Business

March 18, 2014

Friends, industry leaders saying goodbye to Braun

When Werner Braun’s family immigrated from Germany, they came with all of their belongings in three suitcases and none of them spoke any English.

“Within two weeks of coming to the country, we were on the streets,” he recalled. “We didn’t have a roof over our heads. We didn’t have a job. We had nothing. But within five years of landing here, they bought their first home. This country provided opportunities for my parents, but they were opportunities that were not easily won. They worked six days a week until the day they retired.”

That’s why it is so important to him to give back to the country that embraced his family and to the community he lives in, Braun explained.

“Over the 14 years I’ve been in Dalton, I’ve been on a number of charitable boards, including the state Alzheimer’s Association, the Boys Scouts and other groups,” he said. “I had to back out of that over the past few years, but I’m looking forward to getting involved again. I’ve already started contacting some of these groups and telling them ‘If you need someone, I’m available.’”

Braun steps down on March 31 as president of the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI), an industry association he has headed for the past 14 years based in downtown Dalton. On Tuesday, some of the key leaders, past and present, of the floorcovering industry gathered at the Dalton Golf and Country Club gathered to celebrate his achievements at the CRI and to wish him well in his retirement.

“Werner, through the Carpet and Rug Institute, has provided that voice for the industry on so many issues,” said David Jolly, president and CEO of J+J Flooring Group and chairman of the CRI. “He has done it with such professionalism and such integrity. He comes from a science background, and so much of what we do deals with science. He knows the science and can go toe to toe with anybody.”

Braun worked for 31 years for Dow Chemical Co., then worked briefly as senior director for international relations at the Chlorine Chemistry Council before joining the CRI as president in 2000.

Under Braun’s leadership, the CRI spearheaded industry efforts on a number of environmental issues, such as developing the Green Label Plus label that shows carpet meets strict standards on air quality. Braun and the CRI also worked to publicize science showing carpet does not trigger allergies.

Ralph Boe, who recently retired as CEO of Beaulieu of America, praised Braun for his leadership on those issues.

“He was able to put us together with the right organizations and individuals to work our way through those issues,” Boe said. “He’s been excellent from that standpoint. And he has just been an excellent president.”

Several people praised Braun for his ability to keep CRI members focused on issues of shared concern and to bring them together to speak with a common voice.

“He deserves accolades for putting up with the rest of us around here,” joked Mohawk Industries CEO Jeff Lorberbaum.

Braun is the “consummate professional,” said Joe Yarbrough, senior vice president for advanced manufacturing engineering at Mohawk Industries. Last week the CRI’s board named Yarbrough the group’s next president.

“I’ve been privileged to work with Werner for several years, and I’ve seen firsthand the contributions he has made to our industry,” said Yarbrough.

Braun said he plans an active retirement.

“I’m looking forward to spending more time with my wife, doing a bit of traveling, seeing my grandkids who are up in Indiana,” he said. “Plus, my wife has a list about two feet long of honey do’s that will keep me pretty busy.”

1
Text Only
Business
  • Metro Dalton’s unemployment rate up to 8.8 percent in May

    The unemployment rate for Metro Dalton — Whitfield and Murray counties — increased to 8.8 percent in May, up from 8.2 percent in April, the Georgia Department of Labor said Thursday.

    June 26, 2014

  • Powells back open 1 mlh.jpg Town Square Cafe carries on Powell’s tradition

    The sign above the door at 116 W. King St. may be different, but many of the faces inside remain the same.
    Jenny Lynch, owner of the Town Square Cafe, said she has retained many of the staff and even some of the recipes from Powell’s Country Kitchen, which had been a downtown Dalton landmark in the building since 1979.

    June 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Region earns ‘manufacturing community’ designation

    Northwest Georgia, including Whitfield and Murray counties, has been chosen as one of 12 regions nationwide that could get federal funds to sustain and expand manufacturing.

    June 1, 2014

  • Siegle, James-ColOR.jpg Synthetic turn pioneer Jim Siegle dies

    He was known as “The Grand Gentleman of Turf.”

    May 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Metro Dalton’s jobless rate falls again

    Metro Dalton’s unemployment rate fell to 8.2 percent in April, down from 8.6 percent in March, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.

    May 22, 2014

  • Community & Southern Holdings to acquire Alliance National Bank

    Community & Southern Holdings Inc. said Friday it has reached an agreement to acquire Alliance Bancshares Inc. and its subsidiary, Alliance National Bank.

    May 16, 2014

  • Biz expo '14 2 mlh.jpg At energetic expo, local business owners see signs of economic rebound

    “You give it your all.”
    That’s the biggest lesson Hank Fetzer says he learned after he helped start a business last year with his father Stan. But the importance of having drive, something his father taught him, also meant his father was someone he “didn’t see much” growing up.

    May 1, 2014 4 Photos

  • Carolyn Roan: What are you looking for?

    In my last column, I wrote about how important it is to get pre-qualified for a loan before starting a new home search. If you’re a seller you also need to understand the thought processes that buyers go through when they’re choosing a new home.

    April 25, 2014

  • Feds: home health company paying $150M settlement

    Amedisys Inc., a Baton Rouge-based home health company with operations in Whitfield and Murray counties, will pay $150 million to resolve allegations that it inflated Medicare billings and had improper financial relationships with referring physicians, the U.S. Department of Justice said this week.

    April 24, 2014

  • Metro Dalton’s unemployment rate declines to 8.6 percent in March

    The Georgia Department of Labor said today that Metro Dalton’s unemployment rate decreased to 8.6 percent in March, down from 9.1 percent in February. The rate was 10.4 percent in March a year ago.

    April 24, 2014