Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What's Happening at the Floor Covering Institute?


I can’t believe it’s almost March 2010!  In my past life as a flooring retailer, March was always one of our busiest months and it seems the same is true now. People often ask me what types of things the consultants work on but because they are independent business owners I don’t always know what everyone is doing. I checked in with several of them and this is what they reported. Besides being busy, I find the diversity interesting and hope you will too.


Lew Migliore – expert in technical flooring standards and claims


It seems that no grass will grow under Lew's feet with his speaking events on top of an already busy schedule. Here are just some highlights. Next week he addresses the Floor Covering Installation Contractors Association speaking on recent claims and how they could have been avoided.  The following week he addresses the National Facilities Managers and Technology conference in Baltimore speaking on "The Importance of Proper Carpet Selection and Specification." In April he will participate in a joint INSTALL/UBC Floor Covering Leadership Conference in Las Vegas designed to give contractors and manufacturers hands-on information to keep their business flowing. With others he is currently rewriting the Carpet Inspection Reference Guide and his company will soon roll out a new carpet protector product that they co-developed.

David Wootton – expert in business practices and troubleshooting

David is putting his years of business management expertise to work in both Europe and the U.S. right now. He is advising an Eastern European company on how to organize their business within Europe and helping a U.S. company to secure investment financing. He is often contacted by companies looking for key people and he is presently involved in recruiting for a large U.S. flooring company.



Christine Whittemore – expert in social marketing and marketing to women in retail

In April, Christine will participate at Columbia University’s (her alma mater) BRITE ’10 conference in NYC where bright minds and big thinkers from business, technology, media and marketing gather to discuss how technology and innovation are transforming the ways that they build and sustain great brands. It is this kind of knowledge that Christine uses to help flooring retailers such as Big Bobs Flooring Outlets of America, which she recently addressed as keynote speaker at their annual meeting. She spoke about the importance of delivering a memorable and consistent retail experience, both in-store and digitally. Her interview with e-Floors magazine (their debut issue) was just published where she spoke on the use of digital technology to strengthen relationships with customers and the habits of the flooring consumer of tomorrow. The nuances of selling flooring to women is not just an area of expertise for Christine but it is a passion that Floor Daily captured in their recent interview with her. I highly recommend that you read her highlights of this interview, or listen at FloorDaily.net.

Stuart Hirschhorn - expert analyzer of the global flooring industry

Stuart reports that he is working on the Catalina Laminate Flooring Report and seeing a growing competition from and increasing array of "click" installed flooring.  He will soon start work on the Stone Product Report and the March 2010 Quarterly Update to the Catalina Report on Floor Covering.  As you can see here, flooring is just one of many related topics that Stuart and Catalina analyze and report.


Christopher Ramey – expert in branding and retail in the affluent realm

In addition to consulting with clients who range from inside and outside of the flooring industry, Chris is a popular keynote speaker, speech writer and coach and has recently devoted significant time to sharing his insights with a variety of people including the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce, The Commonwealth Institute and Young Professionals in Yachting, as well as teaching at Indian River State College.  He just spent a couple days with a private equity firm interested in investing in the flooring industry. He says that regardless of whether you’re in floor covering, the financial world, yachting or serving the wealthiest individuals in the world, the insights are more impactful when they come from a broad and informed perspective. A new article by Chris was just published in the 2010 edition of LUX magazine, another will appear in the Spring issue of .IT, the magazine for Italy-America Chamber of Commerce – Southeast and he just finished a new column for Floor Covering Weekly.


Jim Gould – expert in market development, international trade and distribution channels


Jim recently observed that it seems every one of his clients has a synergistic relationship with another that they don’t know exists. Recognizing those synergies is what he does best.  He just returned from Surfaces where his client, New Zealand wool growers, successfully launched the new Just Shorn wool brand with the International Design Guild, a division of CCA. He is now working on phase two of that project.   He is also organizing, and will moderate, the third annual International Wood Flooring Summit as part of Domotex asia CHINAFLOOR in Shanghai in a few weeks. The international Domotex exhibitions are his clients and one or the other is always at some stage of planning or execution.  At home he is helping both Chinese and European manufacturers expand their markets into the U.S., and counseling a domestic manufacturer who wants to expand overseas. He is developing a Far East sourcing and logistics strategy for a  large U.S. company.  And like most of the consultants, he is always writing and publishing.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch....we have two new members joining the Institute this month and next. Later this week you will meet Ruud Steenvoorden an international wood business expert who will join Jim in China and co-moderate the International Wood Flooring Summit.  And next month you will meet Donato Pampo, of the Ceramic Tile and Stone Consultants, Inc (CTaSC).

I hope you found this summary of what's happening enlightening and maybe it will put some of what we do into perspective. Thank you for reading.

Susan

Susan is the Director of Communications for the Floor Covering Institute, a fancy name for "she who does whatever needs to be done."

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