Members of the roofing and flooring industries are mourning the loss of Dave Gheesling, CEO of FEI Group, who died last Wednesday at age 53.

“It is with heavy, broken hearts that we announce the unexpected passing of our president and CEO,” the Marietta, Ga.,- based company wrote on its LinkedIn page Thursday morning. “He was a light in the industry, a true visionary and an instant friend to everyone he met. It goes without saying that he will be greatly missed.”

Formed initially as FloorExpo 1998, FEI manages national networks of the largest contractors in America in a variety of categories, including single-family flooring in the home builder space, multi-family flooring in the apartment space, cabinets and decorative plumbing and hardware. It entered the roofing space earlier this year by forming the Exterior Contractor Alliance (ECA) with 27 members in 33 states.

In a recent message posted on it’s company LinkedIn page, company officials thanked the building community for the outpouring of love and support following his sudden passing.

“Dave meant as much to each of you as he meant to us, and while we are all hurting right now, we are determined to do as Dave would do and take the next best step,” the message states. The company also pledged to continue his ideals, with an emphasis on “pragmatic positivity” – a Gheesling personality trait.

“He was a brilliant innovator, a gifted speaker and the definition of leadership, yet he was approachable, personable and as down-to-earth as they come.”

The message indicated that in the coming weeks the company will honor his legacy of philanthropic work.

According to his obituary, Gheesling graduated from Georgia Tech in 1989 with a degree in business administration. He sold industrial equipment before entering the flooring industry. He is survived by life partner Kasia Sutton; children; Willow, Katy, Maddie, Natalia and Marcus; parents, Barry Gheesling and Sheilla Gheesling; brother Brad Gheesling and his wife Kara and his niece and nephew Suzanna and Shannon; uncles, Bob Green and his wife Pat, and Clayton Gheesling and his wife Karen.

Funeral arrangements are pending.