Have you met Robert Lash? He's based in the Tile Outlets corporate office in Atlanta, Georgia.
Not only is Robert a proud employee-owner, but he's also the backbone of all things technology at Tile Outlets of America.
Robert joined Tile Outlets of America in 2002, as the company was being formed. He is next in the Tile Outlets of America Employee-Owner series.
We caught up with Robert to ask him a few questions.
Introducing Robert Lash, Employee-Owner of Tile Outlets of America
TOA: Robert, what's your background?
RL: After high school, I went to technical college for drafting and design. Once I graduated, I spent 16 years in the grocery industry, and then 20 years in IT/IS (information technology/information systems) and programming.
I began programming in 1982 on a Timex Sinclair. It took 24 hours to download a 1 MB file. The Internet? No one knew what that was back then.
TOA: How did you get started with Tile Outlets of America?
RL: In early 2002, I became involved with the Tile Doctor designing and developing tile and stone technical websites and training. I have been part of Tile Outlets since early 2002 from the founding of the company.
TOA: What is your role now?
RL: I'm the Information Technology manager for Tile Outlets.
I provide IT store support for all three Tile Outlets stores. In that role, I focus on software integrations - between inventory systems, point-of-sale systems, the website, and other systems - and ensuring, as the database administrator, that the different databases are up-to-date and integrating with the correct software systems.
I also program in multiple languages.
TOA: What are the biggest surprises or changes you’ve noticed since joining?
RL: Biggest surprises? How tile trends change around every 3 years and what was hot today could be out of style in a couple of years.
Also, the technology for manufacturing tile has advanced tremendously over the past 6 years.
TOA: What do you love most about what you do?
RL: I love the challenges associated with staying current on technology and understanding how those changes affect Tile Outlets of America. It's really important to have the right tools for the job and ensure that technology is implemented correctly for the systems we have.
I enjoy keeping up with new tiles trends along with the products and techniques necessary for tile installation, care, and maintenance.
TOA: What’s your reaction to being an employee-owner?
RL: Being an employee-owner gives me a tremendous sense of involvement in Tile Outlets beyond just being an employee.
It gives a voice to all employees, including myself. We can help shape the direction of our company.
TOA: Robert, which are some of your favorite Tile Outlets of America products and why?
RL: The new thin tile core based wood grained looks are my current favorites.
I also like the porcelain Art series and classic travertines and marbles.
TOA: Have you tiled any areas of your home?
TL: Unfortunately, I haven't yet tiled any rooms in my home.
TOA: What advice do you have for someone wanting to buy tile?
RL: Stop into a Tile Outlets store and speak with a designer or at least a sales associate especially if it’s your first time thinking about tile in your home.
Secondly research a qualified contractor or installer in your area. Even if you are handy, there are a lot of considerations and installation methods that can vary when installing tile or stone. For example, check out Grout and Thinset Mixing Best Practices.
TOA: What do you like to do outside of Tile Outlets of America?
RL: I love fishing and gaming, and particularly enjoy spending time with my family and grandchildren.
TOA: Thank you, Robert!
If you haven't yet visited Tile Outlets of America, we hope you'll come to visit soon. You may come across Robert Lash as he implements solutions or troubleshoots IT issues at the stores.
When you visit, be sure to let us know how to help make your dream home become a reality. You'll find a beautiful selection of in-stock and first quality porcelain and ceramic tile, stone, mosaics, cabinets, ledger stone and more available for a whole lot less at all Tile Outlets of America stores!
See you soon.