The Fuse Commercial Flooring Alliance, a network of more than 150 commercial flooring contractors in North America, celebrated robust growth in 2022, according to Executive Director Geoff Gordon. 

"This has been such an exciting year for us because in 2022 we've added 23 new members," Gordon said. "This year in January we've added five and we have three coming on board this month. We've had record growth." 

Watch Geoff Gordon's update here.

The alliance, which was formed to bring together local flooring installation expertise and the resources of national manufacturers, recently added the Shaw network of suppliers: Patcraft, Philadelphia Commercial, and Shaw Contract.

As a member of the Fuse alliance, contractors have access to exclusive training and educational programs, and the annual meeting provides a platform for collaboration among members, allowing them to share best practices, industry knowledge, and business opportunities. 

Blake Grimsley, vice president of Signature Flooring, Inc., in Orange, California, said one of his key takeaways from this year's conference was the motivation and drive to improve while around peers in the industry. 

"Whether it be from close relationships with other contractors who we’ve known for 10-plus years, new members who have recently joined the co-op, or manufacturer leaders from different parts of the country, we always have a great sense of motivation after leaving the conference year after year to improve upon various aspects of our business," Grimsely said. 

During member-only round table discussions, Grimsely said he found that many of the members share similar challenges in their day-to-day business. During these talks, different ideas on how to attract new talent and ways to grow business opportunities were shared and explored.

He also said the industry outlook presented by James Lesslie of Engineered Floors was also helpful to his business. Read highlights of Lesslie's presentation here. 

"Some key nuggets was to fight complacency, stay consistent and remember to measure against goals set," Grimsley said. "These simplistic thoughts sometimes get lost in the daily busy-ness of a commercial flooring contractor and we agree that they are important reminders to keep." 

Karla Sheehy, president of Absolute Commercial Flooring in Minneapolis, Minnesota, said she found value in keynote speaker Adam Markel’s inspiration to leading with an appreciation for resilience; a workflow diagram of the floor covering dealer's order process presented by Ken Hurd, president and chief executive officer of Commercial Interior Resources in Irvine, California, [read coverage on Hurd's process here]; and attorney Ron Ciotti’s insights on important contract clauses that will help her navigate contracts more confidently.

"The three I find valuable are claim for acceleration, indemnification and hold harmless agreement and the protocol to follow when filing a claim," Sheehy noted. 

Dale Jarmer, vice president of Jarmer Flooring in Hanover, Maryland, said this was his first time attending a Fuse conference. Jarmer focuses on tenant fit-outs, and his company is currently working on a large hotel project for Hilton in Washington, D.C., which includes 14 floors of guest rooms, corridors and tile in the lobby.  

"We are busy and look to be busy through spring—we see a lot of growth this year," Jarmer said. "I didn't know what to expect attending this conference, but so far, it's been great."