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Al’s column

By FCNews staff

Volume 26/Number 16; Dec. 17/24, 2012

BELATED WISHES: Floor Covering News would like to extend a belated Happy 50th Anniversary to internationally renowned textile designer Elke Arora, who began her professional career in October 1962 with German carpet manufacturer Besmer. Since FCNews’ inception, Arora’s husband, Rolf, has been our foreign correspondent in Europe, and Elke herself has contributed many color and fashion trend stories. Arora, who is German born, was one of the first to understand fashion is global. She has maintained a residence in Dalton since 1969, a year after opening her own studio in Canada. However, since the 1970s she has worked from her home studio in Hannover, Germany, home to Domotex.

STORIED CAREER: During her career, Elke has designed carpets and rugs for companies around the world, including some of the largest U.S. mills such as Barwick, Karastan, Bigelow, World, Horizon, Queen, Stark (the forerunner of Shaw) and Milliken. She was the first non-American designer to whom Milliken demonstrated its Millitron machine. She would go on to develop designs for Millitron’s European licensees. Elke was the first German designer voted to the board of the U.S. Color Marketing Group and served as president of its European counterpart. Other machine manufacturers and suppliers such as Küsters and DuPont called on her for advice during different developmental stages. Her designs have also been included in the permanent collection of the Color Archive Collection by the University of Art & Design in Finland.

COMMUNITY SERVICE: Giving back to one’s community is something the flooring industry has always done in abundance, and the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) takes it seriously. Each year, NWFA honors wood flooring businesses that have donated time, materials and/or labor to others in need with its Community Service Awards. The organization is now accepting nominations for its 2013 awards. If you gave back this year in some capacity—from restoring the flooring of a historic building for a charitable organization, to donating flooring to build housing for families in need (and anything in between), apply at member.nwfa.org/communityservice. Winners will be recognized during an awards presentation on April 4 at NWFA’s Wood Flooring Expo in Dallas. Call 800.422.4556 with questions.

UNDER 40 AWARD: Speaking of awards, congratulations to Satya Tiwari, president of rug manufacturer Surya, who was named to the 2012 Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 40 Under 40 list. The list honors the accomplishments of Atlanta’s most successful young professionals. Honorees must demonstrate leadership, professional achievement and community service. Since joining his father’s company in 2004, Tiwari has grown the 36-year-old business 24-fold, with the company achieving double-digit growth in seven of the last eight years. This year, more than 500 nominations were received for the award with winners selected by a committee of 40 Under 40 alumni. Nearly 400 people attended the awards dinner last month at the Atlanta History Center.

HOUSING UP: When it comes to the housing market it looks like the year is ending on a high note, which bodes well for the industry moving into 2013. The number of housing markets considered “improving” by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) jumped by 76 in December to a total of 201 metro areas. NAHB’s First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) also showed the number of states represented increased from 38 in November to 44 (plus the District of Columbia) in December. This is the fourth consecutive month IMI grew, plus well over half of all metro areas are now represented on the list. IMI identifies areas that have improved from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months.