Two of the best ways for a restoration professional to stay ahead of the curve in a constantly changing industry are continuing education and networking with peers. The first updates technical knowledge, provides practical insights and hands-on experience, and helps keep a company and its technicians on the cutting-edge of the industry, while networking provides the checks and balances that allow a business owner to know if his competitors and colleagues are experiencing the same sort of market, provide leads on new business or solutions, and help to sharpen a company’s focus.

The Restoration Industry Association’s Convention & Exhibition at the Wyndham Palm Springs and the Palm Springs Convention Center in Palm Springs, Calif., March 10-14, promises a dynamic lineup of speakers addressing some of the issues that restorers face on a daily basis. With almost 80 hours of instruction over the five-day period and more than 10 exhibition hours, there will be ample opportunity for networking and education.

Renowned psychiatrist Edward Hallowell, M.D., who specializes in the area of AD/HD, will talk about dealing with the stress and frenzy of being overworked and overstretched, and how these symptoms can mimic AD/HD or exacerbate an existing condition.

Gary Dietrich, a political analyst and co-founder of Citizen Voice, a nonpartisan movement to involve citizens in the public arena, will address how to garner effective media coverage for businesses. Restoration firms deal with individuals affected by disasters on a daily basis. Dietrich will explain how firms can increase their media exposure in a positive way, implement successful partnerships and protect vulnerable populations in their local areas.

There will also be four pre-convention sessions: a mold refresher training course by Michael Pinto, CSP, CMP; a daylong seminar on legal employment issues by Randi Klein Hyatt, Esq., a labor attorney and legal columnist for Cleaning & Restoration magazine; a look at 10 steps to breaking down the barriers and working with adjusters by independent insurance adjuster Peter Crosa; and a comprehensive look at specialty rugs and wool care by Aaron Groseclose, CRS, Thea Sand, CRS, and Val Arbab.

Some of the education sessions during the convention include: contract, documentation and litigation reports; disaster response triage for restorers and fine arts specialists; essential practices for achieving accountability; innovations in rug cleaning; estimating HVAC restoration services on soot, fire and smoke; debunking the myths of government contracting; professional conduct; the Pittsburgh Protocol; expanding property management contacts; the appraising process; member-to-member partnering; and remediation in contaminated environments.

RIA is also offering three full-day post-convention seminars. Ed Cross, Esq., who specializes in legal issues affecting restoration contractors, and industrial hygienist Peter Sierck tackle the topic of project management and risk assessment considerations for restoration and environmental contractors, particularly as they relate to the IICRC S500 and S520 documents. Former CIA operational psychologist, Dana Clark, Ph.D., will provide attendees with a methodology for effectively evaluating the veracity of information gathered during job interviews, as well as identifying areas of concern, dishonesty and possible evasiveness with candidates. Barb Jackson, CR, who provides consulting and training on packouts for full-service restoration firms, will cover the topics of streamlining contents handling systems, the four fundamental factors of a successful contents division, inventory controls and marketing tips.

RIA realizes a lot of networking occurs outside of the meeting rooms, so a number of special events are also planned. The Annual RIA Golf Tournament will take place at the Tahquitz Creek Legends golf course on Tuesday, March 10. A Welcome Reception will be held on March 11, the first official day of the Convention, and the Induction Ceremony recognizing RIA’s certificants will be held the evening of March 12.

“Conventions provide a unique opportunity for attendees to learn from their peers, try new technology in a hands-on environment and catch up with colleagues from around the world,” said RIA President Rusty Amarante, CR. “and the value of the education offered cannot be underestimated. RIA’s goal is to equip its members with information they can immediately implement in their businesses, and expose them to leaders both inside and outside of the industry.”

For more details on the RIA convention, visit