I want to open this month’s column by saying thank you. I was blindsided by a medical emergency last year which required surgery and kept me on medical leave from the end of September to the beginning of January. During this time of uncertainty, so many of you offered your support in the form of cards, donations, gifts and emails—and I am grateful for them all. These well wishes and tokens of friendship lifted my spirits and kept me hopeful during a time when I was otherwise feeling depressed and exhausted. So thank you all again for your help.

We here at FCI are always striving to help you, the professional installers and contractors of the industry, be even better at your business. So I am excited to announce two initiatives designed to do just that. First of all, you all are going to be offered more insights from our editorial director and industry expert, Jon Namba. We are also proud to announce the launch of the 5th Annual FCI Installation Awards.

Namba, who pens the monthly Director’s Perspective column for this magazine, is taking on a new blog for FCI. Sponsored by Bostik, the blog “What Would Namba Do?” takes a look at the challenges facing installers from Namba’s unique perspective as an industry educator and professional contractor. The blog will feature concise, timely tidbits about installation and the installation business, with a place for readers to ask questions and hear back from Jon himself. We hope you enjoy this interactive new addition to our website. Find out more at fcimag.com/blogs.

Additionally, the 5th Annual FCI Installation Awards, sponsored by Schönox HPS North America, are now open. Every year we look to honor the best installations in residential and commercial projects featuring materials including carpet, ceramic tile/stone, hardwood, laminate, bamboo, cork and resilient flooring. Winners are featured in the magazine and on the website, and receive a plaque they can display in their business. Since the entries are voted on by other FCI readers, you can expect the most technical, challenging and imaginative projects to win.

What I look forward to most about these awards is getting on the phone with the winners and finding out their thought processes behind the amazing projects they create. These winning entries are often painstakingly detailed, with unique ways of using a material to make it seem new and different. You can find out more about the contest and view past winners at fcimag.com/fciawards.