John J. Sekora began his career in the tile industry as an office boy in 1960, just out of high school, working for Eugene Bazzell’s BA-MOR Tile Co. in Baltimore, Maryland. He later worked for Peter Bratti Assoc. in New York City and Arnold Hess’ Artisan Tile in New Jersey. All were Tile Contractors’ Association of America TCAA members and union contractors. In the years between, he also sold tile for U.S. Ceramic Tile Co., of Canton, Ohio.
John is Chairman of the Board of Artisan Tile and Marble Co. of N.J., Inc. He and his entire family-Carol, Nancy, Ken, Matt, Michelle, Jimmy, and Doris-were named New Jersey Family Business of the Year in 2000. All of these family members work at Artisan. They were also members of the Rothman Institute of Entrepreneurial Studies Family Business Forum. Artisan Tile and Marble has been the proud winner of numerous Golden Trowel Awards. John has served as both president and treasurer of the New Jersey Tile Contractors’ Association, and was the TCAA president in 2000-2001. He has also served as chairman of the TCAA Scholarship Committee since its inception, a program which he was instrumental in creating. John was bestowed with the title of "official TCAA historian" in 2002 for his efforts in compiling his book, Ceramic Tile in 20th Century America.
John was interviewed and featured in Tile & Decorative Surfaces article Contractor’s Perspective in October 2000. More recently, in 2005, John and his wife were interviewed by host Sal Salvo of the weekly radio program From Success to Significance, on WMTR-AM radio.
He has also served on many local and national union committees, and was management trustee for several funds. He is the founding father of Celebration of Tile, a local educational convention focused on architectural participation. John is a member of the Greater New York/New Jersey Tile Contractors Association, the Marble Institute of America, and the American Subcontractors Association.
John was the first tile contractor to graduate from the International Masonry Institute’s (IMI) Contractor College. He also served on the board of governors of the National Alliance for Excellence (NAE), a merit scholarship foundation for academics and the arts, and was the recipient of the group’s ALEX award in 1999.
*Founded in 1903, the Tile Contractors’ Association of America (TCAA), is the most prestigious non-profit organization serving ceramic tile contractors throughout the United States. Its members include nearly 100 of the largest, oldest and most respected tile firms and sales members in the country.
Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, John lives at the Jersey shore with his wife, Doris. John’s wife, four of his five children and two of his cousins work at Artisan.
In 2004, John was awarded the Carl V. Cesery Award at the 96th annual TCAA convention held in Olympic Valley, California at Lake Tahoe. John was the 40th recipient of this prestigious award.
John has devoted his "spare"time to the National Alliance for Excellence scholarship program. He has donated dozens of scholarships to America’s gifted youths. These scholarships are based solely on merit.
Artisan Tile has underwritten many performing venues (including Carnegie Hall, Monmouth University, etc.) which showcased many of the scholarship awardees.
John and his wife, Doris, established a five-year, $50,000.00 foundation in memory of Doris’ mother - The Anna Bader Gift of Music. This entity will expose disadvantaged children to the performing arts in the form of free instruments, free lessons and mentoring from former scholarship awardees, free musical school assemblies, free tickets to performances, etc.
"Big" John’s family has followed in his footsteps by interweaving volunteerism throughout their lives. Some examples are; volunteer firemen, ladies auxiliary, school fundraising and library, scout leaders, youth sport coaching, religious education instructors and scholarship trust work. Even John’s oldest granddaughter has volunteered for her church, at the hospital and visiting the elderly.
An avid champagne cap collector, or placomusophile, John has over 8000 different caps and another 5000 duplicates. John and Doris have tasted over 1000 different champagnes and sparkling wines. Visit his website at www.champagnecaps.net - featuring information on his entire collection.
And he can fire everyone in the company,
from the chairman on down,
spending his money somewhere else.
- Sam Walton