Every year at this time I sit down and contemplate the subject of my editorial for the Surfaces issue. Inevitably, I can’t hide in my ivory tower. I walk the show floor for three days, vulnerable to any and all comments.
This year finding a topic was tough. I was throwing a bunch of ideas against the wall but nothing stuck. Then I was watching reruns of “Millionaire” a few nights ago. I was somewhat inspired by the contestants. You rarely see people like this on network TV—unless it’s “America’s Most Wanted.” All the participants seemed geeky and nervous; one guy was so wired that if his teeth were in backward, he’d have chewed himself to death.
I had to laugh. You have questions such as, “What company invented the Xerox machine?” Meantime, that guy from the “$64,000 Question” in the 1950s had to answer questions like, “Who was the first theoretician to identify the third law of thermodynamics?” We’ve come a long way.
There’s a point to this, I promise. The show provided some background noise while I was reading articles for our Surfaces issue. During one of those “It’s white and comes out of a cow” questions, I happened to be reading about the World Floor Covering Association’s newest inductees into its Hall of Fame: Fritz Munzinger and LeVonne Pirner, two most deserving candidates. (See page 3 for details.) But there was one name missing from the list.
Honestly, I was surprised that the doors to the Hall did not open for Chris Davis. Now, before the WFCA Hall of Fame committee attacks me in Hall B, Hall S or Murray Hall, I know through my sources he was not even nominated. I am going to speculate it was because until this year one of the criteria for induction was a minimum of 20 years of service to the industry. Chris had 17-plus. I’m told that stipulation was lifted, but I’m wondering if anyone else knew. Even so, I feel strongly that an exception should have been granted in this case. In my mind, the Hall of Fame committee should have even waived the paperwork.
Then, of course, is the ambivalence that frequently envelopes this industry. Word has it the WFCA Hall of Fame committee received only four nominations this year. Really? Only four people in the floor covering industry could bother to nominate one of the many deserving individuals? Too busy watching “Millionaire,” I guess.
Chris’ accomplishments say he certainly deserves the honor. He is the only president and CEO the WFCA has ever known. He is credited with facilitating the merger between the American Floorcovering Association and Western Floor Covering Association. He built Surfaces into a top 50 trade show, then sold it for $40 million, basically endowing the WFCA in perpetuity.
He was a leader of the industry, promoting the professionalism of its people. He worked tirelessly on behalf of all segments and levels of the industry with one simple goal: to make each bigger and better. Under his leadership the industry in general became more recognized, more respected and more profitable. He donated WFCA’s resources to the Floor Covering Industry Foundation, the charitable organization dedicated to assisting industry personnel who experience catastrophic illnesses or severe disabilities. I challenge anyone to come up with someone who has done more to further this industry.
OK. I’m stepping off my soapbox. But I’m going to tell you this: I will be nominating Chris next year. And I’m not going to be the only one. Bet on it.