ICS Magazine

My Thoughts On Our Industry's Great Loss

January 1, 2007


For me, the loss of Howard Olansky is like the loss of a parent. And indeed, the role he played for over half a century in the floor covering and related industries was paternal. Howard observed, reported, took part in and informed our industry about the events, the technologies, the trials and the tribulations of our men and women in the trenches.

Howard was there at the very emergence of the onsite carpet cleaning industry some 35 years ago. He worked hand in hand with others that we consider forefathers and leaders of the carpet cleaning and restoration industry, those who formed the organizations that led to the associations of today. The people we consider the leaders of today and yesterday. Howard was the ultimate “go-to guy.”

When Howard talked, even E.F. Hutton listened. He talked to us in the pages of Western Floors, beginning in 1955, and Eastern Floors (which later merged and became National Floor Trends) Installation Specialist, which became Installation & Cleaning Specialist, and today we have ICS Cleaning Specialist and Floor Covering Installer magazines. He spoke at conventions, association meetings, supplier meetings and on the phone like a head of state, a most trusted confidant and advisor. He was the epitome of the word mentor.

We are receiving countless e-mails, cards and phone calls about the loss of Howard. None of the comments will mean more to me personally or ring more true than this:

“Having a mentor and friend as you did in Howard was a gift, and the more it hurts the more special a man he really was. You are a special person and, never having had the pleasure of meeting Howard, he will live on through you, as you have become one of my mentors and a friend.” – Peter Seltzer, Zoots Inc. operations manager.

I am honored to carry the mantle of publisher of ICS, and I do so with the teachings of my greatest mentor, Howard Olansky. Thank you, Howard, for giving our industry your wisdom, your stewardship and your kinship.