St. Louis — The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) announced a significant expansion of its scholarship program under its new Education & Research Foundation.
The program, which will be launched during the NWFA’s Wood Flooring Expo in Nashville, April 16-19, will provide meaningful financial assistance to wood flooring professionals throughout the world.
“Over the years, the structure of our hands-on training has evolved,” said Michael Martin, NWFA president and CEO. “As the economy struggled, people in need of training were less able to afford the expense of travel, so we restructured our training to develop regional programs that would minimize travel expenses. Still, attendees struggled to afford the cost of these training programs, which NWFA has always run at a break-even or even at a loss.”
In response to this need, the NWFA Board of Directors has established a new Legacy Scholarship program.
“This program started with a vision from of one of our Board members, Tommy Maxwell,” Martin said. “Over the years, Tommy served on multiple industry boards and worked closely with his industry peer and friend, Bob Haggard to expand the wood flooring industry. Haggard, the owner of Hassel & Hughes Lumber Co. in Collinwood Tenn., died suddenly this past year, and Maxwell wanted to recognize him for his many contributions to the industry by establishing a scholarship in his honor. Once the Board of Directors started to discuss the program in detail, it became clear that there were many other industry legends who deserved to be honored as well. The Board determined that individuals could be recognized with a Legacy scholarship by donating a minimum of $5,000 in the individual’s memory.” Maxwell will make the initial donation to the fund by nominating 13 individuals for recognition. They include:
- Slim Andries – Floor Service Supply Co.
- Rick Brian – Robbins, Inc.
- Dick Coates – Golden State Flooring
- Chester Derr – Derr Flooring Company
- Albert Duke – Peace Flooring Co.
- Bob Haggard – Hassell & Hughes Lumber Co.
- Ed Hamar – Horner Flooring Co.
- Sykes Harris – Sykes Flooring Co.
- Virgil Hendricks – Lockwood Flooring/Mid-West Flooring Company
- Keijo Hyvonen – Kelly-Goodwin Flooring
- Harold Reid – Trinity Hardwood
- Jim Stoeher – Robbins Inc./Stoeher Flooring
- Larry Witt – Bruce Lumber Company/Robbins Flooring Company
“All donations will be invested in restricted funds, the principal balance of each scholarship will be protected from use, and scholarships will be awarded based on interest from interest earnings,” Martin said.
“The NWFA has had two scholarship funds for a number of years,” said Don Finkell, CEO of American OEM Wood Floors in Greenville, S.C. “The Friends of Dick Hradecki and Powernail scholarships are similar in nature but are much larger funds. We wanted to establish an additional lower level of giving that allows the association to honor more individuals who have contributed to our industry.”
“The Board has also established a general scholarship with the hope that those individuals who have benefited from NWFA training over the years will pay it forward to future generations by donating to the fund, in any amount they can afford, to impact future generations of wood flooring professionals,” Finkell added. “At the Expo, anyone donating a minimum of $25 will have an additional opportunity to win a VIP trip for two to the Country Music Association Awards in Nashville this coming November. It’s a win-win, for those who donate, and definitely for those who receive scholarships.”