Obituary: Industry icon Reg Burnett, 79

Home Inside FCNews Obituary: Industry icon Reg Burnett, 79

Founder, owner of RBI International Carpet Consultants until 2002

Dalton—Reginald (Reg) Burnett, formerly with RBI International Carpet Consultants, died Nov. 11. He was 79.

Born Feb. 6, 1934, in Birstall, Yorkshire, England, Burnett came to the U.S. in 1957. He established RBI International in 1967 and was managing president until his retirement in 2002. He produced the Industry Profile, a guide to the entire industry, showing plant locations, capabilities, products, trade names and more. He served on the board of the American Floorcovering Alliance and was an active adviser for the FloorTek trade show.

Lew Migliore, president of LGM Associates and an industry veteran for 40 years, considered Burnett one of his mentors. “Reg Burnett was one of the industry’s icons. He operated RBI Carpet Consultants, the industry’s only true consulting firm, providing services of all kinds, from manufacturing to marketing guidance for carpet manufacturers in the U.S. and abroad. He was in the middle of everything.

“I had a long and fruitful relationship with Reg,” Migliore said. “He took me under his wing and was one of my true mentors along with Al Wahnon of Floor Covering News. I was impressed with his professionalism and business operation.”

Migliore considered Burnett one of the most professional men in the industry. “A gentleman and truly unique individual who built a one-of-a-kind business that filled the needs of the industry. He was, in his time, the go-to guy in the carpet industry. I can say, though our business operates differently than what Reg built, he passed that baton to me. I learned what I know from the industry and I was a pest to everyone in my quest to learn.”

Burnett contributed to the success of others. Migliore said, “He did this by providing advice on the operation of manufacturers’ businesses, bringing various parties together for their mutual benefit and guiding them in the right direction to capitalize on opportunities and by referring services, which he did for me on more than one occasion.”

Burnett is survived by his wife, Jean Newton Burnett; son, Mark;  daughter Kathleen Tancrede; sister, Kathleen Millman; four step-children; 14 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

The family asks memorials be made to Dalton First United Methodist Church, 500 North Thornton Ave., Dalton, GA 30720, or to your favorite charity.

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