Associates presented new products and solutions during the Associate Showcase.

Associate sponsored fun night out was a hit at the new Power & Light District  in Kansas City.

CFI’s 15th Anniversary Celebration was held July 31-August 2, in Kansas City, and by all accounts, the convention was a huge success. Opening the conference, Sam Allman of Allman Consulting and sponsored by MOHAWK Carpet and the World Floor Covering Association, presented an exciting Leadership Conference.  One of the most motivating speakers to address the group, Allman promoted the importance of making positive things occur.   “Take action!  Do something!  Do anything, but go to work on you.  Make yourself better.  Success, it’s up to you.”  Allman continued, “I encourage you to target your markets and work with dealers who share your goal of customer satisfaction and avoid those who do not.”

Christopher Davis, CEO of the World Floor Covering Association, the sponsor of the annual Leadership Conference, said, “Invest in yourselves.  Make it happen.  WFCA invests in you because we see results.  It is all about results.” Davis continued, “Sam Allman hit the nail on the head.  Take ownership and make it happen.”

Those who attended the Leadership Conference receive a WFCA-CFI shirt, manual and the opportunity to learn how to be successful and receive motivation for the coming year.  A conference that in past years was a separate part of the Convention, because of its importance has become a major part of the event.  Installers who could not attend the entire Convention were in attendance for the Leadership Conference.

The incoming President, Roy Davison of Chillicothe, MO, CFI Master Installer #25 was elected to succeed Leon Harrison of Tucson, AZ.  Roy is a member of the CFI Certification Team, a Senior Certifier, Karastan Certifier and proficient in all types of flooring materials.  He presented the group with goals to achieve for the coming year.  Robert Varden, CFI Master-II Installer of Rockwall, TX serves as the new Vice-President and Alan Ellis, of Council Bluffs, IA, Master Installer and owner of Alan Enterprises, will fill the position of Secretary.   Tony Buckhardt, Master-II installer was appointed by the Executive Board to lead the CFI Certification Team Committee during the coming year.  Buckhardt presented programs that will enhance the value of training and certification.

Tony Buckhardt, Carpet Cushions and Supplies of Indiana; Ray Knapp of Taylor Tools, Dan Louis of Laser Square Products and Glenn Olsen of Atlas Carpet were recognized for their contributions during the past three years as the new appointees to the Board of Directors were introduced.   The incoming members of the CFI Board of Directors are Ralph Richins of Roberts/QEP, Roger Richardson, Director of Installation and Customer Relations for Molyneaux Tile Carpet and Flooring in Pennsylvania and David Garden, President of Installation Services LLC of Michigan.

Following the group photo and luncheon, the first session of the four installation seminars were conducted.  Dick Schmidt of Johnsonite shared techniques for the installation of Stairwell Systems.  Schmidt demonstrated the skills required to avoid difficulties with ADA or tripping hazards for older adults.   Rick Herr of Armstrong shared the latest information concerning the High Moisture VCT Installations and the RH Probe Test ASTM-F 2170.   Substrate Preparation 101, The Foundation to a Perfect Floor workshop was conducted by Jeff Johnson of Mapei.  Joe Cea of Congoleum shared installation techniques in a hands-on workshop for Dura Ceramic tiles.   

In the afternoon, the four sessions of CFI Associate Workshops were conducted.  New products, tools and techniques were shared with the attendees.  These sessions are always a highlight of the Convention.  The winner of the drawing for $500 Cash for Gas was won by Tony Viers of Missouri for those who attended all sessions.  The 15th Anniversary Jacket sponsored by the associate members was presented to all CFI Certified Installers.  Because of the generosity of the associates, the attendees have the opportunity to participate in many functions and receive gifts that enhance the value of their certification.

Bernie Madden, CEO of Madden McFarland Interiors of Leawood, KS welcomed the 20 First Timers who were from many areas of the nation. “CFI has something for everyone.  I guarantee you will leave here with more knowledge than you have imagined.  CFI is a special organization that is dedicated to the success of its members.  We expect you to become an important part of this group.  Your badge and convention materials all tell you that you are a “Very Important Piece” or an “Essential Piece” of this great organization.  We mean that and look forward to great things happening for CFI because of you.”

Daris Mulkin awarded Robert Varden the 50+ CFI Certification Jacket that is earned by volunteering at a minimum of 50 CFI Training and Certification events.  Twenty-five event participation pins were also distributed this year.  Members of the Team receive a pin for each group of participations.  Jim Walker (262), John McHale (171), Jane Walker (167), Jon Namba (144), Terry Dollinger (138), Bob Gillespie (130), Daris Mulkin (121) and Karen Mulkin (115). 

Bob Gillespie announced the winners of the Charles R. Gress Award, the highest recognition of installation excellence in the industry.  All past recipients of the award were on stage.   Gary Bedrosian of Kuske Company (CA), Herm Claussen of Carpet Cushions and Supplies (MO) and Ralph Richins of Roberts/QEP (MO). 

Jodi BlueJacket of Installation Management Services of Texas was surprised with by Jim Walker with a leather and wool CFI Jacket for outstanding service and dedication.  Ms. BlueJacket has been instrumental in developing the donations to those who encounter difficult times, enthusiastically supporting the First Timers, providing gifts for the raffles and being the spirit of encouragement for the CFI members.

Carol Wilkins of Hanley Wood shared the Surfaces 2009 programs and highlights.  The drawing for an all-expense paid trip to the 2009 event was won by David Beach of Oklahoma.

The annual CFI Business Seminar was presented by Jim and Jane Walker.  The speakers were Ben Boatwright, Romanoff Flooring (GA); Paul Carrell, Shaw Carpet (GA), Roy Davison of Roy’s Flooring Installation (MO), Alan Ellis of Alan’s Floors (IA); Kelly Huddleston of Kelly’s Flooring Installations (CO) and Bobby Schurman of Schurman Enterprises (CO).  The sincerity of sharing successful business ideas with others is a valuable contribution to the convention.

Many exciting new programs were unveiled at the Convention to enhance the value of professional installation.  Working with Mohawk throughout the years for training and certification events, the addition of the CFI Residential Certification to their training programs is another avenue for the installers to participate in the CFI program.  The Mohawk University has included this program working with CFI and their installation trainers, Andrew Smith and Doyle Slaughter. 

Jim Lee, representing FIANA, the distributor organization announced that FIANA and CFI are developing programs to assist the distributors in their partnership with installers.

Don Conner of the National Wood Flooring Association and Scott Carouthers, Executive Director of the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation announced new training partnerships with CFI.  Under the leadership of Jon Namba, CFI Executive Director and the well-qualified, conscientious team of trainers, CFI will become the strongest training arm in the industry. 

Installation workshops included Hardwood Problems, Causes and Cures by Jon Namba; Flash-coving and Seam Welding by Dick Schmidt; Natural Fibers Workshop by P.J. Arthur and the CFI Master-II Workshop by Jerry Miller, Robert Varden, Tony Buckhardt, Ed Braile, Dick Schmidt, Lloyd Englebrecht, Charles Parsley and Alan Lagatore were enthusiastically attended.

The CFI Associate Fun Night was held at the Lucky Strike where the group was divided into teams to participate in the skills for an associate member.  The final game of the night to determine the winner was played by Jeff Johnson (MAPEI), Michael Pham (Armstrong), George Johnson (Roberts/QEP), John Copsey (Crain), Dwayne Smith (AAT). Robert Varden (Seam Master / Koolglide) and Scott Carouthers playing for Duo-Fast.  The associate winner of the final game between George Johnson and John Copsey was Roberts / QEP.  The center section of The CFI Professional will display their products in the upcoming issue.

The Associate Showcase was open at breakfast each morning and at all breaks.  The associates were available to discuss job situations and provide solutions as well as present new products.

Jodi BlueJacket announced the winners of the donations received from the tickets which are divided between the Floor Covering Industry Foundation and the George Buckhardt Memorial Fund for Flooring Installers. The winners were: MAPEI products won by Chad Hansell (CO), MAPEI products won by George Johnson (MD), Duo-Fast Nailer Kit won by Tom Keene (MD), GPS won by Tom Keene (MD), National Carpet Stripper won by Dave Edwards (MD) and the Bass Pro Gift Certificate donated by Roberts and Wagner Moisture Meter were won by David Coley (OK).   Rita Bockrath of Duo-Fast presented the winners, Keith Hill (NE) and Stephen Burke (NY) with tools won from the drawing.

The Convention concluded on a high note with preparation for next year and to returning home energized and full of knowledge and pride. For more information on the 2009 CFI Convention, visit