ICS Magazine

The Privilege of Leadership

November 6, 2003
This is definitely the brightest point in my professional cleaning career. What a privilege to serve this great organization, the main certifying body for the inspection, cleaning and restoration service industry in which I work every day.

Foremost, I would like to thank the entire IICRC board of directors for placing their faith in me as their chairman for the upcoming year.

My involvement with the IICRC began some twelve years ago, as the shareholder representative for the Ontario Professional Carpet Cleaners Association (OPCCA). I still remember my first board meeting: I sat at the table in awe of the likes of Eric Rottmeister, Jeff Bishop, Larry and Tryna Cooper, Mike Lynch, Mike West, Bob Wittkamp, Kenway Mead, Lee Pemberton and Neil Atkinson, just to name a few. At that point I thought I was at the top of the heap as far as this industry was concerned. Boy was I wrong!

Now, some 12 years later, I am the chairman of the board of the IICRC (and only the second Canadian to be bestowed this honor). During my time with the IICRC I have witnessed the organization more than quadruple in size, and I am very proud to have been a part of the success story behind the IICRC. I will continue to do my very best. I will be accountable.

I operate a medium-size, cleaning and restoration business, along with my parents Anne and Hank and my brother Grant, just outside of Toronto. It is with their support that I have been able to commit and volunteer countless hours to the IICRC. I hold IICRC Master Textile Cleaner and Master Restorer designations, and I am committed to continue along the education highway in our industry.

During the last dozen years I have served on the board of directors as representative for the OPCCA, and later, after consolidation with the Floorcovering Institute of Ontario Certified Carpet and Fabric Care Division, I served 10 years as chair of the IICRC Upholstery and Fabric Trade Advisory Committee. During that term of service I chaired the task force that created S300, the IICRC Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Upholstery Cleaning. With the help of IICRC Marketing Chair Ruth Travis, we successfully promoted S300 and the IICRC's referral network to the American Furniture Manufacturers' Association (AFMA). I still participate on several AFMA Joint Industry committees, giving certified firms a much needed "in" with an industry that didn't even know we existed a few short years ago. Today we have some of the world's largest furniture and fabric manufacturing companies using our certified firms referral network.

I have served on a number of other important IICRC committees, including Long-Range Planning, Marketing, Instructors and Schools and Finance. Thanks to Past President Lee Zimmerman, I am already participating in the Carpet and Rug Institute's many programs. Lee introduced me to the CRI executive committee, and I have attended all of the pertinent CRI meetings for the past year to help ease the transition. I am determined to continue the tremendous momentum Lee and others have achieved in the past three years with this most important ally in the carpet-value chain.

IICRC-approved schools and instructors are the number one choice for industry education and training. It is a win-win-win situation: the consumers we serve get better service; cleaning and restoration technicians become more career-oriented; and certified firms gain credibility and clients, along with a definite competitive advantage. Having more certified technicians and firms increases the value of education and training. Consumers, carpet mills and insurance companies clearly see the value of education and training, and today they are demanding it.

Seeing us grow from 5,000 to more than 25,000 technicians is unbelievable. I can't wait to see 30,000 and then 40,000. Personally, I would rather all of my competitors became certified firms using certified technicians. That creates a level playing field; it also creates more consumer awareness of the IICRC.

Being involved at this level has allowed me to make lifetime friends and colleagues whom I call on all the time. The future growth of IICRC is very important to me; during my presidency, it will be goal one. Thank you all for your confidence in my leadership, for the opportunity to serve. I won't let you down.