From learning about carpet recycling to tile failures to patterned carpet to a Haunted Pub Crawl, those who attended the 26th Annual FCICA convention got a taste of it all in Savannah, GA.

For the attendees, it was a great mix of topics, starting with a presentation from the Carpet & Rug Institute, on “CARE – The Carpet America Recovery Effort: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle;” contractors learned the current status of recycling efforts across America and what they can do to help. Since the Tile program was recently added to FCICA’s FIT training program, FCICA offered attendees two seminars. The first was an introduction to tile entitled “Should I add Tile to my Commercial Business” by Alan Beswick of J W Floor Covering. This seminar was particularly helpful because it focused on the mistakes that are usually made in estimating, how they may be corrected, and what specific markets should be pursued and some that should be avoided.

A more advanced seminar, “Major Tile Failures that Occur in the Field and How to Avoid Them” was by Robert Daniels, Executive Director Emeritus, Tile Council of North America. At least one member was heard to say, “I wish I had known about this earlier; I would have avoided replacing a job.” Marty Anderson of National Carpet Equipment brought attendees back together for his “Floor preparation from A to Z.” This excellent, dynamic presentation traced the use of specialized equipment for preparing floors for a variety of floor coverings. Anderson’s experience was obvious as he talked about the right and wrong ways removal of old flooring, glue, and the newer concrete curing sealers from concrete substrates.

After this final presentation of the day, the entire group cruised down the river for an unforgettable evening along the brand new Savannah River Queen. And that was only day one!

The next day started off with a standing room only session from our own FCICA convention Chairman, Sim Crisler of LGM & Associates. Sim is an expert in working with patterned carpet and his seminar, “Pattern Carpet – Start with the End in Mind,” featured hands-on techniques, pictures of various carpet types, pattern variations, solutions for pattern carpet installations, and was a definite crowd pleaser. Next the group attended FCICA’s annual Table Top Trade Show where 19 Associates presented their company’s new products, tools and systems to contractors and consultants. According to Ralph Frye of Mats Inc, new FCICA Board Member and Table Top Exhibitor: “Congratulations [to FCICA] on a ‘better than ever’ convention this year. I was very pleased with the increased contractor turnout this year and with the hope that this gives us all something to build upon [in our business].”

The final presentation of the day was from FCICA’s own general counsel, Sloan Bailey, on “Consequential Damages and Personal Injuries – Contract Provisions That Work.” Sloan’s comments about some of his cases, funny experiences, and hard-hitting advice on problem areas in contracts kept everyone’s interest. His suggestions for giving clear warranty provisions, minimizing contract risks, and being wary of “performance specification” clauses were particularly applicable to the contractor members. After the final questions about contracts were over, everyone had the option of a Savannah History Tour or seeing Savannah on their own; attendees wound down by having dinner on their own before attending the Haunted Pub Crawl that evening.

Those that were able to stay an extra day enjoyed golf, horseback riding on the beach, or just “golf cart riding around” on the very popular Daufuskie Island. FCICA’s annual convention offers network opportunities, educational sessions for today’s commercial flooring contractor and a great way to catch up with FCICA friends and make new ones. Make sure you don’t miss out for next year. For more information visit FCICA’s website at www.fcica.com.