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In memoriam: Howard Olansky, July 22, 1928-December 19, 2006

December 19, 2006

Howard Olansky, a highly respected journalist and publisher who devoted his career to the flooring business and is widely credited with advancing the industry in a number of key areas, died today in Los Angeles after a brief illness. He was 78.

Howard’s legacy in the flooring business can most readily be seen in several prominent industry publications including National Floor Trends, Floor Covering Installer and ICS Cleaning Specialist magazines. He was also an inductee into the World Floor Covering Association Hall of Fame and served on numerous industry committees and task forces. His passion and affection for the industry was evident as he repeatedly urged those in the flooring industry to focus on fashion and innovation rather than price and volume. During the Surfaces meeting last February, Howard was honored with a charity luncheon that drew well wishers from all corners of the industry. At Howard’s insistence the funds raised were donated to the Floor Covering Industry Foundation, which is devoted to assisting people in the flooring industry.

A forceful presence in the industry for six decades, Howard’s influence went well beyond the magazines he published. Among his numerous achievements, Howard was instrumental in opening up the installation of wood floors to the floor covering industry. He also helped make it possible for carpet cleaners to incorporate the word “steam” in descriptions about their service and he established the name “installer” instead of “mechanic” to designate the craft. Also, Howard helped put an end to the involvement of unscrupulous door-to-door salesmen in floor coverings.

Howard was a frequent speaker and panelist at conventions, sales/marketing and educational meetings in every phase of the industry. He took the lead to produce carpet manufacturers and fiber producer panelists and speakers to appear before a wide variety of cleaning, restoration and maintenance associations.

His close association with the floor covering industry began in 1955 when he served as an editor for Western Floors. He later became co-owner, editor and publisher of Specialist Publications – Western Floors and Eastern Floors (now National Floor Trends), Floor Covering Installer and ICS Cleaning Specialist magazines. He was a co-founder of Eastern Floors, Installation Specialist (now Floor Covering Installer) and ICS Cleaning Specialist magazines. When he and his business partner, Harold Arkoff, sold the company to Business News Publishing (now BNP Media) in 1997, he became the publications’ senior editor.

Howard is survived by his wife Ilene and two daughters, Dale and Ellen.

Commenting on the loss, BNP Media Group Publisher Phil Johnson said: “Howard's loss is shared by all whom he has touched in his 51 years of active industry participation. And he has touched countless numbers with his profound wisdom, sharp wit, and loyal friendship. We will all miss him terribly.”

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