Jeff Bernstein, vice president of operations for ProSource of Milwaukee welcomed the group and explained the schedule of events. “ProSource is proud to be the sponsor of the second annual Installer Educational Day. To my knowledge, there is no other place in America that this type of program is available for the installers. Our company believes that the matter in which our customers perceive the quality of their installation and those who perform the work is crucial to our success. We anxiously look forward to the day when all installers are required to be certified and our competition will then find it necessary to become actively involved as ProSource of Milwaukee is,” said Bernstein.
“The CFI Chapter of Milwaukee is available today to answer your questions and to encourage you to become a part of an organization that provides you with the latest information, advanced education and the opportunity to meet with others who are proud professionals. The CFI Chapter meets four times per year. You have skill and knowledge to share with others and this provides you with an opportunity to do that and to become well known in the area because of your professionalism,” added Bernstein.
Jim Walker, ceo of the International Certified Flooring Installers Association, welcomed the group and stressed the importance of pride and professionalism. “There is no way to achieve being at the top of your game without enthusiasm, pride, professionalism and the ability to communicate,” Walker said. “It’s extremely important to continually enhance your installation skills and knowledge, but in today’s world, these four things are what make the difference between a good installer and the installer who is always called upon to represent the dealer. By attending this event, you have shown that your expectations are to be known as one of the best.”
Bernstein continued, “We are proud to announce that ProSource of Milwaukee is leading the nation in the number of installers participating in a week-long educational event. Today, you have the opportunity to learn more about the latest products; watch demonstrations and ask questions. To be eligible for the numerous manufacturers’ door prizes and for the grand prize of a trip to Las Vegas, the card you received at registration must be punched by the seminar sponsor and returned for the drawings.
The sponsors who participated were Rita Bockrath and Gary Schwebenmeyer of Duo-Fast showing the new Jet-Tac solution for installation of tackstrip on concrete; Joe Cea of Congoleum demonstrating the Air-Step Sheet Vinyl Installation; Joe Fuller demonstrating the Avaire Tile Floating Floor System; Kirk Grossnickle sharing the latest in Bostik floor preparation, adhesives and mastics; Robert Varden of Seam Master/Koolglide and Zevi Kozohar of Kane Carpet demonstrating the installation of woven carpet; Kip Lewald and Ryan Christianson of DalTile with the proper installation techniques of thinsets, grouts, waterproofing and products for manufactured stone; Tim Provence of Armstrong demonstrating the installation and repair of glass-backed vinyl and floating LVT Planks and Blake Steffy of Pam Fastening Technology demonstrating the fast-setting adhesive system. This is an action-packed day of training that will help you all year long. We appreciate your support, said Bernstein.”
“Installers and dealers attended from the Wisconsin area and also from the states of Washington, Indiana, Illinois, Texas, Michigan and Minnesota. With courses available in carpet, ceramic, laminate, wood and vinyl, CFI meets the needs of installers and flooring associates to enhance their skills and knowledge,” said Robert Varden, President of CFI. “Working with our partners, NALFA, NWFA and Armstrong for the installers and flooring associates to gain additional training and certification, CFI offers a program that is unequalled in the industry. We appreciate the support from ProSource and their desire to provide the finest customer service available.”
Following the sponsored lunch and the afternoon sessions of the workshops, the prizes were announced. Prizes were donated by the seminar participants as well as by ProSource of Milwaukee that awarded the all expense paid trip to Las Vegas. This was a very exciting conclusion to a day packed with the best of seminars and demonstrations.
“The two-day, hands-on CFI and Duo-Fast sponsored Laminate and Wood Workshop began the following day in an outstanding facility,” said Bob Gillespie, Past President of CFI. “It was evident that this group came to learn and to share their ideas. Their attitudes and the quality of the workmanship was exceptional. The installers were actively involved and were very appreciative of Tim Provence of Armstrong Installation and Technical Services who participated in the training and was available to answer manufacturer-related questions.
Rita Bockrath of Duo-Fast began the session with a presentation concerning tool safety. “As a manufacturer, Duo-Fast is very interested in the safe use of our tools. We also welcome the opportunity to share ideas and to listen to the installer’s input concerning tools that are used in the field. Those who successfully complete the written test receive a Duo-Fast Safety Certification. Our focus this year will be in conjunction with CFI and local distributors to promote tool safety and the installers’ skills and knowledge. By contributing $100.00 toward the first ten registrants’ fees, the cost of $125.00 is unheard for this type of exceptional training by industry experts. Duo-Fast has taken this step to provide you training at a reduced cost.”
“As an employee of Carpet Cushions and Supplies, our company also welcomes the opportunity to be a part of this event,” said Buckhardt. “We pride ourselves on CFI’s involvement in installation training and providing the consumers with those who seek to promote their skills. This course is a hands-on workshop because of the manufacturers who support installation training such as Duo-Fast, Armstrong, Black and Decker, Bosch, Bostik, Bullet Tools, DeWalt, GE, Homax, Koolglide, Kronotex, Lam-Hammer, Masland, M-D Building Products, MP Global Systems, Mohawk, Pergo, Seam Master, Shop Vac, Sponge Cushion, QEP, Traxx and Wagner Industries. This group came to learn and to share ideas and to develop additional methods to provide the finest customer service skills. For a trainer, we can’t ask for more.”
“Highlights of the training include: pride and professionalism, customer service, substrate testing, vapor retardant systems, layout and balancing of the floor, correct installation techniques, floating floors, glue systems, nail-down floors, engineered wood, laminate products and a written test,” said Tim Provence of Armstrong. “The installers must pass specified requirements to receive the CFI Certification and additional requirements to achieve the Armstrong Certified Installer designation. They also have the opportunity to become certified by NALFA, the North American Laminate Flooring Association and by NWFA, the National Wood Flooring Association. To achieve this requires skill and knowledge and the desire to become known as one of the best.” Information concerning Armstrong’s Floor Expert Certification is available at www.floorexpert.com.
“On the first evening of the course, the installers have hours of homework that is also a requirement of the course. This two-day course generally requires more than 26 hours of involvement,” said Gillespie. All of the trainers want to be assured that those who receive the certifications know more about the products and have enhanced their skills by attending the course. The course was filled to capacity with 20 installers. Eleven installers were not able to attend because of late registration, but will be attending a class scheduled later in the year. We appreciate the efforts of Duo-Fast, WFCA and ProSource to offer this type of training.”
Following the two-day laminate-wood workshop, the CFI Carpet Training and Certification event was conducted. Tony Buckhardt presented the review of carpet installation prior to the written test. The following day the attendees were divided into groups according to the diverse levels of certification that were involved. The CFI Team of Bob Gillespie, Gary Goessel and Nate Hall worked with those who were attending for the first time and seeking the CFI Residential-I and Commercial-I levels. Tony Buckhardt’s group consisted of those who were previously certified who were seeking the advanced levels of certification.
CFI offers the CFI Technical Certification and Renee Primeau of Masland Carpet attended to receive this designation. She stated, “The pattern alignment session contains information and demonstrations that everyone should know. Because Masland Carpet is well-known for our unique patterns, skill and certification are very important to our company.”
Gillespie continued, “To obtain the CFI Technical Carpet Certification, the attendee is required to attend the seminar, successfully complete the written test, become acquainted with the tools, understand the techniques involved in seam construction and to understand the requirements of pattern alignment. After successful completion of a seam, Renee demonstrated she was an “outstanding student” and received the CFI Technical Carpet Certification.”
“The installers are required to complete the written test of each level, construct seams in various products, align patterns and understand the terminology involved in this type of installation, demonstrate power stretching and wall trimming techniques, upholster a stair, answer questions pertaining to the requirements of the level, successfully pass the backing and terminology test, demonstrate skills as related to direct-glue and double-glue installation, moisture testing and types of substrates. The CFI Study Guide and Advanced Carpet Study Guides are available online to prepare for the testing. It is CFI’s intent for the installers to arrive prepared and complete the requirements to achieve certification,” stated Walker. “We can be the teachers or we can be the students; we are here to assist our industry in installation excellence and so are those who take time from their work to participate.”
“This was an event that will have a direct impact on those who participated to enhance their skills and knowledge. They are now a member of a partnership that includes the dealer, manufacturer and the installer. Working together, we can make a difference,” said Walker.
“We also must give credit for installation training to the WFCA. Not only does WFCA offer a tremendous amount of educational opportunities online and through publications, they offer the CFI training programs funded 100% up to $500. The majority of those attending this week were the recipients of the WFCA scholarship funds which cut their out-of-pocket cost substantially,” said Tony Buckhardt.
The Duo-Fast sponsored workshops are held in conjunction with area distributors. February 25-26 is hosted by T & A Supply in Kent, WA; March 11-12 by Carpet Cushions and Supplies in Kansas City, MO; March 18-19 by L. Fishman in Baltimore, MD and March 23-24 in Omaha, NE hosted by Hank’s Specialties. Registration forms are available at the distributors and at www.CFIinstallers.com. The first ten installers to register have the opportunity through Duo-Fast to attend the $485 workshop for only $125 and others may attend for $225 by applying for the WFCA scholarship thirty days in advance of the courses. Information concerning this is also available at the website.
Numerous programs are available this year and are listed on the website which includes those offered by the Mohawk University. “Working with CFI, the Mohawk University has also added additional events to the 2011 calendar to provide the CFI Residential Carpet Certification,” said Evelyn Sevilla of Mohawk University. Events are scheduled for Georgia, California, Minnesota, New Jersey, Texas, Colorado, Wisconsin and Missouri. Detailed information is available by contacting the University at (706) 272-4980 and by email to Mohawk_university@mohawkind.com. The opportunities for training are numerous. CFI training in various flooring skills is scheduled soon for Missouri, Indiana, Washington, Georgia, Maryland, Nebraska, Kentucky, California, South Carolina, Kansas and Nevada in the next few weeks. The opportunities for training are numerous. Additional events can be scheduled by contacting CFI at (816) 231-4646 or by email to CFIguy@earthlink.net or by visiting the website, www.CFIinstallers.com.