Bethany, CT, December 5, 2005--Laticrete International, for a half a century, has been a world leader in providing ceramic tile and stone installation systems on a global basis.
Innovation and commitment have marked Laticrete’s five decades of success. These commitments include a strong desire to help those in need. Recently, the company again demonstrated this kind of selfless behavior by donating and shipping its unique products to an inspiring cause: Providing shelter for the citizens of Cap Haitien, a poverty-stricken seaport village on the northern coast of Haiti.
This amazing story actually began many years ago when Philip Paolella, then President of Plasticrete Corporation, traveled to Cap Haitien on a humanitarian mission with his long-time friend Vito Mazza, in a joint attempt to help fight hunger on the island. After the trip, Paolella returned to Connecticut and his everyday life, but the images of what he witnessed on those poverty-stricken streets of Haiti never left his mind.
Cap Haitien is one of the most impoverished places in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Virtually all of the residents live in extreme poverty, tucked away as migrants in the tropical countryside. Overcrowded, makeshift housing, little or no sanitation and rarely enough food to meet even the minimal daily nutritional requirements, are just some of the issues facing the people of this region.
Paolella, now 90 years old and retired, had a vision--and also a plan to implement it. With many years of service as an architectural concrete products manufacturer to draw from, Paolella set out to find an attainable solution to the housing issues facing the people of Cap Haitien.
“My father’s dream was to do something to help (the people of Haiti),” Philip’s son John Paolella said. “This is not a money-making adventure for him. He has spent thousands of dollars and the past few years researching this product. It means a lot for him to see it come full-circle. We made a commitment as his children that if something happens, we would see this through, and we have all had a hand in supporting him.”
Paolella’s dream was to create an opportunity for an unskilled individual to be able to manufacture a concrete block of sufficient quality and strength for use in building a home. This house would then be “bonded” together using Laticrete’s #255 MultiMax Thin-Set Mortar, an easily applied bonding compound. With the help of two former employees, Joe Ciriello and Joe Rescigno, Paolella first designed a wooden form (and then a steel form) to cast the block. After several castings it was determined that a durable yet lightweight form would be needed. The trio of inventors then met with David Nickerson, President of Concrete Block Insulating Systems (CBIS Korfil). Nickerson designed (and donated) a metal mold that produced a polystyrene “block” mold that was inexpensive, durable, lightweight and had the necessary tolerance levels to cast a block perfectly square. Once cast with these molds, the blocks can be laid in a stack pattern using Laticrete’s mortar mix. This building process allows an unskilled person (with necessary training) to take the mold, fill it with concrete materials native to the island and subsequently build a house. Once perfected, this process could provide a vocation and a purpose for the impoverished Haitian people. Not to mention, a place to call home.
“Laticrete really stepped up to the plate for us,” John Paolella said. “I talked with Sean Boyle at Laticrete and he thought it was an amazing idea. (He then) arranged for us to receive the shipment of products in West Palm, Florida, to be transported to Haiti. We were very pleased with their support.”