While the economy may be cooling down a bit, things at the Restoration Industry Association are heating up for 2009, with several new initiatives and programs on tap.

Brown Bag Webinars
Every company has been affected by the economy and restoration contractors are no exception. In an effort to help professionals stretch their resources a little farther in 2009, RIA has introduced the Brown Bag Lunch Webinars, 50-minute sessions addressing a wide variety of topics of interest to businesses in the cleaning and restoration industry. RIA’s once-a-month webinars are designed for management-level professionals who are decision makers within their company, or company staff members who have a specific focus within the business and will benefit from the topic.

RIA webinars are priced per location, so they’re an affordable training option for the entire staff. The Brown Bag Lunch Webinars use Go-To-Meeting as the webinar provider, and to participate, attendees must have Windows XP, a telephone or computer microphone.

Upcoming topics and presenters include:
  • March 18: Peter Crosa, SSHCA. How to Find the “Right” Employee to Market & Sell Your Restoration Services to the Insurance Claims Industry.
  • April 15: Gloria Berthold Larkin, TargetGov. Government Contracting for  New-comers: Entering the Federal Market
  • May 20: Leo Nov, Restoration SOS, Inc. How to Market Disaster Restoration Services in the Internet Era
  • June 17: Stan Hulin, Future Floor Technology, Inc. Easy Money: Hard Floor Maintenance as a Lucrative Add-on Service

For a full schedule of upcoming classes, visit the RIA website at www.restorationindustry.org

Updated Website
RIA is about to unveil its newly updated website, providing valuable information for both consumers and industry professionals. The site includes a technical library featuring articles from Cleaning & Restoration magazine on mold remediation, soot and fire residue, cleaning up after floods and hurricanes, project profiles, cleaning for health, columns from RIA’s technical directors – Martin L. King, CR, ASA, and Steven M. Spivak, Ph.D. – on a host of topics cleaners and restorers encounter daily, as well as business, marketing and legal articles.

Three new sections have been added for consumers, first responders and insurance professionals. Consumers will find practical information on how to remove stains and spots (or when to call in a professional), how to prepare for impending floods, hurricanes and other perils; what to do after they hit; why they should hire certified professionals and where to find them; helpful hints to make their textiles wear better and last longer, and general information on cleaning and restoration.

For insurance professionals and first responders, there will be information on how to locate a restorer, emergency tips they can share with their clients before or after an event, helpful information concerning restoration issues and access to RIA’s technical articles for up to date information.

“We want the site to be user-friendly, provide critical information and be a resource for RIA members and the constituents they serve,” said Erik Greenwald, RIA’s director of marketing and membership.

RIA Fall Conference
The RIA Fall Conference will take place Oct. 13-16 at the Marriott St. Louis at Union Station in St. Louis, Mo. This year’s conference will have a distinct business focus with speakers addressing how to work effectively with Latino employees – everything from how to better communicate (basic words and phrases) to understanding their mindset and priorities as part of the Latino initiative for the conference.

For more information on RIA’s upcoming events, visit www.restorationindustry.org.