Flooring installers, retailers and distributors from all over the country gathered at this year’s International Certified Installers (CFI) Convention in Orlando, Florida, to compete in the Southeast Regional Installation competition, participate in education sessions, demo new products and connect with others in the industry. If you attend flooring shows and events, you have most likely noticed that each one has a certain feeling or connection that keeps attendees coming back…or not. I would categorize the vibe of the convention as an “eager willingness”—a willingness to support the next generation of flooring installers by any means necessary. 

During the installation competition, competitors installed either wood flooring or carpet based on a specific set of instructions, and the installations were judged based on how closely each competitor followed these instructions. Some were returning competitors, and some were newcomers. While the installers worked diligently to make the cutoff time, industry greats, event sponsors and family and friends were there to support the competitors. 

Further supporting the attendees through education were installation vets like Jim Walker who established CFI; P.J. Arthur, CEO and founder, Natural Fiber Installation Certification; Roland Thompson, owner, Thompson Flooring, Installation & Consultant Services; Danny Sherman, southeastern sales rep., Wolff Tools; Rod Von Busch, vice president operations, C.D.I. Floors; and the list goes on.   

While The International Surface Event (TISE) is one of the major sponsors, financial and product support for the competition was provided by Mohawk and Performance Accessories for the wood and carpet categories. QEP and Roberts provided all the tools needed, and Taylor Adhesives supplied the adhesive products. The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA), Floor Covering Education Foundation (FCEF), World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) and International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) showed their support as well. 

In the opening session, Scott Humphrey, CEO, WFCA, acknowledged that the organization is going through a transition period. It is no secret that the industry is changing. As a result, the organizations are shifting gears to accommodate that change, but if you stop and consider the number of organizations, manufacturers, industry veterans and the suppliers present at this one event, the “transition period” seems to be a welcome and necessary change. I think we all can support that.