Jane Walker congratulates FCI senior editor Howard Olansky for 50 years of dedication to the floor covering industry.

Dedicated installers from around the nation converged in Arlington, Texas for the 13th annual CFI Convention. Attendees were able to network and attend a variety of educational seminars, as well as learn about the latest installation-related products and services.

Jake Gregory of Sponge Cushion, Inc. presents new products during the CFI associate showcase.

The World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) and the International Certified Floorcovering Installers Association (CFI) announced a unique new cooperative arrangement between the two organizations. The WFCA will contract its technical services to CFI, including its technical services hotline and installation training programs. Jon Namba, currently WFCA's technical services director, will move over to CFI into the organization's newly created post of executive director.

A group photo of attendees at the 13th annual CFI Convention

Jim Walker, CEO of CFI, stated Namba would assume some of his responsibilities in the day-to-day operations of CFI, including the responsibility for installation training. "Jon's five-year stint with WFCA and his wealth of knowledge about all facets of installation will be a tremendous asset to CFI moving forward," Walker stated.

Namba, a Master-II installer, is a recent past president of CFI, and is certified to install every type of floor covering material. Jon is considered an expert in the field and one of the best installers in the country. He won first place in the carpet installation contest at Surfaces 2001 prior to joining the WFCA staff, and writes a column for Floor Covering Installer magazine.

Jon Namba, newly appointed executive director of CFI, presents Howard Olansky with a plaque of appreciation for his service to the floor covering industry.

Davis stated this new arrangement was a "win-win" for all concerned. "I've always believed in working in partnership with organizations whenever possible, and there are certain things that CFI can do more effectively than WFCA can," Davis said. "It makes good sense for us to tap into their resources and further cement the ties we have together."

Namba is excited about the possibilities that are ahead for CFI, particularly with additional support from WFCA. "I know WFCA wants CFI to be as successful as it can be and is committed to supporting the further growth and influence of CFI," Namba said. "For my part, I look forward to working with all concerned to improve installation and advance the lives of those who make their living installing floor covering."

Leon Harrison of Floors to Go addresses the membership as the new CFI president.

The financial details of the contractual arrangements between the two associations were not released. It is anticipated the new working arrangement will be in place by mid-September, 2006.

During the convention, the new executive board, board of directors and committee members for the coming year were named, including the new president, Leon Harrison, CFI Master-II Installer and president of Floors-to-Go in Tucson, Ariz. Daris Mulkin, CFI Master-II Installer, and Suzy Namba, CFI Certified Installer, will co-chair the Certification committee as changes are in place for this program also. Under the direction of Jon Namba, the CFI training programs will become a major focus.

Howard Olansky, FCI; Matt Spieler, FCN; Dave Foster, FloorDaily.net; Kim Gavin, FCW; and Kemp Harr, Floor Focus, participated in a press forum on the history of the flooring industry.

The board of directors appointed to serve through 2009 are Jodi Bluejacket, Installation Management Systems (Texas), Ben Boatwright, Romanoff Flooring (Tenn.), Craig Bloom, Star Lumber (Kan.); James Mullins, Shaw (Ga.); Danny Sherman, Megs Installations (Ga.); Bobby Schurman, Schurman Enterprises (Colo.); Tom Cudney, Kool Floors (Neb.); Charles Pruitt, Pruitt Installation Inc. (Okla.) and James Schnasa, Floorcoverings Done Wright (Ariz.).

Servet Dag and Ken Brown recently achieved Master-II status, the most difficult level a CFI installer can attain.

The Charles R. Gress Award, which is presented annually to installers for outstanding commitment and service to promote quality flooring installation, was awarded to David Coley, McCloud, Okla.; Charles Parsley, Pueblo, Colo. and Lloyd Englebrecht of Farmington, N.M.

Pictured are the plaques Powernail Co. founders Edgar and Carl Anstett received when they were inducted recently into the Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association (MFMA) Hall of Fame. As co-designers and developers of power nailing and cleat technology, the Anstett brothers were honored "for their important contributions to the wood flooring industry," the association said. The Anstetts started Powernail in 1946 and in one year received their first patent for the Powernail wood floor nailing machine and the Powercleat nail. Today, the business operates out of a larger facility in Lake Zurich, Ill., and is owned and managed by Carl's sons Tom and David Anstett.

Fred Chastain announced the recipients of the 50+ CFI Certification Jacket. Receiving the jackets were Suzy Namba (Calif.), Michael Hetts (Pa.) and Kelly Huddleston (Colo.). This award is presented to installers who donate time, money and talent at a minimum of 50 events for the promotion of the CFI certification programs by traveling to events and sharing their expertise and knowledge with flooring installers.

Jim Walker teaches his grandson, Aiden, a few tricks about shuffleboard.

Members of the media presented a press panel highlighting the events of the past, present and their individual thoughts on the future of the floor covering industry. Participating were: Howard Olansky, senior editor of Floor Covering Installer; Kim Gavin, editor of Floor Covering Weekly; Matt Spieler, senior editor of Floor Covering News; Kemp Harr, part owner and co-publisher of Floor Focus; and Dave Foster, host ofFLOORDAILY.net. The lively and interesting presentations contributed numerous years of experience and expertise in reporting the important events of the industry. Howard Olansky and Al Wahnon were both recognized for over 50 years of involvement.

D. Christopher Davis, CEO of the World Floor Covering Association shared the Floor Covering Industry Foundation's goals and methods of assisting those less fortunate. Tony Buckhardt highlighted the donations awarded through the foundation that was established in memory of his father, George Buckhardt. Throughout the convention, donations were received from the members through various opportunities. CFI's contribution this year was almost $11,000, which is divided equally between the two organizations. A beautiful area rug contributed by Glenn and Adam Olsen of Realfloors.com, New York City brought over $4,500.00 at the auction. Jim Walker, CFI Auctioneer, praised the enthusiastic giving of the members. The children's theme area rug will be donated to the Scottish Rite Children's Hospital in Texas.

A variety of associate seminars offered attendees a chance to learn the latest techniques, tools and products. Participating were AAT, Accor Hotels, APAC, Ardex, Armstrong, Better Tools, Bond/Instabind, Bostik, Crain, Dependable, Halex, Johnsonite, Mapei, Orcon, Roberts/QEP, Seam Master, Koolglide, Sponge Cushion Inc., Taylor Tools, USG, Behr Tools and Natural Fibers Training and Certification.

The Carpet Manufacturers Panel members were Paul Carrell, Patcraft/Shaw; Ken Downey, Beaulieu, James Mullins, Shaw; Randall Green, Mohawk and Andrew Smith of Mohawk. They shared information that assists installers to work as a partner with the carpet manufacturer.

Michael Lassetter and Bill Dewald of Halex Corp. buy raffle tickets from Glenn Olsen and Stephen Burke. All donations went to the FCIF and the George Buckhardt Memorial Fund.

Tim Provence and Scott Parks of Armstrong presented new items and installation techniques for resilient and wood products. The demonstrations highlighted the requirements for working with the new entries into the marketplace.

Michael Hetts and Jane Walker's "CFI Business Seminar" offered tips on conducting a successful and profitable flooring installation business. The book that was available for the attendees detailed many aspects of a profitable business.

The excitement of meeting new friends and rekindling existing friendships annually at the CFI Convention combined with the opportunity to learn more about the installation field, products and techniques made this convention one that leaves a lasting reminder throughout the year of the importance of quality flooring installation.