As we step boldly and confidently into 2014 it is important to look back at the year behind us. It was philosopher George Santayana who said, “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.”
With that in mind we look back at 2013, a year that allowed us to lay a firm foundation for what will be a very important future for the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) and our industry as a whole. In addition to my hiring as the new CEO of the WFCA, here are some of the key building blocks for our future laid in the year behind us:
• Completion of current staff needs with the hiring of Cammie Weitzel as vice president of operations, Tom Jennings as vice president of member services, Freida Staten as vice president of recruitment and affiliate engagement, and Kay Wiley as my administrative assistant. They join a very talented staff in our Anaheim, Calif., office that includes Jenny Ostad, membership/education manager; Gena Basenback, membership/operations manager, and Renee Gutierrez, WFCA West administrative assistant.
• Establishment of a new purpose statement that builds upon our rich history and provides focus for our forward direction: The purpose of the World Floor Covering Association is to ensure the success and profitability of professional floor covering dealers and to protect their common interests.
This statement in no way lessens the role of our other members, but realizes the core strength of our industry is dependent upon the success of the professional floor covering dealer.
• The opening of the WFCA East office in Dalton, to provide even greater access to the key decision makers in our industry.
• Focus on key relationships with our affiliates, manufacturing groups, and buying groups within our industry, as well as strengthened relationships with other key associations throughout the industry.
• Vital lobbying efforts in our nation’s capital focused on leveling the playing field for brick-and-mortar stores against Internet sellers, employee vs. subcontractor issues, lead paint regulations, etc.
• Continued leadership in providing a residential installation standard to provide leadership excellence in accountability and consistency, which is essential for our industry’s long-term success.
• A renewed focus on meeting our members’ needs through improved communication, training and tools for success, and a concerted effort to listen to those who seek our help and expertise.
• A continued compassion and focus toward the needs of our industry and the people who commit their lives to it through the Floor Covering Industry Foundation (FCIF).
• An influential media tour through New York City; Des Moines, Iowa, and Birmingham, Ala., touching all major shelter magazines with info on new products and product trends as well as general information about the industry as a whole.
As we look forward here are some of the exciting things we as an organization have planned for 2014 and beyond:
• The launch of Premier Flooring Retailer, a WFCA publication focused solely on the specialty flooring retailer and their success and profitability.
• Targeted state of the art training focused on all areas of successful business, as well as providing tools created specifically to help our members compete in the marketplace against one of their key competitors: The big box stores.
• Continuing efforts to see passage of the Marketplace Fairness Act, requiring Internet sellers to collect sales tax just like brick-and-mortar stores. Plus, we continue our focus on all key issues impacting our industry.
• An Affiliate Summit to better tap into the powerful resources of our affiliate groups, and to discuss how we can enhance their offerings and utilize their strengths to expand our impact and increase our membership.
• A convention for our members that will provide an opportunity to learn from experts inside and outside of our industry, share best practices, and allow us to hear from you.
• A focused approach by key industry associations that will take action on issues pertinent to our industry and allow us to take advantage of our combined resources and memberships.
• Increased visibility for WFCA in the media and industry trade publications to instill in all parties the need to be a part of and partner with the association as we seek to improve the overall state of our industry.
2014 will be an exceptional year for the WFCA. It can be even greater with your partnership. The investment to be a part of the WFCA is very small. In fact, what you receive for that membership highly outweighs your minimal investment. The reality is, there is so much more we can accomplish together. But for that to happen, we need you. We need your leadership, insight, and active involvement to make this year as great as it can be.
I know you are likely very involved in other noble endeavors and serve in other key leadership roles within the industry. I also know our voices amplified carry much more weight on Capitol Hill and demand attention within our industry. We would be honored to have you as a part of our future success and to be a part of yours.
With that in mind, I want to challenge you to “pay it forward.” Invest in the future of our industry by joining the WFCA. For less than the cost of giving up one soft drink a day, you can be a member. Won’t you join with us and allow the WFCA to be a key vehicle for improving our industry and your opportunities for success by being an active member, utilizing the resources we make available to you, providing feedback and sharing your success?
For information on joining, please visit wfca-pro.org.
Wishing you the best 2014 and beyond...