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My take: Who’s driving the industry and how?

Volume 26/Number 26; May 13/20, 2013

Last summer, when I proposed to my team the idea of running a feature in FCNews titled, “The 10 People Driving the Industry,” you wouldn’t have needed Lasik surgery to see Dustin Aaronson’s and Mike Blick’s eyes roll. It’s not that they didn’t like the idea. The fear was that the subjectivity of these features could sometimes ruffle feathers. After all, opinions are like… well, you get the picture.

So, how did those who got on the list (see page 10) make the cut, and why; when you read the feature, will you think we ostracized some individuals?

First, this is not a one-and-done. We’ll be running this feature annually as a way to recognize people who are taking this industry on an upward trajectory. We needed to save some for the future. Second, I think it’s hard to argue with any of our choices this year. In fact, it was so difficult to whittle the list down to 10 that we expanded it to 13 so we could cease banging our heads against the wall. Third, the names on our list were not derived from a late-night meeting amongst FCNews staff at our favorite watering hole. Rather, we not only discussed this internally ad nauseum, but we reached out to knowledgeable industry observers for their thoughts.

So let’s get into some specifics:

Joe Amato. There are a myriad of amazing visuals on the market, but Mannington has always had the reputation of being at the forefront of style. Design sells, and Amato designs. ‘Nuff said.

David Duncan. His picture is in Webster’s dictionary under the “marketing” entry. Ricko the Rhino. License to Spill. Attaching a piece of SmartStrand carpet to an issue of FCNews. He may have a bigger budget than most, but he knows how to maximize each dollar to build the brand. Solid marketing puts design in the spotlight, which motivates sales.

Tim Baucom. There’s a laundry list of Shaw innovations that has moved the industry forward under his auspices. EcoWorx carpet tile, 11 consecutive Best of NeoCon awards for design, LokDots adhesive, developing multiple markets overseas. Commercial sales have grown over 30% in the past three years. That’s the definition of driving an industry.

Christine Whittemore. Two words: social media. Kids are all over it; flooring retailers—for some, not so much. The statistics are staggering. Retailers must get in the game. Christine is determined to show them how. (See her profile exclusively at

Bob Peoples. If one of the industry’s biggest issues is keeping carpet out of landfills, then it only makes sense that the leader of the organization that has gone above and beyond to make this happen is on the list.

Pami Bhular. He works for Invista and, as such, is a Stainmaster advocate, but don’t be fooled. This man spends about 250 days on the road each year visiting retailers, making keynote speeches, advocating professionalism and showing people how to achieve it. Talk to flooring dealers who have had the fortune to hear Pami speak; they are better for it.

Bob Shaw. Who starts a carpet mill at the age of 80? Who starts a carpet mill in today’s world with a goal of doing business of $1 billion? Who starts a carpet mill that has become the darling for many retailers? Only one man may have been capable of this.

Michael Martin. In just two short years, he has enacted significant change. The Wood Floor Expo has been revitalized; certification has become more stringent and the trade show has returned to being a profit center. And there’s more.

Space doesn’t allow mention of the others on the list, but rest assured, they are no less deserving.