The Floor Covering Installation Contractors Association (FCICA) recently held its annual convention in the exquisite Bourbon Orleans Hotel in New Orleans’ French Quarter. While the venue alone was worth the trip, the real point was to attend the nonprofit association’s one-of-a-kind show, since it’s the only group that focuses solely on the needs of the installation manager.

This year’s event boasted a record-setting 154 attendees, including 54 first-time attendees and 31 tabletop vendors. Networking is a priority for this group, and there were several opportunities for it throughout the day -- from the welcoming reception to the meals that were enjoyed as a group. “It was an opportunity to meet others in our field and learn something from each other,” said Amy Johnston, estimator, scheduling assistant and in-house project manager of Flooring Services, Inc. “Just having conversations on breaks and talking about the trade and tools we use gave me insight to techniques I would not have thought of; tricks of the trade per se.”

The keynote was presented by Wally Adamchik, author of Construction Leadership from A to Z.  He encouraged leaders to set goals, motivate their staffs with positive attitudes and build relationships based on trust and frequency. Bruce Reeve, owner/president, Flooring Services Inc., attended the keynote and was impressed. “Wally Adamchik’s keynote was very helpful to me,” he said. “I learned what changes I need to make to improve myself in order to build a strong team.” Adamchik also presented a session on negotiation strategies and styles.

A new session similar to the concept of speed dating was introduced this year. Dubbed “Connections,” the event featured 18 manufacturers gathered at tables around the perimeter of the room. Attendees were grouped into fours and would spend five minutes at each table getting a quick introduction of each company and its representatives. Attendees said they found this session to be intriguing, informative and personal, which was a nice precursor to the tabletop trade show the following day.

Johnston said the show taught her new things about the industry. “There was so much to learn at the show this year. I learned I didn’t know as much about LVT as I thought I did, and that concrete moisture problems will always plague us, but there are many resources in the FCICA to help us address these concerns.”

Pat Kelly, president of Synergy Flooring, also found the show useful to his business. “I am a new member and I have found FCICA to be very helpful,” he noted, adding, “I am interested in continuing to develop my network of quality flooring contractors throughout the U.S. and Canada to help my business service my national account customers.”

Kimberly Oderkirk, FCICA’s exec. vp and one of the primary organizers of the event, called this year’s show a success. “I was very happy with the turnout for our 31st Annual convention. It was amazing to see all the first-time attendees, the educational sessions filled to capacity and everyone having a great time. Feedback so far has been great, and I look forward to the Mid Year in October and Convention 2014 in Tampa next February.”

 

Work hard, play hard

Monday night we spent some time at “The Swamp” on Bourbon Street. It gave us some time to connect with great people, get deep into conversations and even try some mechanical bull riding! (See the video in our digital edition.)This type of personal connection and networking is invaluable. We plan to make next year’s show a priority!