I just recently returned from the packed, busy National Wood Flooring Association convention in Dallas. While the theme of this year’s Wood Flooring Expo was “Think Big” (a claim backed up by a 20 percent increase in EXHIBIT SPACE AND A JUMP IN ATTENDANCE over last year), the focus really was on collaboration.

This was borne out by a special presentation during the show, where editors from various industry trade publications (including yours truly) all took turns giving their insights on the industry and sharing the stage to answer questions from the audience. We are competitors, yes, but we are also all marshalling our resources to cover this industry the best we can, so it was nice to put aside the brands for a while and just speak honestly about the state of the industry.

At this event, I also formally introduced Jon Namba as the editorial director for our sister publication Floor Covering Installer. You can read more about Jon’s experience and background in this issue, but to boil it down, he’s an expert from both the retail and installation side of the industry, and he understands the gap that exists between these two segments.

I mentioned in my column here last month that the relationship between retailers and installers is damaged. Jon and I are going to do everything we can to bridge that gap. One simple way to do that is to share important information between the magazines. To paraphrase CFI CEO Jim Walker, installation is something everybody in the organization should understand, not just to know what the guys in the field are facing, but to confidently sell your product to your customers.

Another important aspect of collaboration is partnership. I just wanted to make sure you are aware that we partner with the FCICA to digitally publish their Flooring Contractor publication. It is available in the digital editions of both Floor Trends and Floor Covering Installer.To find out more, visit either www.floortrendsmag.com or www.fcimag.comhover your mouse over “The Magazine” tab, and click on the second choice down.

This month we also spoke with newly minted World Floor Covering Association CEO Scott Humphrey about his take on the industry. He believes it is important to set aside any differences and work together as one unit, sharing one voice, to accomplish our goals. Who doesn’t agree with that?

Michael Chmielecki has been writing about the floor covering industry for BNP Media since 2002. As editor of FCI, he is always seeking ways to better connect and inform the installation community.