35th Anniversary: 35 people under 40
While flooring is still largely ruled by well-established legends and pioneers, there’s a new generation in town. Millennials are making a name for themselves in the flooring game, taking the lead on everything from marketing to retail ownership to product design.
We’ve rounded up some of the most notable up-and-coming 20- and 30-somethings who are making their mark on the industry today.
1. Billy Ko
CEO, Johnson Hardwood
Billy Ko joined Johnson Hardwood in 2012 as part of the family business. He has taken on many different roles to learn all aspects of the business. Some of the roles include accounting, logistics, product development, marketing, HR, sales and operations. He was promoted to CEO in February 2020. As a young and dedicated leader, he was instrumental in the company’s direction and development. He spearheaded the initiative to bring the manufacturing of rigid core products into the Johnson Hardwood portfolio. Since becoming CEO, he has led the company to record growth, while also facing unprecedented challenges during the pandemic. Aside from his duties at Johnson Hardwood, Billy is also active in numerous flooring associations and serves on the board of directors for multiple companies.
—Danny Chen, chairman, Johnson Hardwood
2. Amber Leigh Martinson
senior director of marketing, Dal-Tile
Amber Leigh began her flooring career in an entry-level marketing position working on brands such as Pergo, Quick-Step and Columbia Flooring. Her creative prowess, marketing ingenuity and strategic acumen were immediately apparent, quickly earning her larger roles within the company, which she has excelled at. Today, Amber Leigh is one of the key drivers behind the marketing for each of our brands from strategy to execution.
In addition to Amber Leigh’s natural marketing abilities, she is also very passionate about the people she works with, including her marketing team members, internal and external customers—their success is her success. Amber Leigh has a passion and drive that sets her apart from the rest, making her a truly respected and trusted leader in our organization. We are so very proud of all that Amber Leigh has accomplished and her continued contribution to making our company stronger every day.
—Paij Thorn-Brooks, vice president of marketing, Dal-Tile
3. Adam Nonn
CEO/president, Nonn’s Kitchen Bath & Flooring
Adam began working in his family’s business at 12 years old as a warehouse employee. Today, as president and CEO of Nonn’s, he runs the largest independent flooring operation in Wisconsin, approaching close to $100M in sales. A natural leader, Adam’s charisma, passion and drive for innovation are second only to his history of hard work, honesty and fairness; he believes in the golden rule and recognizes the value in surrounding himself with a strong team.
Adam is magnetic. His approachability and willingness to share with peers has made him a beloved FEI Group member. We are so grateful for his contributions and his friendship.
—Andy Hogan, CEO, FEI Group
4. Jason O’Krent
director of sales, O’Krent Floors
Jason’s path leading him to be the fifth generation at O’Krent Floors did not follow the traditional family business route. While attending college he spent his summer’s interning with us, but he ultimately decided to explore other opportunities after graduating. We knew he would find success in any career he decided to undertake, and he quickly made a name for himself in the energy brokering world. After 10 years, he was ready for the next chapter of his life, or as he refers to it: “his calling.” Jason’s passion for the industry and appetite for continuous knowledge is evident to all who meet him. He is filled with excitement at the prospect of learning from the outstanding leaders in NFA, as well as sharing his ideas and participating in the groupthink atmosphere in the future.
—Margie and Sam O’Krent, owners, O’Krent Floors
5. Ashlie Butler
president, Bob’s Carpet & Flooring
Watching Ashlie morph from being the president’s granddaughter, working in various roles around the office, to running Bob’s Carpet and Flooring as the president herself has been quite the experience. Everyone who meets her is continually floored by her dedication to this business. She holds her own with suppliers and mills, standing firm when needed in a male-dominated environment. Ashlie doesn’t back down; she takes everything thrown her way and hits it out of the ballpark. I have watched the company, stores and staff thrive in so many wonderful new ways. She has handled stressful situations (those lumber prices!) with strength, character and even a bit of humor. She encourages her team to continue to learn and grow. It has been a great pleasure watching her thrive in this industry.
—Jenna Dobson, accounting specialist, Bob’s Carpet & Flooring
6. Julie Eno
director, commercial channel marketing, Armstrong Flooring
Julie has been with Armstrong Flooring for almost five years and has held several marketing roles during that time, including brand program manager and product marketing manager. Currently, she leads Armstrong Flooring’s commercial channel marketing department where she is responsible for the development and execution of integrated marketing strategies for all commercial segments and target audiences such as healthcare, education, retail and our entrance into hospitality. She has launched virtual CEU programs that led to record engagement, executed a Healthcare Summit and has activated numerous comprehensive new product launches.
director, residential channel marketing, Armstrong Flooring
Meredith has been with Armstrong Flooring for 10 years in a variety of roles ranging from procurement to finance. Currently, she is responsible for leading the development and execution of the brand and channel strategies for all residential flooring customers, driving above-market growth and delivering increased profits. She is responsible for activating the three-year product roadmap, go-to-market initiatives, customer product line reviews, promotional calendars and market research. Meredith is also the chairperson of Armstrong Flooring’s Women’s Initiative Network (WIN), which represents one of our diversity and infinity networks.
director, brand marketing, Armstrong Flooring
Christina has been with Armstrong Flooring for five years and currently leads Armstrong Flooring’s brand and creative departments. Her passion for brand strategy and design is exceptional as is her unique ability to translate ideas into vision with actionable campaigns, experiences and business tools that deliver measurable results. Christina is leading the transformation of the Armstrong Flooring brand. She strives to empower the business to take both a thoughtful and strategic approach to uncover authentic brand stories that resonate with the target audiences.
—Brent Flaherty, senior vice president/customer experience officer, Armstrong Flooring
7. Flavia Baggio
general manager, operations, Indusparquet
In 2009, Indusparquet company needed someone to establish its U.S. business. While she was still only in her 20’s, Flavia moved to Miami from her native Brazil to take over the management of the U.S. business. Over the past 12 years, she has gained the trust and loyalty of both employees and distributors alike. Flavia has served on NWFA committees and the board of the North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD). She is recognized as an intelligent, thoughtful leader who is truly invested in the relationships developed with her company’s valued business partners. In addition, she pays it forward by often speaking to young professional women about the importance of following their dreams, being persistent and addressing challenges while staying true to their beliefs, principles and values.
—Jodie Doyle, vice president, sales and marketing, Indusparquet USA
8. Lauren Voit & Dana Park
president, Great Western Flooring & vice president, Great Western Flooring
The sisters team of Lauren Voit and Dana Park took over Great Western Flooring from their father in 2015 and have been putting their spin on things ever since. With a focus on core values and an elevated customer experience, Great Western Flooring continues to grow. The sisters’ vision for design and merchandising combined with their appetite for technology—both installation and systems and procedures related—helps to set the company apart. Lauren presently enjoys being on the board of the WFCA, helping to support the flooring industry and encourage the growth and continued diversity of it. Dana presently sits on the Shaw Dealer Council, where she advocates on behalf of independent flooring retailers in order to provide critical feedback to one of the country’s top manufacturers.
—The GWF Green Team
9. Rachel Berlin
sales manager/design consultant, Precision Floors & Décor
Rachel Berlin in three words: humble, talented and precise. It is so hard to find someone so humble yet so focused. She is truly the definition of a leader. Your goals are her goals. She will do whatever it takes to help you succeed. As for her talent, it comes from not only years of experience but from her eagerness to never stop learning. Every day, every customer, every moment is a learning experience in her eyes. One thing you have to admire about Rachel is her gift of reading her customers. We all know sometimes understanding the customer’s vision is like trying to break a coconut open with a spoon. She accomplishes this in such a professional, graceful manner. Lastly, she is precise. Thus the reasons why we look up to and appreciate her here at Precision. Start to finish, problem to solution, she will get it done.
—Gail Forster, sales/design, Precision Flooring
10. Renee Cannon
senior stylist, Mannington Residential
For Renee, great design isn’t just a job—it’s a lifestyle. And working with Mannington’s styling and marketing teams, as well as with customers, is where she shines brightest. As senior stylist, Renee is instrumental in the design and color development for all of Mannington’s hard surface categories, and she brings the winning combination of style sense, people skills and design know-how to everything she does. Her enthusiasm for her job is evident. She embraces every challenge and has been a key part of our team’s success for the past 14 years.
—Terry Marchetta, senior director of residential styling, Mannington
11. Graham Capobianco
technical services, commercial manager, Novalis
Basically born into the flooring industry, Graham is a fifth-generation flooring veteran who brings a diverse background to his position for Novalis. Graham has worked in sales and technical positions for flooring manufacturers of rubber, vinyl and polymers/adhesives.
As a self-proclaimed “flooring nerd,” Graham has accrued a wealth of knowledge regarding concrete, moisture mitigation, substrate repair, flooring adhesives and flooring selection. With this wealth of knowledge, Graham provides impactful solutions and an overall better experience when working with contractors, designers and end-users on commercial projects.
—Jeremy Whipple, vice president of commercial business development, Novalis Innovative Flooring
12. Efi Eylor
director, business development, Republic Floor
Efi is spearheading the future of Republic. We’re a very young company, but we’ve come so far already because Efi is a forward thinker. He’s able to think outside the box, and he doesn’t base our success solely on flooring industry standards. He benchmarks our success and growth against other industries. He’s so smart and talented; he can see things years ahead. There are many big initiatives still in store for Republic because of that.
—Rotem Eylor, founder/CEO, Republic Floor
13. Lauren Allwein-Andrews
co-owner, Allwein Carpet One Home & Floors, Annville, Pa.
Lauren was one of five members under 40 years old that comprised our inaugural Next Generation Leadership Council—and a second-generation retail owner. Lauren was instrumental in connecting with other under-40-year-olds in Carpet One Floor & Home and was a great ambassador of our initiative. Lauren’s energy and spunk are infectious, and her ability to connect with others and make them feel comfortable is a great quality to have. Lauren has also been very involved in supporting the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation and has dedicated countless hours of labor to install new, beautiful flooring for one of America’s most catastrophically injured veterans living near her store.
co-owner, Allwein Carpet One Home & Floors, Annville, Pa.
Matt has excelled as one of Carpet One Floor & Home’s top coordinators for the past seven years. He not only plans and facilitates excellent and meaningful meetings, but he also keeps in touch with the retailers in his groups and works as a conduit between them and the senior management of Carpet One Floor and Home. I often reach out to various members I have met over the years when I am looking for best practices to share with other members. I know I can always call Matt and hear a practice that will benefit other retailers.
—Sally Kelly, vice president, regional network groups, Carpet One Floor & Home
14. Mollie Surratt
CEO/co-founder, White Label Studio
After 15 years in corporate America, Mollie Surratt decided to re-evaluate her executive path in search of a fuller life. Compelled by her spirit for entrepreneurship, Mollie and I co-founded White Label Studio, a marketing agency based in Calhoun, Ga.
White Label Studio has grown immensely, securing 28 brands from across the home and flooring industries. White Label was founded on the belief that marketing agencies should work “behind the scenes” and focus on strengthening their clients’ brands so that they’re the true stars. Despite the volatile past year caused by the pandemic, White Label experienced 200% growth year-over-year.
—Elise Demboski, co-founder/COO, White Label Studio
15. Whitney Welch
vice president of commercial sales, Dal-Tile
At Dal-Tile, our team members are our most valued asset; their continued professional development inspires us and is essential to our future success. Over the last 10 years, it has been my privilege to work with Whitney, to provide her with guidance and to watch her grow her career providing exceptional service to our customers.
Whitney has grown into a driven leader with conviction for serving customers and encouraging her team—in line with our company’s strategic objectives. In addition to her notable professional career, Whitney and her husband, Clay, are a great team with their kids, Gunner and Reece. Her balanced approach to her family and work enables her to be successful in both. We are proud of Whitney and the efforts she puts forth in everything she does at Dal-Tile.
—Scott Maslowski, senior vice president of sales, Dal-Tile
16. Todd Saunders
When I think of Todd Saunders, I think of three things: leadership, inspiration and success. He’s not just an incredible resource for flooring dealers; he’s also a great guy and a man of his word.
Before opening RIC Flooring, I worked in installation and had zero retail experience. And, like most people, I had my doubts about digital marketing (and marketing in general). Todd—and his company, FloorForce—completely changed my mind. And it wasn’t by selling me; it was by showing me results. Todd’s commitment to helping independent flooring dealers is unmatched. Todd and FloorForce have been a huge part of my firm’s success, but I don’t just see Todd as a CEO; I see him as a real friend. Todd is a true leader in this industry, and he has only just begun.
—Jason Potts – Owner of RIC Flooring
17. Melissa Stocks
senior manager, public relations and communications, Mohawk
While soft spoken with an unassuming demeanor, Melissa Stocks is regarded across Mohawk as a “super Ninja.” She keeps her peers and leadership alike on their toes with direct communication skills and a playful and collaborative spirit.
With a talent in strategic communication planning and extensive public relations experience, she has proven to be a valuable member of Mohawk’s communication team. While at Mohawk, Stocks has excelled in invigorating Mohawk’s internal relationships with trade media and bringing an energized, fresh perspective to Mohawk’s creative process and planning. Stocks was recently promoted to manage public and media relations while creating integrated marketing communication plans for both commercial and residential businesses.
—Laura Bartley, senior director, marketing, communications and events, Mohawk
18. Jason Surratt
vice president, residential carpet business, Phenix Flooring
Jason Surratt has steadily risen through the ranks at some of the industry’s most notable manufacturers, thanks to his multi-faceted expertise in design, product development and operations management. Jason’s innovative approach and vision for the future are just part of what make him so successful and such an effective leader. He has the unique ability to view opportunities and products not only based on their design aesthetics and marketability, but also with an economic mindset—which proves to be invaluable within the operations environment.
—Mark Clayton, president, Phenix Flooring
19. Harry Scott
senior product director, soft surface, Mohawk
Harry joined the Mohawk team over six years ago, focusing on sales and business development for Dal-Tile’s relationship with The Home Depot. His past finance experience with Ernst & Young quickly helped him drive profitable growth for the company and advance his career. Scott’s most recent promotion to senior product director for the soft surface business empowers him to create strategies and guide the direction of Mohawk’s premium fashion brands—consistently driving growth at every step. While at Mohawk, Scott has participated in the RISE program, a leadership advancement program for high-potential, future leaders of the company.
—Jason Randolph, senior regional vice president of residential sales, Karastan
senior product director of soft surface, Mohawk
Thomas Kilgore started his journey with Mohawk almost seven years ago in sales, where he quickly moved up, being one of the first district managers to handle both hard and soft surface businesses.
He currently manages products’ life cycles from inception to retirement. But his proudest moments being at Mohawk involve growing the business and helping his colleagues reach their full potential; Kilgore was awarded for leading his region to win top cushion sales and growth and back-to-back president’s cups for top-line growth, sales and initiatives.
—Jamie Welborn, vice president of product management, soft surface, Mohawk
20. David Lauzon, Jr.
vice president of sales/customer experience, Lauzon
David Lauzon jr. was naturally destined to walk in his father footsteps. But it was not a free ride to the top—he had to earn his place in the company by working hard every step of the way. From working in the factory to moving out west to set up a distribution center and establishing a solid network of dealers, he has put in the time and effort to learn the trade in all its aspects.
As an active member of trade associations, he is well liked by his peers and collaborates to ensure that our industry lives up to the best of standards. Today, he continues to expand his knowledge in terms of customer needs and product performance while contributing to the best future of the company that he will lead one day.
—André Mathieu, director of marketing, Lauzon
21. Vinnie Virga Jr.
vice president, Floors & More
Vinnie Virga Jr. is dedicated to helping independent Floor To Ceiling dealers and Big Bob’s Flooring Outlet franchisees become more successful in both their personal lives and in their businesses. He personally calls upon the members monthly, if not weekly, having built working and personal relationships with them. Vinnie has showed his passion by learning from his team and sharing the wisdom necessary to be successful. He is known for his genuine, friendly and caring personality, and he is passionately driven to help his members/franchisees succeed—investing himself in his staff and in the company with the same enthusiasm he does with each and every member.
—Vinny Virga, CEO, Floors & More
22. AJ Warne
vice president of sales/marketing, Abraham Linc
As vice president of sales and marketing for Abraham Linc, AJ Warne’s responsibilities are far and wide, including product management, guiding sales and marketing efforts and shaping company strategy. Since joining the company in 2012, he has been a driving force in leading change. This includes integrating technology for actionable business insights and implementing company-wide training focused on providing an exceptional customer experience. In today’s fast-changing landscape, his dynamic approach to business and passion for success has helped to shape the growth trajectory of Abraham Linc both now and in the future. In addition, AJ also serves as the vice president of NAFCD.
—Darren Abraham, president and CEO, Abraham Linc
23. Michelle Winters
owner, New Braunfels Flooring & Design Center, New Braunfels, Texas
Five years ago, when Michelle Winters burst onto the flooring scene quite literally by accident; some people counted her out. But when you look at what she has accomplished in such a short time frame, it’s no wonder she’s being recognized.
When other women were desiring a space to share ideas but had nowhere to go, Michelle saw the need for more connection and stepped in to make it happen. I’ve watched Michelle start and grow the Women of the Flooring Business Community to more than 1,000 members.
Michelle innovates, thinks outside the box and trusts her own creative genius as a woman in a male-dominated industry to bring new ideas to the table. As Michelle marches forward to develop new programs to give women in this industry a voice, it’s wonderful to have hers out there as a beacon of light.
—April Adams Pertuis, writer, LightBeamers
24. Will Young
director of national accounts, Engineered Floors
Over the last 10 years, I have enjoyed working with and mentoring Will Young who has been in various positions within our company, most recently as director of national accounts. Will’s energy and enthusiasm is contagious, and our customers really enjoy this freshness when he interacts with them. He takes pride in being from the “Carpet Capital of the World” and is doing an amazing job at building on the legacy of many great industry pioneers. In his time at EF, Will has met every challenge that I and other senior management have presented to him as an opportunity to grow and continue to develop the relationships necessary to drive success in such an established industry. Will is an incredible asset to the Engineered Floors family, and I am excited to see what he will accomplish in the future.
—Gary Hollowell, vice president of residential sales, Engineered Floors
soft surface category manager, Engineered Floors
I have had the privilege to work with Joe since the beginning of my time at Engineered Floors. It is clear to anyone watching that the flooring industry is in his blood. Even more impressive is the time Joe has put into learning the manufacturing side of the business from the ground up. Joe is essentially the quarterback for residential carpet at EF, working with product and design teams to deliver industry leading products. Outside of the office, Joe personifies what it means to be proud of your heritage. Dalton has always been a community that looks after its own, and his efforts with United Way of northwest Georgia and other organizations are helping to ensure we meet the needs of those with whom we live and work. Joe has a bright future ahead and EF is better off for having him.
—Melvin Silvers, executive vice president residential, Engineered Floors
25. Julian Dossche
president, Huali Floors USA
As a young executive at USFloors, Julian was instrumental in leading the sourcing and quality control process of the COREtec brand and helped to propel it to the success it became. Now, he is president of Huali Floors USA, a division of Huali Floors, the largest LVT manufacturer in China. No other young executive in our industry has successfully handled so many processes in the span of the last eight years. He is truly a remarkable young leader full of energy, passion and commitment to making a difference.
—Piet Dossche, founder, USFloors
26. Marquis Wright
owner, Mr. Wright Flooring, Jacksonville, Fla.
Against all odds, Marquis has built a business that not only supports his immediate family, but also extends opportunity to his extended family. Quality craftsmanship and customer service set Marquis and his company apart from his competitors. Despite early setbacks, Marquis stayed focused on his goals and worked toward them every day. Being able to hire family members and help them support themselves is a source of great pride for Marquis.
Marquis quickly realized that to take his business to the next level he needed to obtain certifications and further his knowledge of his trade. Through his search for knowledge, Marquis was introduced to Scott Humphrey, WFCA’s CEO, who offered him the opportunity to help the Floor Covering Education Foundation (FCEF) by showing young people the opportunities available in the flooring trades. Marquis’ insight and support have helped drive FCEF initiatives and messaging.
—Kaye Whitener, director of operations, FCEF
27. Jerry Guo
president, Lions Floor
At an early age, Jerry wanted to construct a company that was customer-centric, focusing on supplying the highest quality of product and unparalleled customer service. Jerry turned his vision into an enterprise in 2017 when he founded Lions Floor. The company has grown since and plans to expand nationwide. Jerry has been sharing his method of success across the industry, inspiring new start-ups and influenced business partners in the methodology of engaging in business.
—John Chiang, operation manager, Lions Floor
28. Typhannie Watson
owner, Carpeting by Mike, Somerset, Wis.
Typhannie Watson started in the flooring industry when she was just 6 years old alongside her father, Michael Faust, at his store, Carpeting By Mike. By the time she turned 24 she worked professionally in the store, working her way up from sales associate to vice president. In 2018, after the passing of her father, she took over full ownership of the store. That same year she won Mohawk’s Regional Omnify Retailer of the Year award.
In 2020, Watson had the largest sale year for her company and is already surpassing that number in 2021. She has been on the board of directors for the Minnesota Floorcovering Association for two years and the board of the World Floor Covering Association for over a year. She openly offers her insights to her fellow industry members, is in active community member and donates to many causes close to her heart and her community.
—Carpeting by Mike team
29. Christina Smith
co-vice president, Johnson Floors, Tulsa, Okla.
Christina started in the business when she was 13 years old, filing paperwork in the office of her father’s flooring business. She was not satisfied with filing or other small tasks around the office and always wanted to be more involved in the important things she saw her father doing. Christina always had a drive to be an entrepreneur and a desire to be a part of the family business. Today, she runs her own builder department and has been growing that portion of the business—as well as the outside sales department—for the past 11 years. She and her twin brother, Palmer Johnson, will soon own and operate the family business, founded by their father Paul Johnson. Christina is a member of the WFCA, as is her father, Paul Johnson, who has served as chairman of the board.
—Scott Humphrey, CEO, WFCA
co-vice president/director of merchandising, Johnson Floors, Tulsa, Okla.
Palmer began his career as an attorney before joining the family flooring business. Sharing a uniquely close relationship with his twin sister, Christina Smith, who was already working in the family business, the two began discussing a long-term plan of succession with their father. That transition began in 2014 and since then Palmer has looked for ways to innovate and transform the business into something that reflects both he and Christina’s vision of the business. Palmer offers a fresh perspective to the industry and was instrumental in opening five new retail locations. He handled all the merchandising for those retail locations along with other crucial business functions. Palmer is a member of the WFCA, as is his father, Paul Johnson, who has served as chairman of the board.
—Scott Humphrey, CEO, WFCA
30. Crystal Sims
installer, Preferred Flooring, Grand Rapids, Miss.
Crystal Sims has added to the industry in many ways. Besides the fact that she is a woman and mother of three, she shows daily her integrity, work ethic, continuation for learning, hand skills and her attention to detail. Her work as a top flooring installer at her family’s business, Preferred Flooring, is appreciated by installers and clients alike. She has proven that she is a great leader and that projects assigned to her are run efficiently and to the highest standards. Sims has shown that it is not about the installer, but the passion that is brought to each project. She was the only woman to compete in the Surfaces 2021 Installation Competition—placing in the top four and bringing energy, immense skill and inspiration to the competition. Sims is teaching everyone around her that installing “like a girl” may be the best way.
—Jose Gonzalez, co-owner, Preferred Flooring
31. Kelli Kadlec
builder and administration manager, Carpets Plus, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Kelli takes great pride in representing a family business that has been in operation since 1942. She possesses both the valuable administrative skills required for the store to operate profitably, and also the creativity needed to help customers find their vision.
Kelli first worked for the store while in middle school. After college, and a stint as a CNA (Certified Nurse Aide), she decided to pursue the family business. Kelli is responsible for the business side: purchasing, payables, claims, etc. Her organizational skills and attention to detail brought the store to a whole new level. Kelli has also formed strong relationships with our vendors and customers. They appreciate her integrity and commitment to “do what’s right.”
After joining Floor Craft, Kelli earned a design degree to support customers with design selections. From listening to customers, she creates a look that fulfills their vision. She is warm and engaging and she knows her products well.
Kelli and her brother are passionate about being the fourth generation to carry on the family tradition. They are proud to continue the culture of providing honest service and maintaining strong relationships.
—Mark Strauch, president/owner, Floor Craft LLC
32. Daniel Arita
president, The Carpet Shoppe, Honolulu, Hawaii
Daniel Arita started his flooring career by working in the warehouse rolling carpet remnants during his middle school and high school years. In 2007, upon graduating from Point Loma Nazarene University, he went to work full time at American Floor and Home. In 2016, Daniel went to China to meet with one of our manufacturers and created a flooring line called Pacifica. In the last five years, it has been one of the most profitable product lines for the company with millions of dollars in sales.
Daniel also oversees the operations of the company, managing the warehousing of our $4M-plus inventory in over 40,000 square feet warehouse space. He led the development of our K&B department, which includes sales of kitchen cabinets, windows and doors, countertops, plumbing fixtures and appliances. Daniel is also serving on Carpet One Advisory Council.
—Daniel K. Arita, founder, The Carpet Shoppe, Honolulu, Hawaii
33. Amber Stringer
director of marketing, Mullican
Amber started her career with Mullican Flooring in 2011 as a marketing intern through a partnership with East Tennessee State University. She joined Mullican Flooring in 2012 as a full-time marketing assistant and was promoted to the director of marketing position in 2019. Amber led the group through the rebranding of the company in 2018, which included a new company logo, merchandising systems and a full rebuild of our website. Amber continues to make significant contributions to the growth of Mullican Flooring, and she has developed a strong team through her leadership. This recognition is well deserved.
—Pat Oakley, vice president of marketing, Mullican Flooring
34. Ken Ballin
owner, Skyro Floors, West Creek N.J.
Ken started his career as a contractor for a box store and ran a dozen or more crews before he moved on to pursue a dream of providing custom installs and personal service to a higher-end clientele. Ken takes such pride in his work, and it shows in every job he completes. It’s no surprise that he’s been recognized many times in our industry—from FCI magazine’s Residential Tile Installation of the Year in 2018 to his recent nomination for the Coverings Rockstar in 2021.
Ken has built an amazing business, yet he continues to explore new opportunities and help elevate the flooring installation trade to a whole new level. Ken has helped countless installers with insight and advice and stays connected to his fellow craftsmen to better himself and the community.
—Kaye Whitener, director of operations, FCEF
35. John Watson
director of operations, Galleher, LLC
John Watson is a flooring Renaissance man. Whether it’s sales, operations, finance, management, customer service or leadership—he has excelled at all of it throughout his career, which is what makes John tremendously crucial to Galleher’s continued success.
John is director of operations for Galleher’s expanding footprint, which now covers over 25 branch operations and warehouses across the western region. Galleher’s 350-plus employees rely on John’s expertise to keep our inventory levels strong and our deliveries on time for our wide array of customers. His leadership and “do whatever is necessary” attitude was invaluable during COVID-19 by leveraging our multiple warehouses to balance inventory and shipments. This allowed the Galleher team to continue to help our customers keep their promises.
When John is not leading our operations, he is passionate about warehouse and driver safety in our industry and has created a unique “Galleher Safety Board” to identify, research and implement safety procedures in all Galleher locations. His hope is that these procedures can be expanded to help all workers in our industry.
Renaissance man, indeed.
—Ted Kozikowski, president and CEO, Galleher, LLC