While wildfires decimated thousands of acres across the state of California, approximately 350 textile, environmental and restoration professionals were attending RIA’s Fall Conference Series in Orange County.

The series featured in-depth look at hard-surface cleaning: tools and equipment, products to consider, problems that may be encountered and how to identify flooring types, as well as a field trip to Steamway West’s facility for a series of demonstrations and hands-on training for cleaning a variety of different hard surfaces such as marble, granite and ceramic tile.

On the environmental side, Kent Berg of the National Institute of Decontamination Specialists discussed the challenges and issues involved in crime-scene cleanup. “There is a lot of psychological trauma and this is a tough job,” he said. “You can have nightmares and it can get to you. The stories behind this stuff can really get to you too,” he explained.

Other topics addressed included working in healthcare environments and what services restoration professionals can provide; the truth about chemicals used in microbial remediation – what to use, when and where to use them, how to apply them and the information found on product labels; and alternative cleaning methods specifically related to microbial contamination.

Following the environmental conference were two days of restoration-focused sessions with a virtual “Who’s Who” of industry leaders: Joe Lstiburek, Ph.D, P.Eng, Building Science Corporation; Mac Pearce, MPH, Mold Sampling & Diagnostic Service; Craig Fillmann, Moisture Mapper Int’l.; Ed Cross, Esq.; Kurt Bolden, Bolden’s Drying Systems; Chuck Dewald, III, Vortex Drying Systems; Charlie Cressy, Water Out; Dave Howard, Jon-Don; Brandon Burton, WLS, Center for the Advancement of Restorative Drying; Pete Consigli, CR, WLS; Dale Sailer, DKI; Cliff Zlotnik, CR, WLS, CMH, Unsmoke/Microban and many more.

Three distinct topics were discussed during several industry “donnybrooks” examining the technical aspects of drying, as well as the scoping and pricing of drying services. A new topic entered the fray with end-user-based contractor vs. insurance vendor programs. The debates took on an international flavor with participants from the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the U.S., and combined science, practical applications and analysis.

A new initiative from Purdue University was also unveiled for the disaster restoration industry. Under the leadership of Robert Cox, Ph.D., Purdue is developing a full-fledged Damage Restoration Project Management degreed program, the first of its kind in the country.

The conference’s exhibition allowed attendees to learn about the products and services of more than 40 different exhibitors. RIA’s 2008 conference will be Nov. 18-22, 2008, at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore on the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Md.

RIA Heads to Texas
The Restoration Industry Association’s (RIA) 63rd Annual Convention & Exhibition is set to take place March 11-15, 2008, at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas.

RIA’s National Institute of Rug and Carpet Cleaning (NIRC) will untie the secrets of rug identification and “Education-Based Marketing to Attract High-End Clients.” NIRC members will demonstrate effective ways to identify the heritage of a variety of rugs, explain how to use actual strategies and robotic systems to generate new business and perform magic in their “Vanish Impossible Stains” seminar, plus teach the history of American Indian weaving in “Navajo Weavers.”

The Environmental Services Division will present the “Environmental Standards & Legislations Update,” with an overview on new standards affecting restoration and IAQ, as well as individual operations; and “The ABCs of SOPs,” which will teach business owners the importance of implementing Standard Operating Procedures and their positive impact on profits. Additional sessions will focus on asbestos, lead abatement, the greening of HVAC, finding qualified employees, and dealing with unusual pests and rodents.

Lastly, RIA’s Disaster Restoration Division will offer “Scoping and Pricing Drying Services: Period 3, The Conclusion!” Starting with a controversial presentation in Denver at the 2006 Fall Restoration Conference, the final round will unfold as the debate reaches a much-awaited conclusion. Also on the schedule are “How to Understand GSA Schedules to obtain Government Work,” “Large Loss Invoices: Getting Paid Quickly & In Full,” and “50 New Ideas for Marketing a Restoration Company” will also be discussed.

Full details and registration forms for RIA’s 63rd Annual Convention and Exhibition are available on RIA’s website, www.restorationindustry.org.