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NWFA 2015 Wood Flooring Expo promises powerhouse roster

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 9.53.48 AMSt. Louis, Mo—The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) has a star-studded roster of presenters lined up to share tremendous business and community-building insights during the 2015 Wood Flooring Expo, scheduled for April 28-May 1 here.

“We have a powerful group of speakers who will share their messages for business success, particularly tied to business development through community service, at this year’s Expo,” said Michael Martin, NWFA president and CEO. “Each speaker has achieved incredible successes in his chosen career field—earning Oscar honors, World Series and Super Bowl championships, and Hall of Fame accolades—but even more significant is how each ‘plays it forward’ in big ways to benefit others. We look forward to welcoming Bill Courtney, Gary Sinise, Ozzie Smith, John Mozeliak and Isaac Bruce to this year’s Expo.”

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NWFA Expo to focus on service, smarts, sports

March 30/April 6, 2015; Volume 28/Number 20

By Nadia Ramlakhan

RamsDomeAttendees and exhibitors are expected to work hard and play harder when the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) celebrates its 30th anniversary with its annual Wood Flooring Expo, set for April 28-May 1 in St. Louis.

The decision to hold the event here was based on a number of elements, including the fact it is the birthplace of the NWFA. “We wanted to bring it home for the 30th anniversary,” said Michael Martin, president and CEO.

Martin said he wanted to take full advantage of the hosting town, incorporating sports into this year’s theme: “Play it Forward.” “We look at the whole meeting as an experience,” he explained. “From the time people land at the airport until the minute they leave, we want attendees to experience something like never before. We’ve gone out and found venues that they couldn’t go to on their own.”

As part of this “experience,” attendees will have a chance to visit both the Edward Jones Dome, home of the St. Louis Rams, and Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals, as well as multiple VIP areas for special events throughout the show.

In celebration of the association’s 30th anniversary, a “Night at the Ballpark” party will be held Tuesday, April 28, from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. in a private suite at Busch Stadium during a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game.

This year’s theme is not only geared toward sports. In fact, another major component of the convention is its focus on service as a way to honor the organization’s founding fathers as well as a desire to give back to the hardwood flooring industry. “Looking back, our founding fathers wanted to pay it forward,” Martin said. “Their volunteer spirit was what launched the association.”

Martin said that having the Internet and other technological advancements available has created a new type of consumer—one who conducts online research and chooses to do business with a company based on the information she finds. He hopes by encouraging members to get involved in charity and community outreach programs at the show, they will be more likely to get involved in their own community causes.

“I hope everyone figures out their own place as far as how to make hardwood flooring a part of their communities through service,” he said. “Cause marketing is a huge initiative. It’s gone from, ‘This is my company and this is what I do,’ to the consumer going online first, reading what people say about you and looking at your ratings. People are picking who they want to do business with. This is very different from the past when it was just about products. We want to provide the tools for you to go back to your community and connect with potential customers.”

Actor Gary Sinise, known for his role in the movie “Forrest Gump” as Lt. Dan Taylor, will announce the official launch of NWFA’s partnership with the Gary Sinise Foundation, which provides smart homes for veterans, many of whom have lost limbs and require hard surface flooring to accommodate wheelchairs. Other opportunities to get involved nationally and locally include the Gateway PGA REACH Foundation, The Little Bit Foundation, NWFA Education & Research Foundation (NERF), Hardwood Federation and more.

Although there is tons of fun to be had at the show, education is still top-of-mind for Martin. “We can’t lose sight of our mission, which is to educate our members on the wood flooring industry. It’s always exciting to see people come together and learn their trade better and learn to how run their businesses better.”

Kicking off the general session will be keynote speaker Bill Courtney, owner and CEO of Classic American Hardwoods. Courtney, author of the book “Against the Grain,” inspired the Oscar-winning movie “Undefeated,” which is based on his volunteer coaching for a local high school football team. His discussion on business practices and commitment to giving back will jumpstart the educational sessions.

New this year is a fifth learning track, Collaboration, which is geared toward retailers and designed to encourage networking and sharing of ideas through roundtables. The other four learning tracks are Management, Technical Skills, Architecture/Design and Marketing/Sales, which will heavily emphasize online marketing and social media strategies.

Named one of the top 50 fastest-growing shows for the third consecutive year, the NWFA Wood Flooring Expo will deliver more than 420 booths of which 70 are new exhibitors. The latest trends in wood—including wide planks, oil-based finishes and gray tones—will be showcased Wednesday, April 29 from noon to 5:30 p.m. and Thursday, April 30 from noon to 5:30 p.m. inside the Edward Jones Dome.

The new hours reflect a growing demand for more time to walk the show floor. As part of its mission, NWFA has also increased the amount of hours allotted for training and will feature a second demo theater on the show floor. One stage will have manufacturers showing off their products and technology while the other will have regional instructors holding specific demos.

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NWFA Expo tradeshow floor sold out

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 11.37.19 AMSt. Louis, Mo.—With 10 weeks to go until its 2015 Wood Flooring Expo, the National Wood Flooring Association’s (NWFA) tradeshow floor, being held April 28 to May 1 here, has sold out with 462 booths registered to 257 companies.

This year’s Expo will celebrate NWFA’s 30th anniversary and promises a tremendous lineup of keynote speakers including Oscar-winning mill owner Bill Courtney and St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak.

“We really value early indicators such as this to let us know we are on track,” said Michael Martin, NWFA president & CEO. “The industry has come together, especially in recent years, and set an increasingly high bar for Expo. We aim to exceed it. During the past three years, we have enjoyed significant growth. With the continued support and confidence of our members, the NWFA is poised for another successful year.”

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NWFA: Wood Flooring Expo continues on growth path

Volume 27/Number 26; April 28/May 5, 2014

By Steven Feldman

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 2.51.34 PMNashville, Tenn.—The National Wood Flooring Association’s (NWFA) Wood Flooring Expo continues to capitalize not only on a growing economy, but also leadership’s mission to add more value to its members. This could not have been better illustrated at the 2014 expo held here April 16-18, where attendance topped the 3,000 mark for the first time in more than five years—30% above last year’s tally.

In addition, the annual trade show held April 17 featured 20 more suppliers than last year with 51 first-time exhibitors.

Michael Martin, president and CEO, NWFA, told FCNews he was especially pleased with the fact that 10% of the attendees were first timers at the show. “This adds value to the exhibitors, who cannot say they are seeing the same people all the time.”

In actuality, the Wood Flooring Expo is on a significant three-year growth trajectory. Attendance rose 30% in 2012, 20% in 2013 and now 30% in 2014. Martin cited several reasons. Of course, the recovery from the extended economic downturn is one, “although that can hurt us, too. Some people didn’t come because their business is too good. So we have gone from ‘We don’t have the money’ to ‘We don’t have the time.’”

Another factor driving the show’s success is the positive response to its overhaul in 2012. “We’ve tweaked the show a bit each year since then, but we’ve found a formula that works for our industry that we’re pretty happy with,” Martin said.

Changes for 2014 included additional trade show hours, as well as expanded education opportunities. “This year, we tried something new in response to attendee surveys,” Martin said. “We added a three-hour Wood Flooring University track on the last day of the show to give our attendees a deep dive into issues affecting their businesses. We had tracks for certification, contractors, and for distributors and manufacturers.” In addition, the NWFA added a mill tour to its program, hosted by Somerset Hardwood Flooring, in conjunction with two continuing education units for architects and designers. “This was the first time we’ve offered this kind of tour to reinforce our education sessions, and we had a waiting list of people wanting to participate.”

Another education change was adding the NWFA Certified Professionals (NWFACP) Symposium to the front end of the show and bringing in speakers with expertise in areas impacting certified professionals. NWFACP covers a variety of topics required for conducting thorough inspections, including inspection tools, photography, concrete, moisture testing, production, adhesives, leveling compounds, report writing, legal ramifications, professionalism and handling complaints. “This helped increase symposium attendance by more than 50% from 2013,” Martin said. “We had about 225 people participating.”

Education and networking have always been hallmarks of the NWFA event. “Members appreciate the peer-to-peer relationships so they can learn from each other,” Martin noted. “And the expo provides new product exposure and the opportunity to view new technologies and learn new ways of doing things.”

Last but not least, Martin said the location had a lot to do with the show’s success. “Nashville is a great city for us. It is attached to six states, meaning it is a drivable city for a good number of our members.”

Initiatives for 2014Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 2.52.07 PM

Martin pointed to a pair of initiatives on which the NWFA will focus in 2014. Not surprisingly, both involve education. For more than 25 years, the NWFA has been training and educating wood flooring professionals from all over the world in the installation, sanding, finishing and sales of wood flooring products. In fact, since 1995, the NWFA has offered 157 schools dealing with wood flooring exclusively, and nearly 4,400 students have attended to advance their hands-on skills and wood flooring knowledge.

“Moving forward, our biggest initiative will be our online platform,” Martin said. “We believe there’s a real opportunity here for many retailers because the likelihood of a salesperson making $15 an hour coming to one of our shows is small. But we can still help educate that salesperson on the right applications for wood, how to upsell the category, etc., [through an online component].”

This continues the evolution of the NWFA’s education initiatives, in which it was once solely national in scope with training workshops held in St. Louis and Las Vegas. But as the economy struggled, people in need of training were less able to afford the expense of travel, so the program was restructured to develop regional events that would minimize travel expenses. To illustrate, this year the NWFA has scheduled more than 40 weeks of training in 20 locations. The format features more than a dozen one-day workshops that allow students to customize training.

“The regional piece is still important, but the training will be integrated where some will be workshops, some will be hands on and some will be online,” Martin explained. “We want to provide a complete experience. We can cut out days of travel by putting some components online. It’s because we are competing against time away from the job site.”

The second educational initiative launched at the Wood Flooring Expo was the expansion of the NWFA’s scholarship program under its new Education & Research Foundation. A Legacy Scholarship program will provide meaningful financial assistance to wood flooring professionals throughout the world. There will be an annual campaign for funding the scholarship and research foundation.

The program started earlier this year with a vision from Tommy Maxwell, owner of Maxwell Hardwood in Monticello, Ark. “About a year ago, a good friend of mine, Bob Haggard [owner of Hassel & Hughes Lumber Co. in Collinwood, Tenn.] passed away,” Maxwell said. “I thought we should start a scholarship program in his name. When I mentioned it to the board and they started kicking the idea around, suddenly Dick Coates [Golden State Flooring] passed away, and we all said it should be bigger than one man. So, with Don Finkell’s guidance, we were able to restructure the scholarship programs to allow people to nominate someone to be recognized with a legacy scholarship by donating $5,000 in that person’s memory.

“Then, I started looking back and found all these people who had passed in the prior two or three years. These are people who not only contributed to the industry, but also fought to keep it alive when it almost died out. When we got through, it was 13 people and $65,000.” Derr Flooring also wanted to honor Chester Derr, which brought the inaugural rollout to 14 people honored.

How it works: The scholarship money will go into an NWFA fund, which will be administered by a scholarship committee. The best part? Not a penny of the principal will be spent—just the earnings. “This is not a depleting scholarship,” Martin said. Maxwell believes the fund could collect between $200,000 and $300,000 within the next year or so.

Other NWFA initiatives for 2014 include:

•Social media: The NWFA is working on “building a presence” on all social media platforms, Martin said. The association now has two dedicated resources to social media. “If Pinterest continues to grow, it’s great for the flooring industry because of the visual aspect. I think the more visual social media is, the more successful it is for our purposes. For example, we can showcase the different species.”

•Relationships: The NWFA is putting effort into building closer relationships with the other flooring- and hardwood-related industries. “We are a small piece of two industries, so we want to make sure we are aligned to create synergies and eliminate duplication,” Martin explained.

•Truth About Trees: This is the program designed to get the NWFA’s message out to school-age children about the benefits of properly harvesting trees as a means to obtain all the necessary items we use in our everyday lives. “Children grow up thinking that cutting down a tree is bad,” Martin said. “We have more trees today in the U.S. than we did 100 years ago. It’s a great, renewable program as long as responsible forestry is practiced.”

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Nominations made for NWFA board of directors

Screen Shot 2014-03-05 at 11.02.39 AMSt. Louis, Mo.—The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) has made nominations for its board of directors.

Directors are voted into office by the NWFA membership to serve a three-year term. Ex-Officios are appointed by the board for one-year terms.

Nominees for an initial three-year term include Julie Russell of Glitsa in Seattle, and Scott Sandlin of Shaw Industries in Dalton.

The Nominating Committee has recommended the following Ex-Officio directors: Brenda Cashion of Pinnacle Interior Elements in Carrollton, Texas; Jim Gould of the Floor Covering Institute in St. Louis; Avi Hadad of Avi’s Hardwood Floors in El Sobrante, Calif.; Keith Long of Thunderheart Flooring in Greeley, Colo., and Jon Smith of Smith Flooring in Mountain View, Mo.

Nominations will be presented to the membership at the NWFA’s 2014 Wood Flooring Expo’s opening general session on Thurs., April 17, at the Music City Center in Nashville.


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HPS Schönox's MSP Classic debuts at NWFA Wood Flooring Expo

Dallas – HPS Schönox is bringing a new technology to the flooring industry with the launch of its new MSP Classic universal wood flooring adhesive at this week’s NWFA Wood Flooring Expo.  The new product uses silane modified polymers, the most advanced technology in adhesives.  “We are continuing to introduce strong solutions for flooring projects taking a fresh look at ways to improve installations,” remarked Enos Farnsworth, president of HPS Schönox.  “MSP Classic improves on every facet of the wood flooring adhesive process.”  Continue reading HPS Schönox's MSP Classic debuts at NWFA Wood Flooring Expo

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NWFA Expo: Early Bird Pricing expires soon

We are well on our way to the 2013 NWFA Wood Flooring Expo, April 2 to 5! That also means that Early Bird Pricing expires very soon! January 15 is the last day to receive the best deal on year’s Expo. Take at look at your savings options as an NWFA member: Continue reading NWFA Expo: Early Bird Pricing expires soon

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NWFA and WFCA offer special membership

Add both NWFA and WFCA credentials to your resume! Both organizations serve the purpose of investing in your training, so there’s never been a better time for you to enhance your skills.

Through a special partnership, you can join both the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) and the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) for only $500 (a $200 savings) through December 31, 2012.

When you join, you are eligible to apply for a WFCA annual Trade Scholarship for approved training events, completely recouping your membership costs. WFCA Trade Scholarships reimburse half of the cost of any approved training event, up to $500 per year. This scholarship can be used to attend the NWFA Wood Flooring Expo, April 2-5 in Dallas, TX, or any 2013 NWFA Technical or Certification training sessions.*

Call the NWFA membership department at 800-422-4556 (USA & Canada) or 636-519-9663 (international) for further details.

*WFCA Trade scholarships may also be redeemed for other WFCA-approved programs, subject to WFCA terms and conditions.

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NWFA announces keynote speaker for Wood Flooring Expo

St. Louis The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) is pleased to announce that Howard Putnum, former CEO of Southwest Airlines, will be the keynote speaker at its 2013 Wood Flooring Expo.  The event will be held April 2-5 in Dallas at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center. Continue reading NWFA announces keynote speaker for Wood Flooring Expo

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NWFA 2012 Wood Flooring Expo showing significant growth

St. Louis, Mo. — The National Wood Flooring Association 2012 Wood Flooring Expo is showing significant signs of growth over the NWFA’s recent shows. The show currently has booked 70% of its trade show hall with three months still left to fill the show floor. The show floor also will have 100 more booths than the 2011 show in San Diego. Attendance is ahead of last year’s pace as well by more than a third. Continue reading NWFA 2012 Wood Flooring Expo showing significant growth