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Consolidated Carpet to acquire Vortex Commercial Flooring assets

Vortex Commercial Flooring's Avant project in Chicago.

New York—Consolidated Carpet has purchased the assets of Vortex Commercial Flooring of Chicago. The transaction, which according to Consolidated Carpet will close no later than Nov. 1, 2019, combines two of the largest, unionized floor covering contractors in the industry.

Consolidated Carpet, founded in 1943 and now under third generation family leadership, is a leading floor covering contractor in the New York City marketplace serving both local and national clientele. It recently celebrated its 75th year in business. “Acquiring the assets of Vortex will provide us a solid platform to expand the scope of our tried and true sales and operations model into one of the most significant commercial marketplaces in the country,” said David T. Meberg, president and CEO of Consolidated Carpet. “The scale of our combined operation, as well as the sharing of our best practices, technology and support services, will fuel our growth and expand our market share in the evolving commercial flooring industry.”

Vortex, founded in 1989, is a leading floor covering contractor in the Midwest region, with offices in both Chicago and Addison, Ill. It has grown steadily since its founding by focusing on the public education and corporate market segments. “We are thrilled to become a part of the Consolidated family, increase our scale, leverage our buying power and optimize our technology to elevate the standard of commercial flooring services in the Midwest,” said Randy Rich, current co-president of Vortex. “Our vision of the future is clearly defined as we look to continually expand and deliver an exceptional experience to our clientele.”

A new business entity, Consolidated Flooring of Chicago, LLC. (CFC), will be formed by Consolidated Carpet and operate under its parent holding company, according to the company. Meberg said Rich will lead CFC as its president, along with Kristy Burlingame as executive vice president. Both Rich and Burlingame will resign from their positions at Vortex effective the closing date of the transaction. The new management team will be further developed as the transition evolves.

Both companies are members of Starnet and INSTALL Warranty Certified Contractors.

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Ten people making a difference

May 14/21, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 24

One measure of success in business or in life is being able to make a positive impression on the lives of others. Whether that is achieved through strong leadership, perseverance, compassion, humility or some other personality trait, this year’s Ten People Making a Difference list has impacted the flooring world in many different ways—and in some cases well beyond the scope of the industry. As in years past, this year’s list includes top-level flooring executives whose work helped shape their company’s fortunes as well as those from outside whose efforts nonetheless were deeply felt within the flooring sector.

FCNews’ Ten People Making a Difference is an amalgam of movers, shakers and groundbreakers who achieve success in a variety of ways.

Dave Meberg: The Doer

By Brett Morrow

When I think of Dave Meberg, whom I have known as a friend for more than 20 years, I think of a guy who is intelligent, has a big presence—both physically as well as the way in which he conducts himself. One of the cool things about him is he understands the job from the ground up. He’s not one of these guys who hung around the country clubs growing up and just happened to take over his dad’s company.

Dave came from a family of old-school Norwegian guys. He learned to work the trucks; he worked the warehouse where his family made him sweep the floors. He understands the logistics of everything. He knows what the warehouse guys are up against, what the project managers are doing, the estimators and so on. To this day, I am amazed at how involved he is. Dave has his own business (he is principal, president and CEO of New York-based Consolidated Carpet), but he’s also actively involved with the Greater New York Floor Coverers Association, with Starnet and the New York City District Council of Carpenters. You don’t get to be on the district council very easily. To get to the point where Dave has gotten takes tremendous sacrifice, and yet he has earned everything.

Dave is a very good communicator who is extremely well prepared. He is a not a fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants kind of guy. If he has a meeting coming up, he does his due diligence. He knows going in what the material costs are, what the labor estimates are, etc. He not only can talk the talk, but he can walk the walk as well.

Brett Morrow is vice president of Soundtone Floors, Long Island City, N.Y.

Rochelle Routman: The Disruptor

By Harlan Stone

When I hired Rochelle Routman to become our first chief sustainability officer two years ago, I anticipated great things from her. We felt her vision and expertise could not only help us, but also transform the resilient industry. But I had no idea that she would have such great impact in such a short period of time.

Two years later, Rochelle has relentlessly pursued her vision for transparency and sustainability, and this has resulted in a stunning series of firsts for our company and the resilient industry. Not only have Metroflor and Aspecta achieved the most rigorous third-party certifications in product, but we have also had groundbreaking achievements in transparency. Most recently, the issuance of the first JUST label for a China-based factory of any kind.

Guided by her leadership, and with the help of our product authority team, Metroflor earned Declare labels—analogous to nutrition labels for building products—across Aspecta’s entire range of commercial flooring, and the first-ever Declare label for a multilayer flooring product. We were also the first to have all Declare labels translated into six languages for full global product ingredient transparency.

But the real crowning achievement of Rochelle’s first two years is this persistent focus on transparency. Not just simple things like material ingredients, but also changing the game with transparency in operations, manufacturing, supply chain and social impact. JUST has arrived in our industry thanks to Rochelle, and it’s only the beginning.

When you go to a sustainability/transparency conference with Rochelle, it feels like you are accompanying a rock star though a music festival. She knows everyone, and everyone wants to stop her and show their appreciation for her never-ending energy and dedication to these important values.

Rochelle is driving and redefining what is possible in transparency and sustainability in the resilient flooring industry.

Harlan Stone is co-chairman of Metroflor Corp.

Stephanie Owen: The Online Educator

By Brett Miller

Stephanie Owen joined the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) in 2015 to spearhead its online learning platform, NWFA University (NWFAU). With no flooring background on her resume, but extensive experience developing educational curricula, Owen immersed herself in the industry while simultaneously researching online learning platforms.

Just 18 months later, NWFAU launched with 50-plus courses. Individual courses are just 10-20 minutes in length, so they are easy to fit into a busy schedule. Courses also are accessible using a PC, tablet or smartphone.

Since the initial launch in July 2016, course options have increased to 100-plus, with learning paths in installation, sand and finish, and sales. A manufacturing learning path launches this month, with future course development planned for inspections, customer service and business skills.

To date, 31,400-plus courses have been completed, averaging about 50 per day. Contributing to the success of the program has been the platform’s convenience and affordability. NWFAU is a member benefit, available for just $100 per year. And since NWFA membership is company-based, all member company employees are eligible to utilize NWFAU. Nearly 900-member companies currently use NWFAU as part of their employee training programs, equating to 6,100-plus individual registered users.

NWFAU and Owen have been recognized with an Association Trends 2017 Learnie Award for Biggest Success Story, and an Association Trends 2017 Gold All Media Award for eLearning & Live Training.

Also included on NWFAU are member-sponsored webinars, Expo education sessions and CEUs registered with AIA and IDCEC/ASID for continuing education credits.

Brett Miller is vice president, education and certification for the National Wood Flooring Association.

Gary Sinise: The Humanitarian

By Anita Howard

Actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise has supported veterans for nearly 40 years. His portrayal of Lt. Dan Taylor in the 1994 film “Forrest Gump” established his enduring connection with the disabled military community. Following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, he participated in many USO tours, later forming the Lt. Dan Band, which entertains troops and raises awareness at benefit concerts. The band performed at the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) Wood Flooring Expo in 2017.

In 2011, Sinise furthered his commitment to our nation’s heroes by establishing the Gary Sinise Foundation (GSF), whose mission is to serve and honor our nation’s defenders, veterans, first responders and their families. The GSF R.I.S.E. program (Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment) specifically provides mortgage-free, fully customized smart homes for America’s most severely wounded heroes. In 2015, GSF partnered with NWFA to provide wood flooring in R.I.S.E. homes. To date, NWFA has provided flooring, logistics and installation for 26 homes, with another 21 homes in various stages of planning and construction. NWFA also has introduced GSF to other industry partner organizations, including the National Hardwood Lumber Association, National Tile Contractors Association and Marble Institute of America.

In recognition of his humanitarian efforts, Sinise was presented with the Bob Hope Award for Excellence in Entertainment, Spirit of the USO Award, Ellis Island Medal of Honor, Dwight D. Eisenhower Award and Presidential Citizens Medal, the second-highest civilian honor awarded to citizens for exemplary deeds performed in service of the nation.

To learn more about GSF programs, visit garysinisefoundation.org.

Anita Howard is the COO of the National Wood Flooring Association.

Kevin Brady: The Lawmaker

By Shana Teehan

You might not know his name, but if you are a small business—and that includes the vast majority of flooring dealers—you could already be benefiting from his work on the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, which offers a 20% deduction for qualified business income from so-called pass-through entities, which include S corporations and limited-liability companies.

Kevin Brady (R.-Texas) chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, regarded by many to be the most powerful committee in Congress with jurisdiction over taxes, health care, Social Security, Medicare, international trade and welfare. Brady is the chief author of the tax reform bill, which was signed into law in December 2017.

The tax break is intended to provide small businesses with some much-needed breathing room to compete with larger businesses and global competitors that have a smaller tax burden. Business owners can use their tax savings to hire new employees, increase employee wages and incentives, purchase inventory, expand their workspace, pay down debt or reduce their prices.

“As House Ways and Means Committee chairman, and lead author of the bill, my goals were simple,” Brady said. “Cut taxes for the middle class, simplify our unfair and broken tax code, and make America the most competitive place in the world to do business.”

Shana Teehan serves as senior advisor and director of communications for Kevin Brady.

Theresa Fisher: The Passionate Partner

By Howard Brodsky

As senior vice president of store design and merchandising, Theresa Fisher has helped shape the customer experience that has come to be the standard of excellence for independent flooring retailers. From the creation of Carpet One Floor & Home’s “Destination: Carpet One” store design program to her hand in developing differentiating branding for CCA exclusive brands, Theresa’s innate sense of style and understanding of today’s customer have made her an invaluable asset to CCA Global.

However, Theresa’s impactful store design is not the only way she has had an impact at CCA Global and throughout the floor covering industry. Without Theresa’s passionate persistence and dedication, Carpet One Floor & Home and CCA Global Partners would not have the rewarding partnership with the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation and their Building for America’s Bravest program that we have today. This program builds smart homes for catastrophically injured service members, many of them triple or quadruple amputees, to help them regain some of the independence lost due to their injuries.

Theresa has helped bring our membership together to help make a magnificent impact on the lives of our injured heroes through partnership with Building for America’s Bravest. Carpet One’s participation in the Building for America’s Bravest program has not only ensured that 36 of these smart homes have beautifully installed flooring, but also brought the membership of our cooperative together to work towards a common goal.

True to Theresa’s nature, it wasn’t good enough to just get Carpet One on board to install flooring; she was compelled to do more. She pushed further to pull in our industry partners. Today, Building for America’s Bravest receives support from Carpet One along with Mohawk, Masterbrand and Hunter Douglas. Still, Theresa felt we could do more. She now helps organize a large group of members to participate in the annual T2T 5K and encourages members to host additional fundraisers to help raise the funds needed to build smart homes.

Her desire to do good for our members and the world along with her keen eye and innovative spirit have made her an essential part of CCA Global Partners.

Howard Brodsky is co-founder and co-CEO of CCA Global Partners.

Jeff King: The Advocate

By Scott Humphrey

Of all the relationships I have developed in my tenure in this industry, Jeff King, legal counsel to the WFCA, is easily one of the most influential and fascinating individuals I have encountered. Though his education and background are in the legal arena, his knowledge of the flooring industry is second to none.

After graduating from Albany Law School of Union University, Jeff practiced law in Washington, D.C., for many years before moving to Delray Beach, Fla., where he resides with his wife and renowned interior designer Luba King and daughter Larissa. He has served the WFCA and our industry for over 20 years. In addition to authoring three publications for the WFCA: “Contracts—Cannot Live Without Them,” “The Independent Contractor Primer” and “Green Flooring Primer,” Jeff is one of the most requested speakers at industry events. If you have had the privilege of hearing Jeff, you are in no way surprised that he has been selected as one of the “10 people driving the industry.”

Jeff’s knowledge of all flooring related occupations and the issues impacting us is surpassed only by his passion for change and compassion for the people who make their living in our industry. He accurately predicts national trends by monitoring state activity and is respected in our nation’s capital to such a level that his opinion is often sought by those formulating their stances and/or considering legislation. He has proposed solutions and/or offered draft legislation to address issues including: The Marketplace Fairness Act, independent contractors, overtime regulations, government over regulation, the labor crisis, etc.

Though this industry and the WFCA comprises many strong leaders and advocates, there is none more positively driving our industry than my friend and the legal counsel to the WFCA—Mr. Jeff King.

Scott Humphrey is the president and CEO of the World Floor Covering Association.

Zack Zehner: The Heir Apparent

By Keith Campbell

Not many companies get to hold onto their old values as they reach for the new ones, but that’s exactly what is happening here at Mannington Mills as the fifth generation of the Campbell family emerges into company leadership.

Zack Zehner, my nephew, currently serves as our senior vice president of distribution network and has been a driving force in Mannington’s progress over the past few years. Zack’s efforts have kept us on the forefront of innovation while continuing to foster important relationships among our distributor partners.

He joined Mannington in 2003 after five years as a lawyer in Washington, D.C., and has learned about Mannington by using that old-school work ethic and actually doing the hard work. He was a district sales manager, a product director for laminate and porcelain tile, and vice president of commercial hard surface before stepping into his current role.

Just as important, he’s leading the company’s culture into the next generation. Family values are the cornerstone of everything we do here at Mannington, and Zack understands that. Zack grew up in a family where those values were part of his everyday life. Mannington was all we talked about at family gatherings, and Zack really absorbed it all. His passion for this company and the people who work here is in his blood.

Zack’s dedication extends into the community as well. He is now president of Stand Up for Salem, a community revitalization organization founded by my father, Johnny, and where I served for many years. Our headquarters is in Salem, N.J., and although we do business all over the world—and may not live within the confines of the zip code—it will always be our home.

Keith Campbell is chairman of the board for Mannington Mills.

Diana Rosenberger: The Initiator

By Troy Virgo

Until recently, Shaw Industries’ sustainable sourcing efforts consisted of a standalone supplier guide that defined Shaw’s expectations of suppliers regarding environmental protection, social fairness, ethical behavior and identified desired disclosure around chemicals of concern.

However, Diana Rosenberger, sustainability manager-global sourcing, recognized an opportunity for Shaw to have an even bigger impact in its sustainability efforts by engaging with its supply chain differently. Doing so stood to ensure Shaw’s products met globally recognized principles and were aligned with Shaw’s sustainability commitments to impact those who source from this supplier base.

Diana helped the company create a legally enforceable, easy-to-read, sustainable sourcing policy that would be integrated into our Standard Terms and Conditions of Purchase. She brought the Ten Principles of UN Global Compact to Shaw to use as the backbone of our new sustainable sourcing policy. Diana’s efforts led to Shaw becoming an official signatory in late 2017. Being a signatory of the UN Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, brings external credibility to Shaw’s new sustainable sourcing policy.

In short order, Diana’s efforts are positively impacting Shaw products, Shaw’s supply chain, the flooring industry as a whole and manufacturers in myriad industries by advancing options for safer chemistry.

Diana’s collaborative approach shows what can happen when we work together toward a common goal.

Troy Virgo is director of sustainability and product stewardship for Shaw Industries.

Kurt Denman: The Brand Builder

By Chris O’Connor

His diverse work experience combined with his passion for branding that is underpinned by meaningful consumer insights are the things that have enabled Kurt to drive change in an industry that can be predictable.

Over the past five years, Kurt and his team have worked to revitalize the Congoleum portfolio, improve the consumer journey and ultimately set the stage for the next chapter in Congoleum’s storied history.

By allowing market and consumer needs to guide the journey, we created a new category of PVC-free, digitally printed flooring. Equally challenging was to create a connection between this break-through technology and a new generation of consumers. Kurt had the vision to create a style-driven brand that would live outside the umbrella of Congoleum. While known for making high-quality products within the industry, Congoleum is also known as a producer of vinyl flooring. Cleo is not just another vinyl product; it’s different in every way.

The process of bringing a revolutionary product to market has been the most challenging and exciting part of my career. To see Kurt’s vision for the brand unveiled at Surfaces earlier this year was an unbelievable experience.

Chris O’Connor is the president and CEO of Congoleum.

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Starnet finds strength (and value) in numbers

April 30/May 7, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 23

By Reginald Tucker

 

Orlando—Starnet may be well regarded as the nation’s largest commercial flooring cooperative, but at its core it’s really about a family of contractors, vendors and design professionals just helping each other to not only survive in a rapidly changing environment, but also thrive in the process.

This is especially evident in today’s market—an environment that poses a mix of challenges and emerging opportunities for members. “The installation and estimating labor shortage is really impacting the industry,” Jeanne Matson, Starnet president and CEO, told FCNews during the group’s spring conference here. “While I believe our members are managing as well as any company can, I know they’re concerned the situation will get worse in the coming years.”

In this regard, Starnet is leveraging its scale, collective member knowledge and industry affiliations to come up with solutions. In fact, the group recently formed a joint task force with Fuse Alliance to focus on critical issues facing the commercial flooring industry. The task force will address long-standing industry concerns—labor shortages in estimating and installation being high on the list. By tapping into each other’s base of knowledge and resources, Starnet and Fuse can tackle a broader range of issues affecting the architecture and design industry with the goal of crafting a better customer experience. Collectively, Fuse Alliance and Starnet Worldwide represent more than 250 of the most influential flooring contractors in the U.S.

“The Starnet board and staff are exploring ways to help the industry, starting with highlighting some outstanding recruiting efforts executed by several of our members,” Matson said. “We also plan to share both recruiting, training and retaining best practices with all members.”

Starnet’s efforts in this regard are not lost on members. “One of the great things about being a member of Starnet is we are able to share ideas and learn from so many knowledgeable individuals in the industry,” said Mike Rajner, vice president of Ohio-based Commercial Flooring of Toledo. “If we experience a new issue, there is a very good chance that another member has already—or is currently facing that same challenge—and can offer advice on how to navigate through that situation.”

Rajner sees the lack of well-trained, productive installers as an issue that has universally affected the flooring industry. “Many young people do not view flooring installation as a viable career, and we are working to change that perception,” he explained. “There is a diversity in how each individual Starnet member supplies labor. We have union and non-union contractors, as well as those who subcontract their installation. By discussing this and other issues with dissimilar members, we are able to view the situation from a different perspective and entertain methods that we might not have thought of otherwise. As a group, we are committed to hiring, educating and maintaining an exceptional workforce.”

Mike Nelson, executive vice president of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho-based Great Floors, also applauds Starnet’s efforts in tackling the installation issue head on. “Whether it’s the craftsmen in the field or the project manager running the crew, there just aren’t enough of them to keep up with today’s demand,” he told FCNews. “Starnet has spent a lot of time and energy developing and sharing training programs to accelerate and enhance the members’ training efforts.”

But the value of aligning with Starnet doesn’t end there. Nelson said networking with other members helps address a host of other issues. “The main benefits we have experienced are the result of Starnet’s mission to improve the commercial flooring industry.  We’ve found great value in the idea sharing, webinars and training available to Starnet members. There are initiatives and best practices we learned as members of Starnet that continue to have a positive impact on our business and the service our customers receive.”

Rajner and Nelson are not alone. Commercial flooring contractors like Cheryl Acierno, owner of Denver-based Acierno & Co., and Skip Mancini, owner of B.T. Mancini Co., San Francisco, also attest to the benefits of membership. “There are so many advantages to membership—networking with my Starnet colleagues, being able to build strong relationships with our Starnet vendor partners at the upper management level and the ability to learn from others, which has helped me grow my business, Acierno said. Mancini concurred, adding, “The main benefits for my company are networking with vendors and flooring dealers, learning of best practices and the sharing of ideas. One of the challenges we face in Northern California is finding people; Starnet’s training programs are very helpful in getting new hires up to speed.”

For David Meberg, president and CEO of New York-based Consolidated Carpet—which took home a Starnet design award in the “corporate” category—the value comes in the form of connecting with his peers and sharing what he calls “war” stories. But it doesn’t stop there. “The value I try to derive now is the development of my young and future leaders. That’s where we see the value as a company.”

Commercial market outlook

Beyond the core benefits that membership within Starnet brings, the group is also encouraged by activity it is seeing at the end-user level. Many Starnet members continue to observe strength in healthcare and higher education, and most believe the hospitality sector is settling down. Corporate, on the other hand, has not been growing as rapidly as it has over the past two years, but it remains a large business for Starnet contractors.

On the whole, Matson said she is confident that 2018 will remain a solid year for the industry. “A year ago, we predicted some softness toward the fourth quarter, but that does not appear to be a risk at this point,” she explained. “As for 2019, we expect next year to remain strong, although our keynote speaker this year [Alan Beaulieu] predicted a slight dip in the second half. However, based on our membership, they are planning projects well into 2019.”
 

 

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FCNews exclusive interview: Consolidated Carpet's Meberg

March 14/21, 2016; Volume 30, Number 19

David Meberg

New York—Consolidated Carpet is among the largest flooring contractors in the country. Now in its third generation, the company is approaching 75 years in business with a reputation that has allowed it to land some of the highest profile jobs in New York City. FCNews publisher Steven Feldman recently sat down with David Meberg, CEO, to discuss business today in general and how Consolidated has been impacted and evolved.

What do you think differentiates Consolidated from other flooring contractors? What do you think you do better than them?

First, we are a labor company that got into sales. Most of our competitors are sales companies that do labor. So we feel we bring a level of project management and expertise to jobsites that our competitors don’t. One of our core philosophies is the customer derives no satisfaction until the product is properly installed. That is where our customer—whether a general contractor or corporate end user—benefits. They feel a certain level of service that they don’t get from our competitors.

Next, when we got into sales we went all in. In the past five to six years, we have really developed our sales process to a point where we are a forward leaning, efficient sales organization. We are networked in and get as far ahead of projects as possible. We are embedded in the design community, the end user community and the builder community. I don’t think our competitors have the breadth that we do in sales.

What is the biggest challenge today for a flooring contractor, generally speaking, and specifically Consolidated?

The atmosphere is still tremendously competitive. There is still downward pressure on pricing, and that’s because our clients have become very sophisticated buyers. The global information technology age has affected the construction industry where our clients have cost bases all over the country. There are professional procurement groups. That’s what these people do for a living—they buy. So it has become challenging to make the proper gross margins. Mill-direct selling is a [by-product] of the buyers trying to negotiate large deals.

For us, locally, the price of labor is a huge challenge right now. Our area is shifting from a unionized market to an open shop market. We are a union shop, so we have a big challenge in adapting to that. The cost of construction has gotten so high, so we will have to adapt to compete in a non-union environment. The downside of a non-union environment is there is no bottom. Look at the retail marketplace, which is all non-union. It’s a matter of how low can you go. There is no value being placed on installation. In a unionized marketplace at least you have an even footing with the price of labor. We are a labor company at our core, so when that is devalued it’s obviously a big challenge for us.

How is Consolidated working to overcome these challenges?

In our market, some people will just sit and collect bids. The primary course of business is bidding work to GCs. However, we try to develop business. We work with architects and designers. We work with corporate end users, healthcare facilities, higher education associations. We try to get in front of the sale. We try to get engaged as early in the process as possible. If we know a project is coming up and we know the designer, we are soliciting that designer. We want to be in the best position when that job ultimately comes up to bid.

As for the labor challenge, we just keep working on our efficiencies and try to become a leaner organization so we can become as cost competitive as possible.

Talk about the challenges and advantages of doing business in a metropolis like New York vs., say, Omaha?

The business model does not change from city to city, so most of the challenges are the same. In the city, the biggest challenge is logistics—the deliveries, the vertical transportation, etc. You are moving [materials] up instead of out. And whatever you take up is going to be limited to the size of the elevator. It is obviously easier with carpet tile vs. bending and folding broadloom. That is labor-intensive work. We still do a lot of broadloom, and those deliveries are much more difficult. You are not just backing up a truck to a building. Other challenges include the traffic congestion, and the deliveries that have to be in by 5 a.m. where you have to start at midnight.

Where is the next generation of installers going to come from?

For the first time, this past summer, we had a capacity issue where we had more work than labor. Being a union shop, we used to be able to call the union and say, ‘we need more men.’ This summer there were none. It is a real problem, and I don’t know where they are going to come from. The union has changed their enrollment standards to get more people in the business. If we were not union we could recruit people and do our own training. So the challenge is on them to find the people.

Talk about your involvement with Starnet, INSTALL, Greater NY Promotional Fund, and how that has that worked to Consolidated’s benefit?

I got involved in those associations because it is one of the core values of this business. My grandfather, my uncles, my father all got involved in these organizations. It is part of who we are as a company. We have learned a lot, and we have given back. It is something that has been engrained in me to be active in the industry. It has helped us become more professional, gain exposure to more people and learn different ways of doing things.

What does Consolidated look for in a supplier?

Another of our core values is to have top-notch relationships with all our suppliers. We look for value, a great product at a great price point. But service is just as important. In all these projects, the product mix today is more comprehensive. We want to have suppliers that offer great service. Having control of the logistics is everything. One of the great benefits of being in these organizations is you meet with high-level executives at their events. So you know who to call when there is a problem. Product is great, price is great, but service trumps both of those.

Most often, are you involved in the specifications of a job or simply the labor?

Ultimately our goal is to spec the products. We can’t control the specifications on every job, but we are 75% involved in the sales process in one way or another in the jobs we are performing.

The specification process is a consulting service we provide to the architect and designer. We like the architect or designer to lay out a project, tell us what the space is going to be used for and then we can give our recommendations. We may recommend product lines or product styles. However, we don’t like to change specs; you can upset the architect as well as the manufacturer of the original specified product. You may get the job but it will hurt relationships. We would prefer to be involved in the specification process. If that process is completed, we will bid what is specified. We might make a notation to our bid where we believe the product is not appropriate. So we might exclude it from our bid and offer an alternative if we are asked.

How important is price today in terms of winning the job? Where does service, relationships, etc. fall in?

In our marketplace, price is still everything. It is unfortunate that other components aren’t factored in. Relationships and service help, but all it gets you is another at bat. They may say, “We want Consolidated, but your competition is 3% lower.” We may get a chance to match the bid, but we won’t get the job if we don’t match that number.

How important is sustainability to Consolidated and its clients?

Another of our core values is to operate an environmentally friendly organization. We invested $1 million to install solar panels in our warehouse in New Jersey. From a floor covering perspective, we look to recycle everything that comes through our doors. As for our clients, with respect to their projects it comes and goes in waves. I think it is almost second nature that projects are performed with an environmental foundation. It is just embedded in office design right now and in the products we install. It is hard to find something we install that doesn’t contain some recycled content. There may not be a spotlight on it like there was 10 years ago, but I think that’s because it has become a culture.

What are you seeing in terms of product mix these days?

Obviously more carpet tile than broadloom and certainly more LVT, but the biggest trend we are seeing is polished and refinished concrete. There are a lot of commercial spaces in New York City being designed with just the refurbishing of the existing concrete subfloor—polishing the concrete, sealing it up and leaving it exposed. It’s a minimalistic design look, almost industrial (unfinished ceilings, glass partitions, unfinished floors). We do so much of that now. Almost 50% of our projects have some type of exposed floor, whether it’s wood or concrete. This used to be a financial town; now it is a tech town. Google, Facebook and LinkedIn have projects, and they have a unique work environment and design that has taken over the marketplace. We didn’t know of it as a trend, but when the top architectural firms are doing their own spaces that way, we know this will be around for a while.

Talk about some of the higher profile projects you have been involved with recently.

We recently landed a bunch of jobs at Hudson Yards, the biggest commercial development project in the country right now and the biggest in New York City since Rockefeller Center. We have completed the renovation of the United Nations campus. We did the Ed Sullivan Theater where David Letterman did his show for 20 years and converted it for Stephen Colbert. We just finished the new Brooklyn Nets practice facility. We have been sprucing some things up at CitiField [home of the New York Mets]. And we did some work at the Whitney Museum in the Meatpacking District.

Any plans to get into the maintenance side of the business?

We offer maintenance to our clients but we subcontract it out. We always talk about it, but just haven’t done it yet. It would be a natural progression for us.

Any presidential candidate you believe would be better for the flooring industry?

I think the best candidate is not running. I saw what Michael Bloomberg did as the mayor of New York City. [In the years following 9/11], he led the growth of the economy in this marketplace. And through the recession, New York outperformed most of the nation despite the fact this was a banking town. I think he diversified the city’s marketplace. He helped create a strong and vibrant economy. He also maintained the standard of living from a security standpoint. Yes, he became a little polarizing toward the end of this time in office with his [large-cup] soda ban, but he was also the guy who first banned smoking in bars. Everyone forgets that.

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Meberg elected to BTEA executive position

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 10.39.49 AMNew York—David Meberg, president and CEO of Consolidated Carpet, was recently elected to the executive committee of the Board of Governors of the Building Trades Employers Association of New York (BTEA). Meberg has served on the Board of Governors for the past six years. He also sits on The Sub-Contractor Roundtable for the association.

The BTEA’s membership is comprised of over 25 trade associations who represent 1,700 construction managers, general contractors and specialty subcontracting firms who employ over 120,000 skilled construction trade workers in the New York City metropolitan marketplace. The association advocates for the construction industry in both the public and private sectors through legislative initiatives, health and safety training and both public and labor relations.

“The BTEA is the focal point for improving the working conditions and environment for both contractors and their employees in this complicated marketplace called New York,” Meberg said. “I am proud to be elected to this post during what is a critical time for our industry.”