George Hedley explains how he empowers his employees.
The excitement was palpable as a variety of educational seminars, conducted at the Sands Expo & Convention Center, kicked off the pre-show agenda for Surfaces 2001.

Four workshops, ranging from business- and marketing-related subjects to sales and installation topics, ran concurrently this morning from 9 a.m. to noon.

George Hedley, founder of Hedley Construction, presented the morning's business-building session, Profit Driven Leadership. Hedley covered the ways that an entrepreneur identifies his vision, targets his desired results and develops an action plan to make that vision a reality.

Hedley described how he, as a business owner and entrepreneur, meets performance goals in his own operations by empowering employees. One thing that he eschews in particular is handling every little problem his people bring to him.

“When I solve other people’s problems, they bring me more problems. So, I want to eliminate this step,” Hedley said. “I want to give them the responsibility and accountability to do what’s necessary to get the job done.

“So, I set up a system for my employees,” he explained. “When (one of them) brings me a purchase order, I stamp it and say, ‘I trust you. Fix it.’

“‘Don’t tell me about your wars or triumphs,’” Hedley continued. “Just tell me when we reach our goals.’ I don’t treat them like hired hands. I treat my employees like they have brains.”

Key Pegram discusses business-improving marketing strategies.
On the marketing side,Kay Pegram, owner of Kaymar Communications, described strategies designed to enhance the effectiveness of any businesses' promotional activities and thereby boost sales and profits. Her workshop,Marketing Strategies to Promote Your Business, addressed means of defining a business image, identifying target customers and selecting the most appropriate types of advertising.

Working with Tile, the morning's installation-related session, was presented by ceramic tile consultant Ellen Yossarian of Ironrock Capital Inc. Yossarian's premise, that increased consumer demand for ceramic tile is creating new installation challenges for the industry, was the basis for a broad discussion of installation methods and materials. Expansion joints, trim tiles, testing, and cleaning and maintenance all were covered in detail.

The sales-related workshop, Weaving Dollars from Woven Carpet by CFI Master Installer David Hunt of the Vermont Custom Rug Co., was enthusiastically received by his audience of early-bird Surfaces attendees. Hunt noted that some of the most successful specialty retailers are those who carry high-end carpet lines that attract the business of designers and discriminating consumers. He explained the differences between Axminster, Velvet, Kara-Loc, and Wilton weaves, discussed the limitations and strengths of each, and explained how the manufacturing processes influence the products’ durability.

“Anytime you have a product that’s woven though the back with face yarn, you are going to have a much stronger pull. And so, it’s going to be a much better product as far as resisting snags and will be more durable,” Hunt said.

“Power-loomed products allow for a tight, consistent and uniform product all the way through.” -- NFT staff contributed to this report.