LEXINGTON, N.C.—Robert Joseph Botelho lived carpet and flooring for more than 30 years. The former retailer and New England Floor Covering Association (NEFCA) president, was executive vice president of RollMaster Software. He died at his home here July 6. He was 57.
A New England native Botelho worked the retail side of the industry for more than 20 years, working his way up from installer to store owner. As an Abbey dealer in Massachusetts, he worked 75- hour-plus weeks to grow his business to three stores, including a cash-and-carry business, with average growth of 8% to 10% in every year of operating the businesses.
That growth came with a dedication to hard work, customers and networking. It was through his networking that Botelho became president of the then-floundering New England Floor Covering Association. During his tenure at its helm, Botelho revitalized the group, increasing its membership rolls and regularly drawing more than 180 people to meetings and annual golf outings.
A truly unique individual, Botelho was as much a mentor to those with whom he worked, as he was a friend. “Bob was not always a graceful teacher,” noted his wife, Marcia Thompson. “That was just how he did it. He cared about you and wanted you to do it the right way.”
“He was a great friend and someone who always went out of his way to help whenever he could,” remembered Sunil Taneja, FCNews’ Canadian correspondent. “He lived his life to the fullest, never giving himself any opportunity for regret.”
Dev O’Reilly, president and CEO of RollMaster called Botelho “a very hard working and knowledgeable person who was extremely fun. Nothing was too difficult, too far or too hard; he was driven to help our company and the flooring industry.”
O’Reilly added that Botelho helped RollMaster’s clients “succeed and made a significant contribution to the flooring industry along the way. We benefited greatly from his enthusiasm.”
“He was very timely and proactive to the needs of the industry,” noted Jerry Hogue, CFO of Arbor Contract Carpet, Irving, Tex. “He knew what management controls needed to be in place.”
Hogue also pointed to Botelho’s enthusiasm and ability to think outside the box. “Bob had a lot of insights into the industry that are difficult to come by. He was in tune with the Internet and its important role in society. How people are going more toward ordering directly from a computer and never even making it into a showroom.”
Botelho is remembered for his audacity, veracity and his forthrightness. As Hogue said, “He was crazy, yeah! But if Bob said he was going to do something for you, he made sure it got done. He really helped us a lot. He truly is going to be missed.”
Botelho is survived by his wife of 13 years, Marcia Thompson; son, Kevin, and daughter, Sheri Williams; step-daughter, Alex Norris, and step-son, Austin Norris.