Cleaning & Restoration Association News

A New Beginning

October 19, 2000
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Newly appointed IICRC President Lee Zimmerman introduces himself to the masses.

As you can see, there’s a new face and a new name in this column. As the newly elected IICRC president, I would like to thank the board for electing me and putting their trust in me to do what is best for the IICRC and our industry.

Since most of you probably don’t know me, let me introduce myself and give you a little background on my career in the cleaning and restoration industry. I am married and have a 21-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter. My wife and I own and operate a carpet/upholstery cleaning and restoration company in Greensburg, Pa.

My uncle first introduced me to the cleaning industry when I was in high school and needed a summer job. Having a strong back and a weak mind, my uncle said I was perfect for the job, since the position required a lot of physical labor. My uncle owned and operated an in-plant rug cleaning operation at the time when carpets were just beginning to be installed wall-to-wall in homes. My first job was to use a bucket and brush and “scrub” the edges and corners of these installed carpets while my uncle “shampooed” the other areas.

Yes, I started in the industry in an in-plant operation scrubbing, wringing and hanging area carpets in a drying tower. I worked for a couple of summers at his plant before high school graduation. After graduating from high school, I went to work with my father in his re-upholstering business. Soon I became the head upholsterer and he began another business venture. I stayed in the re-upholstering business for a couple of years before taking a position in the movie theatre business. Soon, I was promoted to director of maintenance and was responsible for 45 movie screens in a six-state area. Since I had “experience” in cleaning carpets, I was given the honor of shampooing all the carpets in the movie theatres. Several years later, I left that job. As severance pay, I was given a van, which prompted my wife and myself to open a handyman service, doing small repairs in homes. Before getting that business off the ground, my uncle called and asked if I wanted this “wonderful” job as a cleaning technician, which would eventually lead to buying his business. That was almost 24 years ago. Although I never bought the company from my uncle, my wife and I did start our own cleaning company eight years later.

Soon after, we learned about an organization from two “little known” guys named Lee and Jim Pemberton. At that time, it was known as the IICUC. We became hooked on education and both my wife and I are now IICRC Master Cleaning and Master Restoration Technicians. Jim Pemberton also advised us that belonging to a local trade association would increase our exposure and lend credibility to our business. We joined an association called TRSCA and, with Jim Pemberton’s encouragement, started the first UCCI chapter in Ohio. I was a director of the UCCI for two years before becoming president. At the end of my presidency, I was asked to represent the UCCI on the board of the IICUC. That was almost 11 years ago.

My career in the IICRC has mainly been involved with the Instructors and Schools Committee. I was the chairperson of the Instructors and Schools Committee for 10 years until recently. I have also served as vice president for the past four years.

Now that you have learned more then you ever cared to know about my cleaning industry history, that brings us to the present day—my philosophy regarding the IICRC.

First of all, I believe that no one person runs the IICRC. A board of 28 directors runs the IICRC. These are very dedicated individuals who work in the industry and donate a lot of their time and expertise to the varying association functions. They work very hard to better the industry and represent you, the cleaner and restorer.

Secondly, I believe we need to develop better communication between the IICRC board members and the registrants that we represent. I would also like to see the continued communication and cooperation with other closely related industries. Finally, I would like to review the policies and procedures to be sure that the IICRC Board of Directors is doing the very best it can to provide you the quality representation you deserve. I look forward to representing you as president, and I hope I’ll have the opportunity to meet all of you in person very soon.

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