President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Johnson always had an entrepreneurial spirit. From working to identify unique solutions to customer problems to pursuing opportunities that required an innovative thought process, Gary excels in role where he can coach others to be leaders, give back to his community and, of course, do excellent work and exceed the expectations of others.
Starting out in the restaurant industry, Gary effortlessly owned and managed a chain of restaurants for more than a decade before pursuing an opportunity as a manufacturing sales representative where he worked one-on-one with clients to identify solutions to their challenges. During this time, he solidified strong connections throughout Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania and began to develop an appreciation for the skilled trades industry that would remain with him ever since. After another detour led him to open a few more Marco’s Pizza restaurants and pursue opportunities in the insurance industry, Gary decided it was time to set up roots and invest in a community that had been so generous to him and his family. Toledo became home and, after learning of the need of regional businesses and organizations for more qualified flooring contractors, Gary began to lay the foundation for American Flooring and Interiors Contractors.
“I love problem solving and creative thinking,” Gary said. “You need these qualities to run a successful business. And when I learned there was a need for more flooring options in Northwest Ohio, I jumped at the chance to meet the need. Since then, the relationships I have built with our union chapters, established business community and local government entities has been valuable and has helped take our company to a level we never knew we could reach. The quality of our work, experience of our team and our commitment to civic responsibility speaks for itself.”
AFI Contractors was officially up and running in 2005 and the first few years, according to Gary, was spent working with clients in an effort to give the business and nonprofit communities the chance to get to know us and the business. The more work we did, the more confidence in us grew.
Today, the company is not only doing well, AFI Contractors has been chosen to complete work for some of the most well-known companies in the Toledo area. From Libby Glass and Promedica to the University of Toledo and Hollywood Casino, American Flooring and Interiors has managed to double its sales every year since opening its doors. Today, the million-dollar company is even being recognized for its growth and was named to Fortune’s Top 100 list of top inner city companies – and Gary says his company has shown no signs of slowing down.
“Our growth has been phenomenal,” said Gary. “Our success can be attributed to hard work and divine intervention, which ignited our growth at the beginning and hasn’t stopped since. It’s been a great journey so far.”
As the owner and manager of AFI Contractors, Gary is proud to use his position in the community to advocate for other small- to midsize-businesses and has worked to be an ambassador for the city.
“We have an opportunity to do really great things here in Toledo and Northwest Ohio and it’s up to us to identify solutions that make sense for everybody,” Gary explained. “It’s time to talk about what we can do to support our small businesses and then help take them to the next level.
Gary serves the Lucas County and Toledo communities as a member of the Toledo Zoo’s Foundation Board, a Downtown Rotary Club member, a business relations officer and member of the Lucas County Sherriff’s Reserve Units, a Toledo Club member, as the vice president of the Lucas County Hispanic Latino Democratic Caucus, as Vice Chairman of the Democratic Committee, a member of the Sons of VFW Veterans, a NAACP member, and in various roles with Toledo’s Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the national Latino Peace Officers Association and Latins United. He is also proud to serve on the University of Toledo’s President’s Council on Diversity where he helps lead on a sub-committee focused on Diversity in Construction. Notably, he also serves as a member and chapter advisor of Phi Kappa Phi.