While the members are the heart of our story, our employees are just as pertinent to the prosperity of the cooperative. Fortunately, we have an incredible team of talented leaders steering the ship here at CCA Global Partners. One such head is Keith Spano, the president of Flooring America/Flooring Canada, International Design Guild and the Floor Trader. As a veteran employee of ten years, Keith has accomplished a great deal of initiatives and successfully guided the membership into this new age of flooring.
Keith is not new to the flooring arena and has been in the industry for most of his life. In fact, his grandparents were the second class to join Carpet One Floor & Home back in 1986 and Keith began working in the family business when he was only 13-years-old. He started his career assisting flooring installers and doing small tasks in the warehouse, before graduating to the showroom as part of the sales staff in his college years.
“I've been on all sides of the industry and I enjoy working for CCA very much,” Keith said. “I think also having a retail background also gave me some street cred with our members so it made my transition at CCA pretty easy.”
One reason that Keith has stayed with the flooring industry for so long is because of the people he has met.
“What's incredible about this industry is it's all about the people. It's filled with really, really good people. Good, hardworking families and second generation, third generation, sometimes even fourth generation,” Keith explained.
Recently, Keith was interviewed in Floor Covering Weekly where he shared his thoughts on adjusting business for flooring store owners during the COVID-19 pandemic. He found himself switching from the role of president to one of confidante and close friend, taking calls on weekends and holidays to talk with the members as they navigated the tumultuous business challenges.
During the pandemic, it was all hands on deck for the staff at CCA Global Partners as they worked to help members with cash preservation, changes in marketing messages and adhering to safety guidelines.
“I don't think I've ever seen us work so well, so quickly together because the stakes were so high. This was our members survival and we had to make sure that we were all paddling in the same direction and telling our members what to do and how to preserve their businesses,” Keith said. “Not one of us had the answer, it was all of us working together to come up with these talking points and these initiatives and these cash preservation steps.”
One reason that Keith has been such a successful president for the divisions is because he understands that being a leader means making hard decisions that not everyone is going to like, with the knowledge that these decisions will eventually lead to prosperous outcomes.
“[The members] don't necessarily like everything that we ask them to do but if you think about it, a leader’s goal is to take people where they need to go, not necessarily where they want to go,” Keith explained. “And we've done that with various initiatives and I believe that our track record has spoken to the point that members trust us. They know that we have their best interests at heart in all the decisions we make and so I think that's rewarding.”
According to Keith, working for CCA is a unique experience, partially because of the people, but also due to the independence he has with Flooring America/Flooring Canada and the other divisions. He credits his liberty to freely make decisions to Co-CEO’s Howard Brodsky and Rick Bennet.
“Rick and Howard really give us the autonomy to run our business,” Keith said. “It's been really nice that they're there if you need them but at the same time, my team and I have the ability to make the right calls, do the things that we feel is best to move the membership forward.”
Perhaps his favorite aspect of working for a company such as CCA Global Partners, Keith says, are his co-workers and colleagues that he interacts with on a daily basis. He notes that everyone brings the same energy and motivation to work for the members, which is encouraging to see.
“I get the opportunity to work with really amazing people everyday so it makes it fun and we're all kind of cut out of the same cloth to some degree so we're all doing things for the members which drives us,” Keith said. “Being scrappy and being able to pivot. We all don't like to sit still too often. Luckily at CCA, there's never an opportunity to be bored.”