The Dalton Connection
July 6, 2008
When the IICRC began some 36 years
ago as the IICUC, there was only one certification category, what we now call
Carpet Cleaning Technician or CCT. The course included carpet cleaning,
upholstery cleaning, carpet inspection, water damage restoration, carpet
repair, and even some marketing information all rolled into one
Wow, have times changed! Now IICRC
offers 21 separate certifications, with several more in the works. And it’s the
restoration side of certification that represents the lion’s share of today’s
certified registrants. Our standards now are achieving approval by the American
National Standards Institute, with recognition by federal, state and local
legislative entities, various institutions, and the insurance, upholstery and
carpet manufacturing industries.
We even changed the name of the
corporation from “Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning” to “Inspection, Cleaning and
Restoration” certification to reflect the true make up of the IICRC.
Ever wonder how all that happened, how
the IICRC rose to such a position of prominence in the industry?
Well, I can tell you that it didn’t
happen overnight, nor did it happen without the selfless work of a lot of
industry “believers” who understood what a great industry this was, what a
better industry it could be if we but joined in a few unified objectives. Those
objectives included the importance of training, ethics, standards and consumer
And who were some of those
volunteers who played such a prominent role in making the IICRC what it is
Well, I think it only fair to begin
with an illustrious list of IICRC presidents and other dedicated
supporters – names you’re sure to
recognize if you’ve been around the industry more than a few years: York, West,
Hill, Cooper, Atkinson, Bishop, Rottmeister, Wittkamp, Lynch, Bernazzani,
Gregory, Vermeulen and Zimmerman. These individuals sacrificed their time,
money and business interests on behalf of our industry, and many of them
continue to do so today.
In asking around, I found that
there were a few other key players who made the IICRC what it is today. Topping
the list in the cleaning category is my friend – our friend – Bill Doan. Bill
was at the helm of the DuPont StainMater program when it was introduced in
October of 1986. Shortly thereafter, Bill introduced us to Cy Gantt, who has
continuously served the IICRC since, and currently is a Director. Cy sits on
the IICRC Marketing Committee and heads up the annual Manufacturer’s Liaison
Seminar held every year in Dalton, GA. At this event IICRC hosts a one-day
update for some 50 representatives from the major carpet mills claims
Bill Doan also introduced us to Dr.
Al Luedtke, Senior Resource Associate with Invista, who has followed through on
methods testing and standards writing for some 20 years now. Al has been a
great source of science based knowledge for IICRC and regularly attends IICRC
Certification Council meetings.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t also
mention Carey Mitchell, Technical Director of Shaw Industries. Carey has
selflessly donated hundreds of volunteer hours supporting the IICRC
Certification Council, research projects and shareholder associations. More
recently, Carey headed the effort of to include IICRC Certified Firms in Shaw
carpet warranties for maintenance and cleaning, and he has supported research
and other IICRC projects in his position as chair of the Carpet and Rug
Institute’s Cleaning and Maintenance Issues Management Team.
Another great volunteer, Cindy
Sayre oversees the cleaning lab in the Technical Department of Shaw Industries.
She has as much knowledge of how to clean carpet or remove a spot as any
veteran cleaner in IICRC. She currently sits on the S100 revision committee and
ads her unique perspective to the project. When she talks, all the “guys”
And speaking of the CRI . . .
Ken McIntosh, CRI Senior Technical
Advisor, has been around promoting the IICRC with carpet manufacturers far
longer than most of us can remember. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that
it was Ken who first pointed Werner Braun, current CRI President, to the IICRC
as a credible industry affiliate. Werner joined with Ken, Carroll Turner and
other CRI staffers in promoting IICRC training programs and standards with the
entire manufacturing industry, and they continue to support and serve with us
I’ve already had the high privilege
of writing an entire column about my personal IICRC hero, Mark Hansen, IICRC
General Council for over 20 years. I can add nothing more to words already
penned about this noble, gentle and dedicated IICRC supported in publications
throughout our industry.
I think it was Churchill who said,
“We all stand taller because we stand on the shoulders of those who came
Certainly, that applies to your
current IICRC president; indeed, it applies to an entire industry that is
better and more credible because of the true statesmen of our industry who
served before us.
So how about you? For what service will you be known in
the future of our industry?
Let me suggest that leading an
association or certification organization is not the most noteworthy event in a
person’s professional life. Sure, some leaders get a lot of attention for what
they do. But when it comes down to it, the “shoulders” that we all stand upon
today are those of countless inspection, cleaning and restoration technicians –
IICRC registrants – who get up every morning, climb in their vehicles and
rededicate themselves to serving their customers.
Day in and day out, sometimes
appreciated, often taken for granted, you are the ones who are the face of our
industry in the eyes of literally millions of consumers. No awards, no
recognition; you keep doing the right and ethical thing on thousands of
cleaning and restoration projects every day.
Without you, there would be no
inspection, cleaning or restoration industry – indeed, no IICRC. So keep up the
good work. I really appreciate what you’re doing.