RR0712_RIA_img1_i.jpgWhile many Americans vividly remember the destruction caused by two airplanes hitting the World Trade Center towers in New York City on September 11, 2001, there are a number of RIA member firms that played a very personal role in the restoration efforts. Attendees to RIA’s fall event – “Strictly Contents: Building Your Contents Engine” – will offer the opportunity to explore two landmarks that stood in the shadows of the twin towers and were restored by Maxons Restorations, Inc. of New York City.

The two-day event that focuses on contents restoration and takes place October 18-19, will be chock full of informative lectures and unique behind-the-scenes tours of Trinity Church, St. Paul’s Chapel and couture restorer, Madame Paulette. Damon Gersh, CR, Jeffrey Gross, CR, and Howard White, CR, will walk attendees through those first chaotic days after the collapse of the World Trade Center towers and how Maxons responded to the catastrophic loss in the city before taking attendees through the two landmarks. Trinity Church required extensive cleaning and restoration, while St. Paul’s Chapel was cleaned and restored so it could be used as a place of refuge for first responders working throughout the area.

Madame Paulette is a third-generation, family-owned business that has been recognized as a pioneer in the cleaning, restoration and preservation of designer apparel, interior textiles and home furnishings. John Mahdessian and his staff will guide guests through the various areas of the facility where experts provide dry- and wet-cleaning, tailoring, spot and stain protection, re-weaving and reconstruction of one-of-a-kind garments and furnishings owned by clients whose names read like the “who’s who” of the rich and famous.

The event is an advanced, 400-level learning experience that will focus on the six “pillars” for building a successful business, with a focus on contents, personal leadership, people, profits, product, promotion and pricing. Keynote speaker David MacLean, president of Esporta Certified Operators of North America, will address the pillar of personal leadership, which begins with the business owner. In an industry where the business of restoration can be deadly to the personal relationships of owners and employees, MacLean will explain the art and intention of work/life balance and the practicalities of successfully achieving it.

Art Johnson, CR, WLS, who has more than 35 years of business experience, will tackle the pillar of “people” and how to recruit staff with the right temperament for doing contents work while determining the best training styles to maximize their potential. Barb Jackson, CR, the Queen of Contents, will cover the pillar of “profits” and how to keep them from walking out the door.

Mark Springer, CR, takes an interactive look at the pillar of “promotion” with some help from the attendees who participate in the Contents Restoration Marketing Contest. Based on last year’s best ideas panel, the contest is open only to registered attendees who have submitted their best marketing ideas and the results of the effort. The top five ideas will be selected by the RIA Contents Council and be presented at the event. The winning idea will be selected by the attendees at the end of the session.

Bill Foulds, CRS, will explain how restorers should handle Oriental and specialty rugs encountered on restoration projects. He’ll review a five-step process on what to look for when encountering specialty rugs and provide a damage prevention checklist and a list of qualified referral sources for their restoration. Estimating for contents can be tricky, but Lori Young, CR, will focus on the pillar of “pricing” and how to avoid “creative” estimates that can make you look unprofessional.
Strictly Contents: Building Your Contents Engine will be held at the Sheraton Meadowlands Hotel & Conference Center in East Rutherford, N.J. Pricing and additional details can be found at www.restorationindustry.org.