Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Meet Susan Negley, Floor Covering Institute Director of Communications

Susan Negley

Hello! I am Susan Negley, Director of Communications at the Floor Covering Institute. Since you’ll be hearing from me occasionally I wanted to introduce myself. I’ve worked in the flooring industry for 17 years, as a retail store owner, in communications capacities for a flooring distributor (Misco Shawnee) and two buying groups (Color Tile, LLC and CCA Global Partners). But it isn’t just the flooring industry that makes me who I am so let’s turn back the page just a bit.

Before flooring (“BF”) I was a journalist and a bankruptcy litigation paralegal…useful stuff it turns out. As a journalist in the Air Force I went to crash sites, train derailments, wildfires, and missile launches, inside NORAD’s command post and missile silos. My job was to write about those experiences.

In 1982 I became a litigation paralegal specializing in complex bankruptcies…which came in handy later. My husband at the time (Ron Negley, now V.P. Ceramic and Stone at CCA Global Partners) was on a career path with Color Tile, Inc. That was my first exposure to the flooring industry and the “how” in the answer to “how did you end up in flooring?”

When burn-out from a monstrous, multi-year case set in, we made a right turn and bought two retail locations from Color Tile, Inc. Success came quickly, then Color Tile, Inc. filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy closing 800 stores and leaving 150 franchisees scrambling for their future. Who has experience with ugly bankruptcies?

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court appointed me to the Official Franchisee Committee in 1997 and I became the liaison for 150 businesses hoping to save the brand and their futures. A difficult year-long challenge ended when Jim Gould purchased Color Tile’s intellectual assets. I negotiated the new franchise agreements and I can tell you that Jim was a lot nicer than his attorneys. After the acquisition, Jim asked both Ron and me to help launch the new buying group; I have worked for Jim ever since.

For the new Color Tile I was the Membership Coordinator and Communications Director. After Color Tile was sold I became Director of Communications and Marketing of Misco Shawnee, Inc. and stayed there until 2004 when the company was sold. I was among a small group of people, along with Ron, invited to join Jim at CCA Global Partners when he became their first ever Chief Product Officer.

As Product Coordinator and Communications Manager for CCA’s Product Group, I communicated the intent and details of CCA’s corporate wide programs such as Resista™ and Global Direct. I coordinated the buying process and managed rollout of Global Direct’s national logistics program with BlueLinx.

In 2008 I decided to take some time off then launch my own consulting business. That plan was short lived because Jim Gould had already founded the Floor Covering Institute and he isn’t one to let idle hands stay idle for long. As an independent I took on some of his projects – my favorite was researching and writing a market study on the DIY channel for ceramic tile in Europe. Eventually he convinced me to come to work full time at the institute, and here I am.

Jim is as busy as I have ever known him to be – he’s just returning from a nine-day trip around China. With seven consultants associated with the institute, launching a blog, researching industry issues (The Lacey Act), writing articles, creating the first international floor covering media network (more about that later), getting presentations ready for Surfaces, Domotex and NEOCON – I am busy too.

I hope this was more interesting than reading a resume, even if it took longer. You are welcome to contact me at snegley@floorcoveringinstitute.com any time; otherwise, I’ll see you on the blog.


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