A giant of a man who continues to set the tone
In this month's National Floor Trends we proudly honor our friend and colleague Howard Olansky and his 50 years of service in the floor covering industry. For more than five decades, Howard has been keeping our readers well informed about this constantly evolving business while working tirelessly to raise the visibility of the people and products that make it happen. From my perspective, space limitations prohibit me from listing what I have learned from this man and how much I admire him.
As a publisher and editor Howard has championed many causes and has emerged as an industry leader over the years. Often it was with a skillfully written Editor's Note with a few innovative tips for retailers. In doing so he has raised the bar in this industry.
I first met Howard in spring 1978 when he interviewed me for an editorial job. He left a lasting impression on me that day nearly three decades ago. His strength of character, and his keen insight into the business left an indelible mark. But there was more. He made it clear that if I was going to work for him, I would have to share his unflinching demand for accurate and thorough reporting. Our mission, he told me like a stern but loving parent, was to help all the retailers, contractors, installers, cleaners, distributors, sales agents, and manufacturers who relied on our magazines. Not just the big boys, he was quick to add. Everyone. His tone and demeanor were (and still are) powerful and compelling. He may not be much taller than 5'6" but his presence filled the room. I knew then I wanted to work with this man.
As part of our tribute to Howard Olansky, we have put together a special selection of articles beginning with his biography and key achievements on page 57. Howard has also graciously contributed a detailed article recapping the many industry developments he has seen during his career.
We invite you to join us in honoring Howard by making a tax deductible donation to one of his favorite charities: the Floor Covering Industry Foundation. Contributions have started coming in and we have included comments from donors along with a list for all contributors as of press time. And if you are wondering what the FCIF is all about, we have also included a story that details how one woman was greatly helped by the foundation as well as the gratitude she now feels toward FCIF.
...and yes, there is still much to learn from him
Some guys have all the luck and I guess I must place my name in that category. Fresh out of college I decided to follow up on a job lead posted for advertising sales at my alma mater. That was nearly 30 years ago and here I find myself proudly (and happily) still to be under Howard's tutelage.
Howard has never been an easy guy to be associated with. Not that he expects perfection but Howard challenges all those around him to strive for excellence, always to reach further, accomplish bigger and to stretch oneself to be more. One of Howard's great gifts is his ability to look at any situation with optimism. He loves this business as well as the people in it. He continues to inspire us with his message that the floor covering business is one of great worth, the people involved in it are crusaders of value and the potential to profit and reap the rewards of success are always there for those who care enough to make a difference.
As Howard has always been there to help in any way by offering counsel and advice, putting people together with companies, manufacturers and distributors together with products and products together with people while reporting on and writing about the industry. His reward has always been the same: friendship. As the saying goes, one can judge the success of a man, not by his bank account, but by his friends, and Howard is truly rich with friends.
Howard, thank you for being my mentor and my friend for all these years. A guy couldn't be more lucky.