NFT columnist Dave Gobis talks about installation issues during the Installation Showcase.

Show organizers for Surfaces 2008 are confident that this year’s slate of educational conferences will be the most comprehensive in the show’s long history. In addition to 48 sessions targeted to five industry tracks, show goers, for the first time, will be offered six one-hour “mini-sessions.” The abbreviated presentations are designed to offer an overview of some of the hottest topics in the industry, from design trends to color stories and branding.

A good deal of the focus will be on battling back from a slump brought on by the cooling housing market. Organizers say classes will not merely offer tips to survive in a soft economy, but rather will focus on finding creative ways to maximize profitability. 

“First and foremost, financial management is very important to operating in lean times,” said Surfaces’ conference manager Carol Wilkins. “Bart Basi, Ph.D., will address this topic in two courses. Another topic designed specifically to address this issue is ‘How to Survive and Thrive During a Slowing Economy,’ presented by Sam Allman” twice during the show. (He will also offer a mini-session titled “POW! ZAP! SELL Like a Superhero!”)

Allman is one of severalNFTcolumnists set to speak at Surfaces. The magazine’s tile and stone expert, Dave Gobis, will discuss “Proper Shower Systems” and also take part in a “Pre-Installation Forum” with colleagues includingFloor Covering Installer’sMickey Moore. NFTcolumnist Warren Tyler will present “Banishing Discounts Forever.” Dave Stafford, author of theNFTcolumn “Commercial Possibilities,” will address that subject with the session “Have You Considered the Commercial Market Possibilities?” Additionally, sister magazineFloor Covering Installerwill be represented with “Common Causes of Post-Installation Failures,” featuringFCIcolumnist Jon Namba, Karen Mason andFCI’sJohn Moore moderating. (See sidebar for a complete list of courses led by BNP Media columnists.)

Another expected highlight will be three new pavilions showcasing specific product segments. The New Product, Decorative Concrete and Hand-Crafted Tile pavilions are sponsored byNFT, FCIandTILE Magazine.The items displayed in the pavilions will also be the subject of special live demonstrations during Installation Showcase events on the show floor.

According to Jon Namba, organizer of the Installation Showcase, two of the installation events running during the show will complement the themes seen in the new pavilions. The first, “Concrete – It’s Not Just For Sidewalks Anymore,” set for 11 a.m. to noon on Jan. 30, will address techniques for installing decorative concrete. The following day “Liven It Up – Tips for Working with Glass and Metal Tiles” will be presented by Dave Gobis from 1 to 2 p.m. It will cover installation tips for the type of products that can be seen at the Hand-Crafted Tile Pavilion.

The Installation Showcase events are sponsored byNFT, FCI,the World Floor Covering Association and Certified Floorcovering Installers. Namba noted that the one-hour presentations are “right at the front lines of what’s hot in the industry.” 

Topics will also include “Oops! Correcting Everyday Mistakes” with CFI CEO Jim Walker, “Walking on Art – Faux Painting on Hardwood Floors” with Joe Boone, “Cleaning and Maintenance For Tile and Stone” with Joe Salvo, “Watch Your Step – Custom Transitioning” with Steve Marley, and Namba presenting “Name That Tool,” a showcase of some of the latest prep and installation tools and how to use them.

Surfaces is set for Jan. 30-Feb. 1 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas. For more information, visit or call (972) 536-6400.

NFT at Surfaces

NFTwill once again be highly visible at Surfaces. In addition to our involvement as a co-sponsor of three product pavilions debuting during the 2008 show, a number of our columnists will be making presentations. Of course we will once again have an exhibit on the show floor. We invite you to stop by to meet the staff and vote in our annual Styling Excellence Awards competition.

Presentations featuring contributors toNFTor our sister magazineFCIinclude:  

• Proper Shower Systems – Make Sure the Water Goes Down the Drain” with Dave Gobis, 9 a.m. to noon Jan. 29.

• “Pre-Installation Forum” with Mickey Moore, Peter Craig, Dave Gobis and John Wabake moderating, 4 to 5:30 p.m. Jan 30.

• “How to Survive and Thrive During a Slowing Economy” with Sam Allman, 8 to 9:30 a.m. Jan. 31 and 8 to 9:30 a.m. Feb. 1.

• “Banishing Discounts Forever” with Warren Tyler, 8 to 9:30 a.m. Jan. 31.

• “POW! ZAP! SELL Like a Superhero” with Sam Allman, noon to 1 p.m. Jan. 31.

• “Have You Considered the Commercial Market Possibilities?” with Dave Stafford, 4 to 5:30 p.m. Jan. 31.

• “Common Causes of Post-Installation Failures” with Jon Namba, Karen Mason and John Moore moderating, 8 to 9:30 a.m. Feb. 1.