Industry Icon John Downey announced his retirement at Restoration Winter Break held at the Fairfield Inn by Marriott in Bonita Springs Florida from February 1 to 3, 2024.

Winter Break Host and Conference Facilitator Pete Consigli made John Downey the guest of honor at the Winter Break Banquet and Networking Dinner on February 2nd, held at DeRomos La Fontana Banquet Room in the Bonita Bay Promenade in Bonita Springs.

Downey addressed the Winter Break Banquet delegates during the dessert and coffee service giving a heartfelt retirement message to his many friends and colleagues in attendance. John submitted his career biography (include below) which was printed in the Winter Break 2024 digital program in his final industry role as the lead moderator for the Winter Break 2024 Conference.

John Downey is a fourth-generation carpet cleaner who began his cleaning industry odyssey in 1973. He recently stepped down as chairman of the Cleaning Industry Research Institute (CIRI), a nonprofit cleaning science research organization.

 Downey has decided to make Winter Break 2024 his swan song. Briefly, over the course of his career Downey:

  • Managed his family’s cleaning business in Columbus, OH from 1979-1984.
  • Founded and ran his own cleaning business, also in Columbus, from 1984-1989.
  • Founded Cleanfax magazine and served as publisher and editor from 1989-1997.
  • Served as editor of Cleanfax, after selling it in 1997, until 2000.
  • Became the master distributor and later the owner of Steamin Demon Company, the manufacturer of a high-flow extraction carpet cleaning machine invented by his brother, Mike, from 2000-2005.
  • Founded and continues to serve as owner-operator of Downey’s Carpet Care of Granville in 2005.
  • Established the first peer-review journal for the cleaning and disaster restoration industry, The Journal of Cleaning, Restoration & Inspection in 2014 for the IICRC. 
  • Served as Conference Manager for the industry’s first series of technical science- based symposiums under the IICRC and CIRI brands and.
  • Served as executive director (and more recently chairman) of CIRI in 2018. While at CIRI Downey established a new peer-review journal, Cleaning Science Quarterly. In 2021 the journal's name was changed to the Journal of Cleaning Science.

Downey’s decision to end his public career at this event is not an accident. It is an opportunity to step offstage at an event hosted by his good friend, colleague and fellow industry watchdog, Pete Consigli. Pete has been an advocate and a warrior on behalf of restorers since before there was a restoration industry. As a watchdog, he has ferociously policed the integrity of the restoration industry for decades, matched only by his friend and colleague, Cliff Zlotnik.