Two big shows that every installer should attend are on the horizon. The International Certified Floorcovering Installers Association (CFI) will be hosting their 19th annual convention in Nashville right around the time this issue mails out. Additionally, Floor Installation Association of North America (FIANA) is gearing up for their 18th annual convention, Sept. 12-14 in Orlando.

When I say these are two events that every installer should attend, I’m not just engaging in hyperbole. I mean it. What every installer needs, whether he is a beginner or a veteran, is training. One pet peeve I see constantly mentioned by our columnists is fighting an uphill battle against people who have been “doing it the same for the last 20 years” and don’t feel like they need to change.

Well, I hate to break this to you, but if you identify with that statement above, then you do need to change. The industry has changed immeasurably in the last 20 years, and if you do not take the time to polish your skills or techniques, you are basically giving away your customers to your competition. Off the top of my head, I can think of large-format ceramic tiles, floating lvt, strand bamboo flooring and an increasing reliance on green technologies as four major sea changes in the industry that were not at the top of everyone’s mind 20 years ago. If you think you can tackle these modern categories with decades-old techniques, you are in for a rude awakening. Do not simply rest on your laurels. Train, train, train.

The other enormous benefit of attending these events is the connections you make. These types of events let people forget for a few days that they are out there often competing for the same jobs. It gives them a chance to compare notes, learn from one another and go back knowing how to do their jobs better. I’ve heard it plenty of times, in the hallways and hotel restaurants: “Hey, you know this new adhesive for lvt that such and such a company is putting out? Well, we got a complaint recently that it was pulling up after only a couple weeks. Did you have that problem?”


The All-New FCI
I already mentioned how deadly it is to rest on your laurels, and how important it is to always keep moving. We take that message to heart. Check out for the new and improved FCI experience. This is a top-to-bottom overhaul of our old site. Not only is it designed to be more user-friendly to people with mobile devices and smartphones (speaking of products that were barely conceived 20 years ago), but it features all of our content in a new and compelling way. No more squinting at tiny photos when reading stories. No more having to use as unwieldy navigation bar to find the sections you want to read. This new, shiny site purrs like a kitten and is packed with features. We spent a lot of time working on it. As always, we would love to hear your feedback.

Have any questions or comments? E-mail Mike at