J.R. Harris, better known as “Junior” in the flooring industry with his trademark cowboy hat and boots, was honored as the second recipient of CFI’s Chris Davis Award for his numerous contributions to installation at the group’s 20th anniversary convention in Baltimore. Harris was instrumental in establishing CFI in the Maryland area.
When accepting the award, Harris recalled a meeting with Jim Walker at a Karastan convention back in the early years of the association. Walker said, “I have a dream that someday flooring installation will be recognized as a vital part of the industry and be performed by qualified professionals.” Harris immediately replied, “I want to be a part of that dream.”
He and Pat Fell, an employee of L. Fishman, began working with CFI to bring training and certification to Maryland. They established the Delmarva CFI Chapter and began sharing installation knowledge with the flooring community.
According to Roland Thompson, CFI Delmarva president, “There is no one like Junior. I have been with him when he would load up his vehicle with props and supplies, and off we went to another training event. No one knows how much money Junior took out of his pocket to finance the trips and purchase food and refreshments for everyone. ‘No’ was never in his vocabulary. It was just ‘make it happen.’ He led by doing.”
Harris stated he has never wavered in his belief that dealers must get involved with their installers. “I knew that if the installer going to my customer’s home was not qualified, I would spend way too many hours trying to make things right. I did not like that job, so we were proactive and made certain that those who represented our company achieved customer satisfaction so we could sleep at night.”
The Chris Davis Award is given in memory of the WFCA’s D. Christopher Davis, who passed away in 2012. In his memory, retailers who promote quality installation through their support of CFI are honored. The recipient must display the characteristics of leadership to achieve goals that are directly related to the advancement of quality flooring installation.