It was standing room only in the education sessions and demos at the inaugural 2023 Certified Flooring Installers (CFI) and Flooring Contractors Association (FCICA) Convention, where installers came to glean tips and tricks of the trade, elevate their skills, and discuss the uncertainty of business in 2024.

The event, which was held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando, Florida, offered three days of education, knowledge sharing, industry solutions and networking. CFI and FCICA partnered for this show in an effort to create more learning opportunities that capitalize on the synergies between residential flooring installers and commercial flooring contractors.

"FCICA and CFI are two great organizations, and to see them come together, it really shows that the industry is willing to work together for the future of the installer," said Leslie Del Pozo, VP marketing communications for QEP Co., which exhibited at the conference.

The educational conference was high energy, characterized by genuine and intentional conversations where installers and contractors shared ideas and discovered new products and tools to elevate their flooring installations.

“Everything here is about individuals learning things and connecting with others—it’s really about building the individual,” said Steve Abernathy, COO of the World Floorcovering Association.

“There is a greater diversity of flooring contractors and installers here,” added FCICA Board Chair Pat Kelly. “Normally we would have just primarily a contractor, or owner like myself or project managers, but now we also have almost our entire company here—all the way down to the installers.”

Efren Llamas, Certified Master Installer and technical service manager, Taylor Adhesives, said he counts on these shows to further his education. 

"Over the years, I got involved with the training part of it and then with these conventions, and it's always been great because you see everybody coming together, you see everybody learning more, and it's been more personal."

Exhibitors were excited about the interactions they had with attendees.

"We want to meet as many installers as we possibly can," said Matthieu Dekens, president of technologies firm i4F, which demonstrated its Drop-Lock installation technologies at the show. "We have a whole program on how we want to communicate with installers in a one-to-one basis and digitally, and one of the steps we are taking is here at the CFI convention in Orlando."

"Some of the greatest conversations you can have is with the contractors or the installers themselves to find out what type of issues they're actually running into on the jobsites and how our products would best suit them,” said Sandon Carson, field service manager for wood and laminate at Mohawk Industries, which demonstrated solutions provided by its Performance Accessories brand. “I still go out and install because I believe the best way to teach other people is to continually grow in their own education or else you can't teach people new techniques and tricks you know.”

See coverage on the education session hosted by Women in the Floorcovering Industry during the 2023 CFI FCICA Convention.