Annual Rock Star Award Winners Announced for Coverings 2023
March 29, 2023 – ARLINGTON, Va. – Coverings (coverings.com), the premier international tile and stone exhibition and conference in North America, has announced the annual Rock Star Award winners in advance of Coverings 2023, which will take place April 18-21, 2023, at the Orange County Convention Center, in Orlando, Florida.
The Coverings Rock Stars program has a long history of honoring up-and-coming trailblazers in the tile and stone industry who continually revolutionize and inspire as pioneers of success.
The coveted annual awards reinforce Coverings’ mission to support the advancement and achievements of the industry by distinguishing exemplary young leaders and fostering networking and educational opportunities. Award winners represent the industry’s brightest and most inventive young professionals raising the bar on performance and excellence.
“The Coverings Rock Stars program celebrates many incredible tile and stone industry experts of which the 15 most outstanding nominees are being honored across various categories this year,” said Jennifer Hoff, CEO of Taffy Event Strategies, LLC, the event management company for Coverings. “The winners are an extremely talented group of individuals who provide inspiration for their peers and colleagues from the creativity, innovation and commitment they consistently showcase.”
A committee of longstanding tile and stone industry leaders thoughtfully evaluated nominations to select this year’s inductees for Coverings Rock Star status. The 2023 Rock Stars represent numerous industry segments and include the following winners:
Christopher Rachel, Owner
Nathan Cooper, Owner
Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.
Cody Cox, Operations Manager
San Antonio, Texas
Randall Johnson, Tile Contractor
Maria Meyer, Tile Artisan Apprentice
Dragonfly Tile & Stone Works, Inc
Elly Warner, Apprentice Installer
Schannon Yodice, Owner/Tile Contractor
League City, Texas
Melanie Lawton, Showroom Manager
North Scituate, R.I.
Interior Designer (1):
Kenya Jones-Lowell, Interior Designer Hospitality
Heather Ruhl, National Technical Manager
TEC/H.B. Fuller Construction Products, Inc.
Jack Rautiola, Head Merchant – Renovation
Stone Fabricator (1):
Austin Maxwell, President
Farmer City, Ill.
Casandra Guthrie, Manager, IS & Sales
Choices Wholesale Flooring Solutions
Manasa Rao, Sustainability Manager
Vincenzo Spina, Stone Consultant
The 2023 award recipients will be honored at Coverings 2023, April 18, 4-5 p.m. EDT. Coverings attendees are welcome to join the celebration at the awards ceremony and networking reception in the Coverings Lounge, Booth 4209.
Wally Adamchik, Founder, FireStarter Speaking and Consulting, will present a professional development session geared toward emerging leaders entitled, “One Hit Wonder or Future Hall of Famer?” that will take place prior to the awards ceremony at the same location from 3:30-4 p.m.
Recognition for the winners also includes Coverings 2023 press content, a year-long professional feature on the Coverings website, and postings on Coverings’ social media channels and blog.
To learn more about the Coverings 2023 Rock Stars, visit coverings.com/coverings-rock-stars.
For more information and to register for Coverings 2023 at no cost, visit coverings.com.
Coverings’ Social Media:
Twitter: @Coverings, #Coverings2023
Vimeo: Watch Coverings videos
LinkedIn: Coverings LinkedIn showcase page
About Coverings: Coverings is the largest and preeminent ceramic tile and natural stone trade fair and exposition in the United States and North America. It features exhibitors from 40 countries and is the stage for introducing some of the most innovative tile and stone products in the world, with more than 1,000 exhibitors.
The exposition and conference, with more than 30 years of successful history, serve as a valuable and complimentary continuing education resource for all segments of the industry, with dozens of educational opportunities throughout the show. Coverings attracts thousands of distributors, retailers, fabricators, contractors, specifiers, architectural and design professionals, builders, real estate developers, as well as journalists, reporters and bloggers who cover the vital tile and stone industry.
Key sponsors of the show are Ceramics of Italy/Confindustria Ceramica, Ceramic Tile Manufacturers Association of Spain (ASCER)/Tile of Spain, Tile Council of North America (TCNA), National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), and Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA).
The show is managed by Taffy Event Strategies.
For more information about attending, sponsoring or exhibiting at Coverings 2023, contact Taffy Event Strategies at 571-313-5801 or [email protected].
For press registration, photos, content, and interviews, contact Eberly & Collard Public Relations at 404-574-2900 or the email addresses at the top of this release.
Making Water Safety a Priority This Pool Season
As a community, let’s make a difference and put water safety as a top priority this entire pool season, not just during Water Safety Month.
As Water Safety Month comes to an end, the importance of education and awareness remains a top priority, especially during the busy summer months. Drowning prevention and water safety efforts are ongoing, requiring the collective efforts of both pool owners as well as professionals to educate and promote proper safety measures. As a community, spreading the message, sharing resources, and working with organizations like the National Drowning Prevention Alliance and the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance can help to ensure a safe and enjoyable water experience for everyone.
The 5 Layers of Protection
Drowning is a leading cause of death for children aged 1-4, and it can occur quickly and silently. To effectively prevent drowning incidents, it is crucial to implement multiple layers of protection. By understanding and embracing the five layers of protection, we can actively prevent tragedies and save lives. Take a few minutes to learn these layers, and together we can create a safer environment:
- Constant Adult Supervision: Never leave children unattended near water.
- Secure Barriers: Install proper fencing and barriers to limit access to pools and other water bodies.
- Water Safety Education: Teach children how to swim and educate them about water safety rules.
- Emergency Preparedness: Learn CPR and basic water rescue techniques.
- Life Jackets: Ensure children wear appropriate life jackets when participating in water activities.
Statistics Highlighting The Urgency of Water Safety
- In the United States, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children aged 1-4 and the second leading cause for children aged 14 and under.
- The World Health Organization estimates that drowning is one of the top five causes of death for individuals aged 1-14 in 48 out of 85 monitored countries.
- More than half (54%) of children aged 4-17 in the United States are unable to perform basic water safety skills.
- June has the highest number of fatal and non-fatal drowning incidents in the U.S.
- Nearly 80% of drowning victims are male, and African-American children aged 5-19 experience drowning rates 5.5 times higher than Caucasian children.
- Drowning incidents can occur in as little as two minutes, and victims often do not signal for help.
- Participation in formal swimming lessons by children aged 1-4 significantly reduces the risk of drowning.
These important facts highlight the critical need for ongoing education, access to swim lessons, and the implementation of preventative measures. Making water safety a priority during the pool season is crucial for families to protect their loved ones and prevent tragic incidents. Children are particularly vulnerable to drowning, and accidents can occur unexpectedly. By implementing better water safety measures, families empower themselves to respond effectively and ensure the well-being of their loved ones.
PHTA Launches New Jobseeker Website: WorkInAquatics.com
(Alexandria, VA) – The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA), the trade association representing the swimming pool, hot tub and spa industry, today announced a major milestone in its workforce development program as it launched its brand new jobseeker website, WorkInAquatics.com and robust job board made exclusively for PHTA member companies, careers.WorkInAquatics.com.
The cornerstone of the program is the consumer website, which serves as the program hub and provides jobseekers with critical information about the industry, including in-demand positions, career tracks, earning potential, personal success stories and more. Members of PHTA are invited to create their very own Employer profiles and post jobs free of charge on the only industry-specific job board on the market.
PHTA leadership first revealed plans for the program, known as the Pool Professionals Pipeline, at its board meeting last November. Alongside its experienced steering committee of industry experts, PHTA developed the program to enhance jobseeker awareness of the aquatics industry and to meet the demands for new talent amid member concerns over the labor shortage and the compounded effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pool and hot tub industry is awash with potential for growth, but like many other industries today, we are limited due to the shortage of skilled labor and younger generations of workers entering trades such as ours,” said PHTA President and CEO Sabeena Hickman. “The importance of this program cannot be understated – we heard our members’ concerns loud and clear, and we’re proud to finally unveil this next step in our plan to welcome jobseekers to our industry.”
Along with the jobseeker website and job board, the program will be supported by a social media presence on Facebook and LinkedIn, public relations, advertising campaigns and ongoing content development of videos, new resources and other assets. PHTA members can expect additional resources and ways to expand their visibility among today’s active jobseekers.
The work for PHTA and the industry is just beginning. “To truly make a splash, we must prioritize investing in recruiting and training a new pool of candidates to join our industry,” said Hickman. “Having a visible presence and voice out there advocating for our industry is vital for our continued growth and success. PHTA is committed to supporting this jobseeker awareness campaign for the long-term – and ultimately, to driving engaged and qualified candidates to our members to find their new careers.”
To learn more about PHTA’s program and access exclusive resources and opportunities, visit phta.org/workforce or contact [email protected].
PHTA Standards Consensus Committee Appoints New Members
The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) Standards Consensus Committee (SCC) is pleased to announce the appointment of a new Vice Chair and four new Voting Members. The SCC is PHTA’s official consensus voting body, responsible for reviewing and voting on all pool, spa, and hot tub standards to be approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Members of the SCC are classified into one of four interest categories: Producer, User-Government, User-Consumer, or General Interest.
The new SCC Vice Chair is Bruce Carney, owner of American Pools & Spas in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. He is a member in the Producer interest category. Carney has worked in the pool industry since 1970 in various capacities, including construction, design, renovation, facility evaluation, and maintenance. He was very involved with both the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals and the National Swimming Pool Foundation before they merged into PHTA, and has also been both a trainer and a presenter for the American Red Cross.
The SCC’s four new Voting Members are:
- Kevin Baugh, User-Government
Baugh is an Environmental Health Specialist III for the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment in Olathe, KS. He earned a Master of Environment Policy and Management and a Bachelor of Environmental Science from American Public University Systems. Baugh holds several professional certifications, including Certified Pool & Spa Operator and Certified Environmental Scientist.
- Megan Ferraro, User-Consumer
Ferraro is Executive Director of The ZAC Foundation in Malvern, PA. She earned a B.A. in Political Science from Villanova University. Ferraro has been an advocate for water safety for over 10 years and serves as Co-Chair for both the CA Water Safety Coalition Board and the National Drowning Prevention Alliance Advisory Committee.
- Alan Korn, User-Consumer
Korn is Executive Director and General Counsel of Abbey’s Hope Charitable Foundation in Washington, DC. He earned his JD from Washington University Law School and his BS from Indiana University. He has worked in the water safety and product safety community for over 25 years, including the original development and further revisions of the Virginia Graeme Baker Act.
- Lexi Schmidt, User-Consumer
Schmidt is a Senior Mechanical Engineer at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, FL. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a Professional Engineer License for the state of Florida. At Walt Disney World, she has spent nearly 10 years working on commercial pool systems and consulting on new build designs.
“I’d like to congratulate Bruce and welcome the new members of the Standards Consensus Committee,” says SCC Chair Kris Bridges, MCP, CBO, CZA, Building Official/Zoning Administrator for the City of Martinsville, VA. “I know our new members will bring a significant breadth of knowledge from the areas of pool compliance, advocacy, construction, and operation. The SCC performs an important step in the process of Standards Development and it’s wonderful to have these talented professionals on board.”
PHTA is the leading industry organization recognized by ANSI to develop and promote national consensus standards for residential and public swimming pools, hot tubs, and spas. In 2023, PHTA is proudly celebrating 40 years of being an ANSI Accredited Standards Developer.
For more information, please visit the Standards Consensus Committee webpage on the PHTA website or contact [email protected].
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