Wood Talk: Randy Harris, High Desert Hardwood

Photo courtesy of Randy Harris, High Desert Hardwood

Randy Harris is the president/owner of High Desert Hardwood in St. George, Utah, and has been in the wood flooring industry for more than 45 years. His company focuses on installing and sand and finish in the southern part of the state. He also has been involved with inventing flooring products, including the EZ Pro Injector and custom hand scrapers via Hardwood Industry Products.

Harris recently was featured on the NWFA Wood Talk podcast, so Hardwood Floors magazine caught up with him to ask a few more questions.

Tell us something interesting about yourself.
The older I get, the more interested I am in art, which goes along with my trade. I collect wood, such as driftwood from lakes and dams, and I’m starting to do art with it that would be hung on the wall. I use different dyes, chemicals, and colors so they look brighter and more realistic. 

How did you get started in the industry?
It was something I fell into. I worked for a carpet company where they did wood floors on the side, so I ended up with the opportunity to sand and finish. I found I had a knack for it, and I was really interested in woodworking. From there, I went to a professional wood floor company. Their clientele were in Beverly Hills, Brentwood, and Malibu. It was an eye-opener to get involved with those high-profile, mega-mansion projects and learn so many different things I could do with floors. 

Who has influenced your career the most, and why?
Homer Williams at Northridge Floor in southern California. He had a profound effect on me because of his ethics, his talent, and how kind he was to help and teach. 

What is your favorite wood floor project that you’ve participated in?
About eight of us went to Dave Marzalek (of DM Hardwood Designs)’s house in New Mexico, and we did two rooms with a lot of inlay work. It was fun for all of us to get into creating projects, and I learned a great deal. 

What energizes you to stay in the wood flooring industry?
I love what I do and the creativity involved with it is something I thrive on. I always end up suggesting things to customers that are a little bit out of the ordinary. It’s exciting to have those challenges and see it come out really nice. I’ve always gotten a lot of compliments throughout my career, and that’s almost worth as much as being paid. The gratification of doing good work for people who appreciate it makes you feel good about going to the next place.

What are you listening to right now?
Country artist Kane Brown. I like his voice and am amazed at his talent. 

Do you have a morning routine that sets you up for success?
My wife and I pray together every morning before I go to work. That sets a good tempo for the day. 

What keeps you busy outside of work?
I have a 1998 Jeep Wrangler that I’ve completely revamped. It has a Corvette motor, bigger axles, 40-inch tires, and different gauges. I love to get outdoors to go jeeping, camping, and rock rappelling. 

You can listen to a technical-focused discussion between Randy Harris and NWFA’s Brett Miller,
as well as other hardwood flooring experts by visiting hardwoodfloorsmag.com/nwfa-wood-talk-podcast

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