Starnet held its 2018 Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla., where the network of 177 independent flooring contractors — including a record nine new member companies — had the opportunity to learn from one another and glean new strategies to help grow their businesses.
“This goes to our strategic plan, which we call Vision 2020, that aims to increase our market share in important markets,” said Jeanne Matson, Starnet president. “We are off to a strong start in 2018, and we are very optimistic that the economy will remain strong throughout the year.”
The sentiment was reinforced by members who are seeing business growth.
“We want to go deep and broad on our customer base,” said Dan Ulfig, president and CEO of Master Craft Floors in Plymouth, Mich., which expanded into Las Vegas at the end of 2017. “We got in with carpet and now we do coatings, wood, ceramic and polished concrete because we want to do more business with the same customers.”
Matson affirmed that the Starnet board continues to develop networking and educational opportunities, both formal and recreational, that encourage market growth and deeper bonds between members and vendor partners. One of the highlights this year was the first annual Starnet NTCA Tile and Stone Training program, a three-day event held in partnership with the National Tile Contractor Association (NTCA) in Dallas for 50 Starnet member employees from around the country. The event was sponsored by Starnet Vendor Partners Dal-Tile and MAPEI along with education partners Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) and Fails Management Institute (FMI).
Developed for project managers, field supervisors and estimators that contribute to a tile and stone project’s profitability, the training showcased industry-leading experts who provided advice and guidance to increase project profitability and minimize profit erosion.
“As technology continues to fuel the growth of our trade, the importance of training and education will continue to grow,” said Bart Bettiga, executive director, NTCA. “We hope that the success of this initiative will lead to more collaborative programs with Starnet in the future.”
Starnet added new vendor partners this year, including Bostik, manufacturer of specialty adhesives and installation systems for building construction, which joined the group as part of a ramped-up strategy focusing on higher-end commercial project work.
“There are so many benefits associated with this partnership,” said Michael Zaccardelli, director of sales, Bostik. “In particular, it puts our brand in front of seasoned flooring contractors …It also helps us better acquaint these professionals with what we have to offer, and how they will be able to greatly benefit by working with our problem-solving installation systems.”
Profilitec, an Italian producer of floor profiles and related installation solutions, also joined the network this year to grow its position in the North American market.
“Our goals at the annual meeting were to provide the attendees with an understanding of our product line both in scope and in positioning,” said Greg Gelston, president. “Our booth was busy at all times and we were able to establish relationships with most who attended.”
During the shareholders’ meeting, members re-elected three incumbents to the Starnet board of directors and the board of directors elected the board officers for the 2018-2019 term. Cheryl Acierno, co-owner of Acierno and Company, announced she will be stepping down as chairman of the board but will remain on the board to complete her current term (2016-2019).
Board officers for the 2018-2019 terms include: Chairman – Chuck Bode, CB Flooring, Columbia, Md.; Vice Chairman – Pete Larmore, Bonitz Flooring Group, Charlotte, N.C.; Treasurer – Leonard Zmijewski, Mr. David’s Flooring International, Itasca, Ill.; and Secretary – Dan Ulfig, Master Craft Floors, Plymouth, Mich. Board members include: Cheryl Acierno – Acierno and Company, Denver, Colo.; Les Lippert – Lippert Flooring & Tile, Menomonee Falls, Wis.; Dan Sliwinski – Sliwinski Floor Covering Services, Inc., Huntingdon Valley, Pa. Paul White – Paul G. White Interior Solutions, Portland, Maine; and Jim Vanhauer – Commercial Flooring Systems, Inc., Omaha, Neb.