The CFI Leadership Conference was sponsored by WFCA to develop leaders for the industry and to promote the spirit of teamwork.

First time Associates Bostik, Inc.

Scott Banda and Mike Bluette presenting installation tips.

CFI members and guests arrived from many states and two foreign countries to make this year just as exciting and educational as conventions in the past. A total of 274 representatives from the flooring industry took advantage of another opportunity to increase their knowledge of the installation trade.

Charles R.Gress Award Recipients:

Dave Edwards #1253 (MD), Tom Cudney #2567 (NE) and Kevin Twohig #8404 (WI)

The Convention began with the Associate Members who sponsor the anxiously awaited collector's CFI Convention Jacket and participate in the educational seminars. The CFI Convention jacket is worn proudly by the members throughout the year as a way to inform other installers of industry members who support professional flooring installation.

Dave Forrest shows off the National Carpet Equipment tools to Ray Edwards of Sumrall, Mississippi.

"CFI is a giving organization," Past President Jon Namba, stated. "Each member has something to share; something that will enhance the value of another installer. This is what has made CFI strong." He recognized the members who were among the 55 first timers, a record for convention attendance.

Adhesive Manufacturers Panel:

Dennis Bergstrom, Chicago Adhesive; Michael Crouch, Ardex; Craig Dahl, APAC; Benny Wood, AAT; Jim Smith, Roberts/QEP; Scott Banda, Bostik; Jose Piedra, Mapei. Not Shown: Richard Tanski, Dependable.

Associate Educational Seminars

Each associate presented a short seminar to small groups of attendees. It was an opportunity to promote products and to explain the advantages of their use for the flooring installer. Several years ago, the exhibitor's format was changed to become more of an educational presentation. It has become one of the most interesting segments of the annual convention.

"This is our first convention and we will definitely be returning," said Scott Banda of Bostik, Inc. "The CFI educational format should be used by all in the industry as a venue for the manufacturers to promote products that we believe are essential to installation. We are definitely impressed and found the convention to be more than expected."

John Draper (FL), David Juart (PA), Doss Davis (MO), Tony Buckhardt (IN), Brian Artioli (TN), Chris Nolan (TN) playing Texas Hold-em.

Seminars and Workshops

Armstrong conducted their Wood Certification for 25 installers at no cost to the installers. It was a two-day event presented by Tim Provence, Dick Schmidt, Scott Granger, Mark Lamanno and Ken Simmons; all experts in this field. Ray Edwards of Mississippi said, "I can't believe that any installer would miss this convention with all the knowledge that is available. This year, the opportunity to earn my wood certification at no additional expense to me because of the Armstrong Program is a real plus. It just gets better every year."

Seminars available to participants included: Carpet Facts - What You Must Know by Jake Gregory of Sponge Cushion Inc.; Hands-on Handsewing Course by Daris Mulkin, Doss Davis, Jim Schnasa, Alan Lagatore and Fred Chastain; New Age Technology by Len Perkins, Rob Rothfuss, Paul Vidor and Richard Kahrs; Know Those Job Conditions Before You Start by Dan Louis of Laser Industries; Patterned Carpet Problem Solving Techniques by Andrew Aufiero, Jon Namba and Robert Varden; Protimeters and Calcium Chloride Testing by Ray Knapp and Tom Rochenski; Everything You Need to Know About Natural Fibers by Jerry Miller and Rick Fields; Glue-Gun Seaming Techniques by Michael Hetts; Resilient Installation Tips by Joe Cea of Congoleum; and The Woven Commercial Carpet Workshop by Mack Sherrif of Mohawk

CFI Associates enjoying a great Convention: Michael Hetts, Crain; Larry Lynch, Shur-Fast; John Fisher, Shur-Fast

Jim Lee, on behalf of FIANA, donated to one very fortunate installer, an all expense paid registration to the 2006 CFI Convention won by Roland Thompson. FIANA is celebrating 11 years of contributions to the distributor network.

Enjoying the games competition sponsored by the CFI Associates:

Jim Schnasa (AZ), Jesus Rosas (CA), Jon Namba (CA)

The 12th Convention ended with the CFI Auction that is a highlight each year of the commitment of the members to helping those during difficult times. Jim Walker, the auctioneer armed with a beautiful area rug created by Adam Olsen of NY and three antique tools donated by Daris Mulkin of Michigan began the auction.

Jim stated, "The spirit of the CFI installers just continues to grow. The knowledge and skill associated with this group is unmatched in the industry. The most important part is the members' willingness to share this with others and to assist them in their time of need."

The evening ended with the individual CFI Chapters challenges to support the love gift. A total of over $8,000 was raised which will be evenly divided between the Floor Covering Industry Foundation and the George Buckhardt Memorial Installer Fund.