ICS 50th: Brian Kornet
Brian Kornet is a 37-year veteran of the industry and current president of Fabra Cleen.
How would you best sum up the last 50 years (or the time that you’ve been a part) of the carpet cleaning/restoration industry?
I have seen the industry go from plant owners to location cleaning. My father started Fabra Cleen in 1960 as an on-location cleaning company. He was the second on-location cleaning company to join the New York Rug Cleaner’s Institute. I have seen such great advances in chemical and machine technology and a change in paradigm from area rugs to wall-to-wall carpet and now back to more area rugs.
In your opinion, what have been some of the most significant events and milestones to impact the industry over the past 50 years? What about some of the most significant people?
In 1972 we bought our first steam cleaning machine. It was manufactured by Certified, the same company that made a great pile lifter. The cleaning job was awful and we had to use a rotary machine to shampoo the carpet afterwards to do a satisfactory job. The customer couldn’t believe the dirt that came out when we dumped the waste tank. My father looked at me and said, “This is a great concept.” I also saw a change in the way business was now being run. Plant owners were business people and on location cleaners required a very small investment to start a business. The level of professionalism had declined. There are numerous professionals out there but the industry is plagued with professionals trying to separate themselves from the reputation created by the unprofessional.
What are some of your fondest memories of being involved in the industry in years past?
I remember going to my first New York Rug Cleaner’s meeting when I was 11 years old. I knew then that this was going to be my profession. I enjoyed working with my father until his retirement. What can be better than doing the thing you like best with the person that inspired you all through life? My father taught me to give back to the industry and I have enjoyed years of devotion to the New York Rug Cleaner’s Institute, the IICRC and now to the Marble Institute of America and The League of Hard Surfaces.
Moving forward, what do you see in store for the cleaning/restoration industry’s future?
I see the industry continuing to evolve with better restoration techniques and companies following standards such as the ones that are sanctioned by the IICRC and other ANSI standard writing groups. I hope to see companies making an ethical decision to help educate their employees and feel a social responsibility to the environment.