FCNews exclusive: By Steven Feldman Dalton—Jay Smith, former president of FEI Group, has joined Shaw Industries as vice president of sales for the builder/multifamily division. Smith will lead Shaw’s divisional and regional vice presidents, along with their teams of territory managers, in growing the scale and profitability of the company’s efforts with flooring contractors. He began his role May 3.
There may be no better individual for this position than Smith, who as president of FEI Group played a major role in operating the largest purchasing cooperative for builder and multifamily contractors in the country with five operating divisions and 750 locations. He comes with a deep knowledge of technical, professional and industry best practices.
“I’ve spent the last 20 years in very close relationships with some of the biggest and best multifamily and builder contractors around the country,” he told FCNews. “I know their successes and challenges well, so I think I’ll be well positioned to support those customers at Shaw.”
Smith’s experience coupled with Shaw’s position in this segment makes this a perfect match. “What was attractive about coming to Shaw is the builder and multifamily teams are incredible,” Smith said. “They’re the best in the business at what they do. We have what the builder and multifamily customers want and need, and we are always looking toward innovation in those spaces. We are the leader by far in this space.”
Smith said he believes there is great opportunity in both builder and multifamily right now, even after the latter suffered as much a hit as any segment in 2020. “Multifamily took a harder and longer hit than builder did from the pandemic,” he said. “The moratorium [on evictions, which is set to expire June 30] is something we are watching closely. I think that will have an impact on turns this summer. But as we sit here in mid-May, optimism is building for a robust turn season this summer.”
He noted that carpet turns are more concentrated in the summer season. “Just in the last couple weeks we feel some optimism building.”
Builder, on the other hand, has been and will continue to be strong, he noted. “That said, the supply chain constraints are extending construction timelines, and that could impact deliveries negatively. The overall story is very bright, but there are challenges to the through-foot for builders due to supply and labor constraints. Of course, the upside of that is this period of prosperity will be extended even longer in the segment.”
Steve Sieracki, senior vice president of residential sales, welcomed Smith into the fold. “Jay is a well-known and respected leader in the flooring industry with long-standing customer relationships,” he said. “Since day one, Jay stepped into the role with the wisdom of a seasoned veteran and the enthusiasm of an entrepreneur. His passion is infectious and has been a rallying cry for the team to get behind and get after the ample business opportunities within the builder/multifamily channel today.”