Robert Varden named CFI Executive Director
“Robert E. Varden has been selected as the Executive Director of CFI, a flooring installation organization,” said Alan Ellis, President. “With over 30 years in the installation, education and research side of the flooring business, Varden brings unlimited resources to the position. He has been responsible for the inclusion of CFI in numerous specifications, including those of carpet mills. Varden will be expanding the awareness of the benefits of CFI and leadership development opportunities to offer our members advancement in their careers.”
Upon accepting the position, Varden noted, “Our main objectives are to continue the growth of our membership, promote the value of training, certification and professional flooring installation and provide our members with increased opportunities in the field. We want to ensure that CFI is well-supported as we move into the future. I am looking forward to building on the great foundation that has been developed over the past twenty years.”
“In presenting the CFI training programs and addressing various entities, Varden presents all associate manufacturer products in the best interests of the installation and sales communities, providing training in an unbiased manner,” said Jim Walker, CEO. “He brings a proven track record of membership growth and a record of establishing and maintaining strategic relationships with affiliated groups. CFI has made a selection that takes our organization of over 40,000 trained individuals into a great future. As CFI moves forward with our goals, Varden will provide outstanding leadership qualities for the membership.”
Varden, a resident of Rockwall, TX, is the immediate Past President of CFI having served two terms, a CFI Master-II Installer #969, past Chairman of the Certification Committee and a member of the CFI Certification Team; recipient of the Charles Gress Award for outstanding service in the field of flooring installation; an independent consultant, inspector, speaker, expert witness, columnist, technical advisor and owner of an installation workroom. He is regarded as an expert regarding carpet backings and installation procedures.
He is a member of the World Floor Covering Association and Chairman of the Pattern Carpet and Backings Chapter for the American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) S-600 Standard, which is creating new nationally recognized standards for the carpet industry. He serves as one of 20 members finalizing the standard that is expected to be in place in 2013
In 1977, Varden began his career as an installer for a firm that specialized in large commercial projects and in 1981, opened a flooring installation business in the Dallas area. After a successful contracting career in Texas working with a client, Monroe Schneider and Associates (MSA), he relocated to their corporate offices in San Francisco, CA to oversee large projects in the Bay Area. In 1994, he accepted the position of General Superintendent for MSA Industries, at that time the largest flooring contractor in the nation. His responsibilities included organizing, training and improving the labor source nationwide and developing relationships between labor, sales and management.
In 1996, he opened Advanced Carpet Concepts, a commercial workroom in Northern California that specialized in large commercial projects locally and on a national basis. During this time, he became very active with numerous carpet manufacturers as a problem solver and inspector. In 1999, the company was sold to the Orcon Corporation and Varden became the manager of the Orcon Installation Center (OIC) to develop an installation, educational and research center in Oakland, CA.
In 2001, Varden opened Advanced Flooring Technology, a commercial workroom and technical services facility, specializing in problem solving. All types of services were offered, including job start-ups, feather blending, shearing, corrective procedures, installation and sales training. Under the direction of Phil Ellington of Mohawk Industries, he became responsible for all the technical work and installation training for the western portion of the United States. He was involved on a large scale with VIP projects such as Sea-Tac Airport, the New York State Teachers Union, Phoenix Civic Center and more.
In 2002, he became an “Industry Expert” for the State of California. He relocated in 2004 to Texas to continue his career as an industry technical consultant. In 2006, he became an independent consultant under contract with Seam Master Industries as Director of Technical Services and Training.
In 2007, he negotiated a National Carpet Installation Training Program with Lowe’s Home Improvement centers that consisted of 46 two-day programs for installation contractors and sales associates. Varden created the curriculum, coordinated the logistics, trained the trainers and set up the International Certified Flooring Installers Association (CFI) as the managing team. These programs have accelerated and CFI has become responsible for presenting flooring installation and sales training in carpet, ceramic, laminate and wood also.
Currently, working with Bob Hutter, Vice-President of CCA Global Partners, Varden is responsible for the creation and presentation of flooring installation programs to all member companies of the group. He has developed media presentations, curriculum and represented CCA Global Partners at various company conventions and meetings. Presently, he is directing the involvement of all members in the CFI Carpet Certification Program.