I learned the flooring industry from the ground up, understanding what customers wanted and what it took to make a successful project. Pairing those early real-world experiences with my formal education in business and construction prepared me well for the road that I would travel when I left Germany. Throughout my career experiences to date, I have never strayed from a hands-on approach to business.
As an immigrant to the US, I was not sure which path I would take. My chance visit to a flooring factory in Florence, AL sparked an idea. The business was in bankruptcy. I pulled together just enough funds to buy the property, and started Centiva. So began an exciting time.
Over a span of 17 years we built a company, a brand, and most importantly, a team that gained the respect of the flooring industry. Yes, there were tough times, but we always worked together doing so many unexpected things. First among the unexpected was establishing our manufacturing within the United States when most were moving their production overseas. Centiva’s designs and creations won many awards; too many to list. Our accomplishments together in developing better production technology and doing so with a clear eye toward environmentally responsible operations are things for which we can all be proud.
A couple of years ago, I sold my company to Tarkett. I agreed to stay on as president for a little while, but that time has drawn to a close. I am so thankful for the 17 years that I was able to spend with you, the people of Centiva, and within that description I include not only the valued employees of the company, but also the customers, suppliers, and friends in the industry who helped Centiva. My sincere thanks to you all. You are the reason that I wanted to run this ad. I wish all of you, and everyone at Tarkett the very best.
I did not sell Centiva so that I could retire; far from it. The company was sold to allow it to better compete in the growing commercial flooring industry. I am eager to get started on new ventures as well, forming TMT America as the jumping off point for those businesses. Entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in the US, and TMT America will be a part of it. See you soon.