Profiles in Leadership Series
Artisan Hardwood Floors:
Extending a Legacy to the Next Generation
Get it done, do it right, take pride in what you do.
That mantra is the core of Artisan Hardwood Floors’ success for 50 years. A family owned and run business, the company just recently capped off a semi-centennial anniversary with a nomination for Family Business of the Year from the Austin Business Journal. The epitome of generational venture, 18 family members over four generations have worked for the company over the years and non-related employees have become family too.
In the last few years, managing family members David Bailey, Pat Bailey, and Joshua Gregory, third-generation descendants of founder Roy K. Flint, have been looking to the future. In addition to the work Artisan has done for clients, they have been extremely proud of the careers they’ve helped their employees build. During a discussion about the next 50 years of Artisan, they realized that they wanted to help others create the kind of durable, respected business that their family had created.
Training Future Artisans
As part of this goal, they recognized that bringing up true professionals in the industry – not just technicians – was key. They wanted to train a generation of experts who could carry on the family tradition of craftsmanship and service, who might take over the business some day or go on to create their own businesses that provide great jobs for others. After several years of research and collaboration with industry associations, they developed the Artisan Certified Professional Program. Recognized by the Department of Labor as a formal apprenticeship program, it is a three-year course that allows the graduate to become not just a subject matter expert, but an artisan and well-rounded professional.
More Than Installing Floors
From the beginning, the team was clear they wanted to create more than just a typical certificate program. 6000 on-the-job hours, 420 classroom hours, and 100 hands-on classes are taught by industry leaders and trade associations; students actually build, finish and repair a floor in the training area. The program includes personal enrichment modules like The Art Form of Hardwood, business accounting and finance classes and even elective cooking course. Customer service is taught as a critical skill, with the understanding that by focusing on extraordinary service, the money will follow. It is also reinforced that success is about both the client and the employee. In Joshua’s words, “Go out of your way to give a crap about people.” Building a successful business requires respect that flows from inside to out.
A Commitment on Both Sides
The first year of the inaugural program has been completed by two apprentices, one of whom was promoted from within and one new hire. As a paid, three-year program, this is a big commitment for both Artisan and the apprentice, so there is a six-month trial period before the training starts. Applications are open to anyone, whether experienced in the business or not. More than technical experience, they are looking for people who want to make a life out of this trade, who have a passion for detail, and fit Artisan’s core values.
Inspired by this dedication to bringing artisanship (and Artisanship) to the next generation? We are too! Contact Darsha Wilds for more information.