- THE MAGAZINE
J. Steven Renkert was awarded the Tile Council of America's (TCA) prestigious 2002 Tile Person of the Year award during the May 9th breakfast at Coverings 2002 in Orlando, Fla. Each year, the TCA recognizes a person who has been instrumental in increasing the consumption of ceramic tile. Renkert and his brother, Donald Harry (Hal) Renkert, introduced to the U. S. a split-tile method of manufacturing quarry tile that increased manufacturing efficiency. In the 1970s, the brothers sought to continue their family's long history in the clay products industry, as well as their own experience in extrusion and structural ceramics, to develop a product with the look and durability of architectural brick without requiring the high raw material and energy costs associated with traditional brick. Using automated German technology, Steve and Hal built the first high volume, low cost architectural tile plant in the U.S. to produce half-inch thick unglazed, design-oriented quarry tile. While he was president, Steve's company, Metropolitan Industries, Inc. (now known as Ironrock Capital, Inc.), successfully grew and was modernized to meet production demands. He served as director on the board of the TCA, and he played a key role in crafting the International Standards Organization (ISO) standards for ceramic tile along with appropriate test methods.