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March 02, 2023

The Winter '22 Face of MFMA is Jay Henley!

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.

Jay Henley was named our Winter '22 Face of MFMA. We share his insights in the interview below.

How did you get started in the sports floor industry?

Jay: I became an Athletic Floor Sales Representative in 2005 after posting my resume on while working as a on-premises Beverage Sales Rep for the Budweiser-Busch distributor in Mobile, Alabama.  A combination of experiences must have made me a prospect for the position. I studied business management & marketing in college, a variety of sales job experiences, some part-time HS basketball coaching along with the sport promotions in the beer business. So, I can say with certainty worked for me!


Who was the biggest influence in your career?

Jay:  It starts with Joe Covington Jr for me. He taught me the fundamentals of athletic flooring and the values that make Covington a success. My first year and a half of training under Joe Jr included following him to look at gyms in the aftermaths of Hurricanes Ivan and then Katrina. From preparing for meetings, listening to people, assessing a jobsite, doing a proper takeoff, then offering a solution and, most importantly following it up. Seeing so much in such a short timeframe behind someone of his knowledge was invaluable to me. I would be remiss if I didn’t include partners Rich Johnson and Edward Covington, as well as manufacturer support from Tommy Ellison, Steve Hays and Randy Niese, who were all key influences in my continued development.  


How does your company help the sports flooring industry?

Jay:  I feel we value every opportunity - from the smallest Church recreation gym to the larger pay-for-plays, SEC Arenas, and NBA practice facilities. People get excited about getting a new athletic floor, and they deserve our best efforts. Our Team works hard to deliver for our customers. We try to do our part to educate all on the front end of the technology and options available to deliver the best projects possible for everyone—especially the end users: the kids and the athletes. We do not shy away from our role and responsibility as the experts they called for help to assist in the process.


What do you feel are your keys to success? 

Jay:  The relationships we’ve built with our customers and the Team at Covington behind every job we do—from our field crews and Superintendents to everyone in the office. Our Team is like family, and we are willing to jump in to do whatever is needed to help.

I’ve spent most of my 18 years out in the market building relationships with Owners, Athletic Directors, Coaches, Architects, Designers, and Contractors. Not to mention I take any opportunity I can to collaborate with my manufacturer, fellow dealers, and our suppliers. When opportunities and challenges come our way, it is their talents and these relationships we count on to win the day, find common ground, or provide a solution.


What is the one thing that has impacted the sports flooring industry the most in your career?  

Jay:  I would say the lumber escalation and supply chain challenges we faced during Covid.  It seemed daunting in the beginning, but our Team got through it together with collaboration from our partners.  It further proves the notion that no matter how big the hill to climb or the challenge seems, it is never as bad as it seems, and there is a path to a solution. 


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

Jay:  Leave nothing to chance.  Plan on things not going to your plan.  Lean on the knowledge and talents around you to prepare for the challenges that are coming your way.


What is the weirdest thing you’ve seen done to a sports flooring floor?

Jay:  We put a school’s Jaguar mascot coming through the bushes in vinyl graphics at both basketball lanes facing the free-throw line.      


How has the sports flooring industry changed since you joined it?

Jay: There is more emphasis on improving the floor systems. We may have learned from our antiquated systems of the past, and a lot of effort and research is going into making better-performing floors in their environments and, most importantly, safety for the athletes. Of course, the graphics are more extensive than ever, as we all see on television every night. We see a demand from owners for larger logo sizes, contrasting stain colors and patterns to set their school or facility apart.   The Sports Facility arms race has no end in sight and has expanded from universities down to high schools and communities. Team sports are a way of life for many families, and we are all very fortunate to be a part of it.   


Jay Henley

Covington Flooring Co.

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