July 31 at 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time is the deadline for submissions for our Fifth Annual FCI Installation Awards, honoring the best and most creative installations of the past two years in a wide array of flooring covering materials. Covering both the residential and commercial segments, our awards program—sponsored again this year by Schönox HPS North America—recognizes the top installations in Carpet, Ceramic Tile/Stone, Hardwood/Laminate, Bamboo/Cork and Resilient projects.

I love two things about these awards. The first, and most important, is that they are voted on by you, our readers. That means peer-to-peer review of the work being judged. I may be many things, but a lifelong installer and contractor is not one of them. That’s where you come in. Your expertise and understanding of the challenges and quick thinking that goes into these projects is what carries this contest. It means that every entry is reviewed honestly, with a seasoned professional’s eye for detail.

Submit your Entry to the FCI Installation Awards!

The second thing I love about these awards is getting to interview the winners. For some reason, the stereotype is that people who go into the trades are good with their hands but not their heads. Through my job as editor of this magazine, I aim to fight that perception every day. You are all extremely knowledgeable craftspeople and do this industry proud.

Learning firsthand from the winners about the thought processes and skills that go into these projects is rewarding for me. More importantly, I hope it smashes perceptions of what installers are capable of achieving. Our goal with this awards program, year in and year out, has always been to elevate the installation industry and heighten the respect for the work you do. Can a homeowner take a DIY mentality and tile their own bathroom? Sure. The cuts may not be exact, the spacing may be off and the grout may be a mess, but it’s doable. But can any of them ever hope to achieve what the winners of these awards routinely create? Nope. Not a chance in the world.

So please, if you were considering entering, do so now. Tell other installers about this contest, too. Be part of the conversation of what professionals can do with a little time, creativity and their own two hands. With the labor gap in qualified installers, it’s more important than ever to show potential candidates why this field can be so rewarding and much more than just a job, but a livelihood and a point of pride.

If you would like to submit, please visit fcimag.com/installation-awards. I can’t wait to see what you’ve all accomplished this time.