Awards, General


Now that nominations have closed and the judging process is getting underway, the TTA is delighted to announce the line-up of judges for this year’s TTA Awards. With 15 judges involved – the largest line-up ever – each sector of the industry is covered, from retail to tile manufacturing and from tile adhesives to RIBA. The judging process is being carried out during this month and the TTA is very grateful for the time all the judges will be putting into their deliberations over the coming days.

We know that the quality of the entries is once again very high this year, so the judges’ job will no doubt be a challenging one. Not only is the number of entries very high this year, but the range of entries is very diverse, with a lot of entries this year coming in from companies and individuals who have not entered before – which is great news for the Awards!

Don’t forget that four categories are now open for public voting. They are Wall Tile of the Year, Floor Tile of the Year, Best E-Commerce Website/App and Best Heritage Project. You can head online and cast your votes at:

However for the majority of categories, the judging is carried out by the members of our illustrious judging panel.  So in this specially extended Tilezine article we present to you the opportunity to “meet the judges”:


Joni is responsible for policy, strategy, curriculum and accreditation as head of CPD at RIBA. Her role is to ensure that architects have the right guidance, support and provision in place to maintain competence, to encourage professionalism, to increase capabilities and to flourish and succeed. RIBA also future-proofs members and helps them to embrace and use the accelerating pace of disruption. A key part of her role is working with RIBA Insight to deliver the RIBA CPD Providers Network.

Joni currently leads a built environment CPD group; she is a member of the CPD policy working groups for the Architects Council of Europe and the Union of International Architects; past chair of the Construction Industry Council Learning Panel; past chair of the Homes and Communities Agency CPD Group; a frequent consultant on CPD matters for other professions in the UK and Internationally; and an active public speaker on CPD, especially lately on digital disruption.



After two years at Design College, Billy Valler spent the following five years supplying and installing bathrooms. He then spent 13 years working as a tile and stone fixer and subsequently as contracts manager for WB Simpsons. He was for 13 years a director and shareholder of numerous companies within the WB Simpson group, during which time he oversaw projects such as Wembley Stadium and Olympic swimming pools. Billy is a TTA director and has sat for ten years on the TTA Technical Committee. He has also been an inspector for a number of years.








Dave Rowley is Training Manager at Building Adhesives Ltd and an active member of the TTA’s Training Committee since its formation. He was elected to the Board of the TTA in 2016.

Dave has over 27 years’ experience in tiling, having joined the industry upon leaving school and gaining a City & Guilds Advanced Craft qualification in wall and floor tiling through an apprenticeship. He is also lead judge for the wall and floor tiling section of SkillBuild, the national construction competition for apprentices run by the CITB. Dave is also an NVQ assessor and internal verifier. In 2005 he was awarded a TTA Award as an Outstanding Employee and in 2015 received an Award for his Outstanding Contribution to the Industry.




Dave Stott, through his company Elite Tiling, serves Greater Manchester and the northwest. He is also the co-owner of Monster Tiling who are a large format specialist tiling company. Dave has over 22 years military service under his belt and has now been tiling for over ten years. His lengthy formal training portfolio, with nationally recognised qualifications, extends into such areas as wet rooms, underfloor heating and beyond. He is not just a trained tiler, but is a former tiling instructor.

Dave tells it straight and believes in getting things right the first time, as you might expect from a former soldier. 23 years’ army service took him everywhere from Iraq to Afghanistan. He started fixing during his final months in uniform and completed a forces resettlement course on wall and floor tiling skills. Through this, he met Mark Humphreys, a long-standing TTA member.

Training others, however rewarding, is not the same as fixing. Dave’s passion for tiles meant that, sooner or later, he would have to be a full-time fixer. On November 25th, 2007, he went ‘on the tools’ and Elite Tiling was born.


Sharon Taylor won Fixer of the Year in 2017. Her speciality is in the highly-skilled area of mosaics, in which she now has a growing business with work in London and elsewhere She has a background in graphic design and the creative side of tiling has always been important to her. She has developed an enviable reputation for her work on steam rooms, ice fountains, spa baths, curved seating and shower units, and any other surface that requires mosaics. Before making the move into tiling, she worked in packaging design and then decided in 2007 to retrain in wall and floor tiling. After completing a course with Specialist Trade Courses at Harlow, Essex, Viva Tiling was born.

Early influences were the Bisazza Mosaic Course ran by STC which introduced a love of mosaics. Following completion of the Advanced Bisazza course in Italy in 2008, Sharon became determined to be a mosaic specialist, an aspiration which is now fully realised.


Brian Linnington has been the commercial director of Topps Tiles for the past five years. His responsibilities in that role include buying, merchandising, stock, marketing, digital and contract sales. As such, Brian is a member of Topps Tiles Executive Management Team. Before joining Topps Tiles, Brian had worked for Vision Express and prior to that was at Boots for 23 years.





Jeremy Harris is managing director of Tile Mountain, a company he founded with former Topps Tiles directors Mo Iqbal and Nick Ounstead and which has revolutionised the online shopping experience within the tile sector. Prior to establishing Tile Mountain, Jeremy spent 11 years at Topps Tiles, five of which as commercial director. Having accrued over 20 years experience within the tile industry in a variety of roles, most notably in a buying capacity, Jeremy is a welcome addition to the TTA judging panel, bringing a comprehensive understanding of the nuances of the tile industry and the challenges tile retailers, manufacturers, and tradesmen face in an ever-changing market.


Peter has worked in the tile industry for over 30 years. He started out on the road with Ramus Tile and then Langleys, where he was an area sales manager for eight years. In 1999 he opened Freelands Tiles in Dunton Green and has built a successful retail business, still going strong after nearly 20 years. Peter lives in Orpington, Kent with his wife Natalie and three children.




Andy Bowers has been quality manager at Tile Giant, part of the Travis Perkins Group, since 2010. His job is to ensure that products comply with relevant standards, and that suppliers comply with TP’s environmental, social and quality commitments. His role also involves liaison with colleagues and suppliers in specifications and the investigation of customer issues.

Previously Andy was Pilkington’s Tiles development manager/quality representative from 1996 to 2010 and Johnson Tiles development technician from 1987 to 1996. He first started in the ceramics industry in 1976.


Edoardo is managing director of Sidcup Tile King, an importer, retailer and distributor of wall and floor tiles from Europe, especially Italy, which was established in 1982. The company specialises in large format porcelain, feature wall tiles, bespoke wall and floor tiles and Victorian tiles that are carefully selected from some of the greatest tile manufacturers the world has to offer. Edoardo has over 30 years experience of importing and selling tiles into the UK market, and a wealth of knowledge of the industry as a whole.


Ian Crowther has over 35 years’ expertise in sales and marketing in the construction industry. Ian was part of the original Tile Association board when it was formed 15 years ago, and now heads up The Tile Association Marketing Committee.

Ian was at Pilkington’s Tiles for five years and was then sales and marketing director for Johnson Tiles for ten years, and then became managing director of Colchester Tile for three years. He is currently northern operations manager for N&C Building Products.


Paul Luff currently chairs The Tile Association. He has many years’ experience within the tiling industry and started his career in the sector as national sales manager with Pilkington Tiles where he spent seven years dealing with key accounts and national multiple DIY outlets. Following this he spent seven years at Instarmac Group as brand manager for Ultra Tile where he was responsible for positioning the brand highly within the UK. He has spent the past three years at Larsen Building Products as their national sales and marketing manager and is responsible for the Tiling and Flooring Division.


John Harris who founded Harper & Edwards Ltd., previous winners of this category, brings over 55 years of tile contracting experience to the judging panel. During that time he has lived by his saying of “stick to what you know and what you are best at”. Based on this philosophy, John has developed and nurtured Harper & Edwards during its 25 years of trading to establish a company which is well respected within the industry for the quality of its workmanship and the high level of service to all its clients.



Joe Simpson is the editor of the leading industry magazine, Tile and Stone Journal, and has been writing about the UK tile industry for over 25 years. He says: “TSJ reflects the increasing sophistication of the tile and stone industry in the UK and Ireland. We have made the pages of TSJ the vital information source for retailers, fixers and specifiers of tile and natural stone. Our renowned columnists provide a wealth of informed opinion and technical expertise that makes TSJ required reading for everyone in our industry”.


Brian Newell is a founder member and a past chairman of the TTA. He is currently a TTA director, Chairman of the TTA Technical Committee and a recipient of a TTA Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Tile Industry’.

Brian is chairman and owner of Shackerley (Holdings) Group Limited – a well-established manufacturer/distributor of ceramic and glass construction systems. Brian has been a technical expert member of British Standards Institute B539 Committee since the 1980s. For many years (and currently) he is the UK delegate and delegation leader to CEN TC67 main plenary committee – drafting European norms for the ceramics/adhesive industry. He is also the UK delegation leader to the ISO TC189 plenary committee, drafting International Standards for the ceramics/natural stone/adhesive industry; and Convener of ISO TC189 – Committee WG6, drafting Guidelines for the installation of ceramic tiles.

Brian also received the ‘International Standards Maker’ by the British Standards Institute Award.


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