Moving forward into the first year of the new millennium, the Floor Covering Installation Contractors Association is proud to be part of what seems to be one of the holdout groups of a declining “boom economy.” Many of us have recently completed the hectic summer months of our schedule, and it seems that nothing has changed in many of our markets. Even as the “dotcoms” continue to dwindle, the construction market seems to have maintained a steady pace in most areas.

However, we must realize this slowdown may eventually catch up to us as well. Therefore, as installation professionals, we must focus on and continue to do the things that have made us successful and benchmark the success of others.

Most of our businesses seem to be limited by the number of qualified installers we employ. The need to continually cultivate and bring new employees into the trade has never been greater. The work ethic of today’s youth has changed significantly from that of our fathers. Economic conditions and lifestyles for the past twenty years have caused a noticeable shift in the workforce, and in the desire to enter certain types of vocations. Therefore, we are not only faced with the task of selling to our valued customers, we must also sell our vocation to the younger generation.

While many companies continue to use the independent subcontractor for installations, many others have elected to employ their own workforce and fully embrace them with company benefits, bonuses and retirement plans. As we search for employees in the skilled-installation pool, we must recognize that our competition seeks the same quality individuals we do. Many of these companies are large, multi-national organizations that offer a complete career path and security for employees and their families. It is this competition that will make all of us better employers and, eventually, more successful business entities by making us advance the mark for all flooring professionals.

The FCICA has always found it essential to assist its membership in continuous improvement and training by offering opportunities for learning. The need for change has never been more important. Entering our 2001 fiscal year, we have added several new members and continue to draw interest from others. And as we continue to grow, so does our knowledge base; there is no better way to adapt and improve your business than to learn from the successes and failures of others.

I would like to personally thank all of our faithful members who have continued to assist us in maintaining the skills necessary to evolve in an ever-changing market. I would also like to remind everyone of upcoming events. Be sure to mark your calendars so you will not miss any of our learning opportunities.

We will hold our mid–year meeting in St. Paul, Minn., Sept. 28 – 30. Our next annual convention will be held in Washington D.C., March 20-24, 2002. This is one of the most beneficial events the FCICA offers. We will also exhibit at Surfaces this year, and we welcome any potential member to come by our booth to find out more about our organization.