Al’s column

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by FCNews staff

NOMINATIONS: The World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) is now accepting applications for nominations to the Floor Covering Industry Hall of Fame. The deadline for submitting completed Hall of Fame applications is Nov. 4. Nominees can come from any sector of the industry but to be considered a person must be nominated by a sponsor who needs to complete a thorough application detailing the nominee’s work history, significant accomplishments, industry, trade, governmental and civic accomplishments. There are currently 37 Hall of Fame members comprising a virtual “who’s who” of all levels of the flooring industry. Applications, guidelines and a list of current inductees are available by contacting Connie Buda at WFCA, 800.624.6880, ext 17.

ENGEL AWARD: The Chicago Floorcovering Association (CFA) has created an award that not only recognizes the important role a salesperson plays in a retailer’s success, it honors one of the organization’s longtime leaders who passed away in April 2010 at the age of 72. The Leon Engel Award will be given to a CFA member salesperson who best exemplifies product knowledge, productivity, reliability, integrity and teamwork. Each CFA member store will be able to nominate one in-house salesperson. The winner will be chosen by a committee of distributor representatives. The Leon Engel Award will be presented at CFA’s Presidential Awards & Dinner, Dec. 10. Contact CFA at 800.627.1299 for more information.

ON ENGEL: In naming its retail salesperson award after Engel, who was the founder of Home Carpet and Linoleum Center in Chicago, CFA said it was his understanding of the industry, combined with an understanding of the consumer and her needs that led to him seeing great success over the years as well as being admired by his peers. Engel was CFA’s president in 1987 and in 2008 was named the organization’s person of the year. “He had a great feel for the qualities that it took to be an outstanding salesperson. He knew how to make his clients feel important and safe in his hands.”

SIGNS OF LIFE: In the fourth quarter of 2010, the commercial sector began picking up steam and, according to Randy Weis of RD Weis Cos. and chairman of the Starnet cooperative of flooring contractors, has continued so far through the first half of this year. He reported 2011 “has been an uptick year” for his company. Like a good leader, he credits his entire team, saying the positive results are “thanks to good work on the sales side and good work on the administration/operations side.” Weis notes, “The world continues to have a degree of uncertainty, with things happening globally that change day by day. While this is unsettling to all of us, the best solution is for us to stay focused and do what we do best, which is deliver a first-class flooring product.” Well said.

CUSTOMER FOCUS: While every company looks for new business to grow, a key part to Weis’ success during these tough times is, “protecting the business we have.” To do this, his team remains focused “on our clients and bringing them solutions that are practical and affordable, and that demonstrate the real value in our relationship. We want to convey to our customers and partners a deep sense of appreciation and to make sure that every associate under- stands this important element of who we are.” And here’s proof of walking the walk: For the fourth year in a row the operations team finished cleaning the floors in about 900 Bank of America branches—on time. No wonder the bank keeps coming back. As Weis said to his team, “Nice work!”

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