My take: Catching up with a true entrepreneur

May 04, 2018

April 30/May 7, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 23

By Steven Feldman

 

You have to hand it to Thomas Trissl. Time never stands still with this man as he is always looking for the next big thing, always thinking about being innovative. So many people talk the talk; Trissl walks the walk. The consummate entrepreneur.

“Modesty, propriety can lead to notoriety, you could end up as the only one.” That line is from Sting’s Englishman in New York, but it is also this industry’s German in Florence, Ala.

I first met Trissl many moons ago—in 1996, actually—when he started Centiva, an LVT manufacturer/importer before the entire world was onto his game. Centiva was always different. Trissl designed the line; colors were vibrant and designs inspirational and unique. Focused exclusively on the commercial market, he sold to Tarkett in 2010.

Trissl resurfaced a few years ago with a different company, TMT America, which is billed as a company that provides capital and consulting for developing companies. Under that umbrella came HPS North America, the continent’s sales and marketing arm for German installation company Schönox. The company offers a number of products, but the flagship is something that can turn decrepit subfloors into something smooth and level, and ready for brand new flooring (see page 10).

Trissl is at it again with a couple of new ventures. I found myself in Florence last month and paid a visit to my friend, primarily to tour his Porsche museum (more on that later). Like a mad scientist showing an unsuspecting visitor his laboratory, Trissl gave me a glimpse into what’s next.

The ink was still not dry on a newly signed agreement with German ceramic manufacturer Buchtal and its American affiliate, DryTile North America, which introduced to the American market a loose-lay, non-adhesive ceramic tile. DryTile does not require thin-set materials and the agonizing task of finding good craftsmanship in a world where it is not only harder to find, but installation requires a flat, smooth subfloor. See the synergy with Schönox?

Another interesting concept on which TMT America is working is a heated floor system not for ambient heat, but for luxury foot comfort in residential settings. In residential settings, it will be a luxury item for barefoot walking, especially in bathrooms. The product can be easily installed under Schönox synthetic products. The synthetic product does not just transfer the heat, it actually boosts and retains the heat.

Finally, in the TMT sandbox, I was shown a 20 x 30 demo area that contained vibrant, colorful and enriched looking polished concrete. This is something in which Trissl engaged outside the Schönox involvement. He said he has invested a lot of time in this in his spare moments. Of course, Schönox will contribute by providing a world-new, two-binding-system technology which enables and supersedes a simple concrete topping.

HPS Schönox’s focus remains on providing subfloor solutions for all critical substrates. Now he is venturing into products that can capitalize on these solutions.

Eventually I made my way into what has to be one of this country’s greatest collections of Porsches, new and old. Some can best be described as collector’s items: 911s, Carreras, etc. Others could probably feed some Third World countries for a year. Colors are vibrant, each car with its own personality. Not surprisingly, Trissl has turned this into a business, too. Through Trissl Sports cars (trisslsportscars.com), he will find any Porsche model, any year, any color, for the Porsche enthusiast.

Finally, a business that doesn’t require a level subfloor.

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