My name is Michael Chmielecki, and I’d like to introduce myself as the new editor of Floor Covering Installer. I come from a nearly 10-year background in the retail and design side of flooring through our sister publication National Floor Trends. I know the major manufacturers in the floor covering business through my time on NFT, but in this new role I now get to meet the people responsible for making those major players look good.

Take your Armstrongs, your Manningtons, your Mohawks and your Shaws (to name a few), with their R&D and design departments looking to create some of the most designer-savvy and durable flooring out there. The retailer successfully talks up the benefits of the flooring to a pair of newlyweds who are also first-time homeowners. He makes the sale. And then what?

It comes down to you guys. You are the difference between customers singing the praises of their new floor and excitedly passing on the name of the manufacturer and the retailer to their friends, and complete, utter disaster. That is quite a responsibility to bear on your shoulders (and on your knees). But you guys are experts, and you handle this feat every single day.

I was recently at the FCICA convention in Savannah, Ga. (see story on page 12) There I met some of the nicest, most knowledgeable and down-to-earth people in my career. These people not only knew their stuff, but they were unafraid to share both their successes and their failures with each other. Despite how seasoned these people were they were always eager and hungry to learn more. That’s the type of attitude you have to respect.

Here is another example of that attitude in action, this time from someone relatively new to the industry. Only a couple weeks after taking this job, I got a call from a young installer, probably in his early 20s, out on the West Coast. He was calling in search of some resources so he could get more training and information. He said he had gone as far as he could with his own skills, and now needed to refine them and start seeking out certifications so he could “take it to the next level.” I admire that. One of the hardest things to do is to ask for help, but he was genuinely sincere in taking himself, and the profession, up a notch.

While talking to installation managers at FCICA, I got the sense that one of the biggest pet peeves are those installers who just pile a bunch of tools into the back of a pickup and rush headlong into a job without taking the time to do a moisture test, site prep or any of the other steps that seem second-nature to those who have spent years working on their hands and knees.

Whether it’s laziness, ignorance, or whatever else, there will always be people who take as many shortcuts as possible and then try to blame anyone but themselves for the sloppy job that results. But you guys are different. You are ready to meet challenges head-on and network with one another when you need help. You are ready to take a fledgling installer by the hand and help him understand the fundamentals until he gets them right. You are genuinely proud of your profession. I look forward to learning from you.

Have any questions or comments? E-mail Mike