Tucson, Ariz.—FCICA, the Flooring Contractors Association, recently welcomed scores of professional contractors, suppliers, distributors and industry consultants here for its annual convention and commercial flooring trade show. A total of 156 people registered to attend the event and 39 member companies exhibited during the product showcase. In addition, the event included several educational sessions as well as two keynote presentations.
For Catherine Church, FCICA executive director, the event picked up on the momentum generated during the association’s 2022 meeting—a milestone anniversary year. “Last year, we celebrated our 40th anniversary. Our mission, 40 years on, is still the same: ‘We help make commercial flooring contractors successful through expert education, sharing best practices and professional networking.’”
Following are some highlights from the event:
First time attendees, new members and their mentors attended the “First Timers” reception prior to the all-attendee opening evening welcome reception on Monday, March 27. There, attendees reunited, socialized and networked at Sunset Point, a scenic outdoor area with a breath-taking mountain range as backdrop.
On Tuesday, the first full event day, FCICA board Chair, Pat Kelly of Synergy Flooring, welcomed attendees and officially opened the event. During a separate business meeting, Kelly provided an update on membership and program initiatives. A key one was the group’s signature CIM training and certification program, which has grown exponentially. In fact, 2022 realized a record number of new CIMs, according to Kelly. FCICA recognized Atlanta Flooring Design Centers, Bonitz Flooring and DCO Commercial Floors as CIM “Champions” for having 15 or more employees who have attained CIM status.
Rusty Joyce, president of Tarkett Commercial, followed up with the opening keynote speech. During his presentation, he focused on current industry challenges, opportunities and future outlook for the business.
Other noteworthy day one events included an educational session titled: “Using the FIT Manual to Train your Employees and Recruit New Ones,” presented by Mike Keller, CIM, director of learning & development, Jack Laurie Group.
Another well-attended session, “Wall Tile Installation 101,” consisted of a panel discussion conducted by Daniel Grant, CIM, technical field representative, ARDEX Americas; Ben Lyke, project manager, Lansing Tile and Mosaic; and Bob Wind, director of soft goods, Welch Tile. Paul Stuart, co-founder of Go Carrera, moderated.
Following the keynote and sessions, attendees flocked to the exhibition area where members showcased their products and services. The trade show concluded with a happy hour followed by an outdoor reception.
The conference also featured a keynote presentation by Eric Fritsch, CIM, commercial sales manager, Atlanta Flooring Design Centers. Here he spoke about his professional flooring experience and advocacy for the CIM Program. The closing keynote was sponsored by MAPEI Corporation, a 24- year member and generous FCICA supporter. Jeff Johnson, FCIS business and marketing manager, shared information about MAPEI.
Other timely educational sessions included “Polished Concrete Applications, Best Practices and Resources,” presented by Shane Jenkins, regional business manager, Schönox; Wilmer Pressel, CIM, labor service manager, Inside Edge Commercial Interior Services; Royal Wilbon, concrete specialist; and Rory Saleh, director of sales, Sunbelt Rentals.
This was followed by “Jobsite Communication Best Practices,” a panel discussion that included: Jose Gonzalez, CIM, partner, Preferred Flooring; Jack Laurie Group’s Keller; and Jesse Tranel, CIM, vice president, DCO Commercial Floors. Sonny Callaham, technical director, Divergent Adhesives, presided over a next-generation lunch meeting.
Teaming up with CFI
FCICA announced it will hold a combined conference and convention with CFI Sept. 20-23, 2023, at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando. This will be in lieu of a standalone FCICA mid-year meeting. “The event will also include a trade show where our associate members will be able to reach more people in the flooring industry,” Church stated. “We are really looking forward to this new event partnership with CFI and believe it will benefit both organizations and have positive impacts for FCICA, CFI and its membership.”