“Pool excellence is not about excellent pool. It’s about being somebody.” -- “Fast Eddie” Felson in “The Color of Money.”

Excellence can be described as a level of attainment. Excellence is an end-point on which value is placed by the individual, his peers and society as a whole.

What that value is, well, that’s the subjective part. Some regard Michaelangelo’s David as the definitive expression of the male physique; others see a block of perfectly good marble wasted on a naked guy.

The 2002 Installation Excellence Awards are one way in which excellence in the floor covering installation industry can be recognized.

Where’s the value in it? It lies in the individual installer who puts their effort out there for others to see and critique. It’s found in the thousands of readers who spend an extra minute or two with the magazine when they see a project they admire. It comes in the respectful word or nod that comes with the appreciation that one professional has for the work of another.

It also comes with cash. Let’s not forget the cash. FCI, in conjunction with National Floor Trends, presented the Installation Excellence Awards in 2000. And, I’ll admit, the response was much greater than I ever expected, as was the quality of the submissions. There were some less-than-attractive images, to be sure, but the vast majority were highly skilled, well-crafted installations that any installer would be proud to call there own. In fact, 2000 Residential Grand Prize Winner Mark Zepplin describes his experience in this issue’s “Letter to the Editor”.

It is because of that response that FCI is bringing the Installation Excellence Awards back for 2002.

Everyone knows that there are top-of-the-line installations going on every day; those are the projects that we want to showcase and reward. Promoting excellence through installation is one of the cornerstones of FCI, and this is a major block in the foundation.

Now, what’s in it for you? Ten finalists will be showcased during 2002, two in each of the first five issues of FCI. The earlier your entry is received, the better chance it has of making the cut. Each finalist receives $250. The grand prize winner will be chosen from the 10 finalists, and will have his or her installation featured in the November/December 2002 issue of FCI. That lucky soul receives airfare for two and hotel accommodations for three days in Las Vegas during Surfaces 2003, plus $700 in cash.

Not too bad for filling out an application and obtaining some pictures of a job that you would be doing anyway, is it? For the rest of the details, look at page.

Is installation excellence about excellent installation? Perhaps. It might be the money, or the recognition, or the prestige. It could be the feeling of a job well done.

What is it for you?