MEMBER SPOTLIGHT Dutchess County Tile lays the foundation for the next generation of tile setters “The greatest joy of being a tile contractor is an easy one: seeing the smile on your cus- tomer’s face when you can bring the vision in their head to reality.” – Darin Shocker, Dutchess County Tile Darin Shocker, owner of Dutchess County Tile, who recently was recruited by a setting materials manufacturer as a New York-area rep for his integrity and knowl- edge, tells a fascinating story of his journey through the tile trade and his hope for the industry’s future. Shocker started working for a local bathroom remodeler/tile set- ter when he was 16. Although, in Shocker’s words, his boss was a “hack and a crook; he took advan- tage of everyone he could,” and “even at 16, I could see how bad his work was,” Shocker discovered a love of ripping out bathrooms and being a helper! Shocker worked with him through high school, and shunned scholarships to play sports in col- lege because he had gotten what he considered a better opportu- nity: an offer to be “a tile setter apprentice for the biggest union company in NYC: Port Morris Tile and Terrazzo,” he said. “I knew in my heart this is exactly what I wanted to do with my life,” he explained. “I wanted to learn the trade properly and then go start my own business, just like my old boss – only I wanted to give my customers a quality job and never take advantage of them.” Shocker worked for Port Morris for eight years. This huge company with hundreds of employees gave him the chance to work on all types of projects from building exteri- ors, malls, lobbies, and swimming pools to luxurious hotels like The Essex House and the Ritz Carlton. “The Port Morris family, Giacomo DeLazerro and Vincent DeLazerro, really took a liking to me and put me in every possible position to succeed,” Shocker said. “They put sponsored by Darin Shocker 56 TileLetter | 2018