ICS Magazine

ICS 50th: Tom Hill

February 4, 2013

Tom Hill is the executive director of the IICRC.

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 first became part of the cleaning industry in 1966 while still in high school. Since then I have see many changes and a lot of growth and, both in numbers and in professionalism within the industry. Some of the biggest changes/advancements that I have seen include:

  • The invention of the “steam extraction,” (hot water extraction) method of carpet cleaning in the 60’s up until that time carpets were cleaned using shampoo, dry foam or absorbent compound systems.
  • Founding of IICUC (IICRC) by Ed York – (1971)
  • The invention of the truckmounted carpet cleaning system. (mid 70’s)
  • DuPont introduction of Stainmaster Carpet with a warranty related to performance of the carpet. (mid 80’s)
  • IICRC becomes non-profit (1987)
  • Claude Blackburn writes “Restorative Drying” and the water damage restoration industry was born. (Before that it was either done as a sideline for contractors or carpet cleaners.)
  • IICRC publishes its first standard (1991)
  • The Ballard Case in Texas brings mold to the forefront - leads to mold remediation certification and standards
  • Connections (2002)

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?

Ed York, Ralph Bloss, Mike Palmer, Jim Roden, Bill Doan and Kenway Mead (have all been significant).

What are some of your fondest memories of being involved in the industry in years past?

My fondest memories revolve around the many dear friends and colleagues that I have been able to form close relationships with over the years.

Moving forward, what do you see in store for the cleaning/restoration industry’s future?

I see continued advancement and sophistication for the cleaning and restoration industry. Advances in equipment technology, consumer awareness and industry networking will all play a part in the industry’s continued growth. Credentials such as certification will continue to gain in importance as consumers, insurance companies, government agencies and the like all seek to deal with proven professionals.