Forney, Texas -- The International Surface Event (TISE) held in Las Vegas every year was nothing but successful for CFI. This year, CFI was able to assist in repeating history by helping manage the first TISE Installation Competition since 2003.

Due to the lack of installers and quality installations being a hot-button topic within the industry for the last several years, Informa and CFI found that bringing the Installation Competition back to the TISE show floor would be beneficial to not only motivate young installers, but spotlight those installers for companies and organizations. This year, the flooring categories in the competition included carpet, ceramic tile, and hardwood. Out of approximately 50 installers who submitted jobs months prior to the show in hopes of being chosen to compete, only 9 were selected to show off their talents on the show floor.

Carpet competitors included: Chris Sessum of ECS Floor Covering out of Mill Creek, Wash.; Donald Perkins of DFP out of Torrington, Conn.; and Scott Zito of S. Zito Floor Covering out of Kansas City, Mo. All three competitors were handed the same work order and products and they all three amazed judges with not only their amazing hand skills but also their dedicated attitudes.

“It was exciting to see the enthusiasm of the participants, as well as the hundreds of people who came to watch them display their skills,” said Jim Walker of American Floor Covering Institute. “This event is so important for others to view, as the products are not complete without a professional installation. The contestants made us all proud by the quality of their work. The various methods to achieve the desired results was interesting to watch. The donation of tools, supplies and product by the manufacturers and distributors was overwhelming and greatly appreciated.”

Out of the three, however, there could only be one winner. The carpet judges, Tom Cartmell of Mr. David’s Flooring and CFI’s Jim Walker were proud to announce Chris Sessum of ECS Floor Covering as the winner.

“We had a lot of very positive comments from the crowd observing the competition,” said Cartmell. “As well many asking how they could sign their installers up for it in the future. I feel confident that with the press that was there throughout the competition and the talk about it throughout the show this will grow to be bigger and better than it was in the nineties and early two thousands. I look forward to watching it for many years. It is a very positive event in a time that we need exposure for the trade and craft of Professional Floor Covering.”

The Hardwood competitors included Brandon Mills of BM Flooring out of Norwood, Mass.; Brett Bell of RW Flooring out of Foristell, Mo.; and Matus Mazurek of MMM Designs out of Sarasota, Fla. The winner of the Hardwood category of the completion was Matus Mazurek of MMM Designs who shocked judges Dave Garden of Installation Services and Paul Pleshek of NAFCT, with his ability to maneuver through his work order under the given circumstances.

“This was a fantastic experience for the participants,” said Garden. “The contestants spent the week showcasing their craft while working in a fish bowl for hundreds of onlookers. They handled themselves very well, despite the curveballs that were thrown at them.”

Ceramic tile competitors included Ken Ballin of Skyro Floors out of West Creek, N.J.; and Allen Lewis of Eagle Interiors out of Phenix City, Ala. Between the two, Allen Lewis of Eagle Interiors was crowned the winner by the judges Randy Fleming of NTCA and Roy Lewis of Eagle Floor Covering Supplies.

The competition would not have been able to happen if it weren’t for the dedicated sponsors and contributors who made sure that the competitors, in all categories, had all of the tools and supplies needed to get the job done, Personna, Traxx, IQ Powertools, HB Fuller, MD Pro, Tramex, Nourison, Leggett & Platt, CTEF, NTCA, Crain, Mohawk, DalTile and all the volunteers that helped make this event a tremendous success.

For more information, visit cfiinstallers.org.