Dalton, Ga. –– The World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) has named Jeffrey S. Lorberbaum, chairman and CEO of Mohawk Industries, to the organization’s Hall of Fame. Lorberbaum becomes the 47th inductee since the hall was established in 1992. Lorberbaum will be joining a distinguished list of industry pioneers and leaders, including his parents, Shirley and Alan, who founded Aladdin Mills. He was honored during a ceremony at The International Surface Event (TISE) in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Jan. 31.
“I nominated Jeff because his leadership changed the industry while expanding Mohawk into all flooring products to create the largest flooring company in the world with numerous acquisitions, exponential global growth and ground-breaking financial returns for more than 20 years,” said Larry Nagle, fellow WFCA Hall of Fame member, president of N.L. Nagle and founder of the Floor Covering Industry Foundation. “I look forward to honoring his influential impact on our industry and welcoming him into the Hall of Fame.”
After graduating from the University of Denver in 1976, Lorberbaum entered his family business as the company was expanding from bath and area rugs to broadloom carpet. Under his leadership, Aladdin Mills merged with Mohawk Industries in 1994, creating one of the largest flooring manufacturers in the country with revenues of more than $1 billion. During the remainder of the 1990s, Mohawk led the consolidation of the U.S. carpet and rug industry and began exploring the sale of hard surface products at the end of the decade. Mohawk foresaw the changing of consumer flooring preferences and shifted its strategy to provide all flooring types, which expanded revenues and margins.
Mohawk’s acquisition of Dal-Tile in 2002 was the next major step in becoming a total flooring company that manufactured all soft and hard surface products. Dal-Tile was the largest manufacturer of ceramic in the U.S., and its market share grew rapidly under Lorberbaum with new investments to expand its manufacturing capabilities, sales organization, and distribution network. Following multiple European acquisitions during this decade, ceramic has become the largest category within Mohawk's product portfolio.
Today, Mohawk is the world’s largest flooring manufacturer offering ceramic, stone, carpet, rugs, laminate, wood, sheet vinyl, luxury vinyl tile (LVT) and countertops. While transforming the U.S. business, Lorberbaum built Mohawk into a significant international enterprise with more than 30% of the company’s revenues generated outside the U.S. With 38,000 employees, Mohawk sells products in more than 160 countries around the world with manufacturing operations in 16 nations.
Mohawk also leads the country in workforce health innovation, improving the health metrics for employees and their families through the early identification of health risks, on-site and virtual clinics and curative actions. Mohawk is the leading global recycler of plastic bottles, a pioneer in bio-based textiles, and the industry’s largest provider of products with recycled content. Mohawk’s sustainability initiatives have created new industry-standards for efficient use of natural resources, waste stream reduction and clean energy creation through windmills, solar panels and waste to energy platforms.
For the WFCA, the combination of Lorberbaum’s leadership of Mohawk into a global flooring powerhouse, his transformative impact on the industry and his lasting influence on how people buy and sell flooring made him a natural choice for the Hall of Fame.
“Mohawk became a member of the WFCA in 2003, and, since then, I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with the company and Jeff,” said Scott Humphrey, CEO of the World Floor Covering Association. “He is a true visionary who has invigorated product innovation, enhanced customer results, shaped countless leaders and revolutionized the flooring industry. Jeff will be a great addition to the Hall of Fame.”
Lorberbaum has received a multitude of awards for his leadership and accomplishments during the course of his career. Recent honors include the 2016 Ernst & Young Lifetime Achievement Award for Entrepreneurship; the 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle Most Admired CEO Award; the 2017 Leonardo International Prize, presented by the President of Italy for transformative investments in Italian industry; and the 2017 "Let Us Do Good" Award, presented by the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, for his support of housing for severely-wounded veterans.