New York area flooring contractors pay it forward

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June 10/17, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 26

By Reginald Tucker


New York City—Several New York-based high school seniors, along with a respected member of the local flooring industry, were recognized earlier this month during the 35th Annual Francis J.P. McHale Scholarship Awards luncheon.

As in years past, the 2019 scholarship awards were presented to a pair of students whose parents are affiliated with the New York City District Council of Carpenters (Local 2287), along with two seniors whose parents are non-union employees of contractor members. The awards program was named after a former business manager of Local 2287 who became treasurer of the Carpenters’ Union in the 1980s.

“Over the past 35 years we have supported the college education of 95 students, issuing more than $1.2 million in scholarships to very deserving young men and women,” said David Meberg, who serves as both trustee-chairman of the Greater New York Floor Coverers Industry Promotional Fund—which oversees the scholarship program—and president and CEO of Consolidated Carpet, a prominent New York-based contractor.

And the 2019 Francis J.P. McHale scholarship recipients are:

Thomas Waldron, whose father, Bernard “Bernie” Waldron, works with Classic Carpet Showroom. Waldron is a senior at Holy Cross High School in Flushing, N.Y. He plans to attend St. John’s University in the fall and will study finance. Waldron is a member of the Holy Cross Varsity golf team and captain of the varsity hockey team. He also plays on local teams such as the Long Island Ice Caps, Long Island Sharks and the Long Island Jaws. Waldron received the Michael J. Pergolizzi Scholarship and is a member of the National Honor Society. After college he plans to attend law school, with the goal of becoming a corporate lawyer.

Luke Goehring, whose father is Scott Goehring, Pyramid Floor Covering, is a student at John H. Glenn High School in Elwood, N.Y. He will be attending SUNY Maritime College in the fall of 2019, where plans to further his education and earn a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Watching his father repair items in his garage sparked his interest in building and design. In high school, Goehring was involved in many shop classes and robotic clubs. Other interests include exploring the outdoors. In fact, he earned the rank of Eagle Scout and is a member of the Order of the Arrow, a national honor camper society. Goehring is also a member of the National Honor Society and participates in Science Olympiad, Science Research Club and Technology Club. “Luke has an interest in solving problems, particularly ways to increase productivity through modification of the task at hand,” Meberg told attendees. “As contractors, we could really use your skills.”

Luke Sacco, son of David Sacco of Pyramid Floor Covering, is a senior at Syosset High School who plans to study finance at Marist College in the fall. In his spare time, Sacco serves his community using his skills to teach and coach local Syosset youth in lacrosse. He’s also involved in many activities in his school, including JV lacrosse (he’s team captain), school store, Substance-Free Alliance and the JV football and indoor track and field. Sacco is also a member of the Italian International Honor Society as well as the National Honor Society. His ultimate goal is to start his own business.

Stacey Kappel, daughter of Ray Kappel of Consolidated Carpet, is a senior at Bethpage High School. In the fall she plans to attend Hofstra, where she will work toward a degree in biomechanical engineering. Kappel—the second in her family to receive the J.P. McHale Scholarship—has received a number of honors and recognitions, including national merit scholarship finalist. Like Sacco, she is also a member of the National Honor Society as well as the National Italian Honor Society. She was chosen for a composite engineering program and participated in the All County Art Exhibition. Kappel also received the George Washington University Award for Excellence in Math and was recently named valedictorian of Bethpage High School.

Honoring service
In addition to the student college scholarships, the Greater New York Floor Coverers Industry Promotional Fund named Christopher Capobianco this year’s J.P. McHale Scholarship Award Honoree. Currently business development manager with Spartan Surfaces, Capobianco has been involved in the flooring industry in many different capacities over the past 40-plus years.

The Capobianco name has a long legacy and history in the flooring industry. In 1932 Christopher’s great grandfather opened what is now Glen Floors in Glen Cove, Long Island. Many of his family members are still on the retail side of the business, and several family members are on the manufacturing side.

For 34 of the last 41 years, Capobianco has worked in sales. For seven years he worked as a technical consultant after owning his own sales and technical consulting company. In 2012 he joined forces with Spartan Surface and helped open a New York City office for the firm—a move that represented Spartan’s first expansion beyond the Washington, D.C./Philadelphia market. In his current role, Capobianco works with architects, end users and flooring contractors in the New York City metropolitan area as well as Connecticut. He is also a part-time journalist for a number of different industry trade magazines, and he is also involved in volunteer work within the industry. In the 1980s he spearheaded an industry effort to establish a training school on Long Island, where he became a resilient flooring instructor.

For 25 years running Capobianco has been a member of the ASTM resilient flooring committee and has helped write many standards. He also served 12 years on the FCICA board—six as chairman—and he has been with the IICRC for 12 years. While there, he helped develop the resilient flooring inspector certification program. Capobianco also worked with Habitat for Humanity, securing donated floor covering and volunteer installers for several homes on Long Island.

“I’ve known Chris for as long as I care to remember,” Meberg recalled. “He has always been a passionate supporter of everything in our association as well as the installation community. It’s an honor to present Chris with this award.”

Capobianco accepted the honor with his signature grace and humility, citing those who earned the award before him. “I’m very humbled that the trustees chose to put me in some very good company,” he said. “Thank you all.”

Capobianco also acknowledged the student recipients as well as the Greater New York Floor Coverers Association. “To the scholarship winners—you are the main event here today. I hope this scholarship helps you on your way to a great future. As for the association—this organization has done such good work for the industry here in New York and the metro area. When any of you were awarded a job on a product I’ve specified, I never had to worry about it; it’s going to get installed properly, and the workers are going to be taken care of.”

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