The Ardex Academy Training Center, located at the Americas Headquarters, has been dedicated in honor of the late Herbert “Gr” Goller, founder of Ardex Global.

Mark Eslamlooy, CEO, explained there is special purpose to naming the Academy after the founder. “He was completely dedicated to making sure that craftsmen were competent and confident to install Ardex products, and his focus was to make sure that an Ardex installation was done right the first time, every time.”

At a dedication ceremony led by Eslamlooy, dozens of Ardex employees who worked with “Gr” during the early growth in North America were in attendance to honor their “founder, mentor and friend.”

“Gr, as many of us called him, was highly respected for the significant impact he made on the U.S. construction market,” said Jesse David, president of Ardex Americas’ U.S. and Canada Division. “He had a profound and lasting impact on our business in the Americas. Many of the guiding principles and core values established by Gr still exist today and are part of the fabric of our organization.”

The plaque commemorating Ardex founder Herbert “Gr” Goller. 



Flooring wholesale distributor E.J. Welch Co. has acquired the Merle B. Smith Co. of Burr Ridge, Ill. According to Dominic Reda, president of Merle, “In addition to the Burr Ridge location, our customers will also have a second fully stocked location in Elk Grove Village, Ill. at E.J. Welch’s new 75,000 sq. ft. facility, complete with classroom and training space hosting regularly scheduled NWFA installation training classes.”

Incorporated in 1971, Merle grew to become a large Chicago-area hardwood flooring distributor. Having successfully led the company for the last 44 years, owners Merle Smith, 84, and Dominic Reda, 69, sought a buyer to secure the future of the business and its employees and enable the owners to retire.

“We are keeping the Merle B. Smith Co. name indefinitely and retaining all employees – except for Merle and Dominic, who are retiring,” said Michael Welch, president of E.J. Welch.  “Brian Quinn was recently hired to manage our unfinished hardwood business, while Ryan Reith will head up Merle B. Smith Co. customer service in Elk Grove Village.”



USG Corp. recently formed a partnership with XL Brands, a private-label manufacturer of floor covering adhesives, including a warranty covering the joint system application of premium floor patch and adhesive bond.

According to the companies, this warranty system provides a proven bond and RH/pH warranty when any XL Brands-manufactured adhesive is used over professionally installed USG Durock Fast Finish Floor Patch for a period of 10 years.

Recently, USG and XL Brands announced a joint research and product development partnership. According to the companies, USG and XL Brands joint product collaborations will feature solution-based systems that focus on moisture solutions, substrate issues, installation speed requirements, bonding and performance applications and full system warranty protection.



The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) recently met its goal to certify 1,000 tile installers under the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program by 2014. In March, during an official CTI test at Daltile in Portland, Ore., Vladmir Blashchishchin of Hawthorne Tile became CTI installer #1000.

Since 2008, the CTI program has provided a means for top-quality, highly knowledgeable installers to verify their skills and subsequently promote themselves to potential clients and employers. The CTI Evaluation is a comprehensive testing of the skills and knowledge of experienced tile installers, which includes both a multiple-choice exam and hands-on test based upon current industry standards and best practices for producing sound installations that exhibit good workmanship. Installers who successfully complete the CTI testing receive nationwide recognition of their accomplishment by being listed on the CTEF website.

From left: Owner Dirk Sullivan of Hawthorne Tile; Vladimir Blashchishchin, tile installer #1000; and Scott Carothers of the CTEF.



The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) announced its board of directors at its Wood Flooring Expo in Nashville, Tenn. The board consists of four officers and six directors, each of whom is voted into office by the NWFA membership to serve a three-year term. Ex-officio directors may also be appointed to serve one-year terms.

The NWFA board of directors is: Chairman Jeff Fairbanks, Palo Duro Hardwoods; Vice Chairman Tommy Maxwell, Maxwell Hardwood Flooring; Treasurer Chris Zizza, C&R Flooring; Secretary Kim Holm, Mannington Mills; Past Chairman John Lessick, Apex Wood Floors; Directors Craig Dupra, Installers Warehouse; Kevin Murphy, Trinity Hardwood Dist.; Joe Rocco, Artistic Floors by Design; John Wooten, CMH Space Flooring Products; Julie Russell, Glitsa; and Scott Sandlin, Shaw Industries.

Ex-officio directors are: Brenda Cashion, Pinnacle Interior Elements; Jim Gould, Floor Covering Institute; Avi Hadad, Avi’s Hardwood Floors; Keith Long, Thunderheart Flooring; and Jon Smith, Smith Flooring.

Jeff Fairbanks is the new chairman of the National Wood Flooring Association’s board of directors.



Uzin Utz AG, the parent company of Uzin Utz Manufacturing North America and UFloor Systems, has broken ground on its first U.S. dry mortar plant in Dover, Del., located at the Garrison Oak Technical Park.

The 53,000 sq. ft. facility will house the company’s first U.S. production of self-leveling and patching compounds, an R&D and training center and the offices for Uzin Utz. Joining Werner Utz, CEO of Uzin Utz and Philipp Utz, Uzin Utz president, at the ground breaking were Gov. Jack Markell, Lt. Gov. Matt Denn, Mayor David Bonar, Alan Levin, director of the Delaware Economic Development Office as well as other city and state officials.

“With this manufacturing plant we demonstrate our strong commitment to U.S. customers, the state of Delaware and the city of Dover,” Philipp Utz said. According to the company, the plant will create 23 new jobs including the addition of three chemical engineers. The new facility is scheduled to begin production in April 2015.

Officials from Uzin Utz help break ground in Dover, Del., for the company’s first dry mortar plant in the U.S.



The Flooring Contractors Association (FCICA) recently elected three new board of directors for the 2014-2017 term and a new vice chairman of associates to the executive board.

JR Allred, Dalton Carpet One, and Christopher Burke, BFC, were elected to represent contractor members and Bill Richards, Shaw, was elected to represent associate members. Brent Fike, Roppe Holding Co., was elected the new vice chairman of associates.

Continuing on the board are Kevin Phillips, nora systems; Mike Newberry, Inside Edge; and Stephen Rubesch, Total Flooring Systems; with terms expiring in 2015, and Sonny Callaham, Royal Adhesives & Sealants; Jim Judd, Master Craft Carpet Services; and Jason Spangler, Wagner Meters; with terms expiring in 2016.



Parex USA has launched The Academy, an educational website full of videos designed to show industry professionals how the company’s various systems and assemblies work. “[The Academy] is a great, self-learning tool for anyone in the construction industry to use at any time, on any device, to learn about our products and the best application techniques for those products,” said Robert Dickson, director of technical services. Visit for more information.



National Applied Construction (NAC) Products recently unveiled an updated company website. “The new website design has been in the works for several months and is the next step in the continued evolution of the NAC brand,” said Brian Petit, vice president of operations.“Our goal is to be an educational resource, a place to go for answers, and we want to provide an exceptional experience for visitors from a functionality standpoint and that includes a refreshed brand image.”

The updated website can be viewed at



Tec’s new Installation Systems Coverage Calculator App includes product videos, contact information and a mobile version of the company’s Coverage Calculator, which estimates the amount of tile and flooring installation products needed for a specific job, according to the company.

“The TEC Installation Systems Coverage Calculator App reflects our commitment to being accessible to tile and flooring contractors throughout the entire job,” said Grant Huffine, senior market manager for H.B. Fuller Construction Products and the Tec brand.

The app is free for download at the Apple iTunes store.



Former vice president and general manager, North America Residential Flooring of Armstrong World Industries, Kevin Biedermann,is now vice president, global sales excellence – a new role created to drive a more global selling capability, according to the company.

Joseph Bondisucceeds Biedermann. Bondi joins Armstrong from North American Specialty Products where he was vice president and general manager of the North American pipe corporation division. He is experienced in general management, manufacturing/operations improvement, selling through distribution and through big box retail, product development, marketing, brand management, sales management, supply chain and strategic planning.

Dominic Rice,vice president and general manager, North America Commercial Floor Products, has assumed manufacturing responsibility for North America commercial resilient products, and Charles (Chuck) Groganis vice president, global floor operations.



Construction is under way for the Koster American production facility in Virginia Beach, Va. The production facility is part of a four-phase project that Koster is implementing in order to establish production capabilities in Virginia Beach at its North American headquarters.

“Koster has been a great corporate partner over the past 20 years,” said Warren Harris, director of Virginia Beach Economic Development. “We are pleased the company has found success to launch distribution to North America through this Virginia Beach location. We anticipate growth and success will only continue.”    

This begins the next phase of Koster’s growing footprint in the Oceana South Industrial Park. The 12,000 sq. ft. product facility will be part of the company’s projected 50,000 sq. ft. headquarter manufacturing operation.



Over 60 women attended the first gathering of the Marble Institute of America’s (MIA) new Women in Stone group, held during Coverings.

According to the institute, the purpose of the Women in Stone group is to retain and advance women who have chosen a career in the stone industry, as well as to recruit new women into the industry by increasing industry networking opportunities available to women, expanding educational offerings and creating opportunities to serve on key committees.

The networking reception was sponsored by Polycor, while the overall initiative also supported by Blick Industries, Hanley Wood, OHM International, Rock of Ages, Polycor and TexaStone Quarries.

Event sponsor Patrick Perus (Polycor, Inc) with some members of the WIS Steering Committee: Allyson Humphries (Walker Zanger), Brie Pfannenbecker (Connecticut Stone Supplies), Kathy Spanier (Coldspring), Kathleen Carle (J.C. Stone), Tiffany Aryeh (Amalfi Stone & Masonry), and Kim Dumais (Miller Druck Specialty Contracting).



Dash Multi-Corp. has been rebranded as Accella Performance Materials. According to Accella CEO Andy Harris, the new name better reflects the responsiveness, technical knowledge, innovation, and manufacturing strength of the combined businesses. 

“We fully expect the Accella companies will become well-known for standardized excellence in safety, operations, quality, technical support and service with highly competitive, value-added offerings to meet our customers’ needs,” said Harris. Each company under the Accella umbrella continues to maintain its individual brand name.



InstaFloor North America is now an official Starnet Vendor Partner. “This is an important development for us, as Starnet is a prestigious and well-regarded organization,” said Bas van Genderen, managing director of InstaFloor.  “Interest and sales of our self-adhesive acoustic underlay, InstaLay, have continued to grow and we know that becoming a Starnet vendor partner will provide great opportunities for InstaFloor NA and Starnet members in the years ahead.”



Schönox’s Worst Subfloor in North America Contest is an opportunity for any flooring company to show the tough subfloor conditions they encountered and how they renovated them using Schönox products. “Too often the stability and condition of subfloors is overlooked in the flooring installation industry resulting in failed installations,” explained Thomas Trissl, HPS Schönox principal.

Contest entries will be independently judged with first-, second- and third-place winners being awarded Schönox products based on the severity of the original subfloor’s condition, the skill and attention to detail taken in executing the project, and the quality of the finished subfloor. For more information, visit

Promotional art for Schönox’s Worst Subfloor in North America.



More than 150 attendees from 97 companies in the wood floor industry across the U.S. and Canada attended the recent Bona Certified Craftsman Convention in Denver, according to the company. The two-day convention offered seven business seminars and four technical workshops, facilitated by industry professionals, in tandem with networking opportunities and a vendor plaza tailored specifically to meet the business development needs of a Bona Certified Craftsman.

“This event was unique in that it helped me learn tools to build my business in addition to learning about new skills,” said Dan Gorsegner, owner, Gorsegner Brothers. “I had a chance to reconnect with old business colleagues and meet some new contacts in the industry. It was well worth my time.”



Unilin’s warranty claims manager, Jane Winters, was recognized as the North American Laminate Flooring Association’s (NALFA) Member of the Year for her contributions to the laminate flooring industry.

In her volunteer role with NALFA, Winters has served as education committee chairman for the past three years. Her primary mission was to lead the creation of training to increase knowledge of the laminate flooring industry among consumers, retailers, distributors, and others in the home and shelter industry.

Winters was instrumental in the creation of the Inspector Certification training program- curriculum that helps inspectors gain a better understanding of everything about laminate flooring. She has also contributed to the association’s Certified Laminate Buyer’s Guide and underlayment buyer’s guides.



Forty-nine installers and sales associates took part in the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA)-sponsored International Certified Flooring Installers Association (CFI) wood, laminate, carpet, tile and resilient installation training at Star Flooring in Wichita, Kans., recently.

“This type of training is crucial to our success and the health of the industry,” said Ryan Walker, vice president of Star. “We had plenty of vendors willing to step up and help us make it happen. This type of activity is what makes our service special.  The Star team of Jacque Jolly, Drew Uffendell, Kelley DeCesaro, Jan Ast, Curtis Goebel and Jennifer Salkil are to be commended for coordinating and managing the event.”

During the four day training, Jim Walker, CFI CEO, presented the CFI Installation Inspector and Product Knowledge Workshop, and prizes were given to high-scoring installers.


New Hires and Promotions


Michelle Swiniarskihas joined Bostikas market manager, ceramic installation systems for the company’s consumer and construction business unit. Swiniarski joins Bostik from QEP, where she was director of product market, adhesives.

Michelle Swiniarski


Bill Morganhas joined Fishman Flooring Solutionsas an architecture and design representative. He will be responsible for establishing and maintaining Fishman’s relationships with members of the architecture and design community. Morgan joins Fishman from Southern Tile Distributors, where he was a contract sales representative.


Rick Rollinsis the new national sales manager of Flexco. Rollins brings with him more than 30 years of sales, marketing, technical and management experience in the commercial floor covering industry.

Rick Rollins


ProSpec’s Geoff Clyburnhas been promoted from general manager of western operations to director of operations for the company. As director of operations, Clyburn will lead all ProSpec manufacturing and distribution facilities.


Brian Gamet and John Bast have joined Staufs sales team. Gamet is the new Northeastern regional sales director. Most recently serving as the eastern sales director for Glitsa, Gamet has a hardwood flooring background. Bast is the new Southeastern regional sales director. Prior to joining Stauf, Bast owned and operated Florida Hardwood.


UFloor Systems has added Zeben Blauto its Pallmannbrand division as sales representative for the Pacific Northwest region. Based in Portland, Ore., Blau will cover Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, Utah and Northern California. Prior to joining Pallmann, Blau was sales manager for SeaPort Hardwoods & Flooring.


Distributor Appointments

HPS Schönoxand Spartan Surfaces have reached an agreement resulting in a new division for Spartan. Spartan Distribution will carry the full line of Schönox subfloor products including primers and moisture mitigation systems, patching and smoothing products, floor leveling compounds and adhesives and will distribute products from Virginia to southern New Jersey.


T&A Supply Co. will now carry the Uzinbrand of subfloor preparation products throughout the Pacific Northwest, Alaska and Hawaii. The Uzin line of primers, moisture vapor retarders, leveling compounds, adhesives and tools & installation sundries will be available at the 17 branches located throughout the region.


Upcoming Events

NALFA Certification Classes – Ringgold, Ga., July 10, installers; July 11, inspectors.

Flooring Association Northwest Golf Tournament – Renton, Wash., July 17.

Floor Inspectors Educational Guild Class – Aug. 7-9.

FCICA Mid-Year Meeting – Chattanooga, Tenn., Oct. 8-10.

The International Surface Event East – Miami Beach, Fla., Oct. 19-22.


For more industry events and training, visit and click the Calendar of Events link under the Resources tab.