The following is anNFTexclusive interview with Brooks Mancini, the newly elected chairman of the board of the World Floor Covering Association and a contractor for nearly 50 years.
How did you become a flooring contractor?
My personality is such that I don’t have a lot of patience. I did not start out as a retailer and never became one, because a great deal of patience is required. But I love the business I’m in. I love it because no two jobs are ever alike Each project requires different needs, different conditions. I really enjoy solving problems.
Have you held any other positions within the WFCA?
I have been CFO of the organization for the last two years. I’m not sure whether the WFCA is going to get the consumer to buy more in these economic times, but I am sure we will be the broker of honest dealings from the standpoint that we have a website that gives honest information about the various floor covering products.
What is your stance on technology?
I think technology is important, particularly for the younger generation. I will admit, I’m a bit technologically challenged. But I think technology is becoming more important because it lets computers do in relatively little time what a group of people might not be able to do as quickly or as well.
What would you change about the industry, if you could?
I’m deeply concerned about quality in manufacturing -- I sometimes think that manufacturing needs to do a better job of quality assurance. I’m also very concerned about training -- particularly the younger people coming into the industry. It’s one of my deep concerns, because when I started my company [B.T. Mancini Co.] in 1964, people would bring their sons and nephews into the business, particularly the installation part of it. That seems to have gone away. What we are experiencing now are more people who are emigrating to this country and becoming installers. We have in many cases a language problem and a training problem.
What do you hope to accomplish as WFCA chairman?
We’re primarily going to focus on consumer education, through our website [www.wfca.org] and theFlooringmagazine and advertising campaign with Meredith [the publisher ofBetter Homes & Gardens].
Another one of our goals is to set up an installation standard. We want to clearly spell out the things an installer needs to do in installing a product, such as checking for moisture, particularly if it’s over concrete. I’m sure we’ll be working in concert with the major installation groups on this one.
We’re obviously looking to increase our membership and hope, as we educate the consumer, retailers and other flooring professionals will see the advantage of joining the WFCA. We conduct a survey of financial statements and figure out an industry average on that, which can be very helpful to a retailer.