When asked how she landed in the flooring world, Leslie Del Pozo, vice president of marketing content and communications, QEP/Roberts, said, “I totally got here by accident.” 

Del Pozo was born in Utah, raised in Idaho and attended college in Florida where she still resides. She graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts with dreams of being the next Darrin Stephens from the television show “Bewitched.” 

"My dream actually kind of did come true,” she said. “I really liked what he did—the fun marketing campaigns, and the creativity of it. So, that's what I wanted to be when I grew up. I'm not doing that so much anymore, but that was part of what I did at QEP for so long. It was an interesting journey.” 

Del Pozo started her 26-year career with QEP as a graphic designer in their art department to design packaging, help with trade shows and design product data sheets. “I learned the tools coming from the other side of it, not the physical use of it, but I learned the features and benefits of it. I really knew the products, but it wasn't until two years ago that I started traveling and getting out there and supporting the installers in a totally different way that I really started to understand the use of some of these tools.” 

She has taken what she has learned and used it to launch a support campaign for the flooring installation community with the full backing of QEP/Roberts. Del Pozo and the QEP/Roberts team has been involved in The International Surface Event’s National Installer of the Year competition as well as all of the regionals leading up to it. They have attended countless trainings across the country to supply tools and a technical trainer and continue to show support by sponsoring the Floor Trends and Installation Awards for a second year in a row. Here, we dive more into her flooring journey, what supporting the installation community means to her and the importance of just showing up. 

The following are excerpts of our conversation, which you can listen to in its entirety below.


FLOOR Trends & Installation: Tell us about yourself. 

Leslie Del Pozo: My dad was a traveling salesman, so I really have a huge affinity for my sales guys. I really try to have their back and I know what they go through out on the road. That's directly from watching my dad be that salesman. My mom owned a landscape nursery for many years. So, flowers everywhere, our yard was beautiful, total green thumb, which I do not have.


FLOOR Trends & Installation: Tell me one fun or interesting thing about yourself that you would not normally share from your childhood. 

Del Pozo: I played a lot of soccer in junior high and high school. When I got to college at FAU, Florida Atlantic University, I was actually on the first women's football team. Then a couple of years later, our FedEx man where I was working found out that I played soccer, and he pulled me into what they were playing. It's Gaelic football. If you don't know what Gaelic football is, it's kind of a cross between soccer, rugby and volleyball, believe it or not. So, that was very interesting and fun.


FLOOR Trends & Installation: What do you love about being in the flooring industry? 

Del Pozo: I was in and ran the art department for a long time. I touched every piece of packaging, every piece of marketing material that went through our doors. About two years ago, Len Gould, the president of QEP, and Mike Duchaine, the chief commercial officer at QEP, looked at me and they said, "We think that you've done that long enough. What we really want you to do is dive into our associations and figure out how you can better help the associations because we really have a problem out in the industry that we do not have enough installers. So, figure out how we can help get more installers out there.” 

My entire focus changed. My plate was wiped clean and this has been my journey. So, that's what I've been doing, working with the associations, getting out there, meeting the associations, letting the installers know that I support them, and that we support them as a company. We're listening to them and our focus for the last several years has been the installer.


FLOOR Trends & Installation: Why is it so important to support the installation community? 

Del Pozo: I'm out there quite a bit listening to the stories of the installers and looking in their toolbox and seeing Robert's tools and QEP tools and hearing the stories about how dad passed it down or this was grandpa's or whatever it is. I have so much respect for that, and I think it's just really important for these people to understand how important they are. I feel like that next generation needs to have mentors. So, these people are their mentors, and they need to know that their role is very, very important. That's the way I approach it, is they need to know that so many people look up to them.


FLOOR Trends & Installation: What has your journey through the industry been like overall? 

Del Pozo: I understand that these people want to be heard. They want to be seen. We kind of laugh that we say, ‘just show up.’ But the reality is we are working really hard when we are out there. I’m always in an airport; I’m always going somewhere. It's not because I have to be; it's because I want to be. People are asking me right now, do you like traveling so much? The answer is I do. I love being out there and showing these people how much we care and how much they matter. It's actually very energizing. It's the least I can do to pay it back. Once I witnessed how important it was and how much energy I was getting from them, it inspired me to do more and I wanted to be there more.


FLOOR Trends & Installation: Why do you think flooring installers are so hesitant to show off their work? 

Del Pozo: Other installers can be really mean. I'll give you an example. We had somebody that's very well known. He's got certifications; he's won awards; and he's an amazing installer. He did us a favor and did a video for us and used a tool in slow motion just because he's showcasing the tool. He's not teaching anybody how to install, and he's not showing how he installs. He was quickly ripped apart about how slow he installed. 

It's brutal. I wish all of the installers out there understood how important it is to support each other because there's so much amazing stuff out there. These people that we're trying to get to submit their projects, they should be really proud of those projects. I think it's that they don't understand how artistic they are and how beautiful their projects are. 

Your project doesn't have to be this amazing mic drop, beautiful piece of art to submit it. You might just have had a lot of obstacles to overcome to get that project finished. That's just as important. That's part of what's important. What these amazing people do every day is fix problems and pivot when things aren't going right. They need to understand that we want to acknowledge those projects as well.


FLOOR Trends & Installation:I think another thing they're not really considering is that by submitting a project to our Installation Awards, you're showcasing your work for the next generation of installers. 

Del Pozo: [The next generation] needs to know what you can do in this industry. We were with a bunch of high schoolers and college kids through a technical training, and they were blown away at how beautiful some of this work was. They have no idea what is in store for them and what they can do. We had one young girl say, “I just changed my mind from being an electrician to being a tile installer because of how artistic I'm going to be able to be.” I got goosebumps when she said that.


FLOOR Trends & Installation: For people who are on the fence about submitting their projects to our 11th annual Installation Awards, what would you say to them to encourage them? 

Del Pozo: Just do it. Be proud of what you do; be proud of who you are; and be proud of your work. You have nothing to lose. Submit your art. Submit your project. Show the world how amazing you are. Just believe in yourself. Do it. You'll be proud.

Listen to the full interview!

Browse our FLOORtalk podcasts