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Industry Folks - Triniti Vigil, J & R Tile

image Triniti Vigil, Director of Installation, J & R Tile

SAN ANTONIO - Former Los Angeles Dodgers coach once famously said, “Cut me and I bleed Dodger blue,” meaning, the Dodgers were his life. Triniti Vigil probably bleeds tiling grout.

 

 

 

 

 

    The lifelong San Antonian started working with his father in the tiling business while still in high school. Even though he dabbled in other trades, they weren’t “my calling,” as he put it.
    Vigil looks back on his high school days with a smile, never once thinking he’d be using math or algebra once he was out. Now, he uses it every day.
    He specifically mentioned the Pythagorean theorem, which he uses a lot. But back then, “I didn’t even know what the hell that was!” he says with a laugh.
    As the director of installation, Vigil overseas about 30 men, one of which, ironically, is his father, who now works at J & R.
    But having a fancy title doesn’t mean Vigil spends his days at a desk. “If I’m in the office for 30 minutes,” he said, “that’s way too much. I still get my hands dirty” out in the field.
    Training younger tile installers is important to Vigil. They look up to him for advice when they come across a complicated work order. He says they think, “Triniti has all the answers,” but is quick to quip, “Even if I don’t, I try to fake it!”
    When it comes to brand new tile installers, J & R has a 12-week program where they try out the new recruits to see if this trade is cut out for them. Out of last year’s crop of 10 guys, only three remain.
    “This trade is not for everybody,” Vigil said. “There’s a whole craft to this that takes years to master.”
    And Vigil must indeed be a master, for he was national winner of the 2017 Rock Star Award, given by the National Tile Counsel of America for dedication, leadership and commitment to the tile trade.
    “I’m still in shock about it,” he said. He’ll pick up the award in Atlanta this month.
    When it comes to coordinating workflow with the other trades, Vigil says that the flooring comes last - normally - but schedules can get messed up. Then he’ll touch base with the other trades to come up with a plan whereby everyone gets their work done on time. 
    In terms of job satisfaction, it’s not just the stepping back to see a finished product that brings the joy, Vigil says that “My satisfaction is leaving a piece [of work] for everybody to appreciate.” Knowing that he was “a part of something” that will endure for a very long time gives him the buzz we all crave in our work.
    His work has even been featured on the Tiny House Big Living show. He’ll return this year to showcase his work again.
    Vigil loves his trade and plans to keep on installing tile. It’s in his blood. -dsz


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Dan Zulli dan@constructionnews.net