Sonna Calandrino

Ann Seay, a colleague of the recently departed Sonna Calandrino, is helping to put together an industry tribute to celebrate Calandrino's life. The tribute is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 17, in Dalton, Ga.

"I met Sonna over a decade ago while I was working with Mohawk Industries. We worked together on many special projects," she said. "I've always held a special place in my heart for Sonna."

She considers Calandrino a pioneer in the industry. "When she started in the industry, few women were involved. She was definitely a pioneer who led with such grace that she won the respect of the entire flooring industry. She had a way of connecting with everyone she met, from the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies to the owners of the mom and pop store down the street."

The entire industry is being invited, she said. "While the elements of this event are still coalescing please know that we have already received confirmation of attendance and participation from significant figures in the flooring industry from across the country," she added.

A website,, is being created that will provide more information about the tribute. It should be up and running by next week, Seay said.

To help defray the costs of the tribute event, Seay is seeking donations. They can be mailed to: Ann Seay, Tribute for Sonna, 95 Van Buren Drive, Dalton, GA 30721. Any money that is left over from the program will be given to the Floor Covering Industry Foundation.

"The purpose is simply this: to celebrate Sonna's life and her achievements in the flooring industry -- many of which were extraordinary. She touched and helped so many people and was, without doubt, the key influence behind the evolution of the flooring industry. Today, we are about fashion and style, not a building material or commodity. We have Sonna to thank for that," Seay noted.