The "Face of MFMA" is a quarterly initiative where we interview our members and ask them to share some perspective on their job, organization, daily life, and how they are making an impact on the sports flooring industry.

We are delighted to introduce our Spring 2021 Face of MFMA, Harv Gifford, and share his insights in the interview below. 

MFMA: How did you get your start in the sports floor industry?

Harv Gifford: I was on my way to a law school and I had a chance meeting with a gentleman, who owned a sports floor company (Mr. John Wordsworth, Queen City Industries).

MFMA: Who was the biggest influence in your career?

HG: Without doubt and unquestionably, Mr. John Wordsworth. John was not only my mentor, but a father figure.
MFMA: How does your company help the sports flooring industry?

HG:  I would hope we strive to be a great ambassador for our industry. Representing the MFMA and our mill appropriately. We take this leadership seriously. We at Gifford strive to perpetuate our industry by being “committed to excellence” in all phases of the sports floor industry.

MFMA: What do you feel are your keys to success?
HG: Approaching every aspect of the sports floor industry from the “Team Concept”.Though I may be the “Captain of our Team“ and may have the longest tenure, as I tell my staff, I do not have all the answers. Teams win championships, not individuals.

MFMA: What one thing has impacted the sports flooring industry the most in your career?

HG: Without question, the computer…though riding sanding machines is a great innovation.

MFMA: Do you have a saying or mantra that helps you stay motivated or motivate others?

HG: Quality always wins in the long run, and making money is not a dirty phrase.

MFMA: What is the weirdest thing you have ever seen done to a sports flooring surface?

HG: I’m laughing out loud as I write this. I have seen some pretty weird stuff in my 46 years. 

I had a client in Tacoma, WA, whose gym was about 8” out of square. We had to replace the maple sports floor system. They wanted to know how we can make that room appear square. Through creativity and some strategic planning with our field personnel, we utilized some end zone logos and graphics to create an optical illusion to make the room look square, and it worked.

We did another project in the Central America area, and it was a very prominent facility, and so was the sports floor surface. Once the floor was installed, the way the owner tested our sports floor was to test the varnish. So, they brought lit cigarettes in and tested our floor with ignited cigarettes to see if they would burn the varnish. 

These two may be the craziest and weirdest ones of all.

MFMA: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
HG: In ten years from now, I believe I still will be the "Captain of Our Team." Though I know, I have very competent "Lieutenants" now, and I believe I will have very competent "Lieutenants" in the future. I think I will use most of my time for critical thinking and strategic planning in the future and leave the day-to-day operation to "my Lieutenants." 
One of the things I think will happen in our industry in the near future is "Subscription Business." I know it's coming. What is "Subscription Business"? In the future, our clients are going to subscribe to us. Clients will come in and enter into a one-year, five-years, ten-years contracts with us to maintain their sports floor surface, i.e., repair their floor, sand and refinish their floor, and/or replace their floor systems with related items. They will do it automatically without going out for bids.

I also believe that, in the near future, fiber optics within the gym floor systems will become one of the most prominent dominant factors. I do not know if it will occur in my lifetime, but it will occur. There will be fiber optics in our sports floor surfaces. Owners will be able to change their graphics, advertisement, logos, and even regulate competitive games by sensors and lights built within the sports floor surface itself. Fiber optics are coming.    

Managing a balance and planning for the future with creative thinking is the task of a Captain of any team. Whether it is today or ten years from now.


Gifford Industries Inc

Photo credit: Harv Gifford


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