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NWFA’s Miller to present at IWF Symposium

St. Louis—Brett Miller, vice president of education and certification, National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA), will be presenting at the International Woodworking Fair (IWF) Wood Flooring Symposium on Tuesday, Aug. 21, in Atlanta.

During the first segment of his presentation, Miller will discuss common problems, causes and cures in the world of wood flooring. For the second segment of his presentation, Miller will look at some of the differences between wood flooring finishes in use today.

Miller’s final segment will focus on the many benefits of choosing wood in the flooring world. The presentation will end with an open discussion about ways the industry should promote wood products to the consumer.

For more information, visit: iwfatlanta.com.

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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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Wood: NWFA Awards showcase craftsmanship, creativity

April 16/23, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 22

 

Tampa, Fla.—The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) announced the winners of its 2018 Wood Floor of the Year contest during its annual conference and expo here earlier this month. The awards recognize innovative craftsmanship and design in wood flooring installations.

All entries featured installations completed between January 2017 and January 2018 and were evaluated by a panel of industry members and press editors. NWFA membership voted for the Members’ Choice winner.

And the winners are…

Members’ Choice & Best Parquetry/Inlay Application

Contractor: ArtParquet, Khimki, Russia

Project notes: This 10,705-square-foot, nail-down/glue-down installation entailed 16 different species to naturally incorporate the color and overall style of the room into the flooring. The parquet layers were designed according to schemes provided by the project engineers.

After the design was approved, engineers prepared AutoCAD drawings that were sent to the factory where CNC machines cut patterns. The components were then assembled manually, and the panels were packed and delivered. It took five months to design and produce the flooring, followed by another two months to install the floors. No stains were used to achieve the look.

Best Circular/Curved Application

Contractor: Acorn Hardwood Flooring, Sylmar, Calif.

Project notes: This 8,900-square-foot, nail-down/glue-down installation featuring light rustic hickory/pecan was installed in a plank, herringbone and parquet pattern. All gallery parquet patterns were hand cut, routed, fitted with a tongue and groove, and then center matched. All pieces were cut, prefinished and assembled in the factory, then reassembled on the job site.

Best Color & Finish Application

Contractor: Treadline Construction, Tualatin, Ore.

Project notes: The design is a 400-square-foot, glue-down installation featuring 21⁄4 x 3⁄4-inch-thick red oak, white oak and maple. After the floor was sanded, aluminum custom circular-shaped inlays were routed into the floor and installed. The floor was resanded, then each section was masked before a custom application of colored water conditioners, reactive chemicals and custom blends of oil- and water-based stains and penetrating oils were applied. Select sections received a final application of acid-cured finish.

Best Restoration/Makeover 

Contractor: Endurance Floor Co., West Park, Fla.

Project notes: The three-dimensional look was achieved using a mix of species, including Gaboon ebony, English sycamore, massaranduba, sapele and Brazilian ebony for the field; Macassar ebony, padauk, birds-eye maple, bocote and pink ivory were utilized for the border.

Best of Social Media 

Contractor: BC Hardwood Floor Co., Vancouver, BC, Canada

Project notes: This 5,500-square-foot/nail-down installation of first-grade northern Canadian and hard maple wood flooring was utilized to replace the original floors laid down circa 1927. Following subfloor remediation, installers added a layer of plywood and installed the new floor as per the original specifications.

Best Textured Wood Application 

Contractor: WD Flooring, Laona, Wis.

Project notes: This 2,050-square-foot, nail-down/glue-down installation of white oak was installed in a new construction spec home. The floor was finished with a multi-step process and then UV cured.

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NWFA conference delivers value for installers, vendors

April 16/23, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 22

By Reginald Tucker

 

Tampa, Fla.—Scores of hardwood flooring contractors, manufacturers and distributors converged at the Tampa Bay Convention Center here recently for the 33rd annual National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) conference and expo. As advertised, the event offered something for everyone in attendance—new products galore, networking and educational opportunities, technical tips and even some entertainment.

“It was a great event,” Michael Martin, NWFA president and CEO, told FCNews. “In terms of numbers, we had about 3,000 people attend the expo—which has been pretty steady when you look at our shows over the past few years. We felt really good about it.”

Martin has good reason. The NWFA conference and expo was named one of the 50 fastest-growing trade shows for the past six consecutive years. Beyond the sprawling showcase of hardwood flooring products, installation tools and accessories, a big draw for attendees is the depth of technical, marketing and management sessions offered. In fact, the conference portion of the event boasted 20-plus hours of educational programming.

“We try to devise seminars that address the needs of all the channel segments we serve,” Martin explained, citing the mix of attendees who come to the show. What’s more, conference sessions are structured in such a fashion that encourages audience participation and interaction. “It’s not people talking ‘at you’ all the time. To that end, the sessions are arranged so participants are vocal and active during at least one-third of the sessions to keep them engaged. This allows everyone to learn from each other.”

Indeed, training and education remain a top priority for the association—and this extends beyond the instruction provided during NWFA’s renown installation schools held at its headquarters in Chesterfield, Mo., as well as regional training events across the country. During his opening keynote address to attendees, Martin provided an update on NWFAU—the group’s online training program. Since its inception in the summer of 2016, more than 30,000 courses have been completed by roughly 5,000 users—that translates into about 45 courses taken daily.

“We’re very encouraged by the participation we’re seeing in our online NWFA University,” Martin stated. “At the end of the day, the program benefits retailers, installers and consumers alike.”

Vendors see the value

Many of the exhibitors FCNews spoke to during the product showcase applaud the efforts NWFA management has made over the years to provide value for all members involved. Not only does the NWFA develop programs designed to raise the skill level of the dozens of professional hardwood flooring contractors in attendance, but the association goes above and beyond to deliver a captive audience for manufacturer members and vendor partners

“We’re here to support the industry and the association,” said Dan Natkin, vice president, hardwood and laminate, Mannington. “Many of the attendees here service the new home construction and residential replacement markets—both of which are important sectors for us.”

Pierre Thabet, president and CEO of Boa-Franc, maker of the Mirage brand of hardwood floors, agrees. “If you’re looking to reach the specialty hardwood flooring contractor, then this is the place to be,” he said. “This is where you meet the installers who really know all about hardwood flooring.”

Mannington and Mirage are not alone. Paul Rezuke, vice president, residential sales, USA, Wickham Flooring, also sees the value in exhibiting at the NWFA expo. “It’s been a really great show for us,” he told FCNews on the second day of the exhibition. “We feel it’s important to have a presence here as we expand our go-to-market strategy in the U.S. We’ve had some pretty good leads.”

Others see attending the expo as an opportunity to not only get in front of professional contractors, but also wood flooring distributors. “We’re here to show our new offerings in our branded Hearthwood line as well as products on the American OEM side that we can offer to distributors on a private-label basis,” said Allie Finkell, executive vice president.

Show stoppers

Among the key highlights of the 2018 NWFA show was the Plank Tank contest the association created to encourage members to submit their industry-related business ideas. Modeled after ABC Network’s “Shark Tank,” contestants in NWFA’s Plank Tank pitched their idea during the opening general session.

The competition was hosted by Jim Tselikis and Sabin Lomac, owners of Cousins Maine Lobster, who appeared on “Shark Tank” in a previous season. The businessmen, known for growing their small food truck start-up into a national franchise success, also shared their experiences with attendees during the keynote presentation. The celebrity judges, along with a team of wood flooring professionals, reviewed previously submitted business ideas to determine their merits.

The contest winner, which was announced on the last day of the show along with the NWFA Floor of the Year finalists (see page 8), was Insight Flooring Technologies. The company was recognized for QuoteHero, an app that allows contractors and estimators to measure the square footage of rooms, estimate jobs and close sales on the spot. Insight Flooring Technologies received a $15,000 customized package of NWFA marketing and education products and services.

NWFA’s Martin applauded the concept. “It was good to see NWFA members up there on stage talking about new tools and innovations that will help the industry.”

Look for more coverage of the 2018 NWFA expo in upcoming editions of FCNews.

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NWFA 2018 Preview: New products, education, training abound

March 19/26, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 20

By Reginald Tucker

 

Excitement is building for the 2018 National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) conference and exhibition, set to kick off April 11–14 at the Tampa Convention Center. Continuing on its steady growth trajectory for the past seven consecutive years, NWFA will feature scores of vendors showcasing the latest in hardwood flooring products, installation tools and accessories; and dynamic keynote speakers and expert technical demonstrations.

NWFA 2018 expects to draw hundreds of specialty hardwood flooring contractors, retailers and distributors from around the globe. The three-day event offers attendees 20-plus hours of educational programming, invaluable networking activities, an exhibition teeming with stylish new products and installation tools as well as special events and entertainment. It’s all part of an evolution designed to deliver greater value to all participants.

“We are really looking forward to bringing our industry together for another tremendous show,” said Michael Martin, NWFA president and CEO. “With the continued success of NWFA University and increased engagement with our members, we have more to offer than ever and know that will make this year’s show even better.”

Among the key focal points of the event:

Opening Splash. An opening welcome reception on Wed., April 11, from 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., will be followed by a keynote presentation featuring special guests Jim Tselikis and Sabin Lomac, owners of Cousins Maine Lobster who appeared on TV’s “Shark Tank” series. The businessmen, known for growing their small food truck start-up into a national franchise success, will share their experiences with attendees during the keynote presentation.

The owners started their small business in 2012 with one food truck in Los Angeles. In a few short years, they’ve grown to having 20 trucks in 13 cities throughout the U.S. “No matter what facet of the industry you are in, they have a lot of knowledge and expertise we can all benefit from and take back to our own businesses,” Martin said.

Tselikis and Lomac are also expected to serve as judges on NWFA’s “Plank Tank” competition, a play on “Shark Tank,” where contestants pitch their business ideas in the hopes of securing private investment funds to develop those ideas and concepts. The celebrity judges, along with a team of wood flooring professionals, will review previously submitted industry-related business ideas to determine their merits. Three finalists will then present their ideas on stage at the NWFA Expo. The grand prize winner will receive a customized package of NWFA marketing and education products and services valued at more than $15,000. It’s all designed to help the winner bring his or her product/idea to market.

Live entertainment immediately follows the keynote presentation by Cousins Main Lobster. NWFA has invited the Hammerhead Band, which will kick off the Expo with a heart-throbbing steel drum performance.

Expo and product showcase. The trade show floor runs from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 12, and from 10:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. on Friday, April 13. Here, more than 260 exhibitors spanning hardwood flooring manufacturers, as well as suppliers of adhesives, tools and accessories, will showcase their goods and services.

In addition to the booth presentations, attendees will have an opportunity to view 15 exhibitor demonstrations taking place across the show floor. Following seven consecutive years of growth, this year’s Expo will offer even more education, more hands-on demonstrations and more opportunities to engage with industry professionals.

“Our trade show has grown for the seventh consecutive year, with dozens of first-time exhibitors on the show floor,” said Anita Howard, COO of the NWFA. “Contractor attendee prizes will top $20,000 this year, including a
Lägler TRIO worth $6,000.”

Educational sessions. NWFA attendees are invited to participate in quality programming that will focus on a variety of topics, including sales and marketing, management or industry-specific technical topics. With 20-plus sessions addressing the entire supply chain, this year’s education offers something for everyone.

“This year’s education sessions will take a deep dive into relevant industry topics, including sales, management and technical issues,” Howard noted. As we continue to implement adult learning principles, our Think Tank sessions will combine conventional presentations with attendee-directed collaborations. It’s a hybrid of traditional and modern learning methods that will engage all generations and learning styles.”

This year’s education program is going to look different than years past. Sessions will include a mix of traditional speakers lecturing on a topic as well as roundtable discussions facilitated by an industry expert. “These interactive sessions are designed to allow attendees to have a more meaningful and impactful experience through peer-to-peer interaction and reflective discussions,” Howard added. “Our hope is that each attendee will leave with something they can practice when back in their daily routines, and that a collaborative and reflective environment will lend to this experience.”

Floor of the Year Awards presentation. The winners of the popular NWFA Floor of the Year Awards will be announced during a special reception from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, April 13, during the “Final Drive.” NWFA developed the coveted awards program to encourage and recognize innovative craftsmanship and design in wood flooring installations.

For this year’s competition, NWFA has revamped the categories to align the awards with its refined Master Craftsman program. The new categories now focus on specific skill sets taught during NWFA training:

  • Best circular/curved application
  • Best color & finish application
  • Best parquet/inlay application
  • Best restoration/makeover
  • Best textured wood application

The event comes to a festive close after the Floor of the Year awards ceremony with a performance by the Landsharks Band, the official Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band members who also play the music of the Beach Boys.

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Lägler to donate TRIO sander as part of NWFAU giveaway

Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 4.31.52 PMSt. Louis–Lägler has partnered with the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) to promote NWFA University by donating a limited-edition carbon fiber TRIO sander, to be given away to one lucky user of NWFAU.

Professionals who engage with NWFA University and earn badges upon completing online courses will have the opportunity to purchase the badges they’ve earned to display on their business profile and to customers. For every badge that is purchased, that individual’s name will be entered into the raffle for the carbon-fiber TRIO sander. Only 10 of these special-edition machines were made to commemorate Lägler’s 60th anniversary. One was awarded in April at NWFA’s Expo.

“We are grateful that Lägler sees the benefit in NWFA University and is donating this unique TRIO sander to help promote our education program,” said Michael Martin, president and CEO. “NWFAU is an incredible opportunity for individuals to further their education and skill set by completing courses online and earning badges. We are excited for those engaging with NWFAU to have the opportunity to win this unique piece of equipment to enhance their education.”

NWFA University encourages professionals to grow their knowledge and skill set by taking part in meaningful education that will help turn a job into a career. More than 1,000 NWFAU online courses have been taken since the program launched on July 1.

More information about the NWFA University and how to earn and purchase badges is available at http://www.nwfa.org/nwfa-university.aspx.

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NWFA highlights educational offerings for remainder of 2016

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 3.58.14 PMSt. Louis, Mo.—The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) offers a comprehensive selection of technical education classes for wood flooring professionals at all skill levels. NWFA hands-on training and educational workshops take place across the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

The educational offerings for the remainder of 2016 are as follows:

Retail Sales | June 22 | Chicago

Concrete Preparation for Wood Flooring | June 23 – 24 | Chicago

Intermediate Installation | June 28-30 | Mexico City, Mexico

Certification Training + Testing | July 12 – 15 | New York

Certification Training + Testing | July 25 – 28 | St. Louis, Mo.

Retail Sales | July 29 | St. Louis, Mo.

Retail Sales | July 29 | Tualatin, Ore.

Intermediate Installation | August 8 – 11 | Marietta, Ga.

Intermediate Sand + Finish | August 8 – 11 | San Jose, Calif.

Installation Certification Training + Testing | August 17 – 18 | Salem, N.J.

Retail Sales | August 19 | Salem, N.J.

Intermediate Installation | August 22-25 | Ontario, Canada

Wood Floor Repair | August 25 | St. Louis, Mo.

Wood Flooring Trends- Wide and Long Planks | August 30 | St. Louis, Mo.

Principles of Wood Flooring | September 13 – 16 | Chicago

Intermediate Sand + Finish | September 19 – 22 | Marietta, Ga.

Inspector School | September 26 – 29 | St. Louis, Mo.

Intermediate Installation | September 26 – 29 | Chicago

Intermediate Sand + Finish | October 3 – 6 | Chicago

Advanced Training | October 17 – 21 | St. Louis, Mo.

Concrete Preparation for Wood Flooring | October 20 – 21 | Dallas

Specialty Training “Wood Stairs” | November 8 – 11 | St. Louis, Mo.

Intermediate Sand and Finish | November 14-17 | Ontario, Canada

“Education is of utmost importance to the NWFA,” said Brett Miller, vice president of education and certification at NWFA. “We have watched industry professionals’ careers take off upon earning our certifications and promoting their NWFA membership when they talk with customers. In such a competitive market, it is important that professionals have something to set themselves apart from everyone else. NWFA offers that opportunity.”

To learn more about educational opportunities available through NWFA or to register for a class, visit www.nwfa.org/education.

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NWFA awards recognize creative installations

May 23/30, 2016; Volume 30, Number 24

By Reginald Tucker

Charlotte, N.C.—Expert wood flooring craftsman and contractors from the U.S. and abroad were recognized for their creativity during the 2016 National Wood Flooring Association’s (NWFA) annual Floor of the Year competition held here. The Wood Floor of the Year awards program, now in its 26th year, was developed to encourage innovative installations. Since the program began in 1990, more than 200 awards have been presented to NWFA member companies worldwide. A panel of judges comprising trade and consumer press editors, industry leaders as well as professional designers evaluated the individual categories. And the winners are…

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NWFA announces 2016 board of directors

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 11.32.23 AMSt. Louis, Mo. The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) announced its 2016 board of directors during its recent annual convention in Charlotte, N.C. The 2016 lineup is as follows:

Tommy Maxwell (chairman), Maxwell Hardwood Flooring, Monticello, Ark; Chris Zizza (vice chairman), C&R Flooring, Westwood, Mass.; Craig Dupra (secretary), Installers Warehouse, Rochester, N.Y.; Julie Russell (treasurer), Glitsa, a division of Rudd Company, Seattle, Wash.; and Jeff Fairbanks (immediate-past chairman), Palo Duro Hardwoods, Denver, Colo.

2016 directors: Kevin Murphy, Mullican Flooring, Johnson City, Tenn.; John Wooten, CMH, a division of Haines, Glen Burnie, Md.; Jon Namba, Namba Services, Salt Lake City, Utah; Dan Natkin, Mannington Mills, Salem, N.J.; Brenda Cashion, Swiff-Train, Carrollton, Texas; and Scott Sandlin, Shaw Industries, Dalton.

NWFA Ex-officio directors: Jim Gould, Floor Covering Institute, Rancho Mirage, Calif.; Steve Brattin, SVB Wood Floor Service, Grandview, Mo.; Lenny Hall, Endurance Floor Company, West Park, Fla.; Jon Smith, Smith Flooring, Mountain View, Mo.; Kirk Roberts, Bona AB, Aurora, Colo.; and Mitchell Brown, French-Brown Floors, Dallas. Ex-officio directors are appointed to serve for one year.

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NWFA 2016: Annual conference builds on educational platforms, attendance

May 9/16, 2016; Volume 30, Number 23

By Reginald Tucker

IMAG1767Charlotte, N.C.—Comprehensive educational programming, networking opportunities and new product launches and installation demonstrations were in ample supply at the 2016 National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) conference and exposition held here April 27–29.

Preliminary attendance numbers showed a 40% uptick in hardwood flooring contractor participation. “When we left on Friday [the last day of the show] we were just shy of 3,200, with our ‘drive-in’ traffic exceeding 600,” said Anita Howard, chief operating officer, NWFA. “By comparison, last year we were just shy of 3,000. So we’re trending upwards.”

Not only was volume up year over year, but attendance at the 2016 expo marked a turnaround from the trends seen in years past. “We know we’re a niche market and that we’re not going to grow exponentially but we have maintained double-digit growth every year since 2012,” Howard stated. “Prior to that time our show had been in six years of decline. So, if the numbers hold true, we’re looking at more than 10% growth this year but on average over the last six years since we’ve rebuilt the show since 2012 we’re averaging somewhere between 20% and 25%. Plus, the show floor has sold out in all of those years except one.”

IMG_1141It’s a pattern that’s not lost on exhibitors. “To me this is the best NWFA convention that I’ve ever attended,” said Don Finkell, CEO and founder of American OEM. He attributed the show’s success to what he called the “smooth operation” of the event in general as well as the enhanced elements of the show’s programming. “Michael Martin [NWFA president and CEO] has really done a nice job. The Nashville show was more significant for us because that’s where we launched the company, but overall I think this show is bigger and things seem to work very well. It’s been good for business and it’s a good overall feeling.”

Finkell is not alone in his assessment. Brian Greenwell, vice president of sales and marketing at Mullican Flooring, also cited high booth traffic—clearly a direct result of premium positioning near the entrance to the exhibition area. “It’s been quite busy for our people at the booth,” he said at the close of day one of the three-day exhibition. “We were very pleased.”

Emphasis on education

IMAG1836Beyond the increase in foot traffic, another highlight of the event was the launch of NWFA’s new online training initiative, NWFA University. During a breakout session, Brett Miller, vice president of training and education at NWFA, along with Stefanie Owen, education director, provide an overview of the University and how it ties in to the association’s overall training program. According to Miller, there were not enough seats in the room to accommodate everyone who showed up to hear about the new program.

“It was very well received,” Miller said, alluding to the crossover between NWFA’s hands-on based certification programs. “A lot of longtime members in the industry said specifically that it was good to finally see the NWFA finally fixing this program. And that, to me, was validation knowing that we’re going down the right path.”

According to Miller, the new NWFA University program was in development for a year although it was in the planning stages for about five years. When Owen came on board about a year and a half ago, she made it a priority and accelerated its execution. She also reached out to the other floor covering associations to see what kind of partnerships that the NWFA could do with them on this front.

IMAG1794A key component of the online training program is it supplements the field work that installation trainees complete in the field. As Miller explained: “We assumed that the students who attended the hands-on installation schools already knew a lot, and it was left up to the instructors to talk about a lot of the technical aspects behind the scenes of installing a wood floor. To make it a little more formalized, I introduced a lot more classroom time, getting into more of the technical aspects (proper job site preparation and everything that’s a requirement before the proper installation of a wood floor, etc.) This integration with online will hopefully allow us to create continuity with everybody who attends our schools. This way, when they go to the school, everybody is on the same page. It makes for a bigger experience overall. In short, more knowledge will be shared doing it this way.”

How it works: As presently structured, the online training program is based on “pathways,” meaning students can choose between a graduated curriculum based on sales or installation “modules” (students must pass prerequisite courses before moving on to the next phase). “So when you finish a module it will say, ‘Congratulations, you’ve passed the test’ and the next module in the sequence would be ‘X,” Howard explained. “There’s an a la carte option—you can take classes one-sy, two-sy—or you can identify a career path that you want to take lay that out in the same way that you would pursue a college degree. Much like the programs that are in place for freshmen for electrical degree, we’re kind of doing the same thing for the trade.”

The program also dovetails nicely with NWFA’s “tiered” certification program. “For example, once you have become a certified professional installer you can then work towards becoming a certified craftsman and then, ultimately, a certified master craftsman,” Miller stated. “Altogether there are approximately 30 courses that need to be taken before getting that certified installer badge; part of those are hands-on, but a lot of it is online.”

The NWFA University officially launches in July; pricing and other details are currently being finalized.