Ken Larsen & Pete Consigli – RIA 70th Anniversary Convention Recap & Restoration Industry Update

Air Date: 3-25-2016| Episode: 407

This week on IAQ Radio we welcome back Ken Larsen along with The The Restoration Industries Global Watchdog, Pete Consigli. This week was the Restoration Industry Associations (RIA) 70th Anniversary and Convention in Orlando, Florida…

This week on IAQ Radio we welcome back Ken Larsen along with The The Restoration Industries Global Watchdog, Pete Consigli. This week was the Restoration Industry Associations (RIA) 70th Anniversary and Convention in Orlando, Florida. We will recap some key learning points from the event and opine on the state of the industry. Things are very unsettled in the disaster restoration world at the moment. Unrest at the IICRC has many concerned but RIA had an outstanding conference with strong attendance. What does the future hold for the disaster restoration industry?

Ken Larson is driven to learn everything there is to know about the restorative drying sciences. He teaches courses for people interested in RIA, IICRC and ACAC certifications. He has some strong opinions and does on not mind sharing them. Ken is the author of the leading industry reference guide on “state of the art” structural restorative drying practices, “Leadership in Restorative Drying”.

Pete Consigli has been a member of the Restoration Industry Association (formerly ASCR, International) since 1977. In his current dual role of RIA Education Director and Industry Adviser, Pete reports to RIA’s Executive Committee of the association’s Board of Directors (BOD). He directs all aspects of RIA’s education program, continuing the long standing tradition of providing RIA members industry-leading comprehensive technical and managerial training. Pete also advises the RIA BOD on matters impacting the restoration industry and the RIA mission.

Z-Man’s Blog:

RIA 70 years young

A Recap of RIA’s 70th Annual Convention and Trade Show with guests: Pete Consigli, Ken Larsen, Marc Selvitelli and Chuck Violand.

The awarding of RIA’s advance designation credentials has traditionally been done in an intimate manner; this year it was done in the opening session. Where the success of those who earned RIA’s advanced credentials, Certified Restorer and Water Loss Specialist was celebrated.

Opening Keynote by Judy Ferraro. Takeaways: For every great player, there is a great coach. For every story about the way things used to be there are new efficient technologies. There are younger people who can change the way we bring value to organizations.

Breakout sessions included:

Trauma cleanup

What works for me

Get Your Profits Back

Exploring Advanced Building Science Principles for Applied Drying Applications, with Chris Schumacher. [Showed what happens within a wide range of materials when exposed to wetting.]

Avoiding OSHA and EPA citations

How to hire great employees


Best practices for contents handling.

Industry Update, Legal Implications & Practical Application of IICRC-S500 [with Michael Bowdoin, Esq., Mickey Lee, Ed Jones & Darren Foote]; focused on the meaning of key language changes in S-500.

Takeaway: Consider impartial application of the standard to best serve the needs of the project not the property owner or insurance carrier.

Restorers and Insurers: A Wary Relationship on a Precipice! [with: Ralph Moon, PhD, Harvey V Cohen, Esq., Michael Bowdoin, Esq., Paul Handerhan] facilitated by Pete Consigli and Moderated by the IAQradio team. The important task of timekeeping was handled by Aussie Ashley Easterby.

Takeaway: Florida is a contentious insurance claim and damage repair marketplace, “ground zero”. A battle over who should control the claims proceeds for insurance repair.  Discussion began with a PowerPoint presentation thoughts from the late Martin King presented by Pete. In addition to questions submitted in advance, over 30 audience questions were posed along with follow-up questions from the moderators.  Approximately 50 audience questions were submitted to Ken Larsen and Darren Foote, Cr, WLS prior to being posed by the moderators.

Member to member showcase of Phoenix Award Projects

Concrete Drying [Mickey Lee and Andrew Rynhart]

Industry Town Hall key issues facing the industry

Young Restorers Mentoring Session

International Networking Session


Past recipient Michael Goldberg, CR presented Sam Bergman, Rolyn Companies with the Martin L. King Award.

The RIA Phoenix Award for Innovation in Restoration went to Belfor Property Restoration (Dallas, Texas) for work at a women’s and baby’s hospital. The Phoenix Award for Innovation in Reconstructions went to HarenLaughlin Restoration Lenexa Kansas for work at a condominium complex.

Patti Harman, Golden Quill award went to Chuck Violand. It was nice for Patti to visit and make the award presentation.


Incoming IAQA president John Lapotaire and his wife Lydia who attended the event to network with members and build bridges between RIA and IAQA.

“Déjà vu all over again”

A plant tour was reinstated. Blaine and LaDonna Oney were gracious hosts, welcoming a visit by fellow RIA members to their business Emergency Services and Reconstruction for an opportunity to share best practices. Ken Rothmel and Sunbelt Rentals sponsored the lunch.

Ken Larsen’s comments and takeaways:

On S-500 panel: The S-500 committee responded to comments. The new standard is different than the reference guide. The documents were previously recommended to be used in tandem. Now specifically not to be used in tandem. Only the standard bears the ANSI logo. The new document will change the discussion on the standard of care. Provides necessary information for a more forceful defense of our pricing and invoices. He likes the new document.

On Shumacher’s presentation: WUFI is a German modeling software, new concrete can take as many as 10 years to completely dry, the relationship between moisture and materials, physics of what happens when materials get wet, how water becomes part of materials, very excited that Chris is educating CR’s and WLS’. WUFI is only a tool. If you try to use WUFI in court and you’ll likely find yourself cornered. Modeling moisture is different than firsthand experience with moisture. Chris has both.

The importance of communication. Documentation is a subset of communication. Communicate all the facts related to the project. Communicate the issues, anticipate where opposition will be focused.

RIA isn’t a cliquish good old boys club. RIA is very welcoming. RIA is going out of its way to reach out to young restoration professionals. RIA is coaching young restoration professionals to a better career.

More from Pete Consigli:

RIA has traditionally taken on some of the big issues the industry wants to discuss through “RIA Donnybrook” discussions: the best applications of drying technology, scoping and pricing services & insurance program work.

He chronicled the long term contentious relationship between insurers, contractors and policyholders through articles in cleaning and restoration and insurance industry periodicals.

The next level of discussion control is a global issue, the battle over contractual control of insurance claim proceeds.

Committees and staff are working on RIA’s course development and certification.

Acknowledged RIA staff liaison Meghan Czaikoski who is working with Katie Smith on the mentoring program and Bill Prather & Will Reed who are working with him on education.

One approach is to not to side with the insurance carrier or the policyholder and do what’s best for the project.

Started a new discussion which will create solutions and drive change.

After every storm there is a rainbow. There is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Hoorah for global warming!

“The induction at the beginning is what’s important. Inspires others to want to do it.”

Importance of RIA’s Certified Restorer’s Body of Knowledge which has undergone organizational review by AIHA, IAQA, by prominent training providers and IICRC will be published later in 2016.  RIA’s Body of Knowledge is based on science and true consensus,

RIA’s Glossary of Terms, standardized contracts, AFMG (Accounting & Financial Management Guidelines) and Fire Standards along with IICRC’s collection of ANSI Standards will narrow the divide and allow the industry to work closer together.

Marc Selvitelli:

Big change right from the start. Purposefully recognizing those who completed advance designation coursework in front of their peers.

Rather than hearing the grossly exaggerated attendance claims of other organizations, Marc was refreshingly honest attributing the slight decline in RIA attendance numbers to vendors who sent fewer personnel and the fourth consecutive year of the RIA conference occurring in either Vegas or Orlando

RIA plans two educational events in 2016, Focus on Forensics Technical Conference in St. Louis, MO in October and Contents Cleaning in Charlotte, NC in November.

Chuck Violand:

Creating a safe environment for members who want to come. More energy more excitement, more to build on.

Today’s music:

“Old Convention Song” by the Cathedrals  YouTube

Z-Man’s final words:

The debate room looked the part; the setup and the dynamics for the debate were very well orchestrated and Pete Consigli was a great conductor.

Z-Man signing off



In what year was the original preceding organization to RIA founded and what was it called?

Answers:  1946, National Institute of Rug Cleaning