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American Biltrite receives ISO certifications

May 28/June 4, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 25

By Mara Bollettieri

Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada—Commercial resilient flooring manufacturer American Biltrite recently received perfect scores on two International Standards Organization (ISO) certifications—ISO 5001 (quality) and ISO 14001 (environment).

According to Jean-Pierre Benoit, general manager and vice president, the supplier achieved the benchmark level in both categories. This means the company can serve as a role model for other organizations on how to run a business, he noted. ISO measured management, internal audits, corrective actions, continuous improvement, operational controls and resources.

“Every three to four years, ISO keeps improving those standards,” Benoit said. “And for you to be measured against that, you need to be audited to compare your management process against the standard. So, let’s say you have a complaint system on quality—they will see how it works. How do you measure your quality for each of the products, and what are the criteria? Are those criteria really representing what the customer needs? How do you measure that?”

Jean-Claude Mercier, senior vice president of operations and R&D, explained ISO is challenging in that it does not come with a set of pre-established criteria. Rather, a company must come up with its own system and prove how it manages quality and environment both efficiently and successfully on its own. The best way to prove this, Mercier noted, is through the feedback of customers, a business’ toughest critic.

“Every six months, we ask customers about which criteria they think is important,” Benoit added. “If your own criteria came from your own organization, that’s certainly not the way to do it. ISO says everything starts with the customer, and then you work your way back, and you need the system [you’ve created for your company] to be able to work.”

Diane Desrochers, American Biltrite’s ISO certification manager, gave some examples of corrective actions—one of the categories in which the company demonstrated excellence. For instance, if the company has an issue with a plank or floor tile, a sales rep will initiate a claims analysis and check the inventory. “Everything [will be put] on hold and nothing is shipped to the customer,” she explained. “We have quality control analysis, which is done internally, and we try to find out what happened. If the material is good, then the material is released. If not, we have to test all material stocked.”

Another example of corrective actions is if the team finds something wrong, such as customers complaining continuously about the same problem. In this case, American Biltrite will write out a description of the issue and conduct an analysis to determine the underlying cause, which will then result in that department’s managers taking action to fix the problem.

“Those people need to give answers telling us what happened, why it happened and how we will resolve the problem now and for the future,” Desrochers said. “So, we do have risk analysis. This way, we won’t have the same problem a second time. We start with the problem, and at the end we know how to not only resolve it but eliminate it in the future.”

American Biltrite was approved for ISO 9001, which measures quality, back in 1996. According to Mercier, the company was one of the first suppliers in Canada—within the first 5% or less—and one of the first in the U.S., to earn this important certification.

The company then earned ISO 14000, which measures environmental standards, in 2011. American Biltrite then earned the joint certification for both quality and environment standards this year.

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NeoCon Preview

May 28/June 4, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 25

By Mara Bollettieri

 

This year NeoCon celebrates its 50th anniversary of showcasing innovative flooring designs for the commercial contract market. The three-day event kicks off June 11 at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago.

The exhibition will feature thousands of new flooring products from a plethora of manufacturers and includes 100 CEU seminars, various programs, special anniversary celebrations, marquee presentations and more.

Following are some of the latest commercial products that will be on display during the show.

Aquafil USA

Econyl regenerated nylon opens up endless possibilities for architects, designers and carpet producers seeking a synthetic covering or carpet that performs beyond expectations.

With the addition of 28 new colors, Econyl yarn is now available in 170 options, all eligible for LEED points. Designers can create performance-driven carpets with Econyl while giving their clients an innovative sustainable solution.

According to Aquafil, Econyl regenerated nylon means no waste, no new resources—just endless possibilities.

Altro Floors

Altro Orchestra resilient flooring has been engineered to create the ideal environment to heal, learn and live. For demanding areas with constant foot traffic, this vinyl sheet provides comfort underfoot and sound reduction. With a grand palette of 40 colors, designers can create the right atmosphere for their spaces.

Altro Orchestra is a 2.8mm sheet vinyl made with 22% rapidly renewable, bio-based content and is certified for low VOCs, thereby helping facilities achieve LEED goals.

American Biltrite

ABPure rubber flooring tiles with Nfuse technology are ready to use right out of the box. The patent-pending treatment allows foot traffic immediately after installation. This tile requires time-consuming set up; is extremely durable against soiling, staining and scuffing; significantly reduces installation downtime; is easier to clean and is declared Red List free.

Cleo Contract

Cleo Contract is a patented construction that combines engineered performance with visual artistry. It has a waterproof, flexible core that is 85% limestone and contains zero PVC, plasticizers, phthalates or chloro-chemicals. Solvent-free, high-fidelity digital imaging offers nearly unlimited design possibilities with nuances in shading and detail. An ultra-low VOC, high-performance clear coating delivers durability and performance.

DuChâteau

DuChâteau’s Vinyl DeLuxe Grand offers unique visuals and a European aesthetic in a durable and low-maintenance flooring option. Available in 7- and 9-inch-wide plank formats, Vinyl Deluxe Grand is the latest chapter in luxury engineered floating floors with LuxCor waterproof core, easy click installation and attached HushWalk underlayment. This collection captures the beauty of wood and appeals to residential and commercial customers.

EF Contract

New materials for product development often focus on a single feature—lightweight, durable, tech-enabled. The EF Contract Design Studio played with these concepts in its new Kicks collection, inspired by innovative materials and interpreted through the company’s own innovative tufting and high-performance backing technologies. These inspirations produced a collection that is versatile, while the modular formats enable designers to create complex installations as well as unified, simple fields of texture.

Fletco Carpets

LockTiles is a unique carpet tile shape with laser-cut edges that interlock to fit together in all directions, meter for meter, no matter the size of the area. LockTiles guarantees an effective installation with a homogeneous surface, making the joints less visible. It is for users who want the best in flat-woven carpet tiles and its advantages yet still desire the look of broadloom.

Flexco

The FreeFlex rubber tile collection embodies true flexibility. A variety of new sizes offer patterns and textures with the durability and resilience of rubber. Sizes include: 6 x 36, 12 x 36 and 18 x 36, These additional sizes complement the company’s existing collection of 12 x 12, 18 x 18 and 36 x 36 tiles.

Johnsonite

Pentagonals from Johnsonite, a Tarkett brand, is a collection of three distinct shapes created with Cradle to Cradle certified rubber flooring. Johnsonite has turned three convex polygons into rubber tiles; each is available in Johnsonite’s full rubber flooring line, meaning designers can choose from nearly limitless textures and colors to create truly unique flooring. Rubber flooring is naturally slip resistant with shock-absorbing qualities as well as acoustic properties. The line is also sustainable.

Karndean Designflooring

Textum from the Opus collection was inspired by forms in concrete. It was created as a hybrid abstract wood visual that combines the grain detailing and plank format of traditional European oak flooring with the effect of imprinted concrete. These 36 x 6-inch planks act as a wood visual but can also be used with design strips to create the look of porcelain tile without the practical drawbacks. It features a 20 mil wear layer and a 15-year commercial warranty.

Mannington Commercial

The Cirro collection, a non-vinyl alternative to LVT, is a thermoplastic composite resilient tile that offers the same versatility as LVT. Cirro does not contain any ortho-phthalate plasticizers and is a low-emitting product. In addition, its sustainable construction features recycled content. Available in 20 visuals, it’s designed to bring beauty and sustainability to any space. Featuring 16 wood visuals in 71⁄2 x 48 and 41⁄2 x 36 plank sizes, two stone patterns and two abstract visuals in 18 x 18 and 12 x 24 tile sizes.

Metroflor

Metroflor will showcase the new Aspecta Ten Tilt and Tones collection. The latest LVT design breakthrough pairs four new geometrically and biophilically inspired Tilt tiles with the neutral Tones tile palette. The 24 x 24 tiles are presented in four color groups, each consisting of unique Tilt tile designs that can be paired with two companion Tones tiles. The line is suitable for most commercial environments.

Mohawk Group

Pivot Point ERT responds to a world population that continues to urbanize with patterns and colors inspired by nature and an alternative chemistry, Red List-free, PVC-free enhanced resilient tile. Using biophilic principles, its design motifs can contribute to reducing stress, enhancing creativity, improving well-being and expediting healing. It features wood, textile and stone visuals, and is designed to achieve Living Product Challenge Petal Certification.

Raskin Industries

Raskin’s Elevations AcoustX meets the demand for something unique in the flooded LVT market with fashion-forward, proprietary designs created by Michael Raskin, CEO. The enhanced aesthetics of AcoustX complement the product’s performance.

AcoustX’s pre-attached underlayment offers an acoustic solution while reducing installation time (no sound-abatement layer is required). AcoustX can be installed over most existing hard surface floors. As part of its construction, it includes a solid fiberglass sheet.

Shannon Specialty Floors

Teknoflor Naturescapes HPD is the brand’s first organic sheet good made with ecuran, an organically derived polyurethane composite material processed from plant-based oils such as castor oil and naturally occurring minerals like chalk. This resilient sheet flooring has all the advantages of sheet vinyl—durability, easy maintenance and versatility—without the PVC. It comes in 24 designs across three distinct styles that can be used independently or together.

Shaw Contract

Haven is a collection of modular carpet tiles designed to add the comforts of a residential space to the contract market. It conveys the warmth of the home in all places where people connect with colleagues and friends by utilizing color, texture and pattern. By blurring old distinctions between domestic and commercial spaces, it embraces a more nuanced understanding of how society lives today—finding home wherever creativity takes the end user.

Tandus Centiva

Tandus Centiva, a Tarkett brand, will exhibit Color Play—a product based on the company’s latest design research in education and healthcare spaces. The palette includes 24 hues in each of the three pattern options for a total of 72 product solutions. Color Play features Tarkett’s TechTonic—a shift forward in performance for hard surface floors. Its advanced new polyurethane technology is super tough and resists scratching, abrasions, scuffing and staining.

 

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LVT, carpet tile make the (commercial) grade

May 28/June 4, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 25

By Ken Ryan

 

Flooring executives say there are several reasons why LVT and carpet tile—two modular options—represent the fastest growth and most popular flooring types for commercial interiors.

Modular flooring categories offer numerous options, enough to address virtually any budget, performance need or design requirement, according to Quentin Quathamer, commercial brand and marketing manager for Philadelphia Commercial, a division of Shaw Industries. “Modular flooring offers flexible design options via installation pattern. Combined with style, color and shape selection, a distinctive design can be easily achieved. They also mitigate less-than-perfect site conditions where less than smooth or dry subfloors exist, which can be budget-restricting hurdles or delay the use of the space you just designed or renovated.”

Others say carpet tile lends itself to enhanced design because designers can use the modularity of the tile to create spaces within a space and help with wayfinding. Nathan Stevenson, vice president of product management, Mohawk Group, noted that carpet tile is a good choice “for when you are renovating a commercial space with pre-existing furniture where you can essentially lift the case goods in the area an installer is working, replace the flooring underneath, lower the furniture, move to the next tile and keep the process moving along. Carpet tile’s benefits and flexibility help specifiers and end users meet many of their goals for commercial environments.”

In recent years, traditional LVT emerged as a versatile and durable product offering myriad design options to provide an excellent value proposition. “The traditional LVT market continues to evolve with modification that impart various performance attributes,” said Kurt Denman, chief marketing officer/executive vice president, sales, Congoleum. “Modifications to the base can deliver improvements in sound rating, indentation or installation options. Changes to the thickness of the wear layer can be made based on the type of space, the maintenance schedule and anticipated level of foot traffic to ensure optimal performance. Combine performance options with an array of design options, relative ease of installation and competitive price point, and you have a strong value proposition.”

Many flooring observers also agree that LVT is the smart choice for commercial applications because it offers a bevy of benefits other flooring surfaces cannot. “From a design standpoint,” said Alan Rowell, director of sales for Aspecta by Metroflor, “LVT fits in with the more European contemporary look that is gaining popularity in commercial settings.”

Flexibility and versatility are two other attributes in LVT’s favor in the commercial segment. “We often think about our tile products as building blocks, and our customer has the ability to control how the floor defines their space, regardless of whether it is carpet or LVT,” said John Crews, manager of Lifestyle Studio, Shaw Contract.

Amanda O’Neill, senior product manager for Armstrong, said that because LVT’s composition includes PVC, the product is much more resistant to damages in addition to being water and scratch resistant. “LVT’s flexibility in terms of modular shapes and sizes, broad palette of colors, durable long-lasting performance and easy maintenance make it idea for many commercial spaces. Plus, improved embossing techniques give LVT a much more realistic look than laminate.”

For Mannington’s Al Boulogne, vice president of commercial resilient business, LVT’s success in the commercial arena is all about versatility, as it can solve many installation-related issues. “Floating versions and more traditional glue-down versions of LVT, coupled with specialty adhesives, solve moisture issues from the subfloor,” Boulogne said. “Solid core products can also go over existing subfloors helping the end user avoid the high cost of ripping up tiles. Plank and tile formats in LVT also help to make repairs of damages much easier.”

Mark Tickle, director of marketing, American Biltrite, said the nearly unlimited visuals and colors differentiate this waterproof vinyl product in a commercial setting. “Simple maintenance, no stripping and waxing [needed]; then there is the much lower cost for installation and maintenance with a simple damp mop. Finally, better technologies have made it more durable to commercial traffic use.”

Applications for every segment

The question is not which commercial segments favor carpet tile/LVT but rather which commercial segments don’t? Indeed, markets like education, corporate, healthcare, government, hospitality, student housing and retail all are thriving with LVT and carpet tile applications.

The general consensus is the two big commercial growth segments are hospitality and workplace. Both are relatively new segments for LVT. “Having the right design for the workplace has been the challenge in such a legacy, carpet-oriented segment,” Boulogne said. “By coordinating design with what works on the soft surface side, we can make the transition a comfortable one for designers.”

Hospitality’s acceptance of LVT over soft surface products has grown lately due to health/hygiene concerns and LVT’s longer life cycle. By the same token, VCT is losing ground within education because LVT is easier to maintain and does not have an institutional look and feel. Milton Goodwin, vice president of commercial sales for Karndean Designflooring, allowed that the hospitality segment is turning away from carpet and hard tile because it is difficult to keep the grout clean. “The cleanability of LVT is a big thing. LVT doesn’t harbor dust and allergens; there is softness underfoot; it is hygienic and offers upscale looks without the costs.”

Cali Bamboo has seen significant growth among its hospitality, multi-unit housing, gym and retail storefront clients. These sectors are looking for flooring that can be installed easily and won’t have to be maintained or replaced as often. “Our customers also like the improvements in the luxury vinyl look that Cali Vinyl’s HiFi Imaging allows,” said Tom Hume, vice president of marketing. “The introduction of improved LVT has opened doors to clients who tend to shy away from hardwood or carpet.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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American Biltrite achieves perfect score on 2015 ISO certification

Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada—American Biltrite received a perfect score on the 2015 ISO certification and achieved the highest score in all six areas of the audit. These areas include: Management Systems; Internal Audits; Corrective Actions; Continuous Improvement; Operational Control; and Resources.

Based on this performance, American Biltrite was designated as a benchmarking model—this special status is for both ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certifications.

“We are extremely proud of our performance and the results of the audit,” said Jean-Pierre Benoit, vice president and general manager of American Biltrite’s Canadian operations. “We were advised by the auditor that no other company (that they audited) received a perfect score in all six areas. Our high level of performance is due to our sound management systems, continued commitment to quality manufacturing, and our environmental responsibility and stewardship.”

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Spartan Surfaces, American Biltrite expand geographical reach

Bel Air, Md.—Spartan Surfaces began its relationship with American Biltrite in its Midwest market in the fourth quarter of 2016. Offering a select range of flooring solutions, American Biltrite (AB), is engineered to tackle the high demands imposed by the educational, healthcare and institutional sectors. With top-notch aesthetics, great durability, low maintenance and excellent environmental qualities, AB’s collections offer unsurpassed options for every project.

After 14 months of seeing the products exceed expectations in the marketplace, Spartan was eager to see its representation grow. Ringing in 2018, Spartan expanded representation to the East Coast taking on the line in Delaware, Maryland, Washington DC, and Northern Virginia. Two months later on March 1, Spartan and AB furthered their partnership bringing the line to Eastern Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

“We’re extremely excited to be growing our partnership with American Biltrite,” said Jeremy Whipple, chief marketing officer of Spartan Surfaces. “Their assortment of products and commitment to service has been very well received throughout our current customer base and prospects.”

Today, Spartan is proud to be the sole distributor of American Biltrite in 16 states. The footprint includes; Northern Virginia, Washington DC, Maryland, Delaware, Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Chicago, Minnesota, Missouri, Michigan, Southern Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota.

 

 

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American Biltrite rolls out Nfuse

New AB Pure technology creates ‘occupancy-ready’ rubber tiles

March 5/12, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 19

By Ken Ryan

 

Las Vegas—Surfaces 2018 showed the continuing proliferation of all things LVT and its subsegments WPC and rigid core—all touting their waterproof benefits. But there was another resilient segment garnering attention at booth #4537, where American Biltrite showcased a new technology known as Nfuse to go with its rubber tile and sheet flooring, AB Pure.

“We love the fact that while the entire flooring industry is chasing LVT, we are focusing on rubber tile and sheet solutions,” said John Kronemeyer, vice president of sales.

According to Kronemeyer, Nfuse was developed specifically for AB Pure, American Biltrite’s top flooring product. During the manufacturing process, this patent-pending treatment enables the floor to be ready for use immediately following installation. What’s more, the “occupancy-ready” rubber flooring tiles are extremely durable and withstand staining, soiling and scuffing, the company said.

In addition, more vibrant colors are achieved during the Nfuse process as the pores from the rubber tile open up and the finish seeps into the pores to create colors that pop. AB Pure rubber tile and sheet with Nfuse carries a 10-year colorfast warranty. “The color palette (36 offerings) draws designers in,” Kronemeyer said.

This all-commercial line does not require initial setup, which is an obvious benefit for flooring contractors who can save on maintenance and costs. “Our customers—contractors and distributors—believe it will take us to another level,” said Mark Tickle, director of marketing. “It is just a major leap forward.”

AB Pure with Nfuse is specified for the healthcare market and education settings including classrooms and corridors. The company is also finding success in areas that heretofore were strictly for VCT applications.

While there are rubber sheet products that are occupancy ready, American Biltrite believes it is the first to develop an occupancy-ready pressed rubber tile.

This technology will be applied to all AB Pure products (sheet and tile). Also, with Nfuse treatment, no special maintenance procedures are required.

AB Pure received the Red List Free designation of the International Living Future Institute. This declaration is for products that do not contain harmful chemicals.

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American Biltrite launches new occupancy-ready rubber floor tile

Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada—American Biltrite’s ABPure rubber flooring tiles with new Nfuse technology are now ready to use right out of the box. Once the tiles are installed the floor does not require any costly and time-consuming setup before it’s ready for occupancy.

“Our culture and commitment to innovation through sound ongoing R&D efforts once again sets American Biltrite apart from other rubber flooring,” said Jean-Pierre Benoit, general manager and senior vice president. “This patent-pending technology, which required a multimillion dollar investment, sets the bar for rubber flooring performance.”

During the manufacturing process this patent-pending treatment enables the floor to be ready for use immediately following installation. ABPure occupancy ready rubber flooring tiles are extremely durable with proven performance against: soiling, staining and scuffing. The unique treatment significantly reduces installation downtime. The floor is also easier to clean and maintain. What’s more, ABPure occupancy ready rubber flooring tile is Declare red list free.

“This major technological breakthrough will set the standard for rubber flooring for the future,” said John Kronemeyer, vice president of flooring. “No longer does the installer have to treat the floor tile product after installation. This not only reduces the cost but also the time”

As a special introductory offer through 2018 there will be no premium for this product.

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My take: Random ramblings from NeoCon

July 3/10: Volume 32, Issue 2

By Steven Feldman

 

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 3.46.11 PMHow can 2017 have less than half of it remaining? Time really does fly. Walking around NeoCon last month made me realize just that. There was no way we could be five months removed from Surfaces. Then again, show management is probably saying there is no way it’s been five years since they changed the name to TISE, or The International Surface Event, and I still refer to it as Surfaces. (That’s because most of you do, too.)

Anyway, as the ADD kicks into high gear as the years go by and my brain goes in 100 different directions, here was what I was thinking about on the plane ride home from NeoCon:

If only I booked the 1:30 or 4:30 and not the 2:30, we wouldn’t have been stranded an extra day in Chicago… Kudos to Metroflor for going the extra mile in creating awareness for its Aspecta brand with a public area on the first floor of the Merchandise Mart where attendees could stop in and get a smoothie. This in addition to a well-attended party at the Godfrey… Encryption, the subway tile-looking carpet tile planks from Milliken, is an innovative design… Does anyone know how to fold a fitted sheet?… Great to see old friend and former Bentley boss Anthony Minite heading up the U.S. operations for Denmark-based Fletco. There’s a good story there…

Impressed with the huge Tarkett/Tandus Centiva/Johnsonite/ Desso space on the third floor. Bringing everything together makes all the sense in the world…Speaking of the third floor, there may be more attendees per square foot in the Mohawk space than anywhere else… And speaking of Mohawk, Gavin DeGraw headlined its annual NeoCon soiree. Great performance, but would have preferred Earth Wind & Fire… I think Aquafil is one of the best-kept secrets in this industry. What they do with fiber from a color and sustainability standpoint is unmatched…

Always love the Bentley showroom design on the 10th floor… Speaking of high floors, no more elevator waits for me. Take a non-NeoCon elevator to a non-NeoCon floor, like 12 or 13, and walk down. I should have thought of that 20 years ago… They may not be a household name, but Taj Flooring has some innovative designs. With the right exposure they could make some noise in the next few years… I miss not seeing Don Miller at the Roppe booth. Hopefully next year… I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars teams up to prevent an idiot from cutting in at the front…

The Raskin purchase of To Market is sure to pay dividends… I like what companies like Gerflor and American Biltrite are doing in the U.S…. Gibson’s vs. Mastro’s vs. Gene & Georgetti. Who wins?… I am expecting Atlas to be more visible going forward with rumors of some new branding on the horizon… While carbon neutral is the buzzword for many, Interface is moving forward with the first carbon negative carpet tile a few years down the road… Noticed more companies with Declare labels than years past…

At the end of the day, though, one of my favorite aspects of NeoCon is seeing executives of competing manufacturers visiting each other’s showrooms and spaces. There is a certain camaraderie unseen at other events. It’s more than just checking out the competition. There is a palpable level of respect and friendship. I like that.

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American Biltrite receives Red List Free status for rubber flooring

Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 9.18.42 AMSherbrooke, Quebec—American Biltrite’s rubber flooring products, ABPURE and Marathon, have been awarded Red List Free status, which is part of the Living Building Challenge Declare program.

“This is the single most important step towards materials transparency and toxic chemical avoidance both of which have emerged as crucial factors in product selection for architect and designers,” said Jean-Pierre Benoit, vice president & general manager. “The Declare program frees specifiers from conducting elaborate and time-consuming research in order to find the ‘right’ product.”

American Biltrite further demonstrates its market leadership in the growing movement towards product transparency and toxic chemical avoidance.

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Michael Halebian & Co. receives American Biltrite’s 2016 Outstanding Performance Award

haleiban-outstanding-perf-2016Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada—American Biltrite, a North American manufacturer of specialty commercial flooring products, presented its Outstanding Performance Award for 2016 to Michael Halebian & Co. at their offices in Carlstadt, N.J. on Dec. 20. The award is presented annually to the American Biltrite distributor that achieves the highest growth during the year.

“The decision to present the award to Michael Halebian was an easy one,” said Jean-Pierre Benoit, general manager for American Biltrite. “They had an outstanding performance in 2016 in all product categories and we look forward to our mutual success in 2017.”

Michael Halebian & Co. distributes American Biltrite products throughout New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Pictured from right to left: Lou Soscia, commercial sales manager, Halebian; Jean-Pierre Benoit, general manager, American Biltrite; Michael Halebian, president; Joe Choflet, general manager, Halebian; John Kronemeyer, VP sales & marketing, American Biltrite.