Designers vote on colors for some of Mannington Commercial’s upcoming products.

Mannington Commercial welcomed about 100 architects, designers, specifiers, facility managers and contractors to its 4th annual open house at its headquarters in Salem, N.J. on Tuesday. According to Zach Zehner, Mannington Commercial’s vp commercial hard surfaces, the event boasted the largest attendance yet.

Zach Zehner, Mannington Commercial’s vp commercial hard surfaces.

“I think we went a little broader and cast a wider net this year,” he explained. “We have folks coming in from Washington, D.C., from Baltimore, and even a little farther north. We’ve also done a great job of spreading word of mouth through the local community right here in the Delaware Valley.”

This year’s event included a tour of the company’s vinyl flooring manufacturing plant, an environmental tour of the grounds, and CEU-accredited presentations on topics ranging from carpet recycling, to sustainable senior care living and an Antron color update.

Al Boulogne, Mannington Commercial’s dir. commercial sheet & lvt, holds up some samples from the Rainfall lvt collection.

Both Jessica Scholl, associate, and Meredith Heffner, designer, from Washington, D.C.-based design firm RTKL said they were excited to take the tours. “Seeing how things are made helps give us a new perspective,” Scholl said. “We also want to learn more about Mannington Commercial’s eco-friendly aspects, because having that knowledge helps us better sell the products to our clients.”

Brian Rogaski, a field inspector for the State of New Jersey Schools Development Authority, said he was mainly at the event to “get some CEUs, and see the plant.” He added that the open house was a great way to get an idea of what’s new at Mannington Commercial.

Attendees line up to register for the open house.

Joe Nickels, Avalon Carpet Tile and Flooring’s dir. commercial sales for the region, said he was attending primarily to get a firsthand look at Mannington’s environmental efforts. “Mannington is a leader is some very forward-looking things,” he said. “They are a great industrial partner in this state.”

The company showcased new products in both hard and soft surface flooring, including an 18” by 36” and 18” by 18” lvt collection called Rainfall, and a carpet tile collection called Blue Matrix. These products, which were finalists in last year’s tx:style design competition, were being presented so designers could help choose the final color palettes. Other products were in prototype, and were being shown to gauge the attendees’ interest.

Al Boulogne, Mannington Commercial dir. commercial sheet & lvt, said engaging with customers and end-users is an important part of product development. “We’re always doing our best to stay in close contact with our customers in the supply chain,” he noted. “We keep that loop of communication open, because new products are constantly in development.”

Keith Campbell, Mannington’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, gives some closing words on the importance of domestic manufacturing.

The day ended with a keynote by Janet Milkman, Delaware Valley Green Building Council exec. dir., and some closing words from Keith Campbell, Mannington’s Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Milkman talked about LEED 2012, which will include two new credit areas in Integrated Process and Performance. She also mentioned that Greenbuild will be coming to Philadelphia in 2013. “This is an amazing opportunity to not only show off our region, but to show the world some of the amazing [green projects] that are going on here.”

Campbell closed out the day by showing the attendees the video from Mannington’s “Let’s Make Some Noise” campaign, which focuses on Mannington’s commitment to domestic manufacturing.

“Until we in the U.S. really concern ourselves with creating jobs here, we’re not going to see the U.S. economy turn around,” Campbell cautioned. “Renewed construction activity could take two points off the unemployment rate.”

“About 90 percent of our products are made in the USA. I’d like that to be 100 percent,” Campbell added. “Manufacturing is indeed part of our destiny as a country.”

Following his closing statements, attendees were invited to an evening reception at Campbell’s house.