After nearly five years of planning and refining, the IICRC is in its final stages of implementation to launch the International Trade Association (ITA) this year. This strategically-aligned ITA will help individuals and companies work together to pursue common goals and interests in the inspection, cleaning and restoration industries globally. The ITA’s real and only purpose is to benefit its members through mutual cooperation.
This mutual cooperation will help facilitate relationships that continue to improve our industry’s professionalism and quality service. While the final name and branding for the ITA are being finalized, its purpose and differentiators from the IICRC are clear: The ITA will provide member benefits, promote its members’ business interests and our industry, and enhance our image. As a large trade association, we can increase the perception of our expertise that provides a valuable service. The ITA aims to unite and connect the industry to provide valuable and tangible member benefits.
The ITA membership base will be made up of cleaners, inspectors and restorers in the U.S. and internationally. As a benefit to current IICRC-certified firms, each will be enrolled as members of the new ITA. The ITA will have various membership categories and will offer a number of programs and services that the IICRC does not offer, including government advocacy and research. The ITA enables other associations to join in government advocacy, research and trade show support to increase our “strength in the numbers.” Our current government activities will continue to be needed. We know this because state after state is threatening to regulate some aspect of the industry. The IICRC is an organization large enough to rise to the challenge and represent the industry, but these kinds of activities are not normally handled by a standards developer or a certifying body. These are usually provided by trade associations.
Many see the ITA as providing a powerful impact when a significant number of the associations combine their members’ shared interests. The ITA will be structured so that all associations will remain independent but, at the same time, receive assistance with association management best practices and standards that help them recruit and retain members. The ITA will also help these affiliate associations practice good governance and leadership as well as provide many programs, products and services that can best be achieved by working together.
Similar to the IICRC, the ITA will have a leadership structure that consists of a chairman, an executive committee, a board of directors and an administrative staff. The ITA is a membership benefits program on an international scale (the international association). The IICRC as you know it will continue to provide standard development and revisions, as well as certification in cleaning, restoration, inspection and hard surface industries (the institute). To assist us in producing better quality certification programs, we have recently hired a full-time education director, Valerie Fries Wade, who has many years of experience in this field.