The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) was founded as an organization by the industry, for the industry. Our organization thrives due to the generous support of volunteer instructors, committee members, board members, and numerous other volunteers. To thank those members who go above and beyond, NWFA recognizes its volunteers with Service Awards. The following recipients were recognized at the Wood Flooring Expo this past May in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Infinity Claims Management Solutions
The Ambassador Award recognizes individuals who have made significant technical skills contributions to the wood flooring industry through volunteering at training events or Expo, contributing content through Hardwood Floors magazine, donating products, or other contributions to the advancement of NWFA’s members.
With nearly 25 years in the wood flooring industry, Drew Kern has been the recipient of multiple NWFA awards including Craftsman, Master Craftsman, Advanced Master Craftsman, as well as the Vanguard and Ambassador degrees. He has been an instructor for NWFA hands-on trainings and the NWFA Certified Professionals program, participated in many NWFA committees, and contributed to revisions of the NWFA installation guidelines and other technical publications. His nominator sums it up by pointing to Kern’s track record of continued leadership and dedication, and doing so with ethics and integrity.
Emerging Leader of the Year
Hero Flooring LLC
The Emerging Leader of the Year Award recognizes a young mover and shaker who will influence the industry during his or her career. This individual will serve as an example of professionalism and success to others in the wood flooring industry.
With Hero Flooring, Luis Perez has strived to develop a brand and artistic culture for his company that will inspire the younger generation to enter the flooring industry. He has developed strategic partnerships with community organizations such as Project Backboard to donate his artistic skills, going to communities in need, and working with local youth to restore their basketball courts. Perez says bringing new life to a building and pride to the neighborhood is a reward that he cannot put a price on.
Hall of Fame
Derr Flooring Company
The NWFA Hall of Fame Award recognizes and honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the wood flooring industry through innovation, service, and leadership.
Don Conner was heavily involved in the NWFA until his passing in October 2022. Throughout the years, he worked as the director of the NWFA Certified Professionals (CP) program, was on the NWFA Board of Directors, CP Board Chairman, served on numerous committees, spoke at Expo and Symposium, and was instrumental in the development of the NWFA Wood Flooring Installation Guidelines and the NWFA Inspector program. Conner wrote many of the original certification exams, and was a Certified Wood Flooring Inspector, Certified Installation Professional, Certified Sand & Finish Professional, and Certified Sales Advisor. He earned many NWFA degrees including Craftsman, Master Craftsman, Advanced Master Craftsman, Vanguard, and Ambassador. He received the 2012 NWFA Industry Leadership Award, and was given honorary lifetime membership and certification in 2013. He is remembered as having his fingerprints all over the industry and for his passion for teaching others.
Rick Holden, chief operating officer of Derr Flooring Company, has been an advocate for the flooring world for more than 40 years. He has served on numerous NWFA committees, has been chairman of NWFA and president of the board of directors for the Hardwood Federation, received the 2015 NWFA Industry Leadership Award, and is a supporter of the Gary Sinise Foundation. On numerous occasions, he has met with congressional and state officials to discuss the challenges facing the industry. Holden is credited as a big reason why Derr Flooring has gone from a single location facility with 20 employees to operating out of four states with seven branches. He is described as a leader by example, always conducting himself with the utmost integrity and sincerity while working to create a better industry and dynamic association to serve that industry.
Vanguard Industry Leadership
Epic Hardwood Floors LLC
The Vanguard Industry Leadership Award recognizes a member of NWFA who has made significant contributions to the NWFA and wood flooring industry through volunteerism, service, and leadership.
Jorge Perez is an NWFA Certified Installation Professional, NWFA Certified Sand and Finish Professional, and was recognized on Hardwood Floors magazine’s 2019 40 Under 40 list. Perez undertook a project to install new flooring for the home of United States Army Staff Sergeant Rico Roman and his family. By providing this act of kindness and support, Perez hoped to convey his appreciation and gratitude for the significant sacrifices that veterans like Roman and his family make for our country.
Woman of the Year
Hull Forest Products Inc.
The Woman of the Year Award recognizes a member of the NWFA who has served as an example of professionalism and success throughout her career in the wood flooring industry through volunteerism, service, and leadership.
Mary Hull grew up in the family business, Hull Forest Products, a sawmill and forestland management service. With a clear passion for sharing wood’s sustainability story, she has been a guest speaker for numerous forest and architectural organizations. She volunteers for the Northeast engagement team of the Forest Landowners Association, her town’s agricultural commission, her children’s 4-H club, and her church. Giving back is important to Hull Forest Products, as they donate flooring to nonprofits and participate in the Connecticut Professional Timber Producers Association’s Log-a-Load-for-Kids fundraiser for the children’s hospital.