Attendees could not stop talking about this year’s CFI Convention, which included festivities surrounding their 25th Anniversary celebration. Some of the collected remarks from those in attendance at the show which took place August 15th through the 17th at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Florida included: “this is the one-stop for all professionals that want to stay a step-ahead in their career!”, “CFI Convention always delivers – it’s the best place to network, learn about the latest products, techniques, growing your business and get the face to face interaction between installers and manufacturer reps!” and “the CFI Convention is where most of my business for the year is done – nothing is going to keep me away from that show!”
For decades, the CFI Convention has been widely recognized as the one destination drawing people from across the country and overseas and delivering a stand-out line-up of today’s top business leaders and presenters covering all of the issues that matter in the industry. Additionally, no other show brings together the line-up of new product introductions and cutting-edge techniques quite like CFI.
The Opening Session, given on Thursday morning by Vice President, Robert Varden himself included an overview on CFI’s progress throughout 2018. He touched on topics including the organization’s new training facilities in Shanghai and Toronto as well as addressing key issues on the minds of all professionals whose lives are touched by flooring installation. In the course of the presentation, Varden cited how far CFI has come since its inception stating, “I can comfortably say that in 25 years, CFI has become the most recognized [flooring installer] certification and training program worldwide.”
Keynote speaker, Josh McGinnis, Business Coach of Unlock Your Biz, who has spent the past 10 years of his career focused on business coaching, took the stage shortly after Varden to deliver a motivating speech entitled “Why Most Business Plans are Worthless”. Following McGinnis, Geoff Gordon, Executive Director of Fuse Alliance, hit the stage to give a brief update on his company’s recent partnership with CFI which took place earlier this year. He expressed his excitement and the potential growth he envisions in the future.
Phil Zolan of fcB2B followed and revealed some long-awaited news on the “Installation Crisis: Research Project” which was commissioned by the Floor Covering Leadership Council – FCLC. FCLC commissioned this independent research firm to conduct a multi-phase study to quantify the scope and severity of the lack of installation professionals on the flooring industry’s sustainability and growth. According to Zolan, who unveiled the results exclusively to attendees at the show, concluded that not only is the problem real, but its financial impact on our industry is significantly more than previously understood. Further details of the study, along with the next steps, will be released over the next few months.
Many awards were given out at this year’s show including: The Charlie Gress Award which recognizes standout flooring installers at the top of their game. This year’s awardwent to two individuals – Jen Zurn CFI Installer #15286 in Slinger, Wisconsin and to John Stover CFI Installer #14 in Warren, Michigan. This award has special significance amongst installers. Its namesake, Charles, better known as Charlie (CFI Master Installer #355) made a huge difference in the lives of installers from coast to coast until his untimely death from cancer in 1995. Charlie Gress never asked what I can do, but rather jumped right in and did it. The Charlie R. Gress award was developed in his honor to signify that the individual receiving this award has done more for the trade, for other installers and for CFI than ever expected.
The R. Christopher Davis Award is presented in memory of Chris Davis, who passed away in 2012. Davis was a true friend of CFI in his position as President and CEO of the WFCA. In his memory, members of the flooring industry who promote quality installation through their support of CFI are recognized. Recipients of this award are selected according to the ability and willingness to work with the flooring industry to build a stronger foundation between all partners. This person must also display the characteristics of leadership to achieve goals that are directly related to the advancement of quality flooring installation. CFI was honored to give this award to Don Styka, CFI Master Installer #383.
Don began his career as an installer in Youngstown, OH, working for his uncle installing flooring for Sears and other local stores in 1979. Always looking for a challenge and to expand his knowledge, he accepted a position with a local flooring distributor in the mid 80’s. He entered the manufacturing side of the industry with Johnsonite in 1999 as their Senior Technical Specialist and is currently the Director of Field Services for Tarkett who purchased Johnsonite in 2005. He possesses a wealth of knowledge in flooring installations, application processes, products, maintenance, sales and management and is considered an expert in the flooring industry. Once certified, he became very active with CFI, as founding member he served as Secretary-Treasurer, Member of the Board of Directors, President of the Northeast Ohio Chapter, and was a Senior Certifier. Don has always found a way to be involved and support the advancement of professional flooring installation. Commended as striving to be one of the most knowledgeable people in the industry as well as a CFI Master Installer who would make Chris Davis himself proud and always makes CFI proud.
The CFI 25 Training Pin, which honors those who have successfully trained at over 25 installation trainings and certification courses, went to George Johnson III, CFI Installer #8181 in Springfield, VA. George has been with the CFI family since March of 2012, now as a member on the CFI Certification Team.
CFI also cumulatively raised over $6,000 through raffles and auctions on site. The proceeds of these fundraisers were split between the Buckhardt Memorial Foundation and the Floor Covering Industry Foundation. All donations help those in the industry who do not have the means to help themselves due to medical expenditures. More information can be found here regarding FCIF, or here for the Buckhardt Memorial Foundation.
Personna/Accutec, Traxx, Schönox and several others, showered the 48 first-timers with dozens of giveaways on site including: knee pads, electric tackers, hammer staplers (w/staples), Seamer Down Now Kit, Blue Fin Seaming Iron and a Kool Glide Seaming System from Traxx Corporation; a full expense paid trip to The International Surface Event 2019 courtesy of Informa; a QEP Power Stretcher, QEP Locking Pattern Matching and Seam Repair Stretcher and 2 QEP Tool box LOADED with tools given by QEP Roberts; and dozens of other items!
The next CFI Convention will be held in San Antonio, TX at La Cantera Resort and Spa on August 21-23, 2019. For more information, please visit www.cficonvention.com. Registration will open in October of 2018.