Cleaning & Restoration Association News

Defining the IICRC

Organization or association? Are those paying fees known as members or registrants? Not knowing the difference can lead to misperceptions and misconceptions.

I would like to try to end some of the confusion about the IICRC with this article. There have been many articles written about the organization, and I guess I am going to add to them.

What is the IICRC? If you ask its board of directors or contact its headquarters, you will be told that the IICRC is an organization, not an association and it has registrants, not members. Just what does that mean?

The definition of an organization according to Webster’s Dictionary is a group of persons organized for some end or work. The definition of association is an organization of people with a common purpose. The definitions are certainly similar, and this is why there is so much confusion about what the IICRC is. Let me try to clarify the differences for you.

The IICRC has its work, which would be education. This is its sole reason for existing. A dedicated group of individuals work very hard to develop educational criteria for the inspection, cleaning, and restoration industry. Many associations and a few individuals hold shares of stock in the organization, and it’s this group of shareholders that actually own it. If you ask my opinion, those associations would be pretty upset if the IICRC did association-type business. The IICRC has always encouraged its registrants to belong to associations, which is why registrants receive a listing of regional association with any paper work sent.

Let’s address the difference between members and registrants. Referring back to Webster’s Dictionary, a member is defined as an individual belonging to or forming part of a group. A registrant is one who registers or is registered. This is where most confusion occurs about the IICRC.

Associations, which have members, utilize IICRC educational programs to help their membership. Associations also have conventions, social engagements and a board of directors that conducts the business of that association. The IICRC simply registers people to its roster and works to promote its registrants to the carpet manufacturing industry, insurance industry, and to the public in general.

Another source of confusion is schools. The IICRC states that it “owns no schools.” What does that mean? It means that it develops minimums of educational curricula for schools to teach. The IICRC provides schools with an outline they can use to develop their manuals, which includes the IICRC exam. All the answers to the exam must be covered in the manual.

The IICRC reviews the school manual through its Instructors and Schools Committee to check for completeness. The sane committee makes its recommendations to the IICRC’s Board of Directors on which school to give the “approval” to teach IICRC curricula. These schools are typically owned by individuals, equipment manufacturers, chemical manufacturers or franchises. Many registrants get confused about the fees they pay to attend these schools. The only money that goes to the IICRC is the exam fee, which is the $40 for the first certification, or $30 if you’re already certified in any other category. The largest amount of money you pay for the school goes to the school and instructor.

Now, I would like to change to a completely different subject. I would like to honor a gentleman that I have learned so much from. His name is Eric Rottmeister. Eric stepped off the IICRC Board of Directors at the last meeting after serving for 16 years. I would like to tell you a little about his “career” in the IICRC.

Eric first joined the IICRC Board of Directors (previously known as the IICUC Board of Directors) in 1984 as the CCINW representative. He soon took over the Exams and Standards Committee and with some help, started making changes to the very fabric of IICRC. He took the then “Certified Operator” designation and divided up the training to all the different categories of certification that we had at that time. With help, he spearheaded the rewrite of all the exams at that time. In September of 1987, Eric became Vice-President of IICUC. Eric battled for what he believed was right for the industry and became a great negotiator for the IICRC, and developed good relationships with the fiber producers and carpet manufacturers. He also wrote the first long-range plan for the organization.

With so much involvement, it’s no surprise Eric became President of IICUC in August 1988. He led the IICUC until October 1991 when he stepped down as president to become Chairman of the Certification Board. He was Chairman of the Certification Board for one year, when he thought he would be done with the IICRC, but board of directors didn’t want such a valuable person to get away so they elected him to an Honorary Board Member. He finally talked the board of directors into letting him retire in October 2000. As you can see, Eric has done a tremendous amount for the industry. Over the 16 years of volunteering, you can only imagine how much time he spent away from his family and business, selflessly!

On a personal note, I cannot tell you how much Eric has taught me. Many times, he would help me see the different facets of a debate that might be going on at a meeting. He has given me many of the leadership skills I have today. Eric taught me to be strong in my convictions, but be open enough to listen to the other side of the debate. I cannot say enough good things about this man, but I will leave you with this laugh. Eric was the first Canadian on the board and he brought “Ay” to our board.

Eric, thank you for everything and I know if the IICRC calls you to help, you will certainly step up to the task!


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