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Each month we ask a flooring industry professional the Tomorrow’s Flooring 10 Questions. This month, we chatted to Howard O’Brien from Träffik UK.


What do you think the positives and

negatives of the flooring industry are? The main positive has to be the great range of interesting and exciting new flooring designs and materials, and the increasing emphasis on the environment.


What was your first job?

I joined the John Lewis Partnership in Southampton as a Management Trainee straight from finishing my A-levels. Even now, I still subscribe to the customer service values set out by the founder, John Spedan Lewis.


How did you get into the

flooring industry? I wanted to start my own business and was told by a friend of a treatment that made stone floors slip resistant without necessarily changing the appearance of the surface. Being curious, I researched the market in detail and discovered a Canadian firm called No Skidding who manufacture and distribute one of the most comprehensive ranges of slip injury prevention products in the world. We developed a great working relationship with their team in Toronto and became their sole UK distributor.

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In terms of negatives; despite some fabulous products, there are many cases of cheap being best and a disregard for what is thrown away and ends up in landfill. But new technology and innovative marketing ideas offer some brilliant solutions for the open minded and visionaries in the business.


If you could hire any one person to

be part of your team, who would it be and why? Chris Evans, as his network is incredible, and his ability to make things happen is brilliant.


If you won the lottery, what would

be the first thing you’d buy? That of course depends on the amount I win! If I won £10, I’d probably buy another lottery ticket and my lunch, but if I won £10million I would say a Caterham CSR 260 with a sequential gearbox – not that I’ve thought about it!

Q6 Q7

If you could have any super power, what

would it be and why? A voice of reason the world could hear. It would be my reason of course... but I like to think that it would make a difference!

If you could be one person for a day,

who would it be and why? Barack Obama. To have a ‘voice’ and be able to knock some sense into those who want to ‘rule’ the world.

Q8 Q9

Where would you like to be a fly on

the wall? In a G8 summit. I want to know whether they really do speak a different language to the rest of us.

What would you like to see in a

future issue of Tomorrow’s Flooring? I would like to see an awareness section for products and services distinctly new to the market and for those that can make a real difference; a feature in the magazine

that is the first point of read for everything new or significantly beneficial. There are many products, including ours, that challenge the accepted way of dealing with flooring and that companies could capitalise upon.

Dave Ellams, of Atkinson & Kirby, asks:


If you could take over any company

in Europe for a day as MD, which would it be and why? The NHS, as it’s about time someone encouraged us all to appreciate what we have and to stop knocking it.

Check out next month’s issue to see what Howard asked our next industry professional...

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