April 1/8, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 22
By Ken Ryan
Tucson, Ariz.—The FCICA annual convention welcomed a record number of attendees, including 55 first-timers, in the clearest indication yet that this association is growing in both size and influence.
This marks the second year in a row of record attendance for FCICA, which has seen membership grow over 35%, with most of the newcomers flooring contractors. “I wish I could put a finger on why we have taken it to another level as a group,” said Mike Newberry, outgoing FCICA chairman. “I think if you build something with meaning behind it—where you can take some- thing home that is so valuable— then they will come. Fifty-five first timers at this convention tells me someone is going back to their place of business and saying, ‘I have to send my people there.’ We want the other groups to be part of this. We are supportive of their efforts as well.”
First-time attendees included new member Geoff Gordon, executive director, Fuse Alliance. “Geoff is here to validate what we offer so he can tell his contractor members there are things like the CIM (Certified Installation Managers) program that are available to them,” Newberry explained.
FCICA membership among its core flooring contractors as well as vendors has been on the rise in recent years with the group’s signature CIM program helping fuel the growth. CIM provides training tools and assessment for qualified professionals within the commercial arena to enhance their core skill set, experience and knowledge base, which are necessary to successfully manage commercial flooring projects.
Since the CIM program was launched in 2015, 141 installation managers have successfully completed the program, including 44 since the group’s mid-year 2018 meeting in Pennsylvania. There are currently 78 people in the program today. At this time last year there were 65 certifications achieved, up from 28 two years ago.
“The value of the program is resonating with companies,” Newberry noted. “Owners are seeing a lot of value in it. My company [Interior Edge Commercial Interior Services, Eagan, Minn.] has had six people go through the program. There’s been a lot of organic growth.”
Sonny Callaham, technical director, Divergent Adhesives, Gray Court, S.C., and an FCICA member since 2007, said CIM has been a catalyst in helping the association grow. “The CIM pro- gram gave us an identity; we have a clear purpose. “It has definitely been a recruiting tool as well, not just for FCICA but for our Successors program.”
FCICA’s Successors group of under 40-year-old leaders started four years ago and now has more than 30 members who are involved in decision making at the highest level. “I don’t know of another group that has a Successor group like we do,” Callaham noted.Ongoing issues
During the convention, FCICA members addressed many issues impacting flooring contractors, chief among them the labor shortage. Contractors were reminded they need to walk a fine line in how they handle their subcontractor installers lest the IRS or other government entities label them employees and levy steep fines. “We really had some great discussions,” said Mike Roberts, managing partner, Bonitz, a flooring contractor with 17 locations in the Southeast. “This is the best meeting we have ever had. The economy has something to do with it, and we’ve had some good years in a row now where you can see this group is on the rise.”
Newberry, presiding over his final FCICA annual convention as chairman, said FCICA’s mission statement is clearer than ever, which is to be the resource for flooring contractors and deliver skills and knowledge through education and training to enhance the professionalism of the group. “We want to upgrade our game for what we do as contractors.”