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Coverings Rock Stars: An Interview with Ryan Fasan

Ryan Fasan
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Last year, Coverings honored the best and brightest young professionals in the tile and stone industry through the first ever Coverings Rock Stars – An Emerging Leaders Program. The program is back for Coverings 2016, and is now officially open for nominations. You can learn more about nominations and the judging process here.

We’re kicking off this year’s nomination process with an interview with one the 2015 honorees, Ryan Fasan. Ryan is a presenter and designer with more than 20 years of experience in the ceramic tile industry. Currently, Ryan is a research consultant, trainer and senior partner of Professional Attention to Tile Installations (P.A.T.T.I.). We connected with him to discuss his experience as a Rock Star and hear his advice for other rising stars in the industry:

What does it mean to you to be selected as a Coverings Rock Star for 2015?
Having spent the past 20 years working in the industry, my inclusion in this emerging leader’s initiative meant a great deal to me. With my mother being a Joe Tarver award winner for lifetime contribution to the industry, getting this recognition was a very nice affirmation that I am writing my own page in the family history.

Tell us about your work in the tile and stone industry. Why are you passionate about this industry?
Tile has been a mainstay in my life since I was five when my mother was hired by a family from Barcelona that opened their own distributorship in Vancouver. At the age of 13 I started in sample production and moved through the ranks doing every job possible in distribution until there was no more to learn.

My realization that there is often a disconnect between the sales people/design professionals and installers made me jump into installation next. After 4+ years apprenticing under German master installers I moved into teaching to begin to give back to this industry that has been so good to me. At the same time, my relationship with a locally owned manufacturer started me on a path towards product and marketing design. Both my speaking and design roles continue today and are wonderful foils for each other. I’m constantly amazed by how much there is to learn and share in this industry.

Do you have a specific project or moment in time in which you were particularly proud of your work?
I’ve had many proud moments in my career and due to the many fields I’ve worked in, they are all different. I can’t honestly say what’s better – the feeling of a perfectly executed installation done completely with my own hands, a concisely designed product collection that took months of development time or a seminar program designed and delivered that captivates an audience of hundreds for an hour. They all feel great. Many of my seminars have been hosted live on Tile of Spain’s blog, and all of my product collections are found at Bellavita Tile.

Is there a mentor or other professional that you turn to for career advice?
My mom, Patti Fasan, first and foremost. A close second would have to be the president of Bellavita Tile, Duigan Mitchell. Both have been close working partners of mine for years and the wealth of knowledge, opportunities for growth and advice they have provided me have made me the professional I am today. This award is thanks in large part to the influence they’ve had on me over the years.

Please share some advice for young professionals getting started in the tile & stone industry:
Dip your toes in every pond you can. There is so much to learn in this industry and so many opportunities to do so that you are doing yourself a disservice if you let the knowledge and experience pass you by.

Do everything you can to get to see as many factories, job sites & showrooms as you can. You never know what inspiration will find you in these most creative of spaces.

Get involved with your colleagues and clients – the younger generations are moving up the chain now and the connections you make, relationships you build and experiences you glean now are what will determine how far you rise in the next couple decades. Soak up every experience you can.

Are you planning on attending Coverings 2016 in Chicago?
No question. Ever. I will be at every Coverings until I retire.