Workshop 2009 Committee Thread

Discussion in 'Industry News, Training & Organizations' started by Elmer Fudd, Jun 18, 2008.

  1. Jon Scanlan

    Jon Scanlan That Kiwi Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    My thoughts in a round about way. A little about Flooring Associations in NZ. Years ago a Contractors Association was started. They needed Suppliers, Retailers, Manufacturers etc for monetary support. The Suppliers etc. then said if we give money we want to know how it's spent and on what. Now the Suppliers etc were organizing the Contractors Association and the Contractors Association now had the Suppliers etc on the committee and the contractors were taken over. The Government also put money into training and also wanted to control where the monies went, which was fair enough in a way as it could have been waisted but the Government doesn't have any idea how to train a carpet layer, lino layer, sander etc and they were controlling the money. It all gets strange but it seems to be working. I just get frightened when monies or support are coming from somewhere there has to be a return on those peoples investments and then the reason for the meeting gets lost. Does this make sense?
  2. Jon Scanlan

    Jon Scanlan That Kiwi Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    I think T and I posted the same time
  3. rusty baker

    rusty baker Well-Known Member

    T, if you want more people, raising the fee is not the way to do it. Many of us couldn't afford last year.
  4. Peter Kodner

    Peter Kodner Inspector Floors Charter Member Senior Member

    Jim, that was a low blow and offensive even if if not intended that way. A family issue arose that precluded my attendance. It really pisses me off you would even write that as I put as much, if not more time, into the planning than anyone else here.

    Focused and non-commercial do not necessitate small. I also do not believe I have ever even implied other segments of the industry should be involved. The reality as I see it is, at this point, independent installers and inspectors are at the bottom of the food chain in the industry. Necessary evils. Installers are regarded as plug ins that can be replaced and disposed of far too easily. Inspectors, especially honest ones, are always pissing someone off. How does accepting money from the bigger players, who will only do so if their own agendas can be advanced, help us change that?

    We made a start on improving relationships between these two practices. Hearing comments from the first meeting where installers weren't even aware they could commission an inspection on their own was shocking to me. From my perspective, these are the type of issues we need to hammer at. How do we increase the awareness of the value we bring to the industry? How do we capitalize on it? I quite frankly do not need to be shown cameras or inspection tools.

    I hope I am communicating what I feel is the need for us to not be overly ambitious at this point. We started with a narrow focus, which I agree with. Let's get something meaningful accomplished iwthin that focus before we enlarge it.

  5. Al Gladden

    Al Gladden stretcherman Charter Member

    i would love to see some demo;s like the proper way to do a rounded drum stair through spindles..
  6. Peter Kodner

    Peter Kodner Inspector Floors Charter Member Senior Member

    Al, the question I raise: is this the reason we are meeting? Is not this type education better left to CFI or others where that is their focus? What will this do for me as an inspector?

    I certainly am cognizant we can have too narrow a focus, but I hope we can set some realistic goals, impartially measure our progress, and work toward achieving them before we tackle some of the other common concerns. I still haven;t seen any kind of recap of the last session form the first conference where input was solicited form the attendees. What was done well? What was not helpful? Where do we go from the first meeting? Do you plan on coming back next year? We can't work on the future unless we know how we did in the past.

    I firmly believe we must be doing something no one else is too be important and relevant. I do not see some of the things we are talking about doing this.

  7. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    It was a simple statement of fact. I didn't remember why you couldn't attend. I am sorry I used that as an example. The fact remains that many people didn't attend and I believe part of the problem was lack of recognition.

    Your time and efforts in the organizing and forming of the workshop were greatly appreciated. If I haven't said that enough, I apologize. That, however, has nothing to do with attendance statistics though. You were not the only organizer that couldn't make it. Even I couldn't make it.

    This is NOT a necessary evil and one of the more important aspect of this and all future Bridges, Not Walls workshops is to dispel that very attitude. Accepting sponsors is one way to bring this to the attention of so many others. We had tremendous trouble getting the media to print even a portion of the press release after the event. They said they would, but only a couple actually did and only one that I know of did in print media. If we had been sponsored by Crane Tools, Kodak or Delmhorst, maybe that would have changed our perception to the industry media. It certainly would gain more attention from installers and inspectors who recognize those names, but not FITS, TFP or Bridges.

    You may not need to be shown how to use a camera, or how to properly use a moisture detection device, but some of the people who most need these kinds of workshops might. How many out of focus images have you seen posted right here on TFP by good inspectors? Why is it we have disagreements over moisture content issues or how to take readings with the proper attachments and settings?

    Some of these things might make good workshop segments, some are better left to the exhibitor to demonstrate at their own booth. The fees charged to those manufacturers and other exhibitors will off-set the cost to the registered attendees. It makes it possible to bring more content and more substance to the workshops - and bring more people.

    What is truly offensive is not a forgivable lapse of memory, but an assumption that the workshop committee or the future board members of Bridges, Not Walls would accept money for profit when it has already been stated that they would not. It's offensive to me that anyone would think that organization would be the same hand-holding, pocket-dipping kind of entity that has been the talk of so many others. This is the kind of attitude I got from a lot of people when I wanted to start a better flooring forum (this is not my first attempt). It took people like you, Peter, and many others with high ideals and strength of convictions to make it one of the best forums in the industry. We are gaining industry acceptance and credibility every day because we appeal to all segments for support and still require everyone to play by the rules we set out from the beginning.

    Peter replied very well to this, but let me add that these workshops are not focused on how-tos for installers, or any other segment of the industry. The focus is on cooperation between the industry segments - how they can better understand each other's tasks and communicate with each other to reach the final goal, a satisfied customer. There are, like Peter said, a number of very qualified and capable training and certifying organizations that are better for that, like CFI, FITS, NWFA and others. The job of the Bridges organization is to gather support from these established and qualified training organizations and pair them up to facilitate workshops to build bridges, not walls, between normally opposing forces in the industry. This workshop being discussed here is to bring installers and inspectors together, but not to train them in any specific technique of installation or inspection. Giving them an overview of the methods and practices used helps these segments understand each other better though.

  8. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Administwative Asst. Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Peter here is what has already been posted:

    There are many resources available to Installers and Inspectors.
    CFI has several programs in place for Installer training and certifications. That offer training and certification programs for Inspectors.
    They can create and present custom curriculums if requested.
    FITS, FCITS, NWFA, NOFMA, CTEC all offer training for both installers and inspectors.
    Many educational resources are found in FCI magazine, websites like FloorBiz, presented by mills, manufacturers, and different training organizations.
    Often, training can be found for little or no expense to students. The comment was made that with some, "you get what you pay for" and it was noted that "Some of the more expensive classes are not much better". It was generally agreed that education is paramount for all segments, and well worth the time, money and effort.

    A few of the proposed suggestions included:
    "To build a bridge, we must put some part of it in place, and use it to construct the rest of the bridge". "It is up to those of us at the workshop to provide the first part".
    "Often, a bridge begins as the idea of a single person. Then a few work on designing the bridge. A few more work on building it; some may risk much in the process. When it's finished, a great many may cross effortlessly, and it's left in place for many generations."
    We must challenge misconceptions from all sides of the industry. Many people may have difficulty relinquishing misconceptions because the false concepts may be deeply ingrained. We are working to build a bridge across them, and to knock down the walls misconceptions have built.
    We need to work toward "Finding Common Ground". "Finding common ground is not about settling for the lowest common denominator - it's generating a new "highest common denominator". It's not about having two sides meet in the middle, but having them identify something together they can aspire to and work toward. When people who really care about an issue come together and bring their best thinking from various perspectives, there is potential for new options to be generated."
    We should work toward eliminating stereotypes. A first step toward this is becoming aware of the tendency to hold negative stereotypes of other segments, and then making a conscious effort to correct the inaccuracies. Often this is done by increasing person - to - person contact between people from different groups. Usually, when people meet each other, talk together, and/or work together; they soon learn that "the other side" is not nearly as awful as earlier believed.

    It was agreed by all in attendance that this workshop was a great success, and that planning for the next workshop should begin as soon as possible.
    A "Steering Committee" was decided upon, and a date was set for late April or early May of 2009. It was agreed that [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Tulsa[/FONT][FONT=&quot] should remain the location. It was also agreed that the next workshop should include representatives from manufacturers, distributors, and any other industry segments if possible.

  9. Peter Kodner

    Peter Kodner Inspector Floors Charter Member Senior Member

    Elmer, where is this? I reread the whole thread and don't see it. An older thread somewhere? I certainly don't mean to make waves but honestly can't recall seeing this before and I have read every post on the entire site! I obviously have way too much free time :rolleyes:

    Jim, I did not mean to imply we view ourselves as necessary evils, but that this is the general attitude of other sin the industry. I also did not mean to imply we should just accept that. I know and have met far to many dedicated pros to give credence to that. The question i am trying to ask is are we putting together a program that will lead to a change in this attitude?

    I firmly think we are on the right track and my true ambition is to facilitate some change in both of our groups status. I think 9it important to let all know this is not a commercial venture but in fact an altruistic one. Most of probably will not see a difference in our bottom lines form being involved, but I (and I hope most of the rest) feel some obligation to make this industry better form those who follow us. I have spent my entire life in it and all things considered, it has been good for me. I hope I can do even a little something to assure the next generation can say the same thing. Unfortunately, I have the opinion that most of the young people I see getting into the flooring biz are doing it more as a stepping stone than a career choice.

    T: I hope you do not think I am criticizing you or insinuating this is being done for a profit motive on your part. I think Jon summed it up pretty well in his tale of what happened in NZ. I am just concerned that we allow other interests to usurp our goals to increase their own bottom lines. I do not share any confidence suppliers and manufacturers will be contributing out of the goodness of their hearts. I hope they will participate in the dialog, but I cannot think of any benefit giving them any control of the planning or letting it become a marketing exercise.

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2012
  10. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson O2bkytn

    Hello Peter,

    The post Elmer is speaking of is located in the thread "Workshop Follow Up".
    It's on page 1 a few posts down.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2012
  11. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Administwative Asst. Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    I'll take em one at a time. (Keep in mind these are MY opinions, if you don't like em I sincerely ask you to post yours with reasons!)

    1) I would like to see manufacturers and suppliers. Why, because we as installers and inspectors can talk all we want, but the most change is going to have to come from the manufacturing side. Involvement is one thing, taking over or running things is not in the cards.

    2) Booths for some informational handouts, YES, high pressure advertising NO. For a fee, Just because they pay a fee does not make us beholden to them. After all we pay a fee to go

    3) Demos,,,H'mmmm. Might be good to show the installers what happens on an inspection. And for the inspectors, some were not installers, might be good to demo some common installation mistakes.

    4) We have been asking what the guys want to cover, bring the suggestions on.

    5) The fee, larger digs, some paid advertising maybe, try for 50-75 at $150 a head???

    6) Everyone!!

  12. Peter Kodner

    Peter Kodner Inspector Floors Charter Member Senior Member

    Elmer, I'm with you except the fee comment. I always understood we were paying the expenses and not a fee. To me, this is an important distinction.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2012
  13. Daris Mulkin

    Daris Mulkin The One and Only Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Inviting the manufacturer maybe but he really don't give a fat rats a$$ what we do.
    Demos- That is fine but things are done differently in different parts of the country. Example steps- Waterfall in my part of the country. Contour on the east coast and southern part of the country. Even so who is to say what is right or wrong. Stretch in should be the same if following CRI.
    Peter when you did that demo in Minneapolis at the CFI certification I thought it was great and very informative. I learned alot.
    Pricewise last year was definitely to cheap,no doubt. That needs to be raised.
    RG did we really get all that accomplished? Even with Roland running his mouth.

  14. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    I believe we are. We have made great strides just with our forums here at The Floor Pro Community. I think we are headed in the right direction to help make this happen via the Bridges workshops. We've had short discussions about getting other entities involved and there seems to be a positive reaction from organizations like CFI and WFCA. Having a workshop to build bridges between installer and retailer may be something we tackle next. As long as we have the enthusiasm of a core group of people to help organize this, I think we can make a lot of progress along these lines.

    But I think this is not a bad thing. Most of us only know each other through the ether. Nobody really knows if I wouldn't take the money and run. I am very happy that there are those who trust me and there are quite a few people I trust, even though I've never met them either. For the good of all, though, questions have to be asked and answered to everyone's satisfaction. And I seriously don't mind. I get defensive and my feelings get hurt, but you and I and prob'ly a whole lot of other people are alike in that way.

    I share these concerns, but maybe I have more confidence in the dedicated individuals organizing this thing to worry some entity will think they can throw their weight around. It's not just a few manufacturers either. There are individuals I have discussed cooperative issues with, respected training organizations and even highly regarded installation professionals, who give me the feeling they want more control or no go. It'll be no go, if that's the case. We must allow the members of the organization to select their leaders - and those leaders should come from every segment of the industry to be fair.

    To be honest, though, who doesn't have ulterior motives? I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I suspect some monetary gain for the sponsors and/or participants to be a motivating force. There may be other motivations too. Although most of the time I go by TFP Admin here, it's no secret that I am also known as Jim McClain. And as Jim, I want to leave a legacy before I die - and that ain't far enough off as far as I'm concerned. I want to be known for being the founder of one of the greatest industry forums for communication. Not just on the Internet, but out there in the 3D world too. I want to be one of the short list of people who helped form an organization whose primary purpose is to build bridges between industry segments that normally are at fierce odds with each other. I want these things to over-shadow the fact that I worked unlicensed in CA for many years, that I tormented a mentally unstable fellow pro for many months at the beginning of this century, that I spent 20 plus years of my adult life drunk and doped up to the extent it hurt my family, friends and business associates. I want to use this opportunity to pass into the next life having been more an asset in this one than a liability. And I admit these are my selfish interests in this forum, this workshop and the organization Bridges, Not Walls. Even further, it might even lend credibility to me as a web designer for flooring professionals - yep, it's all about the money. :D

    Here ya go:

    Elmer, you and I are far closer to agreement than disagreement. I don't think we can control the displays our exhibitors put up. It's difficult to put ourselves in the position of censor. However, with a good set of guidelines, exhibitors will know what is expected and what might be inappropriate.

    Fees should be more than the last workshop, but raising it exorbitantly will piss a lot of good people off. Let's try to keep the cost at less than 100% increase, say $75.00 (that's a 50% increase for those who don't know), for this next workshop. We might consider 100.00 for the one after that and then see if sponsorship will allow us to keep the price for registration at an acceptable level for those interested in the seminars we build.

    This is good dialog. I am glad to see we are discussing things. We may have veered from the workshop agenda some, but it's still good discussion. Thanks for all the participation from anyone who wants to chime in.

    Last edited: Apr 20, 2012
  15. Roland Thompson

    Roland Thompson Charter Member Senior Member

    For us to start to make an inpact in the industry we need to invite everyone involed in the industry to help build the bridge. We can start the bridge like we did this year but there are some inportant parts that will take having the right builder's there to help finish tne bridge. If we have companys come and set up will this not take time away from the time we have to get things done? Or will this move us to a third day?

    Just think Daris if we have more people that would meen less time for me to talk.
  16. Bud Cline

    Bud Cline Tile Expert Charter Member Senior Member Published

    I've been hesitant up until now to get involved this time around but here goes.

    I regret being so zealous on the first go around then being a no-show. Something you don't know is that had I attended there were three others that would have gone because I was supportive of the concept and they were kinda following my lead. These guys are lurkers here and feel somewhat intimidated by some of the expertise they have seen running these halls of wisdom. They certainly had personal interest in attending but I screwed that up. Point is...the head-count could have been four higher than it was. Sorry 'bout that.:)

    Next comment has to do with the fee. Even though Bridges should be non-profit and costs were easily met on the last go 'round I think the fee should have been more. Next time if the fee is increased I personally think it is only fair that along with the costs of the meeting facilities and food and beverages for breaks and advertising and whatever other small costs would be incurred that a percentage should be set aside for the support and costs of operating TFP.

    The fact that a little fee-residue was donated to TFP last time, and even though I didn't attend I then sent what would have been my fee to TFP, doesn't mean that TFP shouldn't again be considered in the operating costs of the project. I think a set percentage should be earmarked for a donation to support the entity that has made all of this possible. As this "Bridges" concept continues it occupies space here and is in fact a tenant of this establishment and therefore should pay its way.:)

    Exhibitors if they attend should be invited to attend at no charge (this time around) but if they have expenses to pay at the facility for maybe table rent or space fees or a hospitality function, those costs are theirs and theirs alone. I see nothing wrong with having related industry fellows in attendance and a brief time should be afforded them within the agenda to make a pitch of their wares. In fact I would encourage such a practice.:D
  17. Jon Scanlan

    Jon Scanlan That Kiwi Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Another simple look at fees. If too cheap is it worth going on the logic that it can'nt be very good? If you charge a high fee does that mean it will be excellent so therefore people will make an effort to go?
  18. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    I would like to thank you so very much, Bud, for being the great supporter and advocate of TFP that you have been since the beginning. Your donations, leadership and encouragement have meant a great deal to me and I am sure the rest of The Floor Pro Community.

    However... There's always a however, isn't there? However, TFP should continue to be supported by donations, not by fees. If the committee members and/or workshop attendees want to donate something to TFP, that would be humbly appreciated, but I don't want to see it considered a cost factor or percentage of the take that the Bridges organization is obligated to pay.

    Like the CFI forum and the FITS forum, The Floor Pro Community hosts the Bridges, Not Walls forum for free. This is a policy and invitation to all organizations that offer training, support or other benevolence to the industry. No organization is obligated to pay for the forums they use for their members here.

    At the present time, a website for doesn't exist. I did register the name, but there is no website because we have not elected a board of directors or done any of the other things a new organization of this type needs to do to be legitimate. But it looks like that will happen at some point, so the only base of operation we have right now is the Bridges forum here at TFP.

    Bridges and TFP will be separate entities. Bridges, I hope, will become a non-profit organization that offers workshops and other events and services to bring segments of the industry together in cooperation. TFP will continue to be a community based website that offers a communications medium and other resources for all flooring professionals.

    My point is, no obligatory fees should be levied against Bridges or any other organization. It should be voluntary and only apply to the individual or the group gathering.

    I would not like to see the classes or seminars add sales pitches to the agenda. Let the vendors do their sales pitches at their booths. Let's have the actual class time commercial free. Just like HBO - all the promotions are after the movie, not during. :D

    Thanks again,

    Last edited: Sep 5, 2008
  19. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    I edited the post above to remove what I feel was prob'ly inappropriate content for this particular discussion. If anyone wants financial disclosure of TFP, just ask in a PM or start a new topic in the appropriate forum.

    Sorry for the interruption of the topic.

  20. Bud Cline

    Bud Cline Tile Expert Charter Member Senior Member Published

    Oh quiet down Jim! Nobody asked you anyway!;)

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