Air Date: 5-3-2019|Episode 545
This week Iaqradio will have another one of their signature “Fireside Chat” shows with an industry pioneer and iconic personality. John Downey is well known to our listeners from his appearances on the show over the years in his former role as the former editor of the IICRC Journal and more recently in his new role as the Executive Director of CIRI.
This week’s show will be more personal and share John’s “story” from his family’s roots in the carpet cleaning industry that spans 5 generations over a century! John’s activism is legendary from his days of helping organize his local carpet cleaning association in Ohio to the story behind Cleanfax which he founded and sold in the 1990’s. His various dalliances in related segments of the cleaning, restoration and Jan San industries have given John some hard lessons learned he will share with our growing audience of loyal listeners.
This week IAQradio’s Restoration Global Watchdog will be joining the show to share some of his insights gleaned from knowing John for over 3 decades. Downey, Consigli and the Z-man share a common interest as industry observers, watchdogs and activists in their mission to advance the profession for the betterment of those who derive their livelihood from cleaning, restoration and remediation. Please join us this week as the “boys” have a chat with John Downey and share their heartwarming anecdotes which will make you smile, laugh and maybe along the way pick up a few tips that can be applied to your own professional and personal life journey!
- Dan Sullivan, Strategic Coach advises: entrepreneurs to spend their time doing what they are good at and hiring for their weaknesses. True entrepreneurs get paid last.
- Ed York had a 3 part Marketing and Management Bulletin called the “Associates” Program, that described the role of work procurement and the subcontracting model which worked successfully in carpet cleaning and disaster restoration.
- When a new carpet cleaner with a $19.95 price on his truck showed up in Carmel, Indiana. Second generation Bob Keller didn’t take it kindly and showed up at their home with a shotgun.
- The well-established cleaners who catered to the carriage-trade like Schaefer’s and Triple S did know many things that upstart cleaners didn’t.
- Many firemen had second jobs/businesses as carpet cleaners and disaster restorers. These “old-timers” mentored many younger generation cleaners and fledgling restorers back in the early days of the industry in the 1960’s-80’s
- Remembers being warmly welcomed by Armen Dohanian, Sr. (1999 ASCR/RIA President “BuzzDohanian, Jr’s Dad”) when Pete attended his first RIA convention in 1977.
- John is too humble, saying, “I don’t really consider myself an activist”; bringing to mind a scene in the Steven Seagal movie “On Deadly Ground” when the medicine man thinks the ailing Seagal is the incarnation of a bear’s spirit, Seagal at first resists telling the medicine man that he’s only “a mouse hiding from hawks in the house of the raven.” Inevitably, the medicine man replies that this is exactly what a bear would say.
- Ed York, wrote a hysterical tongue-in-cheek article about the Stainmaster issue, in which there was a place called Carpetland that was disrupted by a Magic Coat. To this day it is “folklore” in the annals of cleaning and restoration history since the sarcastic article never got formally published in the trade journals!
- The Great Debate features discussing controversial subjects such as IICRC S-500 was the precursor to Pete’s role as the Commish and RIA Donnybrooks. The rebuttal segment of the Great Debate was a unique feature that enhanced the reader’s experience. Pete was the only author who debated himself taking two opposing sides of an issue. So who was crazy then, Consigli or Downey who Pete convinced to let him do it? LOL!
- Feels a loyalty to Cleanfax as his original “dance partner”, while asked to write for competitors: Pete has resisted over the years.
- According to Humphrey Tyler, the man who bought Cleanfax, magazine editors and publishers should sit on the fence and not take sides. Pete never wrote for Cleanfax under Humphrey’s watch. World order was restored though as, he notes, when Jeff Cross became editor.
- Pete received an honorable mention as Cleanfax person of the year for his work on industry unification.
- Pete’s and Tom Yacobellis’ work on industry unification was later recognized with an Industry Service Award presented by Susan Valenti at the 1990’s annual Healthy Indoor Environments (HIE) Conference.
- You should only ride 1 horse, if you try to ride 2 at the same time, you’ll eventually get pulled apart. Choose your horse carefully. Pete says, Ride the horse in the race you choose, but work with other horses in their race to seek mutual benefit and Win-Win where and when possible! This is especially true when engaging in the not-for-profit arena and the political world of association affairs and volunteer activities.
- RIA and IICRC signed a Memorandum of Understanding, time will tell if how successful it will be. An analogy is drawn from Ronald Regan’s posture to detente with the Russians comes to mind when he said “Trust but Verify”. RIA and IICRC should be cautiously optimistic and take the advice Stephen Covey espouses, ” Seek Win-Win…or No Deal!”
- My mom taught me that: Age is a function of time. Youth is a state of mind. Pete wishes his friends and colleagues to remain forever young in heart and spirit!
- The Great Debate idea was borrowed from the National Review.
- The IICRC / RIA MOU is a welcome development, which he hopes will bear fruit over time.
- If he were giving the Person of the Year Award, he would give it to Mark Springer for his determination in getting the IICRC to engage. He knows Mark’s heart is in the right place, both groups need to give it a chance. John hopes its just the start.