August 1, 2012 marked the IICRC’s 40th anniversary. Formed in 1972 by Ed York, originally named the International Institute of Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Inc. (IICUC), the IICRC is now recognized internationally as a knowledgeable industry voice and resource for professionals. In Ed’s honor, this year the IICRC renamed The Founder’s Award to The Ed York Award. It will be given to individuals that have demonstrated exceptional dedication and contribution to the IICRC. Today, the IICRC has more than 53,000 active certified technicians, many with multiple certifications, and more than 6,000 certified firms around the world. Given the anniversary, I wanted to take a few moments to acknowledge some of the highlights that have shaped the organization as we know it today.
Our first standard, the S001, which is now the IICRC S100 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Cleaning of Textile Floor Coverings, was published in November 1991. It was developed in partnership with the Carpet & Rug Institute to answer the need for an industry-adopted standard for cleaning carpets and rugs. This first standard ignited the IICRC and soon after, the IICRC began drafting many of the other standards that have been updated and are still used today. In 2005, the IICRC was named an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited standards development organization (SDO); in 2006, the ANSI/IICRC S500 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration became our first standard with the ANSI designation (it’s currently undergoing its fourth revision). ANSI accreditation has helped the IICRC create a common language making it easier for professionals to assess customers’ needs and establish credibility across the industry.
The organization saw great changes in the number of registrants and certified firms in the mid-1980s. It was during this period that the IICRC opened its shareholder model to include associations, not just individuals, which added our regional shareholders that have been great partners throughout the years. Additionally, this is the same time period that the IICRC brought on Kenway Mead (KCI) as administrator of the organization, which allowed for more structure, regular contact and support for growth with the IICRC’s key stakeholders. In October 1984, DuPont came out with STAINMASTER carpet. This product changed the face of the IICRC as it was the first textile product on the market that had a warranty related to cleaning and maintenance. DuPont selected IICRC Certified Firms to provide warranty support. This partnership and warranty resulted in an increase of registrants and certified firms and the transition of the IICRC from a for-profit organization to a non-profit organization. From the mid-1970s to 1996, the IICRC saw its number of registrants nearly double to 11,000 and additional courses, schools and instructors came online.
Not only have our registrant numbers grown, but our programs and structure have evolved over time as well. For example, in 2001 the certified firm program was enhanced by adding more requirements, standards and guidelines to maintain certified firm status, which elevated the program’s credibility and professionalism within the industry. Another accomplishment is the Certification Council. It was formed in the late 1980s as a place for the industry to gather, network and transfer education to one another. In the past few years, the Certification Council has expanded its purpose with a stronger educational focus to meet the needs of our registrants and industry partners.
Beyond our programs, since 2009, the organization has seen major structural and governance changes with the addition of our full-time president, Patrick Winters CAE/IOM. When Patrick came on board in 2009, he brought with him 30 years of experience and non-profit best practices that began with a 100-point evaluation of the organization called the Striving for Excellence Evaluation. This evaluation helped the IICRC formalize its strategic plan, mission statement and its values. The strategic plan is currently being reviewed and updated with the help of instructors, schools, industry partners and shareholders.
Additionally, we’ve brought on Mili Washington, AStD, as our standards director and Valerie Fries Wade, MM, CAE, as the new education and certification director. KCI has also continued to add full-time staff members that support the IICRC, including key new hires Cris Phelan, CPA, as controller and Sonia Gray as chief financial officer. Furthermore, we’ve restructured the board of directors, reducing it to 15 members to provide more efficiency as well as other benefits. All of these changes and updates over the years reflect the organization’s continued leadership in the industry and the dedication of our volunteers and industry partners who are passionate about elevating the professionalism of our industry.
While no one can say for certain what the next 40 years will look like, I do know that there are several very exciting moments happening for the IICRC in the coming year. There are new standards set to be published in 2012 and 2013, including the S500 fourth edition for professional water damage restoration, the S600 for professional carpet installation and the S800 for inspecting textile floor coverings. Please continue to check IICRC.org to see where all of our standards are in the development and revision process, as well as where you can assist with your expertise and support. Additionally, the IICRC is also moving forward with certifications such as the Mold Removal Specialist (MRS) certification, which has finalized its beta testing period and is in final development.
My last important point to touch on is the ongoing five-year mission to launch the international trade association (ITA), which is now being refined and implemented. The ITA will provide a strong voice to help unify services and needs that fall outside of the scope of the IICRC as a certification and standards-setting body that represents our registrants and certified firms.
I want to give a special thanks to our associates at KCI and our staff that supports all of our combined efforts. I’m sending a Thanksgiving toast to all of you - let’s have an attitude of gratitude through the thick and thin. And while we experience the challenge of life, remember that the secret of living is giving.
We are thankful for all of you. I wish you all a great holiday season!