Al’s column

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by Al Wahnon

FRANK TALK: I just received an email from my old friend Warren Kenney, the Bigelow sage who, in the golden years past, put the big in Bigelow. Kenney stays in touch with a wide circle of Bigelow alumni and other industry personalities. He wrote: “Just off the phone with Frank Mayfield, who at 97 is sharp as he was at 27.” That brought back a flood of memories of Fabulous Frank. He was an iconic retailer and an inspiring speaker. He had a brilliant sense of humor. He once told me, quite seriously, he would have graduated from college summa cum laude but he didn’t have the grades. Frank would love to hear from old friends and acquaintances, so take a moment and call him at 864.242.3544; or write him at Westminster Retirement Residence, 11 E. Augusta Place, Apt. 105, Greenville, S.C. 29605.

TALENT SEARCH: After 17 years as executive director and CEO of the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA), Ed Korczak will retire at the end of 2011. He grew the membership ranks from 800 to 3,400 companies, helped develop NWFA’s installation guidelines, technical training programs and annual conventions—the largest dedicated exclusively to wood flooring. So his gigantic shoes will not be easy to fill. A search committee has been established to hire a successor. Qualified candidates must have at least 10 years of executive management experience and leadership; a college degree; demonstrated management skills; knowledge of building membership bases and planning conventions; a familiarity working with a board of directors and committees; experience managing a diverse staff, and excellent oral and written communication skills. If you have the stuff, send a resumé (not to exceed two pages) to Questions? Call NWFA at 800.422.4556.

SEGUE: And speaking of wood, here is some trivia about the mighty oak tree. There are 600 species of oak around the world. Oak trees can live for 200 years or more—that’s in the ground. As a floor they can live 1,000 years or more. Once an acorn falls to the ground, it has less than a 1/10,000 of a chance to grow into an oak tree. Now I know why the guys I play poker with call me Acorn. A mature oak tree can draw up to 50 or more gallons of water per day. Big deal. I know a guy who can do it with beer. The largest oak tree of record is the Wye oak in the community of Wye Mills in Talbot County on Maryland’s eastern shore. It is believed to be more than 400 years old, and measures 32 feet in circumference. It is 105 feet tall with a crown spread of 158 feet. Definitely cannot make it as a Christmas tree, but could be a summer home for King Kong—a change from the Empire State Building.

CHILD CARE: GoodWeave protects and rescues children from being exploited by cruel and thoughtless rug makers. The group has launched its major fundraiser, the 2010 raffle, to continue its work to eliminate child labor. It believes childhood is not a luxury but a birthright for all children around the world. Each raffle sold supports the campaign to end child labor in the handmade rug industry and sponsor schooling for rescued children. The raffle features a unique prize: a Japanese Floral in Saffron. Measuring 8 x 10 feet and retailing at $9,000, it was donated by Florence Broadhurst Handmade Rugs. Raffles are $25, five for $199, 12 for $200 and 30 for $500. Visit to buy raffles or mail a check to GoodWeave USA, 2001 S Street NW, Suite 430, Washington, D.C. 20009, and mark the envelope “2010 raffle.”

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