Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Last summer IICRC announced a "new" mission statement to advance
globally recognized standards and certifications for the cleaning, inspection,
restoration and installation industries. The plan includes setting goals all
through their operations including administration, governance, communication,
standards, education, certification, examinations, instructors, schools, marketing,
international activity and especially their "new" affiliated trade
association, the International Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Council
of Associations (IICRCA). That lofty statement can be summed up in one word.

As a died-in-the-wool conservative I have a built-in mechanism that automatically
questions anything that even hints at control. And IICRC's "new" mission
statement reminds me of our bureaucrats in Washington hard at work to make us
believe that bigger is better. But this "new" plan is not really new.
Ed York, the founder of the predecessor, IICUC, was a deep thinker, innovator,
and probably started more enterprises connected with our industry than any person
I knew. Ed saw the potential of controlling the industry through IICUC and set
the wheels in motion for what has become IICRC.

Control was definitely on his mind the day he called me to recruit the PCA,
a private association of Bane-Clene owners, to support IICUC back in the '80s.
In our discussion he told me in no uncertain words that control was the key
objective and listed the advantages of such power. Ed said he admired the way
I controlled PCA. His idea was that in order to control the industry the first
requisite was control of the small associations that represented local cleaners.
While his plan had a certain intrigue, I thanked him for inviting me to participate
but declined because he was wrong. The sixty people who started PCA in 1980
were adamant when they organized it. They wanted an association that was totally
independent of the rest of the industry.

In the mid 1990s, my friend Herb Harpham of Certified Chemical Company was
program chairman for a convention in Toledo, Ohio and asked me to speak. Lee
Zimmermann, president of the association, and his wife Kathy introduced me to
exhibitors and many of their members and made me feel quite welcome. But, just
as I was introduced to speak, a strong advocate of IICRC said loud enough for
everyone in the audience to hear, "Who the hell invited Bane to speak here?"
Herb was embarrassed, but I got a nice hand at the end.

After my speech, I was taken to a private luncheon hosted by IICRC. At that
time they were promoting ICRA, an umbrella spin-off that would essentially mean
the end of any influence by local associations. The movement was unpopular and
was overwhelmingly rejected. Before the principals realized I was in the dining
room, one of them began to outline the same basic plan that I suspect they have
today. About that time I was recognized and informed that the luncheon was a
confidential board meeting and was politely asked to leave. An insider filled
me in later.

The acronym has grown by a few initials (IICRCA) but I'd bet it still promotes
the fundamental ideas that were proposed that day in Toledo. Just like the big
government bureaucrats they emulate, IICRC is beating the same drum. Their intention
is simply to control the cleaning, restoration and installation industries.
The progressive movement in politics started more than a hundred years ago and
just like their models in Washington, they don't give up. They failed in '95,
but to paraphrase the Terminator, "They'll be back".

IICRC has recently purchased a former bank property in Las Vegas that will
serve as its new Global Resource Center. The property has approximately 2,500
square feet of warehouse and 17,500 square feet of office space. My prediction
is that this time they may "get 'er done."

They even own a bank building to hold all of their money.

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