Starnet: A 20-Year Retrospective - October 2012

By Kemp Harr

 

As you will learn by reading the details of Starnet’s 20-year history, the organization has been blessed with intelligent leadership throughout its existence. For most of the years, credit goes to the membership for electing a strong board of directors. This board, in turn, sought out and hired talented leaders who have kept a steady hand on the helm and guided the organization through some extremely tumultuous waters. In the early days, a good deal of credit should go to Phil Wexler, Ron Lee and Bill Bebee—and, even prior to that, to the Comspec group that conceived of the concept in the first place.

A fundamental premise for forming the group was clearly collective buying strength. What separates Starnet from other buying groups is the essence of its strength. While each of the members is an entrepreneurial leader in his or her own market—and has rightfully earned a commanding presence—when they come together as a group their demeanor is one of fraternal friendship where everyone is equal. They are more interested in learning from each other and even sharing business than they are about getting a discount based on their collective buying power. Refreshingly, the driving question among the members when they come together is not about what’s in it for them. Rather, it’s about how they can join forces and be the best-in-class group of commercial flooring contractors.

This everyone-is-equal and we’re-all in-this-together mindset extents beyond the membership and even into the relationships with the preferred vendors. Whereas some buying groups always seem to have their hand out, Starnet sincerely strives to dance with the partner that drove them to the party. 

If someone were hoping to bottle the essence of this collaborative spirit for use somewhere else, it would be hard to duplicate. The secret behind it is two-fold. First, Starnet’s decision-making structure is reflective of our own democracy here in the U.S. Most key decisions are made by the board, which is simply an elected group of individuals from the membership. As a result, any mandate from the board is not a top-down (autocratic) decision but more of a decision by peers. But it is the second half of the equation that provides the alchemy: these members have been through hell together and have survived as close friends. You’ve heard the saying that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. This core group of Starnet members has fought for its rightful place in the commercial flooring sector against some of the most powerful and resourceful forces in the industry and has emerged as a winning force.

For the complete Starnet Anniversary story, see the October 2012 issue of Floor Focus Magazine. 

Copyright 2012 Floor Focus 



Other Archived Articles

More Designers, Architects Attend Surfaces   Full Article
Dallas, TX, Feb. 12, 2015 -- Informa Exhibitions U.S. said that attendance at this year's International Surface Event was comparable to the 2014 show.

Retail Sales Decline in January   Full Article
Washington, DC, Feb. 12, 2015 -- Retail sales fell 0.8% last month, according to the Commerce Department.

Jobless Claims Edge Up Last Week   Full Article
Washington, DC, Feb. 12, 2015 -- Initial applications for unemployment benefits last week rose 25,000 to a seasonally adjusted 304,000, the Labor Department said.

Milton Warman, Coloramic Tile Founder, Dies   Full Article
Chicago, IL, Feb. 12, 2015 -- Milton Warman, 92, founder of Coloramic Tile and Carpet Fair, died Feb. 7.

House Price Growth Steady in Most Markets   Full Article
Washington, DC, Feb. 12, 2015 -- The majority of metropolitan areas experienced steady but slightly stronger price growth in the fourth quarter, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors.

Stonewood Floors Names Martin Senior Vice President   Full Article
Everett, WA, Feb. 11, 2015 -- Daniel Martin been named senior vice president for Stonewood Floors.

Mortgage Application Volume Declines Last Week   Full Article
Washington, DC, Feb. 11, 2015 -- Mortgage applications last week decreased 9% from one week earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

December Foreclosures Lowest Since 2007   Full Article
Irvine, CA, Feb. 11, 2015 -- There were 39,000 completed foreclosures nationwide in December, according to real estate information firm CoreLogic.

Nydree Expands Distribution Agreement With Spartan   Full Article
Forest, VA, Feb. 11, 2015 -- Engineered wood flooring maker Nydree Flooring has chosen Spartan Surfaces to distribute its products in Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Maryland.

Mohawk, Shaw, Tandus/Centiva Again on Training 125 List   Full Article
New York, NY, Feb. 11, 2015 -- Training magazine has ranked Mohawk Industries 14th, Shaw Industries 54th, and Tandus/Centiva 66th on its annual list of top training organizations.

NeoCon East Moving to Philadelphia   Full Article
Chicago, IL, Feb. 11, 2015 -- The 13th edition of NeoCon East will be held Oct. 28-29 in Philadelphia.

Small Business Optimism Down Slightly in January   Full Article
Washington, DC, Feb. 10, 2015 -- Optimism among small business owners fell in January, according to the National Federation of Independent Business.

Job Openings at Highest Level Since 2001   Full Article
Washington, DC, Feb. 10, 2015 -- Job openings increased to more than 5 million in December, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Wholesale Inventories Edge Up in December   Full Article
Washington, DC, Feb. 10, 2015 -- U.S. wholesale inventories ticked up in December but below expectations, according to the Commerce Department.

Congoleum Names O'Connor CFO   Full Article
Mercerville, NJ, Feb. 10, 2015 -- Congoleum Corporation said that Chris O’Connor has been named chief financial officer.

U.S. Firms Win Domotex Carpet Awards   Full Article
Chicago, IL, Feb. 10, 2015 -- Hannover Fairs USA said its U.S. exhibitor clients, Wool & Silk and Art Resources, received Carpet Design Awards at Domotex 2015.

Share of 'Zombie' Foreclosures Growing   Full Article
Irvine, CA, Feb. 9, 2015 -- The share of so-called "zombie" foreclosures is growing, although the absolute number is falling, according to tracking firm RealtyTrac.

RD Weis Marks 25th Anniversary   Full Article
Tarrytown, NY, Feb. 9, 2015 -- RD Weis threw a party this weekend to celebrate its 25th anniversary complete with balloons, historic photos, friends, suppliers and employees.

USFloors Names Commercial Sales Vice President   Full Article
Dalton, GA, Feb. 9, 2015 -- Rick Morris has been named vice president of sales for USF Contract, the commercial division of USFloors.

Cavinato Elected President of Global Flooring Alliance   Full Article
Dordrecht, The Netherlands, Feb. 9, 2015 -- Carlo Cavinato has been named president of the Global Flooring Alliance.