Editor's Blog

N.T.A. N-O-W

August 7, 2008
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ICS publisher Evan Kessler jumps into the fray with his thoughts on the neccessity of a national trade association for the cleaning industry.

There is a lot of talk about developing a National Trade Association. Connections, the trade show that is a product of 13 cleaning and restoration trade associations, has been running this idea up the flagpole and at least two national (indeed international) trade associations already exist. So what?

In my 20-plus years of watching this industry as a member of the ICS team, I have always felt that this industry lacks the credibility and respect that the professionals in it deserve. This credibility and respect comes from having a cohesive group that professionals in the field are proud to be a part of and it becomes the icon of the profession. Some might say that this exists in the IICRC, but the IICRC does not operate as an association, has no members and therefore can’t provide the benefits that members of a trade association need, want and deserve.

Leaders from the various associations have been pow-wowing to decide which of these organizations is going to drive this necessary movement. Personally, I have no horse in the race, and don’t care which of the group of various acronyms and egos ends up being the force of this movement, only that it succeed and that the cleaners and restorers have ONE major industry voice that sings a song of professionalism.
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It is all about three little letters, Ev ...

Steve Toburen
August 10, 2008
EGO and a little longer word, "selfishness". I have been banging around this industry since 1969 and was both a early member of SCT and even AIDS which morphed into ASCR when no one would rent us a convention site and now I guess has become RIA. Ev, I had the almost the same exact conversation you detail in your blog over thirty years ago with different friends in the business. It is such a no-brainer to join forces. Hasn't happened yet. In the meantime the industry discussion forums have done much of what associations are theoretically supposed to do- foster the interchange of ideas and support. As we say down south (OK, real far south in the Dominican Republic) "Vamos a ver". BTW, Ev, welcome to blogging. Something Big Billy and I need to do "some day". Oh wait, I guess I already do something like that in the ICS discussion board. Steve Toburen PS I will add the "selfishness" part applies not just to the individual associations and their directors but also to most industry members. When I was on the board of the Carpet and Upholstery part of ASCR we had a chronic shortage of volunteer help. (What is that old saying about "We have met the enemy and he is us"?)


Jim Pemberton
August 12, 2008
I think another valid word to add to the equation is "FEAR". Like Steve, I've been a part of the founding and support of associations for more years than I'll admit. The fears that the officers and members of these associations feel are, sadly, sometimes justified. They may fear that a larger group will bury their identity, for example. This fear is not a matter of merely being provincial in their attitudes, but often instead a genuine fear that principles that were the foundation of the regional association will not be upheld in the larger group. Will each association have to make some accomodations for the "greater good"? Certainly. However, it would be unreasonable (and undesirable) to expect a successful organization to sacrifice most of what made them what they are.


Tony Wheelwright
August 13, 2008
Two good comments above from two principled men. Ego, selfishness, fear and apathy all grow and thrive in an environment that lacks transparency, open discussion and real democracy. Beware of anyone who opposes "term limits" or favors appointed "Nominating commitees" or appointed "at large" voting board members. Sadly, all too often greed has overcome "principle", in our industry. Back-room deals, non-compete sweet deals etc. It's disgusting that these same people promote themselves as "champions of this industry."

my 2 cents

Fred Boyle
September 3, 2008
our industry associations have been around for quite awhile. Members represent a minute portion of the industry as a whole. You guys enjoy building your new and improved clubhouse The rank and file won't follow tho. Its not your fault... we are for the most part an unregulated industry. When Government steps in and enforces waste water laws, Tradesman licensing, Haz Mat laws then there will be an outcry from the masses for an industry voice. The general population is reactionary, not proactive. Personally I hope the day never arrives for the need for that industry voice. Fred Boyle Rug Sucker and proud to bunched in with the likes of landscapers, painters and pool cleaners.



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