Bologna, Italy—Ceramics of Italy announced the successful first edition of the Cersaie Young Distributor Program—a new, annual initiative sponsored by Confindustria Ceramica and EdiCer SpA, in collaboration with Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA). As part of the program, Confindustria Ceramica and EdiCer SpA selected three young North American distributors to accompany a large delegation of journalists, architects and designers on a trip to Cersaie, Sept. 23-27.
The program aims to help foster strong relationships between Italian tile manufacturers and rising talent in the tile distribution industry, according to Armando Cafiero, managing director of Confindustria Ceramica. “Cersaie is the largest and most important ceramic tile event in the world, and we wanted to be the ones to shepherd the next generation of flooring distributors through it, giving them insider access and personally connecting them with our manufacturers.”
The participants were selected based on demonstrated leadership in their companies, a passion for the industry and a desire to learn more about Italian ceramic tile. The 2019 Cersaie Young Distributor Program included:
- Eric Glocer, vice president, PCC Tile, Cape Coral, Fla.
- George Braica, vice president of operations, Quality Wood Floors, Phoenix
- Justin Sheppard,president, MII Distributors, Bossier City, La.
The program included a guided tour of the show, educational sessions on sustainability and tile installation, and a visit to an Italian tile factory in Sassuolo to see the production process firsthand.
“This experience has armed me with more resources to solve my customers’ problems, like novel brands and product categories,” Glocer said. “I will be importing from two new factories in Italy and will be bringing in slabs for the first time. It also connected me to other distributors who are competing in different markets, allowing us to share best practices and pool resources.”
Braica shared in Glocer’s excitemeny. “Cersaie blew me out of the water with how much there is to know about ceramics,” Braica said. “The whole concept of porcelain slabs vs. quartz or granite was a whole new concept to me, coming from the hard surface flooring industry.”
Sheppard added, “I was reenergized to get back to the United States and show all of my customers the new products.”
Cersaie 2020 will take place at BolognaFiere in Bologna, Italy, Sept. 28 to Oct. 2.