CFI annual convention kicks off in Orlando

Orlando, Fla.—The CFI Annual Convention & Expo kicked off here at Rosen Shingle Creek this week. According to Chris McKee, recently appointed president, the annual convention was the highest attended meeting in several years.

The full schedule presents a unique opportunity for reconnecting and networking with peers, sharing best practices and learning in practical workshops and general sessions led by industry leaders and experts. The group said the flagship event is the “must-attend” event for both experienced and early-career professionals and marks the 29th anniversary of the formation of CFI. The theme, “Elevate,” is centered around the vision and passion carried through CFI from its founding, which aims to bring awareness to quality flooring installation.

Before the event kicked off, McKee noted: “I’m very excited to have the opportunity to be a part of CFI and to continue building on the legacy that has kept this organization at the forefront of the installation profession for almost three decades. Convention is where the community of CFI is celebrated, but also a time where we look forward with excitement to the opportunities the future provides to the association and its members. This convention will carry on the tradition of CFI, with the same fire burning to make a difference.”

FCNews is here at the event. Here are some highlights from the week:

Chris McKee, president of CFI, speaks to installers about the importance of working closely with their retail partners during a seminar on the installer-retailer dynamic.

In recent years, CFI has made a conscious effort to introduce younger members to its group. During this year’s CFI annual convention there was none younger than Darius Baccus. The 19-year-old, shown here with former CFI executive director, Jim Walker, is already gainfully employed in the industry. “We’re the next wave that’s going out,” Baccus told FCNews.

Attendees were captivated by the miraculous story of Darrin Harrison who, despite having no flight experience, landed a small plane in Florida after the pilot had become incapacitated mid-air. The event in May 2022 drew national attention after Harrison, a 23-year flooring retailer with Sunshine Interiors in Florida, took the controls of the plane that was returning from the Bahamas. Harrison, here speaking with Scott Humphrey, WFCA CEO, Harrison, said he can empathize with the demands of today’s flooring installer. He relayed that when he was younger, his father, who started the business, had Darrin go out with installation crews to learn and understand what they go through. “You’re all winners,” he told them.

(For more on the event, see the Aug. 15/22, 2022 print edition of FCNews.)

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