Kevin Wolfe is the Fall 2023 Face of MFMA!
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.
Kevin Wolfe was named our Fall '23 Face of MFMA. We share his insights in the interview below.
How did you get started in the sports floor industry?
Kevin: In 1999, with no flooring experience whatsoever, I landed with a small commercial flooring company as an estimator/project manager. In 2001, I was hired by El Paso Floor in the same position working on much larger projects and sports floors.
Who was the biggest influence in your career?
Kevin: My biggest influence was my former boss, president and owner of El Paso Floor, Allen Schwalm. Allen was with El Paso Floor since the late 1970’s in an array of positions. He took me under his wing in the flooring business and showed me how to treat people and run an honorable business.
How does your company help the sports flooring industry?
Kevin: I’d like to think we provide a quality product to general contractors, school districts and end users that they can always be proud of. We’re not the biggest, fastest or sometimes not the cheapest, but I feel our reputation is that of quality and good service.
What do you feel are your keys to success?
Kevin: I consider myself to be a relationship person, kind of a handshake guy. I feel that El Paso Floor has always been like that. Making good relationships happens with good performance and good service. Unfortunately, not every job goes as planned. But if you have good relationships with people in the business, any obstacle can be overcome.
What one thing has impacted the sports flooring industry the most in your career?
Kevin: Recently, the state of Colorado became a low VOC state. I feel like issues with low VOC oil finishes and water-based finishes have created some very distinct challenges that we didn’t face for a long time.
Do you have a saying or mantra that helps you stay motivated or motivate others?
Kevin: We probably don’t do this enough in managerial positions, but I think it’s vital to let your staff and field personnel know how valuable they are. They are the lifeblood of the business. To quote the great Bo Schembechler “The team, the team, the team!”
What is the weirdest thing you have ever seen done to a sports flooring surface?
Kevin: Just this year we installed all the flooring in a new municipal rec center in town. Gym, track, ceramic tile, carpet, etc. The most unusual aspect was a maple floor we installed on the pitched roof on an interior vestibule. Getting wood flooring installers in the air on scissor lifts was something I never thought I’d ever see!
How has the sports flooring industry changed since you started in the industry?
Kevin: I’m not sure a lot has changed in the wood sports floor industry. Sure, there are graphic improvements, stains and colors, etc. But ultimately, we’re all still installing subfloors, maple flooring, sealers and finish in a similar manner as always.
What is your best advice to someone starting out in the industry?
Kevin: I think the most important feature of a successful gym floor contractor is the installers and leadership in the field. They are the ones putting out the blood, sweat and tears with pride to complete a job in a professional manner. No matter how many jobs you sell, your company will not be successful for long without great field personnel. I’ve had a lot of compliments on gym floors over the years and I always say “Well, my guys do great work, they’re the best!”
El Paso Floor