The Flooring Contractors Association’s (FCICA) membership was “in it to win it” at this year’s annual convention in Biloxi, Miss. Offering four days of networking, education, live product demos, a commercial flooring tradeshow and giveaways, the event welcomed 184 attendees—74 of them for the first time—marking the largest attendance for the group in almost 20 years. With 60 new members joining the association since last July, FCICA’s total membership now sits around 250.

According to Kim Oderkirk, FCICA executive vice president, “We aggressively went after new members by attending Starnet, Fuse and Commercial One events, showcasing membership and education opportunities. The Successors group also actively encourages those 40 and under to attend and network.”

CIM Program Update

As FCICA aims to elevate the professionalism of the trade, its vision to be the resource for premier commercial contractors is supported by the association’s number-one priority: the Certified Installation Manager (CIM) Program.

“The CIM Program is our flagship program,” explained Mike Newberry, chairman of FCICA. “This is the only program out there dedicated to training project managers and installation managers.” To date, 65 flooring contractors have achieved CIM designation, enhancing their skill sets with technical education, business support and industry networking.

Newberry noted that professionals who have earned the designation are “taking the time, the effort and the energy to dedicate [themselves] to education training and separate [themselves] from the competition.”

As the first contractor to receive CIM designation, Amy Johnston of Livonia, Mich.-based Flooring Services now leads the CIM steering committee in its efforts to produce more qualified contractors.

Business Development Sessions

In addition to her responsibilities as chairman of FCICA’s CIM committee, Johnston attended the convention for its array of education opportunities. “I’m here because you don’t get a lot of opportunities locally for the education sessions we have here,” she said.

Topics covered this year included the ASTM F710 Standard Practice for Preparing Concrete Floors to Receive Resilient Flooring and ACI 302.2R-06 Guide for Concrete Slabs that Receive Moisture-Sensitive Flooring Materials. Leading attendees through a comprehensive review of both standards, presenters Sonny Callaham of H.B. Fuller and Jeff Johnson of MAPEI Americas explained the importance of knowing these standards well. As Callaham noted, “The guy who knows the rules of the game is going to play it the best.”

Also featured was a highly anticipated panel discussion on Innovations in Multilayer Flooring. Panelists included Don Styka, Tarkett; Beth Steel, Six Degrees; Bill Treiber, Artistic Finishes and David Altman, Metroflor. Moderated by Pat Kelly, FCICA’s vice chairman, the panel addressed attendees’ questions on multilayer flooring and the future of the category.

For Johnston and many others in the industry, multilayer flooring is still a category that is being uncovered and learned about as it continues to grow. “In one of my committee meetings yesterday, one of the panelist said they spent hours and hours on the phone preparing for the education session because they all had different opinions [on multilayer flooring],” she said.

Other presentations included Communication and Ramifications of Specifications, Auditing Your Flooring Project and Effectively Driving, Achieving and Sustaining Positive Change. Additionally, during lunch attendees were able to attend product demonstrations from DriTac, MAPEI, Traxx and GCP Applied Technologies.

The Successors Program

For first-time attendee Karl Johnson, account manager for Lippert Flooring and Tile, the convention’s education sessions and product demos severed as a valuable resource as he continues to learn and grow in what he calls a fast-paced and dynamic industry. “Being new to the industry, I can tell you FCICA has been a great educational resource for me personally as I navigate all there is to learn about the industry.”

Johnson is part of a group that represents the next generation of leadership in the flooring industry. For him and others under 40, FCICA has developed the Successors task force to attract and retain these younger professionals.

“There is wealth of knowledge and experience out there that will be retiring in the next 10 years,” he said. “These individuals have taken the flooring industry through a lot of ups and downs. It’s important we focus on the next generation to grow our industry and continue to make it better for generations to come.”

Successor Amanda Bartik of Loba-Wakol was drawn to the group’s focus on education, networking and community service. “Last year was my first year at convention, and [Successors] was a way for me to get involved.”

For Bartik, the Successors program is a place to go for a younger person in an older industry. “The whole flooring industry in general has an older demographic. A lot of these guys have been in the trade for their whole lives contract-wise, and there’s not a lot of fresh blood coming in. Successors really focuses on trying to change that and getting the younger generations interest in the trade and realizing that they have other options as far as professions go.”

Networking is key, and Successors serves as a platform to connect the leaders of tomorrow and help them form relationships that will be beneficial down the line. “As a successor you’re able to meet with and discuss the future of our industry with the other individual that will make up our industry’s future,” said Johnson. “It’s the beginning of building a strong comradeship and a love for this industry.”

FCICA will next head to Hershey, Pa., for education, networking and leadership sessions at its next Mid-Year Meeting set for Oct. 3-5. For more information, visit