The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) awarded Joe Yarbrough, the CRI’s past president, with the Joseph J. Smrekar Memorial Award in recognition of Mr. Yarbrough’s unwavering commitment and contributions to the carpet industry. The award was presented during the CRI Annual Meeting.

“It is a true honor to present this award to Joe Yarbrough, who has dedicated his career to advancing the carpet industry,” said Russ DeLozier, president of the CRI. “This award recognizes Mr. Yarbrough’s legacy and accomplishments for the industry.”

Marking its 25th year, the Joseph J. Smrekar Memorial Award was established in 1998 by Milliken and Company to honor the late Dr. Joseph Smrekar, a longtime industry professional who set the standard for service to the CRI and the carpet industry.

Jake Smrekar (Milliken), son of the late Dr. Joseph Smrekar, presented the award. During the presentation Jake acknowledged the work of Mr. Yarbrough, who has shown dedication and passion to the industry throughout his tenured career. Smrekar stated, “Joe Yarbrough has dedicated countless hours to making the industry, the CRI, and the product we call carpet, better.” He continued, “Mr. Yarbrough’s contributions to Mohawk, to the CRI, and to the carpet industry as a whole are unmatched.”

Also present during the award celebration were Carey Mitchell (retired from Shaw Industries) and Howard Elder (retired from J&J Industries, now Engineered Floors) who received the first two Joseph J. Smrekar Memorial Awards in 1998 and 1999, respectively.

In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Joseph J. Smrekar Memorial Award, the CRI commissioned Dalton artist Chris Beck to handcraft a meaningful sculpture from recycled metal from a CRI member facility.