A record-breaking number of people from every sector of the flooring industry attended the 24th Annual CFI Convention this month in Orlando, FL, according to Robert Varden, Vice President, Certified Floorcovering Installers Association. The event, which kicked off August 16th at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, FL, spanned three days and commenced with a welcome reception sponsored by Royal Adhesives, Traxx, Tarkett, Parabond, Tools4Flooring.com, and Sponge Cushion, Inc.
Installers, retailers, inspectors, manufacturers, and others attended the three-day event. Varden welcomed attendees and thanked sponsors for their support in promoting education within the flooring industry. All in attendance received a welcome gift that included a CFI backpack filled with sponsor gifts from companies including: Ardex Americas, Armstrong Flooring, Congoleum, Crain Tools, Dexerials, DriTac Flooring Products, Eagle Floor Covering Supplies, HPS Schonox North America, KOSTER American Corporation, Loba Wakol LLC, Personna/Accutec Blades, Powernail, QEP/Roberts, Royal Adhesives/Parabond, Southern Carlson/Duo-Fast, Sponge Cushion, Inc., Tarkett, Taylor Tools, Titebond, Tools4Flooring, Traxx, Wagner Meters, Warmup, Inc., and IQ Powertools.
The convention included a “who’s who” line-up of renowned industry speakers and celebrities. Scott Humphrey, Chief Executive Officer, WFCA, presented Leadership Strategies That Work, focused on strategies for guiding industry teams successfully through a rapidly changing business environment. Varden provided presentations on CFI’s international reach, including the opening of the new CFI Division in Shanghai, China, and ongoing training with Beaulieu de Brazil, and other programs all of which help to extend CFI’s reach and efforts to resolve the installation shortage around the world. The keynote presentation by Darryl Ross, contributing author of the book “Jumpstart Your Success” and highly sought after motivational speaker, praised attendees for having the acumen and fortitude to navigate today’s challenging business landscape and offered insights for ongoing success. Leading technical trainers from Tarkett, Congoleum, and Armstrong explained LVT Installation and Repair. Paul Pleshek of the National Academy for Floor Covering Training presented Third Party Inspections, Biased or Beneficial. The Latest Innovation in Floor Finishes was presented by the DexArmor Team. Jeff King, General Counsel for the WFCA, addressed the question Are You Ready for an Immigration Raid or Audit? CFI trainer Jonathan Varden offered a Custom Rug Workshop. Heat Welded Seams – Get It Right the First Time was given by Todd Weldon of Armstrong and Dick Schmidt of Tarkett. Is My Business Ready For New Technology was presented by Phil Zolan, Executive Director, fcB2B. Lastly, How to Read Blueprints was presented by CFI pro Tom Cartmell.
The convention included more programs and ample networking and training opportunities. It also featured the Associate Showcase, an expo highlighting new products and tools from numerous flooring manufacturers. Attendees experienced hands interaction with the latest tools and products as well as opportunities to talk with developers behind new technologies that are changing the face of installation.
Schmoozing and networking extended into the evenings with themed parties sponsored by partner companies including Traxx and others. The convention concluded with the CFI Annual Awards Dinner, at which several industry leaders were honored for their achievements. The Chris Davis Award, given each year to an individual who stands out in his or her efforts to promote quality installation and support across the flooring industry, was presented to Rick Herr, installation technology leader from Armstrong World Industries. The Gress Award, the highest form of recognition available to a professional flooring installer, was given to Dwayne Pruitt of Pruitt Flooring in Wichita, KS.
The last honor handed out was the Walk of Excellence Award, presented to John McHale and Jill Sheets of CFI for their outstanding achievement and all around excellence. The two have helped cultivate CFI’s success through a combined total of 43 years working in the CFI office. Jill Sheets was also presented with a plaque thanking her for her hard work and dedication over the years.
Attendees also had their chance for recognition and fame at the conference through multiple high end prizes that were awarded throughout the event. Carol Wilkins from Informa Exhibitions gave away an all-expense paid trip to TISE 2018. The winner was Brook Williams of Cincinnati, OH, a first-time CFI Convention attendee and recent graduate of the CFI 5-week Carpet Installation Training Course. The Grand Prize winner of the 50/50 CFI Convention raffle was Danny Sherman of Megs Installations in Doraville, GA. Mr. Sherman graciously donated his prize back to the raffle charities, which include The Floor Covering Industry Foundation and the George Burckhardt Memorial Installer Foundation. Both foundations support installers and those involved in the flooring industry who are in need.
Next year marks CFI Convention’s 25th anniversary. The 2018 event will take place in Orlando, Florida on August 15–17. Information on the event can be found by contacting CFI: firstname.lastname@example.org.