CFI has lost another of our outstanding leaders; Andrew Aufiero lived CFI! He was a true flooring craftsman. He knew his trade and shared it gladly with others. Andrew was a little more than frustrated when installers would not do the work correctly and customer satisfaction meant nothing to them. He was CFI! He lived the CFI motto, “If it is to be, it is up to me.” With his wife, Cynthia, they made it happen.
In 1993 on a sunny Saturday afternoon, Andrew called the CFI office and Jim Walker just happened to pick up the telephone. They talked for over two hours about what else -- The state of flooring installation! Andrew was not one to take his membership lightly and before he became involved with CFI, he was going to be certain it was an organization that was as he stated, “going somewhere.” Jim “sold” him and he registered immediately and at the first Pittsburgh CFI Certification, he arrived with his wife Cynthia and left as Master Installer #220 and she with #680.
There was no doubt that this loving and caring couple would someday play a major role with CFI. They returned home to New Jersey and completely changed the way they looked at carpet installation and never looked back. They would tell of how installers and dealers made fun of their new-found membership and yet, went on to become the driving force behind the largest certification in the nation and at one time, proclaiming more certified installers in their area than any in the USA. They organized the New Jersey CFI Chapter and conducted more installation seminars than one can count. They were ever so willing to share with anyone who seriously wanted to improve their skills, knowledge or learn to conduct a more profitable business.
Immediately, they became a part of the CFI Certification Team traveling the nation for years, donating their time, talents and money to help others to understand the importance of an organization that focused on the needs of the flooring installers. They were indeed a TEAM in every sense of the meaning. You never saw Andrew that Cynthia was not somewhere very close.
Daris Mulkin told us, “Andrew and Cynthia are the reason Karen and I became a part of CFI. We were at Surfaces, shortly after being certified and I was wearing my CFI shirt and did not know anyone. From a distance we heard, “Wait up, CFI!” It was these two who immediately made us feel welcome and encouraged us to become a part of their beloved organization.” Can’t you just hear this happening?
Fun loving, he knew the meaning of this. When they married on May 11, 1997, they sent a photo of them holding a Crain 520 Swivel head power stretcher. Andrew wanted to get married at the CFI Convention with all the installers holding power stretchers for them to walk under dressed in the finest of wedding attire. Of course, that didn’t happen. But, that was Andrew!
Andrew was never afraid to voice his opinion if he thought something was not good for the association. He never backed down if he felt he was right. He was so proud to be a part of an organization that makes a difference. When the opportunity came to present the Master-II program, he was at the first certification proudly displaying his skills. When he was needed to conduct a certification event anywhere, he and Cynthia were there. For any type of CFI program, these two were counted on to always do more than their share.
He and Cynthia sent so many fun gifts to the CFI office. The Superman leather jacket for Jim with the big “S,” that Jim told him he wasn’t brave enough to wear. The wedding photo with the powerstretcher; the endless number of cards for every occasion; the CFI bears and the list goes on. His memory is everywhere you look and shall always be there.
When he became employed by Atlas Carpet Mills in July 2000, he was proud to represent what he called, “The finest carpet company on the planet.” He gave more than 150% in an attempt to help installers understand the basics of patterned carpet installation. Atlas stood by him during this illness and he wanted everyone to know what a great firm he had the honor of working for in technical services.
He was the proudest when he made a speech following his election as CFI President in 2004. It was so obvious that the words came from the heart. He served two years in this capacity and definitely made a difference.
When he and Cynthia purchased their dream home On Big Pine Lake in Browns Mills, New Jersey several years ago, he was once again very proud and invited everyone to visit.
The illness became very advanced during the final months of 2006 and continued to accelerate during this year. He was so concerned that he could not do his “part.” This really bothered him and we continually told him that he was always doing more than asked. It was obvious that life was becoming more difficult. The struggle to find a remedy took the toll on both he and Cynthia. They tried to so hard to find a solution that would work.
It’s hard to believe that we will never again hear, “Hey, CFI!” said the Andrew “way.”
He was awaiting a liver transplant at the time of his death and had been to the hospital just a few days earlier in anticipation of receiving one, but that did not happen. He was sent home and seemed to be somewhat better. His attitude was the best. However, this weekend, it all changed when he returned to the hospital in pain and died with his family present that loved him so much on Saturday night, July 28th.
He leaves his wonderful and loving wife, Cynthia, two daughters, Anneliese Aufiero, Autumn Joy and her husband Craig Pittelli, a son William Powell and two granddaughters who adored him, Savannah and Isabella. He is also survived by his mother, Elizabeth Flanly, three brothers and their families: Joseph, Raymond and Patrick and many, many friends. Andrew will be remembered in a celebration of his life party in Columbus, NJ on Saturday, August 4th, 2007. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the International Certified Floorcovering Installers Association (CFI).