Schlüter Family Named Tile Person of the Year by TCNA

Clemson, SC, April 23, 2024-The Tile Council of North America (TCNA) presented its Tile Person of the Year honor to the Schlüter family-Werner, Barbara, Udo and Marc-at Coverings 2024 in Atlanta, Georgia. This recognition is reserved for individuals whose contributions have significantly impacted the North American tile industry.

Before Schluter-Systems was founded, a young German boy named Werner Schlüter had a dream to become a tile installer. Following a seven-year education program, beginning as an apprentice and advancing to a journeyman, Werner obtained his Master Craftsman’s diploma in 1966 and established his own tile installation business, “Fliesen Schlüter” (Schlüter Tile).

In 1975, while working on a unique project, Werner identified a critical issue: exposed tile edges were susceptible to chipping and breakage. Determined to find a solution, he began developing, prototyping, and eventually testing, warehousing, and producing his first product: Schlüter-Schiene. Initially utilized for his own installations, demand from fellow installers prompted Werner to open Schlüter Systems, then known as Schlüter Schiene, as a small sideline to his installation business, with encouragement from his wife, Barbara.

In 1985, Reinhard Plank, a tile setter living in Montreal, discovered the Schiene profile on a visit to Germany. He recognized its value and sought a means to import it for his own installations. This led to the establishment of Schluter Systems Inc. in Plattsburgh, New York in early 1989. Concurrently, Schluter Systems expanded its presence in Europe, establishing additional companies in France, Spain, Italy, the UK, Turkey, and beyond.

Schluter Systems soon thereafter introduced products such as Ditra, the first uncoupling membrane, the Kerdi waterproofing membrane, and the Kerdi-Drain with its integrated bonding flange a few years later. This marked the evolution towards a systems approach, providing installers with comprehensive solutions.

Complementing business growth was a commitment to education, evident in Schluter’s Innovation Workshops, which now attract thousands of tile industry professionals annually. This strategic approach, centered on installer needs, continues to drive innovation.

As Werner begins to take a less active role in the business, sons Udo and Marc have assumed greater roles, focusing on technology, processes, R&D, sales, and marketing. Barbara also remains actively involved in the company. The Schlüter family’s dedication to understanding installer needs and fostering industry relationships are the foundation of Schluter Systems' enduring success.

The award presented to the Schlüter family was a beautiful, framed tile mural handcrafted by the artist Mr. Barry Perez (Elgin, Texas).

Related Topics:Schluter®-Systems, Coverings