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New NAFCD President David Powell Takes the Reins

Posted By NAFCD, Thursday, January 25, 2018

David Powell is the Marketing Director and Information Technology director for Erickson's Flooring, a family-owned business that was founded by Art Erickson in 1943 that has evolved into one of the Midwest's leading wholesale flooring distributors. The Michigan-based company specializes in wood flooring, but it also handles other hard-surface options like bamboo, cork, laminate, and luxury vinyl.

A former Marine, Powell has personally been in the business and has worked for Erickson's since 1995. With several years of board service for the North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD), he is the ideal person to take the reins as the association's 2018 President. We sat down with him recently to get his personal perspective on the year ahead and what his plans are in office. What follows is our chat:

NAFCD: You were sworn in as the new NAFCD President at the recent NAFCD Convention in Colorado. How did that feel?

DAVID POWELL: It is an honor and a privilege to serve on the board for NAFCD, and even more so as an officer and especially now as President. The NAFCD has been blessed with many talented leaders on the board of directors over the years. My challenge is to live up to their legacy and carry on their reputation for excellence in service to the association.

NAFCD: Can you tell us how your career path brought you into flooring distribution?

DP: I've been in flooring distribution for over 22 years now, and I got my start quite by accident. I had just recently finished a four-year tour in the military and was looking for a job. There was an opening in the warehouse pulling orders, and the rest is history.

NAFCD: When was your first introduction to the NAFCD? What were your initial perceptions?

DP: I first attended the annual convention around 15 years ago, and I was immediately impressed by the quality of the speakers and educational opportunities offered. The opportunity to learn and network with your peers in the flooring distribution industry was great. I had never experienced anything like it. I’ve attended many different types of trade shows and similar events, and nothing has come close to the overall quality and value the NAFCD offers for the flooring distributor.

NACD: Can you please share some of your priorities for the coming year as NAFCD President?

DP: My priorities are to continue to work with the board on implementing NAFCD’s strategic plan, which includes enhancing NAFCD visibility on social media channels to promote the value of the association to current and potential members; continue to develop, improve, and increase participation in the Financial Benchmarking Survey; and continue to work on opportunities to grow our relationship with the WFCA to address key industry issues like training.

I also plan to work to further enhance the quality of the speakers and training offered at the annual convention and throughout the year, with a focus on data-driven, actionable information that is specific to the flooring industry and distribution.

NAFCD: The term of the NAFCD President is one year, which will go by fast. How can a President make an impact in that period of time?

DP: While certainly some initiatives, like new member recruitment, can bear results very quickly, most initiatives take longer, stretching over a period of several years or more in some cases. A key directive for the president is to maintain the health, relevance, and viability of the association; work to further enhance its value proposition; and implement the strategic plan as set by the board of directors, with a view towards the long term success of the organization. Maintaining that leadership perspective and guidance is important in the role as president to ensure continuity and the ongoing trajectory of the association’s mission.

NAFCD: You are now the chair of the NAFCD Board of Directors. What can you tell us about this governing body and its culture?

DP: I'm continually impressed by the willingness to serve, genuine interest in improving the association, and the leadership talent displayed by those that I have and continue to serve with. As a culture, the board of directors is fairly informal. There isn’t a high degree of “corporate” culture or strict adherence to protocol. Everyone involved likes to have fun but at the same time work hard and make meaningful contributions to the association. We work to achieve a good balance between performing our duties as a board, while at the same time having a fun, relaxed environment.

Networking events are often planned so the directors can get to know each other better and become a more cohesive team, which benefits the association with better governance. These events also provide an opportunity to grow our relationship with the wonderful and talented staff at SmithBucklin, who manages the association for us.

NAFCD: What advice would you share with an NAFCD member thinking about getting more involved in the association?

DP: I would highly recommend it. It’s been very rewarding for me personally and professionally. I joined the board to give back to the association and the industry, and to grow personally and professionally. I’ve made some great friends, had some wonderful mentors, and met some fantastic leaders I would not have otherwise. It’s been a great experience that just gets better each year.

NAFCD: What do you need from the membership base to ensure a successful year?

DP: Ongoing input from members about what they value and what is important to them about the association is critical. Feedback on the convention, various programs, and services the association offers is also key so the board can continually evaluate and improve those offerings. In addition, participation in the surveys that go out from time to time is very important.

NAFCD: What are you most excited about in 2018?

DP: I’m excited about working with another outstanding slate of directors this year and seeing what new opportunities and ideas will present themselves to further the association’s value to its members. I’m particularly looking forward to the next iteration of the financial benchmarking survey, formerly the profit analysis report. We made a lot of progress enhancing and improving that report in 2017 and saw increased participation. I’m excited to see participation rates and the value of that report grow even further this year.

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2018 NAFCD Annual Convention