ICS Magazine

Reflecting on 50 Years and the Most Influential People

February 4, 2013

Find more ICS 50th Anniversary content at www.icsmag.com/50.

Over the past few months as we approached this special 50th anniversary issue, I have had a great deal of fun corresponding with and, in several cases, speaking with many of the people who literally created the professional carpet cleaning and water damage/disaster restoration industry. 

Although ICS began as Installation Specialist in 1963, the magazine truly came alive as Installation and Cleaning Specialist in the mid 1970’s, which was triggered by the emergence of wall-to-wall carpeting and the advent of on-location carpet cleaning.

This issue is a retrospective look at where this industry came from, a celebration of the men and women who influenced it, created the products and the education for it as well as a look forward to what the future may bring.

I had the wonderful opportunity to become part of ICS and the cleaning and restoration industry at the halfway mark of this publication’s life (October 1987) and took over as publisher from founding publisher Howard Olansky 10 years later in 1997 (when BNP Media purchased Specialist Publications). It has been an honor and a privilege to be in this role which carries the great responsibility of keeping the industry informed and has afforded me the opportunity to meet and work with virtually all who have shaped this industry and be an observer from a most unique vantage point as it has changed and matured.

During the process of creating this issue, we asked the industry to participate by nominating “the most influential person of the last 50 years.” We received a great deal of input, but it became clear that rather than one most influential person, it’s the most influential PEOPLE that need to be honored. The name that wove through virtually everyone’s stories and “influenced” the most people to become a part of the carpet cleaning industry is Ed York, but there were so many others.

I have been most influenced by Howard Olansky. Without him, the industry would not only have been void of information in the early formative years, but he, along with Bill Bane and a small army of passionate industry leaders, literally made it possible to use the word “steam” in carpet cleaning advertising and as a description of the carpet cleaning process. This may be the single most industry-defining event.

Ralph Bloss, for whom we created the ICS Ralph Bloss Humanitarian Award, which I have had the privilege to present for the past 10 years at Connections and will continue to give at The EXPERIENCE in September 2013, was also one of my greatest mentors.

There is also the management professionals and the leadership of the IICRC, the shareholding association, the RIA and the minions of dedicated entrepreneurs who have volunteered countless hours to write the standards and advance professionalism.

Just as the industry has evolved, so has media – and at an even faster pace in the last few years with the explosion of the Internet and the delivery of information. In the words of my hero, mentor and industry icon Ralph Bloss, “change in inevitable – growth is optional.” ICS will continue to evolve, but rest assured that ICS will remain your source for information to help you succeed in your business for many more years to come.