Robert Varden founds UNITE – Floor Covering News

Rockwall, Texas—Robert Varden, former CFI director, founded International Floor Covering Training Alliance (UNITE), a non-profit organization, with his own funding and vision. “I call it UNITE because that’s what we do.”

After spending his entire career on the installation side of the flooring industry, Varden said he had come to the conclusion that no one had developed the craft yet. “The installation crisis is bigger than one company or non-profit,” he said. “We need a stronger, unified voice.”

UNITE does not ask any training or scholarship company to relinquish its autonomy. Quite the contrary, Varden explained. “Everyone has a specialty or mission, from wood installation training or tile laying or scholarships for deserving students. What we will do at UNITE is foster collaboration, build bridges for collaboration, and connect with high school students with one voice about the potential and benefits of pursuing a career as a trained, qualified professional floor installer.”

UNITE will also partner and work with manufacturers to pursue the use of trained professionals, with warranties or extended warranties. “Our goal is to have warranties and specifications that include certified installers as a requirement in coverage,” Varden said.

Varden said UNITE will be announcing its board of directors shortly and will begin to work with each training entity.

“Together with our partners, we will be stronger in recruiting, training and launching the next generation of flooring installers,” said Varden. “We are excited about the future of our industry.”

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