thank our customers for trusting us with your home and business improvements — we are honored to have provided tile installations and service that will stand the test of time. The tile products we use are of the highest quality, and we are constantly impressed as manufacturers improve and advance their technology. But tile installation remains an artisan craft that, as far as we can see, will always require the human touch. We are incredibly proud of the skilled craftsmen who produce work as beautiful (and technically sound) as any in the industry.
Neuse Tile Team
Those artisans are the ones you will most often encounter on the jobsite, but equally important is the small, but essential, team of talented and knowledgeable office and supervisory staff that stand behind them. Our work family has been together for 10-15 years, and, as we’ve persevered through these challenging times, we’ve come to really appreciate our diverse skill sets and our united passion for excellence.
The people behind every estimate, every order, every phone call, and every piece of tile are our company’s greatest asset, and we want to say ‘Thank You’ for all the hours, the hard work, the patience, and the perseverance you’ve provided.
We give special recognition to two team members who are concluding their time with Neuse Tile. Leigh, you’ve been that reassuring voice for so many who’ve needed details about their installation schedule or some of your expert cleaning advice, and Scott, your passion for details and drive to get the job done are legendary on commercial construction sites. We will greatly miss you both! You have been a very important part of the Neuse Tile story, and, though we know the folks taking your roles are extremely capable, we want you to know that your contribution here will always be appreciated and remembered.
For you and all those who have kept Neuse Tile going, we are grateful. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and your families!
Our very own Nyle Wadford was recognized as Tile Person of the Year by the National Tile Contractors Association at Coverings 2013 in Atlanta this month. Since 1958, NTCA has been honoring a tile professional each year who is dedicated to supporting the non-profit trade association and its service to all segments of the tile and stone industry.
NTCA Tile Person of the Year
Nyle joins a prestigious group of tile professionals who have received this honor, and, we’re pleased to say, he was completely surprised at the ceremony (good job team!). Nyle’s work to create qualified labor specifications for the tile industry and his contributions to the growth of NTCA were cited among his many industry accomplishments.
The whole Neuse Tile team shares Nyle’s passion for correct tile installations, but it’s Nyle and the team at NTCA who have worked so diligently to make sure all tile contractors have the technical instructions they need to perform installations that will last. When Nyle was President of the NTCA, the organization experienced record growth in membership, expanded its Partners for Success program, formed an historic partnership with Tile Contractors Association of America, and significantly expanded the NTCA’s Five-Star Contractor Program.
Nyle will continue to represent the NTCA on the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) Handbook Committee, and serve on the ANSI ASC 108 Committee, making Neuse Tile Service one of two contractors worldwide to sit on all three committees! He currently is the Chairman of the Board for NTCA.
Way to go Nyle! We’re proud of you!
Check out this interview with Nyle from the floor of the Coverings Show in Atlanta:
Like the human body, a well-run work team has many parts that ideally line up and work in sync. When we’re hitting on all cylinders, we move forward pretty well. But, when we recently had several team members out of the picture for multiple days, it took extraordinary effort to keep the machine running as it should.
We have a fairly small staff, and the recession reduced our structure to its bare bones. So, when this rash of incidents and illnesses took out two and three team members at once, we were really struggling to keep our customers from feeling the effects. Internally, we always talk about our team of employees as our “work family.” (When you’re a family-run business, the people who work with you long-term become adopted members of your clan –whether they want to or not -ha!). Like most families, we certainly know it when one of our folks is missing or out for a few days, but we ‘re pretty good at knowing what needs to be done to adapt and flex to fill the gaps.
But with two and three out at the same time, we were intimately reminded of our interdependence. It took some extra “above and beyond” efforts to keep all the installations, estimates, accounting, purchasing, warehousing, and deliveries going these past two weeks, and we’re extra grateful for the team members who made it all happen with minimal interruption to our customers.
While we want to be as inconspicuous and expedient as possible when we’re working on your tile installation, we also want you to know that the folks who work with us are superior. They are talented, of course, but, even more important, they are trustworthy people who have proven how much they care about the quality of your work and about each other.
Thanks to our great team and to our wonderful customers, we’re looking forward to getting back to “business as usual” this coming week!
When we talk about tile’s durability, I often think of the image of a solitary tile shower stall on the second story of an area home that withstood the devastation of a 1988 tornado. That blue 4×4 tile seemed to stand out defiantly in a neighborhood ransacked by nature’s power.
The property damage and loss of life that night were devastating, but, 24 years later, thinking of that shower reminds me of all our craft used to be. Tile was the substantial, durable, and standard bathroom material. The color choices might have been few, but the installation was meant to last.
Today tile is a designer product, a limitless ‘feature’, and often an ‘upgrade,’ and yet we spend many of our hours tearing out our competitor’s poor installations and tiling them as they should have been done the first time. It isn’t the fashion or even the function of the tile itself that’s made the difference in durability. It’s what’s under the tile – what you can’t see.
In the earlier days of tile setting, “there were only a few methods of installing tile – bonded mortar beds and unbonded mortar beds. For several reasons, the resulting installations were likely to be problem-free, and indeed, many of them are still around today.
First, mortar beds were, simply stated, good. They helped tile installations withstand building movement and the installer created the substrate, for a nice flat finish.
Second, because mortar bed methods had been in use for hundreds of years, the knowledge and understanding of how to properly execute them was high.
Third, there was a culture of tile setters, a fraternity of sorts, of the tradesmen who knew how to turn a pile of sand and a couple bags of cement into substrate, setting material, and grout. Anyone who could do this was, by necessity, thoroughly trained, and the industry benefited from this built-in training and quality control mechanism.
Tile Installation guide 2012
Fast forward to today. Even though mortar bed methods are still recognized as the best choice for many scenarios, most jobs are being specified with thin-bed installation methods because these thinner, lighter installations are faster and less expensive to install. They are also less expensive to design for: floors don’t need to be recessed, lighter duty framing materials can be used, and the installation is 75 percent lighter than if a mortar bed were specified. This has allowed tile installations to be more affordable and more readily available.
But what else happens when a labor-intensive, highly skilled method of installation is almost completely supplanted by methods that don’t require years of training? The built-in competency requirement diminishes. Outside of a few state licensing programs, very little is in place to make sure a tile contractor knows industry standards and best practices and has good installers. The consistent uptick in tile consumption over the last fifty years attracted workers and business owners who recognized a growth industry with very few obstacles to getting started, and many good companies and installers entered the trade, but at the same time less-skilled workers and less-qualified business owners set up shop as tile contractors too.
The perception popularized by television shows, internet blogs, YouTube, and the like – that tile setting is so easy you can do it yourself – is a fallacy that oversimplifies the craft. While materials exist now that make it look easy and allow nearly everyone to attach tiles to a floor or wall, knowing the right materials for the project and installing them properly to last the life of the building is, in some ways, even more difficult today than it was when only mortar beds were used. With all the improvements to setting materials through the years and the changes to how buildings are constructed, tile setting has gone from a skill-centric trade to a knowledge-centric trade. Knowing what will work over the life of the building requires real expertise.”
As the TCNA Handbook states, “Because tile is a permanent finish, the lowest bid should not be the driving factor, but rather who is the most qualified to perform the scope of the work specified.”