With this issue, Floor Covering Installer has officially turned 25 years old—and what a ride it’s been so far. Through this scrappy little magazine, I’ve been able to travel all across the country for close to 20 years and meet so many wonderful, knowledgeable and skilled people along the way. With my longstanding health issues I would never be able to do the physically taxing jobs you do every day, but whenever I’m around a group of installers at a convention or visiting a training session, you always make me feel like part of the family and that is something for which I will always be grateful.

Twenty-five years is quite the milestone. The publishing industry has changed drastically since FCI first rolled off the presses a quarter of a century ago. Websites at the time were more curiosities than legitimate places to find information. Today, they’re arguably the most important part of a company’s branding. Back then smartphones didn’t even exist. Now not only does everyone have one, but every company markets an app to keep their brand in front of you—and hopefully to make your job easier.

The installation industry is in a state of flux right now. The old-timers are making their money on installations only they know how to perform expertly, or they’re retiring. While there is plenty of fresh, new talent coming into the field, it’s definitely not enough to make up for the skilled labor deficit yet. Whenever I talk to installers who have children, they always tell me the first thing they warn their kids is to not enter this business. Many do anyway, and they end up having the same passion for it as their parents. But let’s be honest here—if you’re actively warning your children to stay away from the profession that has given you a living, something has gone incredibly wrong with the profession.

It is fixable. Absolutely it is. But it’s going to take time and patience, getting out of your comfort zones, finding new hires from places you might not have looked into before, and above all keeping an open mind. It’s not an easy job, and there is no easy solution. Really, the future of the industry is entirely in your hands.

But there is one thing I know. As long as you show the same attention to detail, craft and care in injecting new blood into your business as you do to your installations, there is absolutely no stopping you. And we’ll be here, ready to report and illuminate the best that the industry has to offer.