As I sit down to write my final column as chairman, it seems fitting that it will run in the April/May issue previewing the NWFA Wood Flooring Expo with the theme “Make Your Mark.” I’ve been doing a lot of reminiscing these past few weeks about all of the new initiatives of our association, and how those initiatives have had an impact on my business.
From the newly launched “Real Wood. Real Life.” campaign to raise consumer awareness of the benefits of wood flooring to implementing a program that helps our members obtain health coverage, the NWFA exists to ensure our members have the resources they need to be successful. I could not be happier with the direction our association is taking, and as my time as chairman comes to a close, I am confident that incoming chairman Craig Dupra will do a fantastic job in continuing our mission.
I’ve also been doing a lot of reflecting on my own impact, and how I can encourage others who share a common passion for our trade to get more involved and help influence the future of our industry.
The idea of making your mark, or leaving a legacy, is one that really resonates with me. I’ve been in this business for 31 years, and I genuinely believe that it takes every one of us to make it work. The reality is, the NWFA can’t do it alone and neither should you.
So, as you saddle up to head to Expo in Fort Worth, here are some of my thoughts on leaving a legacy and how the NWFA is here to support you.
1. Live your passion. Your passions are your legacy. Don’t miss the opportunity to pursue your passions, and continue to look for new adventures. Stay current on industry advances with Expo, Hardwood Floors magazine, and the NWFA’s industry reports and resources. Increase your profitability with the NWFA’s wide variety of business services designed to improve efficiency and save money. Advance your skills as a wood flooring professional with the NWFA’s toolbox of educational resources including online training, hands-on training, certifications, industry-standard guidelines, technical publications, and technical support.
2. Support the people and causes that are important to you. I’m always amazed by our industry’s generosity with their time, talent, and resources. Every day I see on social media stories of contractors traveling across the country to help a colleague in need on a job, donating flooring to a worthy cause, or volunteering within our association.
The NWFA has established multiple relationships over the years with charitable organizations that represent long-term commitments to initiatives benefiting each organization. These collaborations provide the NWFA and its members with additional opportunities to engage in service in their communities, helping those in need while promoting the benefits and uses of wood flooring and their businesses. You can learn more about these relationships and how you can get involved at nwfa.org/giving-back.aspx.
3. Be a mentor to others. Everyone has some significant truth to impart to others that will guide less-experienced people in life. Sometimes these relationships last a lifetime, even when the mentee has moved on to influence others. Take some time to share your talents with others. Believe me, the reward you’ll receive will outweigh the effort.
Everyone needs a mentor. One of mine was a business tycoon and relative named Sal Balsamo, who always told me two things. About business, he said, “Always focus on growing sales. If the sales are there and you understand your cost, the rest is easy.” And about life, he said, “You have to leave your mark!”
I try to leave my mark by doing charity work and by being a resource to the younger people of our industry. I always enjoy my conversations with those of you who reach out to me. Whether it’s on the phone, in an email, on Facebook, or just walking through Expo, never stop asking me questions. I love hearing that I have helped someone advance his or her business in any small way. It’s my fuel for pushing forward.
In closing, I’d like to thank you for allowing me to serve as your chairman. It has truly been an honor. I encourage you to help us continue to advance the industry by making your mark and supporting the next generation of craftspeople. Farewell, and best of luck.