Cleaning & Restoration Association News

The Dalton Connection

July 6, 2008
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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 two-and-a-half-day course.

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 protection.

And who were some of those volunteers who played such a prominent role in making the IICRC what it is today?

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 departments.

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” listen.

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 today.

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 before.”

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. 

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