NEWH - Fall 2019 - 52

COVER STORY

Forward Motion
Industry pioneer Milliken continues to advance
By Alia Akkam
Photos courtesy of Milliken

N

ot long after graduating from Presbyterian College with
a degree in business administration and management,
Lee Blair started working at Milliken, eventually moving
into the hospitality unit of the industrial behemoth. By the time
he left in 2002, he was running the entire sales operation. Now,
after some 15 years, Blair is back in Spartanburg, South Carolina,
leading Milliken's hospitality sector as vice president. He couldn't
be happier, as he describes it, "to come home again and have
another run up the mountain."
Much has changed in the industry since Blair began at
Milliken the first time around, and he distinctly remembers when

the concept of hospitality began to significantly evolve in the
mid-1980s. It was a time, for instance, when the proliferation
of exterior courtyards began to wane in hotels, with dedicated
public spaces instead becoming the priority. "More interiors
warranted professional design services and therefore flooring
products, so there was enough demand to create a separate
hospitality division," he says. Soon, designers like Trisha Wilson

52 www.newh.org

and brands including Marriott, Hilton, and Holiday Inn sought
Milliken out.
Large-scale digital designs that resemble broadloom carpeting
and modular flooring were certainly game changers. "The biggest
shift has been into hard-surface products and luxury vinyl tile.
Just five years ago it was relatively nonexistent, but as good
design became more attainable, as the performance increased to
abate scratching, and as the ability to make what looks like wood
feel like wood possible, LVT just took off," Blair explains.
In the LVT realm, the nature-inspired Metro Park RigidForm
collection-flaunting a solid, locking floor with top-notch
acoustic properties-is the latest addition to the Milliken lineup.
Further, two recently debuted products
illuminate the company's innovative
muscle. ColorPoint CYP (Computer
Yarn Placement) embraces 100 percent
solution-dyed nylon and a combination
of loop-and-cut finishes to create
intricate, detailed patterns, Blair points
out. Then there's woven Axminster, an
80/20 blend of wool and nylon produced
in partnership with Bloomsburg Carpet
Industries-a company that's been going
strong since 1976-at its eco-friendly
facility in Pennsylvania's Susquehanna
River Valley.
Driven by sustainability nearly since
its inception in 1865, Milliken is a green
pioneer, first reusing packaging and
textile materials back in 1900. Over the
past 15 years, Milliken's floorcovering
group has reduced its ecological
footprint by 50 percent through such
initiatives as a landfill diversion pledge
and TractionBack, a bio-based highfriction coating applied to carpet
tile backing so that it stays in place
without the need for adhesives, sealers,
or primers. All Milliken manufacturing plants are zero-waste
facilities. "We are heavily invested in being transparent, so that all
of our products are under Declare labels," Blair adds.
Milliken's proprietary portfolio is vast, from chemicals
to specialty fabrics, emphasizing a focus on research and
development. That kind of strength makes it possible for Blair to
concentrate on reimagining Milliken's hospitality business more


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NEWH - Fall 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of NEWH - Fall 2019

NEWH - Fall 2019
Table of contents
GUEST PERSPECTIVE
STUDENT PERSPECTIVE
WHO’S WHO
NEWS
CONFERENCE ROUNDUP
HAVE YOU SEEN?
SCHOLARSHIPS
INTERVIEW
SUSTAINABILITY
Q&A: Shana McCullough-Downing
Q&A: Jordan McInturf
Q&A: Debbie McKelvey
ON THE COVER
PROJECT: Lido House
PROJECT: Bluebird London
PROJECT: Miramonti
PROJECT: Legal Sea Bar
CHAPTER HIGHLIGHTS
SAVE THE DATE
NEW MEMBERS
PARTNER PROFILES
AD INDEX
NEWH - Fall 2019 - NEWH - Fall 2019
NEWH - Fall 2019 - Cover2
NEWH - Fall 2019 - Table of contents
NEWH - Fall 2019 - GUEST PERSPECTIVE
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 5
NEWH - Fall 2019 - STUDENT PERSPECTIVE
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 7
NEWH - Fall 2019 - WHO’S WHO
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 9
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 10
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 11
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 12
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 13
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 14
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 15
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 16
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 17
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 18
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 19
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 20
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 21
NEWH - Fall 2019 - NEWS
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 23
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 24
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 25
NEWH - Fall 2019 - CONFERENCE ROUNDUP
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 27
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 28
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 29
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 30
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 31
NEWH - Fall 2019 - HAVE YOU SEEN?
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 33
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 34
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 35
NEWH - Fall 2019 - SCHOLARSHIPS
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 37
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 38
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 39
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 40
NEWH - Fall 2019 - INTERVIEW
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 42
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 43
NEWH - Fall 2019 - SUSTAINABILITY
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 45
NEWH - Fall 2019 - Q&A: Shana McCullough-Downing
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 47
NEWH - Fall 2019 - Q&A: Jordan McInturf
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 49
NEWH - Fall 2019 - Q&A: Debbie McKelvey
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 51
NEWH - Fall 2019 - ON THE COVER
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 53
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 54
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 55
NEWH - Fall 2019 - PROJECT: Lido House
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 57
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 58
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 59
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 60
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 61
NEWH - Fall 2019 - PROJECT: Bluebird London
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 63
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 64
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 65
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 66
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 67
NEWH - Fall 2019 - PROJECT: Miramonti
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 69
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 70
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 71
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 72
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 73
NEWH - Fall 2019 - PROJECT: Legal Sea Bar
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 75
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 76
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 77
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 78
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 79
NEWH - Fall 2019 - CHAPTER HIGHLIGHTS
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 81
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 82
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 83
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 84
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 85
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 86
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 87
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 88
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 89
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 90
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 91
NEWH - Fall 2019 - SAVE THE DATE
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 93
NEWH - Fall 2019 - NEW MEMBERS
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 95
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 96
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 97
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 98
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 99
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 100
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 101
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 102
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 103
NEWH - Fall 2019 - PARTNER PROFILES
NEWH - Fall 2019 - 105
NEWH - Fall 2019 - AD INDEX
NEWH - Fall 2019 - Cover3
NEWH - Fall 2019 - Cover4
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