I lost a friend last week. Truth is, I lost him several years ago when he contracted cancer and a rare brain disease and had to withdraw from working. Kenny Kassouf Jr. and his firm Permanent Floors have installed the floors for nearly everything I’ve ever built. When I first met Kenny I was in my early 20’s and knew absolutely nothing about building anything, and so nothing about flooring. Kenny patiently and over a period of years and projects brought me up to speed on his industry and his trade. Different woods, different carpets, different tiles, vendors, grouts, underlayment, trim pieces. Things I came up with that he hadn’t seen, he researched and helped me to work with those vendors or materials. Kenny, like all my vendors, was a true expert in his craft, and was willing to share his knowledge and expertise with me. None of us are born knowing about butt-joints, binding machines, schluter moldings, or thinset. As a builder, I need to know a lot about a lot of things like this. I need to know about different kinds of insulation, roofing underlayments, plumbing materials and where and where not to use them, different fasteners, adhesives, wires, connectors, pipe, codes, integrated building systems, deflection coefficients, dew points, span charts, wood species, and much much more. I can learn these things only by asking someone who knows about them to share that knowledge with me, and I’ve been fortunate that those I’ve had the great chance to meet over the years have been willing to share that knowledge with me. It’s helped me to help them to move in and out of my jobs better, more efficiently, and with less waste, and it’s helped me provide my customers with much better finished projects. Each of these people is pretty darn hard to replace. In Kenny’s case he had brought his son-in-law on board and now I have a great relationship with Ryan. But I owe Kenny a debt that I can’t pay for all his help over almost 30 years of working together. My homes are a tribute to Kenny, and all the great people that work with me to build them. Thank you all!