What keeps top executives awake in 2018?

Home Inside FCNews What keeps top executives awake in 2018?

January 8/15, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 15

By Ken Ryan


There is no rest for the wicked or—it would seem—for the flooring executive with so much to consider: How the next big launch will fare in the market? How to keep your talented staff engaged and motivated? How best to navigate the digital landscape? Indeed, the daily grind can be daunting, especially when the decisions you render can have such great consequences.

Larry Browder
chief sales and marketing officer, Karndean
“Making sure we continue to have a forward-thinking, aggressive strategy that continues to keep us ahead of our competition.”

Jeff Fenwick
president/COO, Tarkett
“Keeping our employees engaged and energized, especially in the environment we live in today where there is so much white noise. It’s tough to keep people focused and engaged in this kind of world. For us we’re really disciplined about measuring our employee engagement and making sure our folks have a voice.”

Paul Murfin
president, Mohawk resilient
“As evolving as the category is, it’s [about] staying in front of the curve so we continue to keep our product line relevant in the marketplace.”

Don Maier
CEO, Armstrong Flooring
“My biggest concern is also our greatest asset—our people. I believe deeply that it all begins with talent. To support our growth, Armstrong Flooring needs to attract, develop and retain the highest level of talent in each and every position. I tell my team all the time I do not just want to have a winning season; I want to win the Super Bowl. To do this, we do not just need a great team, we need the best team. I see the most important part of my job is to ensure we win this war for talent.”

T.M. Nuckols
president, Dixie Residential
“With the growth in hard surfaces, I am concerned with the replacement cycle of flooring in the future. Consumers will replace their flooring less frequently than they have in the past, which presents volume and profitability dilemmas for the entire value chain.”

Piet Dossche
CEO, USFloors
“How can I continue to lead and educate our industry to not fall into the trap of commoditization and price erosion of this exciting new product category: Composite Core Waterproof Flooring?”

Chris O’Connor
president/COO, Congoleum
The industry is changing at an unprecedented pace. Our continued success lies in our ability to stay ahead of the competition by not only understanding the needs of the market but also by leveraging our nimble size to respond to those needs faster and more completely than anyone else.

Michael Raskin
CEO, Raskin Industries
“Executing all of the ideas that I have and choosing which ones to go with. No matter who you are, everyone is spread very thin today; the market is moving fast and the economy is good, and I think it’s making sure everyone is following up and taking care of your customers’ needs.”

Don Finkell
president/CEO, American OEM
“The big question is the impact of tax cuts and a reduced regulatory environment on the housing market. The risk is Congress might not be able to get all of these things passed—along with a disappointed stock market. But I am optimistic that the strength of the economy and the pent-up demand for housing will overcome the dysfunction in our political system.”

Drew Hash
VP, hard surface product portfolio, Shaw Floors
“In laminate, the broad range of products available within the market can create misconceptions for this product category, making it increasingly important for manufacturers and flooring retailers to be able to effectively communicate the benefits and attributes of each product line.”

Brad Williams
VP, sales and marketing, Boa-Franc (Mirage)
“While politics dominated  2016, weather led the way [in 2017] with the most active hurricane season since 2005. This major flooding coupled with heat and dryness on the West Coast fueled some of the largest fires we have seen. These catastrophes will lead to new construction and renovation. seems to put things on hold in the short term.”

Derek Welbourn
CEO, Inhaus
“Competition is often the most challenging; however, in the bigger picture I think it helps keep everyone focused and ultimately results in creating better products and service. This helps the categories overall and results in more business for everyone. With new product developments, there is more competition across product categories than ever before.”

Wade Bondrowski
director, U.S. sales, Mercier Wood Flooring
“Our challenges come from quantifying what is a hardwood floor vs. imported stained plywood or cheap rotary peeled products, along with the pricing pressures they bring. The others are the wood knock-offs—LVT, WPC, ceramic, etc. All have wood lookalikes that are good in styling and design with a lower price. But I wonder why our industry is so concerned with going to the basement and trading dollar down. per square foot.”

Paul Rezuke
director of sales, U.S., Wickham Hardwood Flooring
“The market remains strong and most economists believe that barring any unforeseen issues things look solid right through 2019. What concerns me is the uncertainty regarding potential trade regulatory restraints.”

Bob Baldocchi
chief marketing officer/VP business development, Emser
“We have 70-plus locations and five different segments that have their own sets of challenges. I wish I could point to one thing; there is still a lot of business out there to be captured even with the labor shortage.”

Darrell Locke
VP, residential sales, Lexmark Carpet
“Industry consolidation. As the industry continues to narrow, consumers and retailers will continue to feel the pinch with limited suppliers and less fashionable selections. Consumers will be forced to settle.”

John Turner Jr.
president, Dal-Tile
“The changing environment in retail. With the emergence of Floor and Décor or Tile Shop, and with Lowe’s and Home Depot competing with those models, it’s going to create stress on flooring retailers. Those who invest in well-trained RSAs … will win.”



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