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NWFA 2019 preview: Stage is set for hardwood’s premiere event

April 1/8, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 22

By Reginald Tucker


The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) is looking to corral wood flooring professionals from all segments of the industry to attend the group’s annual conference and expo, which is set to take place May 1–3 at the Fort Worth Convention Center. Visitors are encouraged to participate in a host of educational sessions, networking events and group activities while perusing the scores of exhibitor booths slated to occupy the trade show floor.

“We are looking forward to bringing our industry together for another tremendous show,” said Michael Martin, NWFA president and CEO. “We have more to offer than ever, and we know that will make this year’s show even better.”

Martin has reason to be optimistic. The NWFA expo continues to rank high amongst professional business conferences and conventions. In fact, the show was named a 2018 Trade Show Executive “Fastest 50 Awards” winner in three categories: total attendance; net square feet of exhibition space; and exhibiting companies.

“We’ve managed to grow attendance each year by reaching out to new audiences—including remodelers, builders and designers—and by offering premier programming in new, rotating locations,” Martin explained. “This offers both a unique location each year but also ensures we’re meeting the needs of our membership, which is spread throughout the U.S.”

Following is a sneak peek of the 2019 NWFA Expo:

Opening Stampede
NWFA 2019 kicks things off at 4:30 p.m. on May 1 via the “Opening Stampede,” which entails a welcome reception and keynote presentation by Matthew Luhn, noted motivational speaker and storyteller. Luhn—a writer and story consultant with more than 25 years' experience creating stories and characters at Pixar Animation Studios and “The Simpsons,” among others—plans to share his process for creating new ideas, great stories, memorable characters and how to make stronger connections with customers to build better brand and business communication.

“The intent is to couple our own ‘wood is good’ story with the power of storytelling to learn how to influence customer buying decisions, establish meaningful relationships and have a positive impact on future business,” Martin stated.

On the show floor
The 2019 NWFA Expo will feature more than 270 exhibitors showcasing the latest in wood flooring products, adhesives, tools, accessories and services. The exhibition area will be open May 2, from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and then again on May 3, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., for a total of 11 hours. In addition to the booths, attendees will be able to watch hands-on demonstrations taking place at designated areas on the show floor.

School’s open
Expo education sessions that take place on May 2 and May 3 are included in the registration fee. Attendees are encouraged to participate in quality programming that will focus on marketing, management, health, inspectors and technical skills. Sessions will include a mix of traditional speakers lecturing on a topic as well as roundtable discussions facilitated by an industry expert. The roundtable sessions are designed to allow attendees to have a more meaningful and impactful experience through peer-to-peer interaction and reflective discussions. What’s more, each participant will receive one CCU.

“We have restructured our education sessions to be less of a teacher/student format, which is a complete departure from traditional presentations,” Martin explained. “This is based on the success we’ve had with NWFA University as a learning format (60,000-plus micro-learning courses completed in a little more than two years). Today’s student wants relevant information in quick, targeted bursts. Students also want to collaborate with others to learn from their experience as well.”

Pre-expo symposium
Additional educational opportunities are available May 1, during the pre-expo symposium, which is open to all NWFA members (fee is $225 in advance or $275 on site). The pre-expo symposium will consist of a morning session—Understanding Moisture Management and Building Science—taught by Steve Easley, a building science consultant specializing in construction quality, sustainability, performance and problem avoidance.

Easley’s primary focus is helping industry professionals build and remodel structures that are durable, energy efficient, healthy and comfortable. He brings more than 30 years of industry experience, performing thousands of jobsite quality surveys and presenting building science seminars around the world.

An afternoon session round-table discussion, led by NWFA’s Brett Miller, vice president of education and certification, along with instructors Jon Namba and Kjell Nymark, is also on tap. “The pre-expo symposium and expo education is an opportunity for industry professionals to collaborate and discuss advanced topics that can have a tremendous impact on their businesses,” Miller stated. “Industry experts will be on hand to lead discussions and provide industry-specific insights that can yield immediate results.”

Upon completion of expo education, attendees will earn one continuing certification unit. Those who attend the pre-expo symposium and expo education sessions will earn a total of three CCUs, which meets the two-year requirement of CCUs needed from NWFA live/hands-on training.

Concrete certification
NWFA is working with the International Concrete Repair Institute (ICRI) to offer its Certified Concrete Slab Moisture Testing Technician (CCSMTT) Certification Program. The purpose of this program—scheduled to take place on May 2 and May 3—is to help improve the performance of concrete slab moisture testing to result in more consistent, accurate and reliable results designed to help flooring manufacturers, architects, engineers and contractors make better decisions as to when a concrete floor is ready for a floor covering installation. (Note: fees range from $200–$875 depending on which certification you choose.) Attendees are encouraged to contact ICRI at 651.366.6095 or email with questions.

Floor of the Year awards
The NWFA’s highly anticipated Wood Floor of the Year awards program was developed to encourage and recognize innovative craftsmanship and design in wood flooring installations. The categories are: Best Restoration/Makeover; Best Color & Finish Application; Best Circular Curved Application; Best Parquetry/Inlay Application; Best Textured Wood Application; Members’ Choice; and Best Use of Technology Application, a new category for 2019.

The winners of the 2019 Wood Floor of the Year contest will be announced during a special ceremony on May 2 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. 
Carmen Ciricillo, licensed contractor, continuing education teacher and stand-up comedian, will provide a few laughs to conclude the awards program.

Tee time
NWFA has announced the Hardwood Forest Foundation Golf Tournament, scheduled to take place May 1, 7:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. All proceeds from this golf tournament benefit the Hardwood Forest Foundation and the Truth About Trees educational program. The cost for the tournament is $175 before April 1 and $200 after that date. Club rental is available at an additional cost of $25. For more information, contact the Hardwood Forest Foundation by sending an email to or calling 901.507.0312. Companies or individuals interested in sponsoring the tournament may also contact Deonn DeFord via email at

Special events
Attendees are invited to mix it up during a Honky Tonk Happy Hour on May 2, 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., right on the trade show floor.

Grab a drink and network on the trade show floor. There’s also a special distributor & manufacturer reception scheduled to take place 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. at a designated area. The expo wraps up on May 3 with a “Last Call Saloon,” slated for 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Entertainment will be provided by the Big City Outlaws, a Texas-based band specializing in Top 40 hits as well as popular country music tunes.