Installers Dave Bradfield and Chris Sessum were recognized as the winners of the National Installer of the Year Competition, a partnership between International Certified Flooring Installers (CFI) and The International Surface Event (TISE), which was recently held in Las Vegas.
Bradfield—from Andersons of Oakland, Calif.—won in the resilient category. Sessum—from ECS Floorcovering of Lynnwood, Wash.—was honored in the carpet category, marking the second consecutive time he won in carpet.
“The addition of the semi-finals competition at the mid-year TISE event last June ramped up the excitement and industry buzz.” stated Michelle Swayze, senior marketing for TISE. “TISE can confirm that it is working with CFI to continue the semi-finals round of the competition in 2022 with the finalists being sent to Las Vegas for the 2023 National competition.”
Semi-finalists who went on to compete in this year’s contest were, in the resilient category: Mike McIntyre, Murleys Floorcovering of Kennewick, Wash.; Jeffrey Riella, Hoems & Associates of South San Francisco, Calif.; and Crystal Sims, Preferred Flooring of Grand Rapids, Mich. Semi-finalists in the carpet category were: Gary Harrison, Conklin Bros. of Santa Rosa, Calif.; Zachary Stacy, Pruitt Flooring of Wichita, Kans.; and Scott Zito, Bel Lavoro Carpets & Luxury Flooring of Kansas City, Mo.
The National competition included a written test the day before the event, and a challenging work order that had to be completed within a two-day, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. window. Attendees were able to watch from the show floor, while judges frequently asked the competitors tough questions.
According to Robert Varden, CFI Vice President, “The judges, until 7 p.m. on the last day after the competition had concluded, were working through just marginal points between the finalists and the person that took it home. If we held this competition again tomorrow, we may have a different winner. Not that any of the finalists had a bad day; just some of them excelled a little bit more.”
Dana Hicks, TISE show director, noted, “The International Surface Event is honored to highlight the talent and hard work of flooring, stone and tile installation trade professionals. We applaud all the competitors for their incredible work and congratulate the two 2022 winners for edging just above to secure their National Installer of the Year titles.”
Swayze said the installation contest is one way TISE seeks to raise awareness of the flooring installation trade. “It has been a goal of TISE to highlight the installation crisis in the industry, support initiatives from organizations that promote and encourage entering the installation trade, and celebrate the work of installation trade professionals. The annual National Installer of the Year Competition is a huge initiative TISE works diligently on with CFI and our competition partners. and is a massive celebration of the hard work in the installation community.”