German engineering is renowned and respected worldwide, and when it comes to the hardwood flooring industry it has a major foothold. Brands like Lägler, Stauf, Bosch, and Fein are revered by craftsmen the world over. The same can be said for LOBA-WAKOL, a company that seamlessly connects finish and adhesive products to produce floors that perform the way they should while looking stunning to boot.
Additionally, LOBA-WAKOL has a unique caveat when it comes to hiring their team members: in order to be in the field representing their products, it’s required you have a background in hardwood floor installation. To shine some light on LOBA-WAKOL and their team, we talked with their marketing manager Amanda Bartik as well as Micah Loberg, our local rep who has been in the hardwood industry since he was 17.
Amanda's responses are in dark orange, Micah's are in navy.
Let’s start by talking coverage. How far does LOBA-WAKOL reach in North America, and Micah, what’s your slice of it?
We currently cover all of North America with various Technical Field Representatives in the Flooring, Sealing Compounds, and Industrial Adhesives categories.
My territory luckily is in my home state of Colorado as well as Wyoming and New Mexico. I focus on contractor success and education.
Please tell us more about why LOBA-WAKOL prefers to hire employees who have first-hand experience in the flooring industry. Who came up with the concept, and how long has it been in action?
This was a decision intentionally made from the start of LOBA-WAKOL in North America. Our first Technical Sales Professionals came on board with significant industry experience. We believe this strengthens the customer relationship by increased levels of connection, trust and understanding. Shared experience is extremely valuable and with such a specific trade, it makes a difference to truly know how the products we are providing work in the field. Flooring is not always, follow steps “A,B & C” and you get a perfect result every time. There are so many variables that you only come to understand from doing the hands-on work.
Micah, how did you get introduced to LOBA-WAKOL products prior to working for them?
I had been using the same brand for 18+ years and just felt it was time to try something new, so I started the search. Luckily, I met Joe Dalghren one fateful morning at a demo and he gave me some EasyFinish. It was game over and I switched to LOBA-WAKOL immediately. What I loved about it from the start was everything I was promised about the products came true. It was the first time in my career I not only had support from my rep but the product performed consistent. LOBA-WAKOL showed a commitment to their contractors that I truly admired.
For each of you, how do you feel the technician’s firsthand experience installing floors helps their relationships with both contractors using your materials and the distributors you work with?
It’s all about trust. Knowledge and experience are very valuable but ultimately the goal is to create trust. Additionally, our team members are accessible. Everyone has experienced the frustration of not being able to get a question answered in a timely fashion. Our team understands that frustration and works very hard to respond to every customer question as soon as humanly possible. We are all here to help and want to make sure anyone who uses LOBA-WAKOL products feels that level of support. We operate under a simple rule, “Yes is the answer. Now what was the question?”
LOBA-WAKOL believes in firsthand experience for their reps and that is a huge reason we are what we are. I’m able to show with my hands-on experience how to get through projects with minimal issues or change. Being able to speak to contractors and distributors with a language they understand sets all of us apart. I’ve been through most every situation and I understand the environment we live in. It feels very good to be able to help these guys, especially the younger generations not having to learn things the hard way.
LOBA-WAKOL Technical Sales Professionals are still very hands on while in the field- can you give some more info about training opportunities that the company gets involved with around the country?
My interaction with contractors usually starts on site and we build from there. What better way is there to prove your product then showing them with confidence on their job? I absolutely love what I do, sharing my knowledge as well as learning from my contractors.
Our Technical Sales Professionals are extremely hands-on. They are consistently organizing demo days, meet & greets with distributor locations, as well as job site visits to walk through product installation best practices. Our goal is to make everyone in our extended network successful. Beyond that, we hold in-house trainings every month.
Our course offerings are Connected Systems- which covers both the LOBA and WAKOL product lines, LOBA - Evolution of Color School. And LOBA-WAKOL/Lägler courses in both Charlotte, NC and Denver, CO.
We are always improving our courses and plan to launch some new courses in 2020. Education is extremely important to our industry and we are happy to provide comprehensive courses that create long-term success.
New courses aren’t the only thing you have planned for 2020- how about that new facility! Please share a bit about why a new headquarters came about, and what plans you have for its future.
We are all extremely excited about our new headquarters in Wadesboro, NC. We have outgrown our current facility in Charlotte, and with the plans we have for the future, it just made sense to purchase a space that would bring the LOBA-WAKOL North America on one campus. The new home of LOBA-WAKOL North America is situated on 40 acres of land and currently consists of more than 200,000 sq ft of room for expansion. We are extremely excited about what this move will do for our customers. We will be sending out more details over the coming months, but our Grand Opening event will be June 5th & 6th 2020. As for the additional plans, you’ll have to wait and see- we promise you won’t be disappointed.
If you'd like to learn more about Loba-Wakol products or demo them for yourself, Micah will be at Palo Duro Hardwoods on Thursday, October 17, 2019. Give us a call at 303-375-0280 for more information!