ICS Magazine

IICRC Operations - Consultants

August 9, 2008


Many people wonder how the IICRC organization is run, and who is responsible for keeping this gigantic ship moving forward. To start, let me clear up one important point: the IICRC has no employees.

What it has is at least 12 consulting firms that work with and support the organization to provide specific functions essential for running it and for meeting its financial and strategic goals. These companies work hand-in-hand with the volunteer executive committee and board of directors, standing and technical advisory committees, and other volunteers to help sail the IICRC ship over uncharted waters.

Kenway Consultants, Inc. (KCI) is the administrative arm of the IICRC. Headquartered in Vancouver, Wash., it provides numerous services for the IICRC including: maintaining the registry (i.e., names, addresses, e-mails, types of certifications, CECs) of over 110,000 individual IICRC-Certified technicians (45,000 still active); maintaining the status of over 5,300 IICRC-Certified firms; processing all exams; maintaining the www.iicrc.org Web site; maintaining historical records of the organization; bookkeeping and accounting services; maintaining the records of each IICRC-approved school and instructor, and numerous other duties that are requested by the IICRC board of directors. KCI’s fee is based on a percentage of IICRC’s income, and is completely in line with other companies providing similar administrative services.

Textile Consultants, Inc., provides consulting services required by the IICRC for the development, adoption and promulgation of industry standards, including the ANSI-approved S500 – and, hopefully very soon, the new editions of S520 and S100. They also coordinate with ANSI regularly and create presentations and workshops related to changes in the Standards, which are offered as CEC programs to IICRC registrants.

Clean Care Seminars, Inc., provides technical services and support for the IICRC’s Certification programs; they work with IICRC Standing Committees (specifically Exams, Marketing and PR, Standards, and Instructors and Schools). They also work with the Certification Council and 26-plus Technical Advisory Committees (TACs) and participate in Standards development and revisions in coordination with the executive committee and board of directors. In addition, Clean Care Seminars responds, either by phone or e-mail, to hundreds of technical inquiries from registrants and consumers, government and private institutions, and the media each year.

Edelman Public Relations Firm out of Atlanta, Ga., provides strategic public relations counsel to the IICRC, as well as consumer and media coordination (e.g., Good Housekeeping, House Beautiful), and trade magazine outreach (such as ICS Cleaning Specialist). Edelman also provides press materials development, media training, resource letter evaluation and revisions and a rapid news-response program related to flooding, fires, hurricanes and other disasters, which are IICRC bylined. Edelman coordinates NAPS releases, Web site content, Certified Firm support, issues management response and overall accountability as well. Finally, they are responsible for producing the quarterly IICRC newsletter with input from numerous individuals on the board and our consultants.

The IICRC consults with three legal firms. One based in Vancouver, Wash., which handles our day-to-day affairs, including issues related to registrants, instructors and schools, logo misuse, violations of policy, and interpretation of policy and procedures. Another legal firm is based in Houston. Their area of expertise relates mainly to writing and interpretation IICRC standards, specifically the ANSI process, along with legal review to limit liability. The third firm, located in Seattle, handles trademark issues.

We also have consulting arrangements with management companies in England, Australia and Japan where IICRC has satellite administrative offices. As the IICRC has expanded operations globally, it has found the need to accommodate registrants in these countries with local operations.

All of our consultant contracts are negotiated by the president, along with other members of the executive committee or board, the treasurer and legal counsel. Once finalized, each contract is then ratified by the board of directors. Our consultants are required to provide reports of their activities to the executive committee (typically monthly), as well as the board on a semi-annual basis.

As with any successful business, the IICRC has checks and balances. It works with two accounting firms, one to assure the day-to-day operations are kept in proper order, and the other to perform an annual audit.

I’m sure you’re wondering, why do we need so many consultants? Well, it’s simply a matter of keeping a large, international corporation running smoothly. IICRC is no longer the Mom-and-Pop organization it was some 35 years ago. It’s huge! Someone has to continue to work when all the volunteers go back to their “day jobs.” The consultants fill that need; they have to, it’s in their contracts!

Now don’t get me wrong; it’s not a solely consultant-run shop. In addition to our consulting firms, it takes hundreds of volunteers to run IICRC. Next month, I’ll fill you in on the volunteer side of this great organization. Remember, whether volunteer or consultant, the guiding principle in all IICRC business decisions is always, “What’s right for IICRC registrants!”