Class of 2006

Jay G. Seals
MFMA is pleased to induct Mr. Jay G. Seals to the MFMA Hall of Fame.
 
The number of individuals who radically changed the direction of the sport surface industry can be counted on one hand. Jay Seals is one of them. Growing up in a corporate culture that inspired innovation, Jay directed a talented Robbins team developing numerous concepts that addressed the safety, performance and comfort of the athlete - both professional and amateur.
 
Jay Seals is one individual that worked his way up from the bottom. Born in Chillicothe Missouri on March 2, 1950, Jay lived in Belton, Missouri working as an installer for Anderson Floors in Bucyrus, Kansas. He learned the trade as an apprentice helper and later master mechanic installing maple gym floors in the nation’s heartland. He was also involved in the genesis of the synthetic sport surface trend during the late 60’s and early 70’s. Jay lived in Bucyrus, soon developed a reputation as the technical expert for in installing poured-in-place urethane systems for Robbins dealers across the country.
 
In August of 1968, Robbins Inc., then a subsidiary of the E.L. BRUCE COMPANY, purchased Anderson Floors. As his skills with the customer and product development matured, he was transferred in 1975 to Memphis, the Robbins Corporate Headquarters, to work in Technical Sales and Customer Service under Pete Ingram.
 
In May of 1977, the Stoehr Family (Cincinnati Floor Company) purchased the brand name rights, intellectual property and the White Lake flooring mill from Bruce. Pete Ingram and Jay Seals were moved to Cincinnati to serve as managers for the company. 
 
Over the next 25 years, Jay’s reputation of a hands-on manager grew exponentially as Robbins dominated the industry in maple innovation and flooring sales.
 
During this era, Robbins supported and promoted worldwide the MFMA mark. Jay’s service on the Board and various Subcommittees was ever present. During that time, Robbins promoted the MFMA mark, the product and sub floor systems in North America and the World. Robbins, through the marketing efforts of Jim Stoehr and Jay Seals, saw the MFMA grow strategically in influence as an association and as a recognizable mark in the industry with construction specification writers, owners and athletes throughout the world.
 
This leadership, in collaboration with other MFMA members, provided a robust environment for “system selling” in the market. Prior to this time, the industry relied upon a simple sale of maple flooring and a limited choice of sub floor components. Under the direction of Jay Seals, this approach was replaced by a more complex and profitable development of flooring systems utilizing sophisticated sub floor components and, in some cases, a redirected presentation of the maple floor itself.
 
One prime example of Jay’s devotion to the industry was his championing the development and concept of a low profile, adhesive-applied maple floor designed to convert old urethane systems to wood. Marketed under the trade name Sportwood™, Robbins and their Authorized Dealer network were successful in installing millions of square feet in gyms across the nation.
 
Recognizing and understanding the needs of the dance-athlete, Jay developed maple systems that addressed the growing demands of the private and institutional dance community environment. Working in conjunction with Robbins research and development along with leading orthopedic and sport performance laboratories, Jay directed and developed the Bio-Cushion™ concept. This effort gave birth to many system refinements and radical innovations, and provided a gateway to delivering a safer, high performance floor for all athletes in general.
 
During his tenure with Robbins, Jay directed the development of many of today’s most popular flooring systems. Modular sub floor components, anchored/resilient systems, the fusion of maple and synthetic systems on one continuous sub floor, and numerous others have been forged under his leadership and direction.
 
Prior to his retirement from Robbins, Jay served as Executive Vice-President with specific responsibilities to increase market share, market values, system development and product introduction. He, along with other members of the Robbins Executive Team, drove industry acceptance of a new profiled engineered maple product known as Continuous Strip XL™. While at Robbins, Jay was an excellent coach – quick to give praise to those around him and always offering to take the blame for failure. He was always dedicated to fully supporting the sales team he led.
 
Along with all of these accomplishments, Jay, along with his devoted wife Stephanie, managed to raise two sons and one daughter. He retired from Robbins in 2002 and now resides in South Lake Tahoe, California.
 
By inducting Jay Seals into the MFMA Hall of Fame, the industry will say thank-you for his years of leadership in manufacturing and selling a profitable package of products and services. In the era of Jay Seals, the owner and architect recognized that the sport floor was not just another construction component. It had evolved into being a piece of equipment designed to enhance the safety and user experience. In Jay’s own words, “the floor is a silent partner in the success of athletes performance and career”.
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