CFI 20th Anniversary Celebration in Baltimore, Maryland With all the exciting surroundings of the Inner Harbor, Baltimore, Maryland was the site of the 20th Anniversary Celebration for the International Certified Flooring Installers Association (CFI). A tour of the Armstrong residential sheet vinyl manufacturing plant in Lancaster, PA was enjoyed by the members prior to the opening ceremony. The attendees were given an in-depth look into the manufacturing process of glass-back vinyl. CFI is very appreciative of this unique opportunity provided to our members! President Alan Ellis welcomed the attendees, including 39 first-timers at the opening ceremony. Tony Buckhardt introduced those responsible for the tickets and explained how CFI includes this option each year to benefit installers who have fallen on difficult times. All money raised goes towards the George Buckhardt Memorial Fund and the Floor Covering Industry Foundation. Included this year was 48 pails of carpet adhesive from Ardex, a $500 gift card to the Home Depot from Mason Contracting, 70 yards of carpet from Clayton Miller Hospitality, a Koolglide Starter Kit and other tools from Traxx, a tool kit from DeWalt, two Personna Tool Kits filled with a vast assortment of tools, a RotoZip from Skil and cleat nailer from Duo-Fast. By participating, attendees have the opportunity to help another less fortunate flooring installer. The lucky winners were announced at lunch on Saturday. In addition to the raffle, an abundance of great prizes were given to all the installers in attendance from Traxx, MAPEI, Taylor Tools, Better Tools, Personna and ProInstaller Magazine. The seminar presenters this year included Dr. Brian Beakler, the Principal Scientist and Manager of Installation and Technical Services with Armstrong, who addressed the environmental effects of wood flooring and the importance of this for flooring installers; Kevin Flannigan, the National Installation Specialist for IVC shared techniques for repairs of fiberglass vinyl and custom floating LVT/LVP Systems; Jeff Johnson, Product Manager of Mapei discussed Adhesives 101 – the Science of Adhesive Bonding; Ray Knapp, Director and Technical Sales Manager for Taylor Tools presented information to avoid and solve moisture-related issues; Tony Pastrana and Rick Herr from Armstrong, Dick Schmidt from Johnsonite/Tarkett; Joe Cea and Ed Justice from Congoleum and Michael Roettele and Debbie Nickerson of Floor Art Consulting shared resilient flooring installation techniques, seaming issues and scribing demonstrations; Tony Pastrana and Rick Herr from Armstrong, Joe Allyn, George Chagnon and Gene Jarka of Powernail and Bob Gillespie of Bob’s Installations demonstrated installation techniques and new products in the Wood Flooring Installation Workshop and Zev Kozohar of Kane Carpet and Rodney Brown of Stanton Carpet shared woven carpet installation techniques. Chris Adams, President of the Maryland Northern Virginia Floor Covering Association and owner of Value City Carpet One, Kathy Sibbald, Compliance Officer for CB Flooring and former Internal Revenue Officer who specialized in worker classification tax law issues and Roland Thompson, President of the Delmarva CFI Chapter discussed in detail the employee or independent contractor issue and why it manners. Adams explained why retailers must be concerned and take appropriate actions that apply specifically to their businesses. Sibbald shared how the laws apply directly to the installation community and procedures in place to identify workers who are not legitimate independent contractors. Thompson explained how the MNVFCA has traveled the area preparing the dealers and installers to address this issue. Special guest Bob Turpen of Georgia, the former Director of Marketing for AMOCO Fabrics and Fibers was introduced by Jim Walker. He and Jim recounted the early days of CFI and the roll that AMOCO played in the seminars and certifications of the organization. Bob recalled his visit to Springfield, MO in the worst ice storm to hit the state to “check out this Jim Walker” for his company to see if AMOCO should get involved. The storm was so bad that Jim and Jane Walker and Herm Claussen presently manager of CCS in Kansas City slid the entire trip. It had been suggested that that the seminar be cancelled due to the severity of the storm, but because there was no way to notify all the attendees, Jim made the decision to go. Over 200 people attended that day to mark the commitment of AMOCO’s strong financial investment in installation training. Several installers from the audience shared memories of the early years of CFI. The office staff had prepared a slide show of 20 years of memories that was enjoyed by everyone. J R Harris, of Maryland, shared highlights of his first encounter with what he referred to as “The Dream” and how he became instrumental in the founding of the DELMARVA CFI CHAPTER with Pat Fell, employee of L. Fishman Company. The CFI Certification Team met to discuss training and certification programs for carpet, ceramic, resilient, laminate and wood. New training methods were shared. The CFI Team of the most knowledgeable instructors in the industry continues to expand, providing the organization with the opportunity to presently offer up to 6 events weekly. It is expected that this number will increase in the coming years. The Team includes technical representatives from the various manufacturers, NWFA and NALFA Certified trainers and a vast array of trainers who are certified by numerous organizations and manufacturers. The CFI Resource Guides for each surface are continually updated to provide the attendees with the latest information and installation techniques. The CFI Team is responsible for sharing installation techniques worldwide to over 50,000 people since 1993. One of the most educational contributions of the CFI Convention is the Associate Seminars. Attendees have the opportunity to hear the latest product technical information and be introduced to new tools and supplies. This is a benefit of sponsoring the CFI Commemorative Jacket and the Associate Fun Night which was a trip to the Baltimore Orioles Baseball Game that included refreshments to see a grand slam homerun. Sponsors this year included WFCA, Surfaces, Mohawk, Wagner Meters, Crain, TRAXX, Roberts/QEP, MAPEI, Johnsonite, Armstrong, Taylor Tools, Bond, EarthMaster Products, Royal Adhesives, Gundlach, Personna, Powernail, Sponge Cushion, Floor Pro Network, ArmorLock, Maryland Northern Virginia Floor Covering Association, PowerHold, IVC US, DriTac and Pak-Lite, Inc. It is stressed throughout the event that CFI installers must support those who support them and make the convention the event of the year for installation. The seminar winner of $500.00 was Kelly Huddleston from Kelly Flooring in La Junta, Colorado. What people are saying about CFI Convention 2013… Visit the CFI website, like us on facebook and enjoy these pictures from the convention.