There is so much going on right now in the flooring industry. I’m not even sure where to start. Installation training continues to gain momentum and partnerships are solidifying in support of education and training as is evidenced by the recent announcement that the Floor Covering Education Foundation’s (FCEF) Basic Floor Covering Installation program is eligible for credentialing with both the Certified Flooring Installers (CFI) association and the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA). Students now have even more opportunities to continue their education. 

Speaking of education, how many of you are planning to attend the NWFA Expo? I will be there, learning more about the hardwood industry and its commitment to sustainable harvesting practices, quality craftsmanship and the future of hardwood with its student event. If you missed it last year, area high school students were shuttled to the convention where they were exposed to the hardwood industry as a potential career option. Students got the opportunity to listen to a group of panelists talk about their careers, tour the showroom floor where they spoke with potential employers and attended a tech demo where they watched NWFA trainers bend layers of hardwood. I expect this year to be bigger and better!

So, the NWFA did a thing. They decided to revamp their Wood Species technical publication, which initially does not sound like a big deal. But do you have any idea what it takes to create a manual that lists every single domestic species of wood utilized by the industry as well as the tropical species that are used in flooring production? I sat down with Brett Miller, vice president, technical standards, training, & certification, NWFA, to talk about this update and just who and what it takes to get something of that magnitude accomplished. Be sure to read all about it in the article titled: “NWFA Releases Updated Wood Species Technical Publication Focused on Domestic Wood and Sustainability.”

How many of you take time for yourselves? I speak to installers every week who express how burned out they are and how they don’t see any way out. In this month’s Floor Academy Briefing, Kyle Hedin, host, Floor Academy Podcast, and owner, Illustrious Hardwoods, reveals his own struggles with “stopping to smell the flowers (no roses here, folks).” He offers up some sound advice on how to literally stop what you’re doing to be more present for yourself, your family and your business.

I had the pleasure of meeting Benny Powell, owner, Powell Flooring, at the CFI Convention last year in April. He was competing in the TISE Southeastern Regional Installation Competition in the hardwood category. We spoke a great deal about succession planning for flooring installers and why installers choose not to write their next chapters in other areas of flooring so they can get off their knees before the damage is done. Powell had a great deal of insight into the matter. For this edition of Contractor Spotlight, Powell spends time with me talking about business in his area, how certification has benefited him and which projects left a lasting impression and why. Show Benny some love and give his interview a watch. (P.S. He took home second in the comp!)

Until next time folks...keep it sharp side down.