IFTI's Company Story

 

by Lee Eliseian, CEO

Deep roots in the flooring business

During the early sixties, my father started a carpeting business in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was a family business with strong work ethic and creative technicians; however they lacked business and management skills.

In the late sixties, my father’s business burned to the ground. With little money and no insurance, he was forced to close his business. Looking for a simpler life, he moved to Kenai, Alaska and began installing floor coverings for others as an independent contractor. He would always say to me, “See! You need to learn to work with your head, not your back, to do it right.

In the mid-seventies, I went to Alaska to work with my dad, helping him install floor coverings. Shortly after working with my dad, a job opportunity presented itself in California. I accepted the job and was hired as an apprentice with a large union floor-covering contracting company. The apprenticeship played a key role in my life; through this experience  I decided to make flooring my career. During my training, I took the time to attend installation classes to further enhance my technical skills.

A new specialization

In the early eighties, after receiving a California State Contractors License, I started a small flooring company in the Bay Area. Recognizing the need for an academic understanding of business, I spent my evenings in night classes and business seminars.  I thought that if I could learn enough in all areas I could “do it right.”

The business was developing nicely as a local commercial floor-covering contracting company. We were well organized and operated systematically. We understood the need to continually develop, implement and follow systems, processes and procedures that worked. We strived to constantly “do it right” by operating in a predictable, professional, organized, and efficient manner.

In the late eighties, one of our customers, a local retail chain store, contacted us regarding a moisture-related flooring failure. It was the second time they had experienced the pain of a flooring fail in the same location. They asked us to help them resolve the matter. We agreed to work with them towards a resolution, while at the same time completing certification programs for a particular moisture remediation system. We diligently applied this system and installed a new vinyl tile floor in their problematic store. As a result, the concrete slab moisture problem was corrected and the new tile flooring remained intact.

After that experience we became specialty contractors, correcting floor failures relating to concrete slab moisture problems, which differentiated us from our competition. Because of our inherent drive to “do it right,” we became factory-trained certified applicators of several (more advanced) concrete remediation systems.

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