I am happy to announce that the 2019 FCI Installation Awards contest is open for its sixth year. I always enjoy seeing how everyone’s skill, passion and creativity translate into unique, awe-inspiring projects. You bring craftsmanship, care and a painstaking attention to detail to a trade that is often derided by people outside the industry—and unfortunately by many inside it as well.

I can’t think of a better way to show how much your work and this industry means to you. Despite those out there who don’t believe quality installations are something worth celebrating, the winners of this contest prove year in and year out that not just anybody can do this. It takes dedication, patience and quick thinking. You need to know how to communicate with your customer, think on your feet and still be able to produce in a timely and efficient manner.

Like previous events, the 2019 FCI Installation Awards is seeking the best, most professional and most creative installations in both residential and commercial settings, in the categories of Ceramic Tile/Stone, Hardwood/Laminate, Carpet, Resilient and Bamboo/Cork. (While almost all of these categories are well-represented every year, I cannot think of one entry in Bamboo or Cork. So if you’re looking for an edge on this year’s competition, that might be it.)

When submitting your entries, please provide high-res images. That way, if you are selected as a winner, we can use the images in print. While we encourage you to submit as many projects as you’d like, please do not submit the same project to more than one category; we just end up deleting the duplicates anyway.

Deadline for entries is July 31. While we occasionally get someone trying to submit an entry after the deadline is past, unfortunately we cannot accept them. So if you’re interested in participating in this year’s contest, please highlight, underline or circle this date on your calendar so you don’t forget.

Immediately following the close of entries, online voting will be open to the readers of FCI, Aug. 1 through 30. Then we’ll tabulate the votes, inform the winners and get the word out in an exclusive online story in early September. The winning projects will also be featured in the November/December issue of FCI.

For more information, visit fcimag.com/FCIawards. As always, I look forward to seeing what you come up with this year.

TalkFloor podcast

Before I close this month’s column, I wanted to note that the TalkFloor daily enewsletter now offers a podcast, featuring interviews conducted by TalkFloor founder Dave Foster with some of the leading authorities in the flooring industry. Just search for “TalkFloor” in your favorite podcast app to start listening.