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The Restoration Industry Association was formed in 1946 as the National Institute of Rug Cleaners, Inc. (NIRC) in New York. Four years later, the name was changed to the National Institute of Rug Cleaning. On July 22, 1957, the state of Maryland acknowledged NIRC’s application to transact intrastate business, and in September 1961, NIRC incorporated in the District of Columbia. It is unclear when ASCR moved from New York to Northern Virginia, but it probably occurred in the early 1960s during the period when Robert Coleman was the executive director (1960-1981), since he lived in Northern Virginia.
By 1971, several organizations were affiliated under the NICR banner: Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Association (CUCA, the precursor to CUCI); Drapery Specialists Institute (DSI), Institutional Carpet Maintenance Council (ICMC); and National Institute of Fire Restorers (NIFR), which was acquired from Martin L. King. At the same time, NIRC retained the services of Martin L. King as a technical advisor to the organization.
The group changed its name to the Association of Interior Décor Specialists (AIDS) in 1973, but changed its name again in 1984 to the Association of Specialists in Cleaning & Restoration (ASCR). In 1985, the Virginia State Corporation Commission issued a certificate authorizing ASCR to transact business in the state of Virginia. In 1988, ASCR moved from Falls Church, VA to Annapolis Junction, MD.
During the 1990s, several institutes were formed or renamed under the ASCR umbrella: The Water Loss Institute (WLI – 1995); Mechanical Systems Hygiene Institute (1996?) NIFR became the National Institute for Disaster Restoration (NIDR – 1996); Associate Member Advisory Committee (AMAC); Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Institute (CUCI); and the National Institute of Rug and Drapery Cleaning (NIRDC, which became NIRC again in 1997). Each institute had its own president and budget, making accountability confusing and complicated. ASCR moved from Annapolis Junction to Millersville, MD, in early 1999.
The Institute presidents became “chairmen” in the early 2000s and all chairmen reported to the ASCR board of directors. In 2000, RIA re-incorporated as a Maryland nonprofit organization and established a nonprofit education foundation. In 2006, the office moved again from Millersville to Columbia, MD. When ASCR rebranded into the Restoration Industry Association in 2007, it further streamlined the various institutes and divisions into three councils: the Restoration, Environmental and NIRC (which subsequently became the Contents Council in 2010). In October 2010, RIA hired an association management firm, Association and Communication Management Group (ACMG), to manage the day-to-day operations of the association. The organization relocated from Columbia, MD, to Rockville, MD in May 2011.
Two new councils were added to the RIA leadership structure in 2011: the Individual Professionals Council and the Vendor Council. And two more councils were created in 2012: the Canadian Council and the Insurance Industry Council. All of the councils have representatives who serve on the RIA Board of Directors.