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Shaw Industries makes Forbes’ 2019 Best Employers in Georgia list

Dalton—Shaw Industries Group (Shaw) has ranked third on Forbes’ 2019 list of Best Employers in Georgia

“Over the last several years, Shaw has invested significantly in our products, processes, plants and—most importantly—our people,” said Vance Bell, chairman and CEO, Shaw Industries. “People are our competitive advantage. This achievement demonstrates Shaw’s dedication to our more than 22,000 talented individuals working to produce industry-leading flooring solutions and to create a better future for their families and communities—and our customers and company.”

To determine the first-ever ranking of America’s best employers by state, Forbes worked with analytics firm Statista, creating unique lists for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The rankings were determined through an anonymous survey consisting of 50,000 Americans working for businesses with at least 500 employees.

“Shaw’s ability to attract and retain the best available talent allows us to remain as leaders of our industry,” noted Mike Fromm, chief human resources officer, Shaw Industries. “Creating a culture of respect, inclusion and accountability empowers our associates to share ideas and innovate to meet today’s business objectives while developing themselves to meet tomorrow’s challenges.”

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Ceramics of Italy releases spring, summer tile trends

New York—After reviewing hundreds of new products from Italian tile producers at Coverings in Orlando and ICFF in New York, Ceramics of Italy has announced the top design trends for the spring and summer seasons. From humble to opulent designs and inlaid wood to skinny formats, the following six themes demonstrate the expanding versatility of ceramic tile and how Italians lead the way in design and innovation. These products from Ceramics of Italy member companies are now available in the North American market for all types of residential and commercial projects.

Skinny formats
While some designers prefer large format tiles to minimize grout lines and create a large, seamless surface, there has been a recent swing in the other direction to emphasize the tile's shape. Skinny format tiles offer the perfect opportunity to create a playful composition.

Inlaid wood
Inlay is one of the oldest decoration techniques in the book, gracing the floors and furniture of wealthy estates for centuries. Now with advanced digital printing technology, everyone can have instant access to the charm of inlaid wood and parquet flooring for a fraction of the price.

Humble materials
Ceramic tile is an inherently humble material. It’s created from the earth and designed to last but can also be returned to the earth at the end of its life. With these collections, Italian companies pay homage to the beauty of imperfection and humble materials found in nature.

On the other end of the spectrum are tiles that exude opulence. From rare and dreamy marble to high gloss ceramic emulating semi-transparent glass, all of these collections add a touch of glamour while possessing the functional benefits of ceramic and porcelain.

Muted colors
Tiles come in every hue and tone found under the sun, but muted colors have recently taken the tile industry by storm. While vivid colors have their place, the subdued chroma of pale pink or sage green allows for designers to apply entire fields of color to a space.

Lines can do miraculous things to a room: create movement, add height or at the very least generate visual interest. It’s no wonder that companies are using this essential element to create striped patterns, metallic inserts, linear mosaics and more.

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B.R. Funsten invests in building supplies distribution business

Cary, N.C.—Kerridge Commercial Systems (KCS) has announced that B.R. Funsten & Co. has successfully implemented K8. Working closely with the team from B.R. Funsten & Co., the implementation of K8 represents a significant investment in their building supplies distribution business across the West Coast.

K8 is a fully-integrated enterprise software system designed specifically for construction-related materials verticals. Complete with Sales Order Processing, Purchase Order Control, Inventory Management, Accounting (AP, AR, GL, Fixed Assets), Business Intelligence, CRM, E-commerce Solutions, WMS, Tool and Equipment Rental and much more. K8 is available either on-premises or in the cloud. B.R. Funsten has found that K8 provides the capability to continue to expand the business with the confidence that they have the right system and functionality to support their business objectives and enhance their customer service capacity.

“We are elated that BR Funsten have successfully deployed K8 and KCS looks forward to nurturing the relationship for many years ahead,” said Greg Grady, vice president of sales & marketing for KCS in North America. “Through hard work and acute focus, it is our good fortune to partner with 14,000-plus customers globally. That accomplishment is due to KCS’s persistent focus on offering world-class systems to the construction related materials verticals while providing our customers with industry benchmark software support and services.”

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NeoCon concludes successful 51st edition

Chicago—The 51st edition of NeoCon was a resounding success, further establishing itself as the premier, global platform for connecting, learning, and conducting business in the commercial interiors industry—according to show officials. This year’s event was marked by robust attendance and a palpable energy that coursed throughout the show, as the commercial A&D community immersed themselves in everything design.

The NeoCon Plaza, an experiential outdoor environment sponsored and outfitted by Haworth and Haworth Collectionas well as by Sunbrella Contract and Econyl by Aquafil, was a hit with attendees who used it to connect, collaborate, relax, recharge, unwind and enjoy the outdoors. The space—which was designed by Gensler Chicago in collaboration with Forward Fruit Branded Environments—is a direct example of the movement of incorporating the outdoors into the workplace.

Rounding out the 51st edition was a captivating educational program headlined by keynote presenters Robin Standefer, Stephen Alesch, Ilse Crawford and Liz Ogbu, as well as new designer-led tours of notable Chicago spaces, dynamic installations and can’t-miss industry gatherings.

“The success of any given built project lies in how effective, useful, enjoyable and healthy it is for those who occupy the space,” said Byron Morton, vice president of leasing, NeoCon. “Applying that measure of success to NeoCon 2019, I think it’s fair to say it was a strong, vibrant edition. Whether it was connecting with colleagues outdoors in the NeoCon Plaza, taking in the powerful keynote presentations and seminar offerings, or exploring the many
floors of showroom and exhibitor spaces, innovations and activations, the design world was treated to an inspirational and productive experience.”

A testament to the continued strength and enduring value of NeoCon, seven new permanent showrooms opened, and several tenants unveiled renovated new spaces designed by top firms, just in time for this year’s edition. New tenants include Hightower—which was honored with the IIDA/Contract Magazine Showroom and Booth Design Competition for Best in Competition overall, and for Best Small Showroom—as well as Kwalu, Beaufurn, Montisa, Cumberland Furniture, Emeco and HAT Contract. Eighty-five new to NeoCon brands joined the roster in the NeoCon Exhibit Hall on the 7th floor, which also featured many returning exhibitors who opted for larger spaces for the 2019 edition. Trends included ancillary spaces, phone booth-like structures, a focus on acoustics, amenity spaces and outdoor-oriented solutions.

Floor covering exhibitors shared some of their observations:

“Tarkett’s Neocon 2019 will be remembered by very robust traffic throughout the show’s three days,” said Chris Stulpin, chief creative officer, Tarkett North America. “We met with numerous workplace customers as well as key end users from across all segments. Design firms were very well represented from a diverse geography, and our strategic channel partners came out in droves. We were thrilled with attendance and even more excited by the overwhelmingly positive response to our products from both existing customers and new relationships.”

Jeff Collum, president and CEO, Teknoflor, shared in the excitement. “This year’s show was historic—full of excitement, launches and conversations that showcase the huge potential of the commercial industry to continue breaking ground with innovative solutions. There was vibrancy around HMTX's presence and a feeling of power and promise around our Teknoflor brand."

NeoCon 2020 will be held June 8-10 at The Mart in Chicago.


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Havwoods launches magnetic flooring system

New York—Havwoods International has introduced the Magna magnetic flooring system. This magnetic raised access flooring system can be used for any of Havwoods’ Venture Plank, Henley or Relik collections—totaling about 150 tongue-and-groove, engineered wood floor planks.

Magna consists of magnetized and foam-sealed wood boards, which provide a secure connection to the supporting structural pedestals. They can be conveniently disconnected using a suction lifter to allow for maintenance and repair of the concealed services. Ideal for large-scale office and retail environments, the Magna magnetic system is offered in numerous wood floor finishes, creating flexible floor coverings that cater to both aesthetic and practical specifications.

For commercial refurbishments, Magna flooring reduces installation time. The range is 90% quicker to install compared to using glue or underlay and can be sanded and maintained just like any other Havwoods’ engineered floor. Individual planks or entire areas can be removed and replaced exceptionally easily, thanks to the magnetized system, which carries a lifetime guarantee. Most importantly, Magna provides accessibility to underfloor services that cannot otherwise be installed in wall cavities.

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Piet Dossche named to WFCA Hall of Fame

Dalton—The World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) has named Piet Dossche, founder of USFloors, to the floor covering industry’s Hall of Fame. Dossche is the 50th inductee since the Hall of Fame was established in 1992. He will be joining a distinguished list of industry pioneers and leaders who have received this highly exclusive honor. He will be inducted during a ceremony at The International Surface Event (TISE) in Las Vegas during Surfaces 2020.

“I do not take my endorsement of anyone lightly, but with great humbleness and respect, I recommend Piet Dossche for this special honor,” said Pami Bhullar, director retail development, Invista North America. “His compelling principle behind every action is ‘Creating Value for end consumers, retailers, retail sales associates and the industry at large.’ He always said, ‘Pami we need to make our partners more successful. If we make them successful, we don’t have to worry about our success,’ I could not agree with him more. When I talk about ‘visionary, disrupter and inventor,’ I mean someone with Piet’s passion, genius, vision and humility. Many lives are richer today because they met Piet Dossche. I look forward to honoring his influential impact on our industry and celebrating his induction into the Hall of Fame.”

Dossche didn’t hail from a business environment. His father was a judge in his home country of Belgium, so he grew up in an academic household. After attending Brussels Catholic College, Dossche took a job at Beaulieu International Group, where Roger De Clerck became one of his first professional mentors, giving him the chance to prove himself at an early age. He became managing director of Beaulieu’s manufacturing plant in the U.K. at only 24. After five years, Dossche decided to strike out on his own, founding Image Flooring in Europe.

Twice more during his career, Dossche would turn a business challenge into an opportunity. First, when Image Flooring was derailed by a quality issue, he moved to the U.S. to work for Beaulieu of America, where he became president of their residential business. Then in 2001, he once again pursued his entrepreneurial itch and started USFloors.

Under Dossche’s leadership, vision, genius and the creation of the revolutionary COREtec product line and brand, USFloors grew dramatically before being acquired by Shaw Industries in December 2016. With innovation at the core of their DNA, the company has doubled in sales since that acquisition.

Through it all, Dossche credits his team at USFloors who helped execute the vision, and his wife Sabine, for helping him remain grounded during the twists and turns of his career. He says that Sabine balances his risk taking with her more cautious tendencies, which he describes as, “the yin to his yang.”

“In my 40-plus years in the flooring industry, I have rarely encountered someone with Piet’s unbridled belief that everything is possible,” noted Scott Humphrey, CEO of the WFCA. “He is a disrupter in an industry that too easily settles for defending the status quo. In short, Piet is an innovator that determines the best path forward and does everything possible to make that vision a reality for his people, his company and the industry. His induction into this elite group solidifies the Hall of Fame’s reputation for honoring those who have positively elevated our industry and created the innovation essential for its future success.”

Jason McSwain, owner of McSwain Carpets & Floors and president of National Floorcovering Alliance (NFA), also fully endorses Dossche to the WFCA Hall of Fame. “Piet has embodied innovative leadership to the floor covering industry in a manner not rivaled by others in recent decades-driving a skilled team toward new product properties, efficient installation methods, unique visuals and a classification grouping new to the retail flooring industry.”

He added, “One of Piet’s most enduring qualities is that he has a genuine caring of people and relationships. My involvement within NFA provides a view of him in many settings. Whether on stage leading a group session, around a table sharing a meal, a recreation activity or at the vendor negotiating table, his respect for others is his trademark. With his career success and specific innovation in the last 10 years, I am confident he will continue to invest his best efforts in research, design and innovation for tomorrows’ best next concept. He believes this responsibility is the greatest contribution he can provide to our flooring industry.”

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Beauflor’s Trendline Pro exudes style, durability

White, Ga.—Beauflor USA launched Trendline Pro to give consumers alaminate floor that combines style and durability at a reasonable price point. The visually on-trend collection is manufactured in Belgium and sold by Beauflor USA.

The collection’s color palette ranges from blondes to dark browns, which are gaining popularity amongst consumers because of their ability to make a space feel larger and cozier. Each plank has painted beveled edges to give the floor a more realistic hardwood visual and to add character to each plank. The matte finish helps create a natural look and hides dirt and footprints.

Trendline Pro has an abrasion class rating of AC4 and is 8mm thick. Each plank is constructed to withstand stains, scratches and impacts. Plus, these floors are easy to clean and have very low maintenance requirements. Trendline Pro is suitable for both commercial and residential installations and is backed by a 20 year residential and 5 year commercial warranty.

The locking system is designed to make the installation process simple enough for DIYers and faster for professional installers. There is no need for glue or nails and minimal tools are required. Each plank easily clicks and locks together and the edges are pre-waxed to assist in sealing the locking system and reducing noise. Coordinating moldings are also available to assist in making the floor flow seamlessly throughout the home or workplace.

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Mohawk Group honored with NeoCon accolades

Calhoun, Ga.—Mohawk Group earned several awards this week at NeoCon covering all segments and flooring categories, including carpet tile, broadloom, area rugs, resilient tile and resilient sheet. Held every June at The Mart in Chicago since 1969, NeoCon serves as the commercial design industry’s launch pad for innovation—offering ideas and introductions that shape the built environment today and into the future.

“Our product development and design teams are incredibly honored that our latest introductions received such a warm welcome at NeoCon 2019,” said Jackie Dettmar, vice president of design and product development, Mohawk Group. Dettmar was also recognized with this year’s Interior Design HiP People award for manufacturer: creative director. “In addition to receiving positive feedback from our valued customers that visited us at the show, having our products and colleagues honored by these prestigious awards programs made this quite the NeoCon experience. Design, innovation and sustainability are second nature for Mohawk Group and we are thrilled to be recognized for this commitment.”

Mohawk Group earned two Best of NeoCon Silver awards across soft and hard surface. Textural Effects (carpet: broadloom category) employs bulky, woolen nylon yarns to create a sensory aesthetic that reconnects end users with nature, while True Hues rubber sheet (healthcare flooring) takes terrazzo visuals to a new level with a range of tone-on-tone, cool and warm neutrals, useful green and blue hues, red and purple. Mohawk Group also won a Best of NeoCon Innovation honor in the carpet: contract area rugs category with Connecting Neurons Definity, a highlighted style in the manufacturer’s new Expanding Influence collection of running line Definity broadloom and rugs for workplace interiors.

Featured collection Relaxing Floors, designed by 13&9 in collaboration with Fractals Research and Mohawk Group, took home the coveted Interior DesignHiP Product award forworkplace flooring: carpet. Themodular system uses fractal patterning as the basis of its design, with fractals being the building block of many of nature’s patterns that have been scientifically proven to reduce stress. The collection was also recognized in the Buildings Product Innovations awards program with a merit prize for flooring.

Complementing the injection of texture and warmth into commercial spaces that was prevalent in Mohawk Group’s showroom this year was Sakiori woven enhanced resilient tile, which won a Metropolis Likes at NeoCon award. Sakiori combines the soft look of textiles with the durability of hard surfaces that references the craft of hand-stitching and pays homage to the makers of yesterday and today.

Mohawk Group also received several honoree accolades including Interior Design HiP Product awards for Live & Learn (education/institutional/government flooring category), True Hues (health and wellness flooring) and Spirit Moderne (hospitality flooring) by Mohawk Group’s Durkan brand.

In addition to Jackie Dettmar’s recognition in the HiP People program, Stacy Murphy, regional vice president, global and strategic customers, was honored as this year’s HiP People manufacturer: seller. Senior sustainability manager Rami Vagal was named an honoree in the HiP People: HiP for greater good category.

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Sika acquires Parex

Baar, Switzerland—Sika recently completed the acquisition of Parex, a leading mortar manufacturer with a track record of profitable growth. With this acquisition, Sika will expand its product portfolio for the building finishing market,further strengthening its world leader position in construction chemicals. The deal was first announced on January 8, 2019.

Parex’ product offering includes facade mortars, tile adhesives and waterproofing mortars. With its expertise in mortar solutions for renovation and new builds, Parex participates in all phases of the construction life cycle. According to the company, it has a particularly strong presence in distribution channels, especially in China, where it has built up a network of over 90,000 points of sale. Parex is known for its comprehensive R&D expertise and technical excellence. The company is locally present in 23 countries, with key positions in eight core markets, and operates 74 plants around the world.

“With the acquisition we are bringing two strong companies together,” said Paul Schuler, CEO of Sika. “Parex’s and Sika’s joint business activities present an excellent growth platform for both organizations. In addition to the highly complementary fit with regard to product offerings and channels, we also see that Parex and Sika have very similar cultures, values and management styles - with the focus on customer orientation, empowerment, high-quality products and services. The integration planning is well on track, and on-site visits have confirmed the attractiveness of the combination of the two businesses. We are excited to start working together to build our joint successful future. We warmly welcome all employees of Parex to the Sika Family.”

The acquisition of Parex is expected to strengthen Sika’s growth platform. Its mortar business, which is a key growth technology for the group and one of its important earning contributors, will more than double in size to over $2.3 billion. Parex’s strong position in distribution channels will also open up new business opportunities for Sika’s product range. Parex will gain access to Sika’s well-established direct sales channels, and its expertise in the facade and tile setting business will allow Sika to participate in these growing and attractive market fields.

“I am very proud of our entire Parex team and what we have achieved,” said Eric Bergé, CEO of Parex. “Sika represents a great platform to continue to deliver on our ambitious growth plan. The combination of the two companies creates new, exciting opportunities in terms of offering new solutions to our customers and continuing our geographic expansion. I am delighted we have found the perfect home for Parex within Sika, a strong company with similar values to our own.”

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Vance Bell named to WFCA Hall of Fame

Dalton–The World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) has named Vance Bell, chairman and CEO of Shaw Industries, to the industry’s Hall of Fame. Bell has become the 49thinductee since the Hall of Fame was established in 1992. Bell will be joining a distinguished list of industry pioneers and leaders who have received this honor. He will be inducted during a ceremony at the WFCA’s 60thAnniversary celebration at Barnsley Resort on Sept. 19.

“I am honored to endorse a well-deserved recognition to a man I’ve known for over 35 years, Vance Bell,” said Howard Brodsky, WFCA Hall of Fame member, chairman and CEO of CCA Global Partners. “He is unique, as Vance has dedicated his entire career to one company and one industry. He has believed in the flooring industry and contributed all his energy into making it better. His contributions are numerous. It’s hard to capture them all—both direct and indirect. Through his actions and strategies, he has always held a high standard of integrity for himself and his organization. He has been instrumental in building Shaw Industries into one of the top flooring companies in the world, and he did it with incredible ethics and values.”

Brodsky continued, “He has been a true advocate of making this industry superior—creating advantages for consumers, retailers and mills. I can think of no one more respected and more deserving of this honor than Vance Bell. He understands the meaning and value of ‘partnerships’ with customers. I am proud and honored to have him inducted as the newest member of the HOF. His lifelong contributions will be sealed with this recognition.”

Born in Macon, Ga., Bell attended Georgia Tech where he played football and in 1973 received a degree in Industrial Management. After graduating, he went to work for West Point – Pepperell before joining Shaw Industries in 1975. He was named chairman and CEO in 2006 succeeding Robert Shaw, the man who hired him back in the ’70s. During his decades with Shaw, Bell has worked with everything from sales and marketing to manufacturing and operations. Shaw now boasts more than $6 billion in annual sales and has approximately 23,000 employees.

“The WFCA Hall of Fame exists in big part to preserve the history of our industry and to celebrate the accomplishments of highly influential leaders,” said Ron Dunn, co-CEO of CarpetsPlus ColorTile. “Vance Bell provided stability and continuity along with innovation, vision and change during a very critical transition at Shaw and through the worst recession our industry has ever experienced. He is a highly gifted, respected and accomplished leader who asks, listens, thinks, takes ownership and action. Perhaps his greatest attributes are his grounded family values and his desire to serve others. I suspect he would say his wife should be co-recipient. He has remained humble and is a man of highest integrity. Vance Bell is certainly worthy of this outstanding recognition,”

Scott Humphrey, CEO of the WFCA, echoed Dunn’s sentiment. “The Hall of Fame is not about single events or simply an honor for those who participated but is instead about celebrating those who have worked hard to support and grow our industry’s professionalism and the people who rely on this industry for their livelihood. It is a prestigious honor for those who have left a legacy for future leaders. I have personally been blessed to grow under Vance Bell’s guidance. His leadership brought vision, which he articulated with passion. His determination to make our industry the best it can be has achieved great success for Shaw and the entire industry.”