Dalton—During its first in-person board meeting with new executive director, Jim Aaron, at the helm, the Floor Covering Education Foundation (FCEF) brought together representatives from all aspects of the flooring industry—trade organizations, suppliers, training professionals and retailers—to tackle the installer shortage. “Each board member brings a different perspective to the table,” said Aaron. “We all agree that a solution to the shortage of installers is essential to the industry’s continued success.”
Prior to the board meeting, several board members as well as FCEF leadership met with representatives from the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) and Georgia State Representatives. Aaron and the FCEF board said they strongly feel the absence of flooring installation as a course of study in high schools and technical colleges has perpetuated the consistent decline in the number of available flooring installers. The discussion focused on how flooring could become part of the curriculum offered in TCSG schools across Georgia. “We’re exploring all options in our quest to bring awareness to the opportunities in the flooring trade,” Aaron said. “If we can make this work in Georgia, we can replicate the program across the nation.”
The full board convened in the afternoon. The meeting was collaborative in nature, according to the organization, and allowed all perspectives to be heard. Topics of discussion included ways to recruit and how to identify potential recruits, fundraising goals and initiatives and marketing.
The FCEF’s recently chosen marketing agencies, Trebletree and TMG Toronto, shared the new logo and branding that will help set the organization apart as well as marketing initiatives aimed to reach industry supporters and ultimately scholarship recipients. They also shared a new website design that went live just in time for The International Surfaces Event this week.
“It’s exciting to see this all coming together,” said Bill Gaddis, FCEF board member and vice president of strategic sales at Mohawk Industries. “After years of discussing the problem and a delay due to COVID-19, we are excited to see action and all that Jim [Aaron] has already accomplished in his first few months.”
FCEF’s board officially reconvenes in November but said it will continue to offer guidance and support to the FCEF team as it quickly ramps up its efforts.
The organization will be represented at the many upcoming events in the flooring industry and encourages attendees of these events to visit the FCEF booth to learn more about how they can be part of the solutions that FCEF is initiating. “We are starting to make headway,” Aaron said. “But we can’t do it alone. This is an industry problem and it’s going to take the support of the industry to fix it.”