Cleaning & Restoration Association News

Taking a Moment to Recognize and Reflect

It is already February as I present for your reading enjoyment this, the first IICRC President’s Corner for 2003. I hope all is going well and that business is steady.

This is the time of year when the payables are sometimes bigger than the receivables. Since preparation defines good business people, I trust you have planned for this seasonal anomaly and that everything is going fine. The main commercial accounts are paying the bills while we wait for the residential accounts to kick in about a month from now; we will be soon complaining that we need a rest because business is booming.

I ask your indulgence while I reflect on three gentlemen who stepped down from the board of directors at the IICRC’s latest meeting. These three helped change the entire cleaning and restoration industry as well as IICRC. They have been with the IICRC almost from the start, this is how dedicated they are. It is hard to find anyone in the industry who does not recognize the names of Kenway Mead, Larry Cooper and Jeff Bishop

Kenway and Pat Mead became the administrators of the then-International Institute of Carpet and Upholstery Certification (IICUC; the name was changed to IICRC several years ago) in 1985. Back then there were fewer than 5,000 registrants, so they took a real risk putting their resources behind this small organization. Kenway soon became the “front man” for the IICRC, speaking to any organization that wanted him (and probably a few that didn’t) about the benefits of becoming IICRC-certified.

I first met Kenway at a convention in 1987; little did I know that three years later I would be working with him. At my first IICRC meeting he introduced me to many of the people in attendance, making me feel welcome. As I watched at that meeting, I saw Kenway’s real talents at work. When you gather that many strong-willed people together you will surely have a number of opinions; Kenway kept everyone working together. Larry Cooper started working with the then-IICUC in 1983, becoming president in 1985. Larry has worked tirelessly with IICRC since he came on the board, and could always be counted on to bring a project to completion.

I first met Larry in 1990 when I became a board member. He was the certification board chair, and boy did he run a tight meeting! He has always held everyone he works with to the same high standards that he holds himself to. Larry has held many committee chairs in the IICRC, and he is one of the people who got the IICRC recognized by both the carpet mills and the insurance industry. We have not let him get away yet; Larry is still working with IICRC as a consultant, heading up our standards work.

Last but certainly not least is Jeff Bishop. Jeff came on board around the same time that Larry did. Jeff also has held many chairs in the IICRC, and once held the position of vice president. For the last few years Jeff has been chairman of the certification board. Jeff has probably forgotten more than most of us will ever know when it comes to technical information about the cleaning and restoration industry. He works to promote the IICRC throughout the industry in every conceivable way, and continually helps raise the industry in the consumer’s eyes. Jeff also is continuing to work with IICRC as a consultant, working as our first technical advisor.

I could regale you with endless stories about how these gentlemen have helped our industry. They have gone so far as to neglect their own businesses to help better our profession. It is both an honor and a privilege to call them my friends and to have worked with them. I know that I am not saying goodbye, but it certainly will be different to sit at the board meeting without seeing them across the table. Thank you Kenway, Larry and Jeff for all of your dedication!

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