March 13, 2014

Yarbrough named CRI president

Charles Oliver

— After a “rough half decade,” the carpet industry has begun to bounce back, and Joe Yarbrough said he looks forward to helping it grow.

Yarbrough, Mohawk Industries’ senior vice president for advanced manufacturing engineering, was named Thursday as the next president of the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI), a non-profit trade group based in downtown Dalton, by the group’s board of directors. He will replace Werner Braun, who is retiring March 31 after 14 years at CRI.

“I’ve spent 44 years in the carpet and rug industry, and I’ve spent a significant amount of time working with the Carpet and Rug Institute in the last couple of decades, especially the last four years,” Yarbrough said. “With Werner’s retirement and given the stage I am at in my career it made sense for me to look to serve as the leader of the Carpet and Rug Institute.”

Yarbrough said the CRI’s mission is to support its members.

“With the investments we have seen in the industry, I think it is poised for a strong comeback,” he said. “We’ll have the opportunity to assist the entire industry with the issues it will face from increased regulatory activities to efforts to increase the sustainability of our products. We have some opportunities to help the industry.”

The carpet industry was hit especially hard by the recession. A slumping housing market led to lower demand for floorcovering and manufacturers reacted by closing plants, reducing shifts and laying off employees.

Yarbrough came to Dalton in 1972 and spent six years in various positions with Coronet Industries. He joined Aladdin Mills in June 1978 as director of manufacturing. Aladdin Mills merged with Calhoun-based Mohawk Industries in February 1994.

Yarbrough has been very active in community groups and currently serves on the board of commissioners of the Water, Light and Sinking Fund Commission (Dalton Utilities’ board of directors) as well as the state board of the Technical College System of Georgia, where he serves as chairman.

“With his 40-plus years of carpet industry experience, Joe brings an unprecedented array of knowledge, experience and insight regarding our customers, markets and opportunities,” said David Jolly, president and CEO of J+J Flooring Group and current CRI board chairman.