If you are a UBC contractor who works in floorcovering, you probably know John McGrath’s name. Since 1997, McGrath has been instrumental in building the union’s INSTALL program, which was created to unite floorcovering members with contractors and manufacturers to establish and maintain the industry’s highest specification standards and provide the best-trained installers in North America.
The UBC and McGrath’s colleagues and many friends are wishing him the best as he retires after 33 years as a UBC member and nearly 25 years in INSTALL leadership, including 16 years as executive director.
With McGrath at the helm, INSTALL has grown to include 140 top manufacturers. Today, some 10,000 UBC members are enrolled in floorcovering apprenticeship and certification programs under the INSTALL umbrella.
“The strength of INSTALL is its collaboration,” says McGrath. “We’re unique in that we offer industry-leading training and exacting standards that are developed and honed through the thoughtful, concerted efforts of the entire floorcovering installation industry, including installers, contractors, manufacturers and specifiers.”
McGrath was a significant contributor in creating the ANSI S600 Carpet Installation Standards and served as a judge in several installation award contests. He is an accomplished speaker; he has conducted seminars for architects, interior designers, building owners and facility managers and presented at events for professional associations.
In addition, McGrath has worked on charitable projects, including several years with a Philadelphia organization to help military veterans secure housing. He said he is grateful for the opportunity to have impacted—and be impacted by—the individuals that make up his floorcovering family.
From supporting grieving loved ones who lost a tradesperson to cancer to helping a young couple achieve their dream of adopting a child, McGrath said has been humbled by the way the colleagues he calls “brothers and sisters” have embraced him and shared their lives.
“Floorcoverers are artists with muscles, and the floor is our palette,” McGrath said. “We need to be precise and perfect. We literally work on our knees, which inserts a certain humility into our lives.”
McGrath will carry that humility into his retirement as he moves his focus from his floorcovering family to his personal family, including his first grandchild.
Congratulations on your retirement, Brother John!