A Great Partnership
Although a contracted consulting and management firm, KCI is very much a member of the IICRC team. Its owner, Kenway Mead, a name and person I am sure many readers know, came from the carpet cleaning and installation industry. What began with an office staffed by Kenway and his wife Pat, who now functions as the financial manager for the IICRC and services about 500 registrants, has now grown into a cadre of talented professionals who do the day-to-day business of the IICRC. This list includes, Joanne, Carolee, Kelly, Marcia B., Marcia G., Lindsay, Brad, Nancy and Tom. Since it’s difficult to describe everyone’s duties accurately, and because of a true team concept, we need to do some pretending here to understand just how this great group services the IICRC.
Imagine you are a certification exam and have just landed with all your exam friends in an envelope at IICRC headquarters.
As you enter the processing group, your vessel of entry (envelope) is opened and the contents sorted. In this step, the processor is looking at all corresponding paperwork from the IICRC-approved instructor included with the exam answer sheets. There is a sheet outlining all of the payments received, a listing of class participants, a questionnaire, and possibly certified firm applications. If all paperwork is correct and complete, you and your buddies move along the processing assembly line.
Each examination answer sheet is then handled and graded. Currently more than half are sent to a computer feed area for electronic grading, while the rest are graded manually. With electronic grading (using a Scantron), we are able to get additional reports that help improve IICRC course curriculums.
Congratulations, you passed. Eight-five percent of exams make it through the first time. As the initial registrant setup begins for you, your friend who didn’t pass will be placed in a special file that includes a letter informing the student of his or her score of less than 75%, and options available to retake the exam. This file will be kept open until the student achieves a passing score. Meanwhile, you proceed to the registrant file. In this step, your score is entered into the computer, a certificate and wallet card are printed and laminated, and you and your technician application are put into a permanent file jacket and placed in a fireproof file cabinet.
Now that you’re one of the IICRC legion, and because your student is also applying as a Certified Firm, you are marketed to end users, consumers, and insurance companies. Our webmaster lists your firm on the Internet and our friendly phone operators may give out your name when people call to find service in your area. Also with 16 computers, a large phone system and server, our computer specialist keeps pretty busy making sure everything keeps running. Remember Y2K?
The IICRC receives more than 150 calls per. This does not include referral calls, which are handled by another friendly operator and average about 50 calls per day. This corresponds to more than 150 referrals per day, as each call generates three referrals. The information received by IICRC Certified Firms users generates millions of dollars for registrants. A recent Dateline NBC show caused the number of referral requests to be well above normal for several days.
Now, back to our friendly exam sheet. After you have basked in the files for about a year, it’s renewal time. Our assistant administrator processes registrant and firm billing. Registrants renew their certifications annually on the anniversary of their first certification, and Certified Firms, every November. The registrant billing averages more than 1,600 per month, along with 500 final notices for registrants not yet paying renewal fees. Renewal information also needs to be processed, which often include supply requests for additional shirt patches, consumer brochures or standards. Also, it’s required that the billing team (in conjunction with the Board of Directors) deal with all instructor applications, monitoring, renewals, and forward all newly annotated course manuals to the Instructors and Schools Chairman for review. All exam booklets need to be printed, numbered and logged. The IICRC knows which instructor has which booklets. I’ll bet you always wondered what those stamped numbers on the front of the exam booklet meant.
All matters financial to the IICRC then flow to the financial manager’s desk. These responsibilities are tremendous. All accounts payable, accounts receivable, checking and savings accounts are under the watchful eye of our financial manager. The IICRC has three separate checking accounts: the general fund, and separate accounts in the United Kingdom and Australia. These accounts are in place so our student/technician and firms can pay exam and certification fees in their native currency. Recently, the IICRC took on a full audit of the finances, matching every check to every receipt. With a $1.4 million (US) budget, this was no easy task. Our finances came through with flying colors, with much credit going to our financial manager and an impeccable attention to detail.
The preparation of all Board of Directors packets, shipping of the IICRC trade show booths, answering mail, e-mail, coordinating official IICRC mailings, coordination of all correspondence and representing the IICRC at industry functions keep the team busy as well. The administrator job has taken on such a visible role that we now have two capable individuals sharing the duties. Long time administrator Kenway Mead now has Tom Hill as part of the team as a protégé, comparisons of Yoda and Luke Skywalker notwithstanding. Someday, Tom will ascend into the position of administrator and Kenway will enjoy a much-deserved retirement.
You can see from your “inside look” how much the IICRC Headquarters team does to serve you better. When you are on the phone or mailing headquarters, take a moment and let these fine people know how much you appreciate what they have done for the IICRC and its registrants.