San Diego, California may not be the first city that comes to mind when you think of the restoration industry. A dry desert climate, surfing and the Pacific Ocean typically come to mind first. In the small East San Diego County town of Lakeside, best known for its rodeo and small town charm, the first meeting for The Restoration Association was held on March 21st, 2018.

Our first meeting was held at Christian Brothers Cleaning and Restoration. Company president, Gabe Matthews, once held quarterly meetings here affectionately dubbed “The Restoration Club.” It was a casual group of restoration professionals meeting to discuss best practices and share ideas. It was the June prior to The Restoration Association’s first meeting, that my business partner Richie and I were invited to attend a Club meeting. As the new owners of MI-BOX, we were looking for any opportunity to connect with restoration pros.

But … you know how these small meetings and gatherings sometimes go, especially in the busy realm of restoration; sometimes, there just isn’t a “next meeting.” For one reason or another, the next meeting never gets planned, and things fizzle. So, after months of not hearing about another meeting (and wondering if we’d been kicked out of the Club), I reached out to Gabe to help. Through this meeting, The Restoration Association was born.

As a tribute to Gabe Matthews’ efforts, we have just one rule (“Matthew’s Rule”) at our meetings: “We have gathered here as professionals of the restoration industry to learn, grow and become better stewards of the craft. We welcome all guests, members and associates to engage with one another and ask that you respect the absent. This is not an opportunity to gossip about those who were unable to attend or to throw anyone under the bus.”

When you attend a meeting for The Restoration Association, you’ll find a very professionally-run organization done very personally and you’ll never leave hungry. At each meeting, you will be reminded that The Restoration Association does not exist to make a profit off memberships; it is to build a community with local chapters that add value and harvest new ideas; a statement which I have said so often that is has become ingrained into the mission statement of The Restoration Association.

As we’ve worked to grow The Restoration Association, we are working hard to be progressive by addressing the needs and requests of those working as contractors and affiliates in the restoration industry.

Now What?

The Restoration Association is preparing to expand into five major cities by the end of 2019 and host an expo for the industry in late August or early September. Consistency is key, so each chapter will have a monthly chapter meeting, bi-monthly socials, quarterly events like a baseball game or family friendly event, and a holiday party.

I wanted to use this opportunity to say thank you to several people and organizations in the association who have helped it through this infant stage: Jason Barbeto, Allie Guidry, Kevin Jones, Mason Moore and Richie Robison. A special thank you to our founding sponsors: Patriot Environmental, FRSTEAM, Central Valley Environmental, MI-BOX of San Diego and The Contents Specialists.