May 27/June 3, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 25
By Reginald Tucker
Fort Worth, Texas—The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) held a special ceremony here at its annual convention last month to recognize individuals and organizations alike for their contributions to the industry. These ranged from service awards honoring important achievements to master craftsmen who showcase their installation skills all the way down to the next generation of wood flooring professionals.
Following is an overview of some of the presentations:
Barbara Titus, vice president of Sheoga Hardwood Flooring & Paneling, Middlefield, Ohio, and the person responsible for the creation of NWFA’s Procurement Program, was recognized for her role in launching the now-famous initiative whereby NWFA members contribute labor and materials to build new homes for critically injured U.S. Veterans. Those accomplishments helped her land the NWFA’s first Women’s Industry Network Award.
According to NWFA, Titus was the one who introduced the NWFA to the Gary Sinise Foundation, named for the actor-turned-activist who has spearheaded efforts to honor wounded U.S. veterans and their families by developing specially crafted custom homes that allow them to live comfortably and with dignity. To date, 39 homes have been completed and NWFA is currently working with its members to source wood flooring for 18 additional R.I.S.E (Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment) homes in various stages of planning and construction. To date, 61 NWFA member companies have donated product, logistics and installation services in locations throughout the U.S.
Jim Schumacher, account executive at 3M, who came up with the idea for the new award category, presented. “Barbara came to the NWFA four years ago with a mission. After providing flooring for a veteran and his wife in Marion, Ohio, she got to know some folks who would create the Gary Sinise Foundation. At the time, Gary Sinise was a spokesperson for another veterans organization, but he felt he could do more and do it better and do it on his own. After working on a local project, Barbara made a call to the NWFA and said: ‘I believe in what Gary is doing for our veterans. I’ve seen it personally. I would like Sheoga to provide the wood flooring for all the homes myself, but we’re a small manufacturer and we just can’t do it alone. Will you help the veterans who need hard surfaces in their homes?’ The NWFA unanimously said yes.”
Today, nearly $5 million in product and labor has been donated by NWFA members to answer Titus’ call for action. “I am so grateful to Gary Sinise for giving me the opportunity to work with his foundation on something that truly feeds my soul,” she said during her acceptance speech. “His R.I.S.E. program provides specially adapted homes that accommodate the specific needs of each veteran and their families. Each one of these dedications is a reminder for all of us to call these veterans the heroes that they truly are. It’s an emotional and life-changing experience.”
By the end of this year, 70 specially adapted homes will be completed or under way through the R.I.S.E program.
Twelve individuals were recognized for demonstrating their dedication and commitment to their profession. Specifically, these individuals actively participate in the advancement of industry programs, projects and initiatives through volunteerism. Achievements are awarded based on a cumulative summation of areas of service within the NWFA. These areas include, but are not limited to, participation on NWFA boards and committees, participation in the Hardwood Federation Fly-In, NWFACP proctoring and contributions to Hardwood Floors magazine, the official publication of the NWFA. The Vanguard Service Award winners are:
•Andrew Fronczek, Floor Works Inspection Services
•Kellie Hawkins Schaffner, Waterlox Coatings Corp.
•Jesse Joyce, Middle Tennessee Lumber
•Carl Mattingly, Galleher
•Rich Olson, Just Around the Corner
•Jason Spangler, Wagner Meters
•Ben Totta, Totta Hardwoods
•Darek Zukowski, Chicagoland Flooring The Ambassador winners are:
•Steve Brattin, SVB Wood Floors
•Brenda Cashion, Swiff-Train Company
•Richard Kass, Master Flooring Inspectors & Consultants
•Tony Ziola, Mapei Corp.
NWFA also recognized Aacer Flooring, Horizon Forest Products, Olde Tyme Craftsmen and Ridgefield Flooring for their community service during the event. These companies donated their time, material and labor to local businesses, historical buildings, schools and residents.
The NWFA Floor of the Year Awards were developed to encourage and recognize innovative craftsmanship and design in wood floor covering installations. Since the program began in 1990, more than 200 awards have been presented to NWFA member companies throughout the U.S. and Canada, as well as in Russia and Finland. All entries in this year’s competition were completed between January 2018 and January 2019. The 2019 award recipients are as follows:
Member’s Choice: Artistic Floors by Design, Parker, Colo.
Best Color & Finish Application: Diamond W Floors, Dearing, Ga.
Best Parquetry/Inlay Application: Atelier Passe Partout, Mechelen, Belgium
Best Restoration/Makeover: Brookens Wood Floors, Springfield, Ill.
Best Textured Wood Application: Four Board Wood Works, Louisville, Ky.
Best Use of Technology: Czar Floors, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.
Best of Social Media: Cincinnati Floor & Window Coverings, Loveland, Ohio
Best Circular/Curved Application: Artistic Floors by Design, Parker, Colo. Next generation
Fineas Luca, the 11-year-old son of NWFA member Dinu Luca, owner of ADL Floors, Woodinville, Wash., has been named the first recipient of the NWFA Next Generation award—a category created to recognize the growing impact young people are having on the wood flooring industry. Fineas is the youngest person to successfully complete all of the NWFA University (NWFAU) courses in the Installation learning path and the Sand & Finish learning path. To accomplish these feats, he took 72 required courses and passed each of the assessments with a score of 80% or higher for each.
“Almost three years ago now, the NWFA launched NWFAU in an effort to reach more wood floor covering professionals with training opportunities when and where they want it,” said Michael Martin, NWFA president and CEO. “Our vision at the time was to offer a new, cost-effective, convenient way to provide training basics without the burden or cost of travel. Our hope at the time was to engage with younger generations in ways they already embraced—digitally. Never in our wildest dreams did we image we would have an impact on an 11-year-old protégé.”
(For additional coverage from the NWFA convention, please see the May 13/20 of FCNews.)