Installers training in resilient floor coverings at a recent CFI event hosted by Fishman Flooring Solutions in Baltimore.

International Certified Floorcovering Installers (CFI) recently held a two-day training session at Fishman Flooring Solutions in Baltimore during what the group called an industry first: CFI Resilient Certification training taught by some of the biggest resilient manufacturers in the industry.

“We at Fishman Solutions are so proud to witness this monumental event,” said Jerry Murphy, Fishman regional manager. “I have been in this business for 35 years, and I never thought I would see the day that the largest resilient manufacturers in the world would come together to form one educational unit. With the manufacturers placing their logos aside and working side by side with the CFI instructors, we are all focused on a mission.”

Manufacturer representatives included Rick Herr, Tony Pastrana and Tim Provence from Armstrong; Joe Cea and Ed Justice from Congoleum; Kevin Flannigan from IVC; Dick Schmidt from Johnsonite; Terry Fitzpatrick, Ron Wheel and Bill Wiese from Mannington; and Jeff Silfies from Tarkett. Distributor representatives included Jerry Murphy from Fishman Flooring Solutions and Tim McAdoo from J. J. Haines.

CFI’s Bob Gillespie talks to installers at the event.

Support for this event came also came from manufacturers who were not present but provided product and tools. They included: AAT, Allied Products, Beno J. Gundlach Company, Better Tools, Bullet Tools, Bosch, Carpet Cushions and Supplies, Carpet Shims, Crain, DeWalt, Dustbuster, Duo-Fast, GE, Koolglide, Mohawk, Personna, QEP, Seam Master, Stanley, Taylor Tools, TRAXX and Wagner Electronics.
Kicking off the meeting, Bob Gillespie, CFI past president, noted, “Installers will look back someday and feel privileged to have been involved in this event. You have an abundance of information to share because the manufacturers know their products better than anyone else.”

Roland Thompson, Delmarva CFI Chapter president, noted that the training was comprehensive. “With each of the manufacturer technical advisory teams participating, the topics of moisture testing procedures, the substrate and subfloor, the layout, fitting of the materials, subfloor preparation, seam cutting, bonding, adhesive and preparation to install, and the seam treatments were discussed.”

Wiese said in his more than 45 years in the industry, he had “never witnessed such an intense group of installers wanting to learn and expand their expertise. To have all the major manufacturers present to do the training is in itself an historic event.”

Other manufacturers were also impressed. According to Justice, “To be a part of history in the making, when representation from all the resilient manufacturers came together in the spirit of installation training with a common goal to offer the best training class our industry has ever seen, was truly a remarkable experience.”

Dick Schmidt from Johnsonite demonstrates a resilient installation.

Provence added that the event exceeded his expectations.

Jim Walker, CFI ceo, stated, “This event has indeed set a precedent for CFI and the industry.” He also thanked the World Floor Covering Association for offering scholarship programs to help make training affordable for people in the industry. “We commend their efforts for including installation in the WFCA programs. Skilled and knowledgeable installers are the retailers’ best support to achieve the ultimate goal of a quality installation.”

Interviewed after the event concluded, Tom Jennings, chairman of WFCA Services, said the WFCA was proud to help sponsor the event. “Installers often do not have the resources to attend these types of events on their own. Retailers just sort of expect installers to fall out of the installer tree fully trained, but in reality it takes hard work and dedication to train a quality installer.”

He added, “I am still amazed that CFI was able to get all of those vinyl manufacturers working together in the same room. It is a testament to the importance of CFI and their focus on installation training in our industry.”

Behind the scenes

After the event was over, we asked CFI to share a few words on the planning that went on behind the scenes. Here is what they said:

“Resilient was the last surface that CFI added to the flooring installation training and certification schedule. Because a vast number of the technical representatives from the manufacturers are CFI Master Installers, it was their suggestion that everyone work together for the good of the industry and the flooring installer.

“A committee was organized out of representatives from all the manufacturers who chose to participate. Under the leadership of Joe Cea and Tim Provence, the curriculum, trainer’s guidelines, etc., were developed.

“WFCA was very instrumental as every installer who attended had the opportunity to join WFCA. After becoming a member, they applied for scholarship funds. CFI training fee was paid 100 percent by WFCA.

“We have heard nothing but great comments from all who were there.”