Kevin Pearson & Mark Springer – Détente between RIA & IICRC: Strategic Agreement 2020 Update

Air Date: 6-5-2020|Episode 588

This week we welcome RIA President Mark Springer and IICRC Chairman of the BoardKevin Pearson for a show we are calling Detente between RIA and IICRC. This is the fourth in our series of shows about the development and implementation of the strategic agreement between the two groups. The Z-man and Radio Joe are happy to see this happening after years of missed opportunities to work together for the betterment of the restoration industry.

Mark Springer is the President of Dayspring Restoration, a company that performs restoration services in properties that are damaged by disasters such as water, fire, wind, or environmental damage. Dayspring performs these services across the great state of Montana where Mark has lived his entire life. The Dayspring family has grown to over 125 team members who work hard to delight their customers who have experienced property damage in their homes or businesses. Mark is the current President of the Restoration Industry Association.

Kevin Pearson is an industry consultant who has been in the industry since 1992. Kevin started as a technician in the field and worked his way up to managing a cleaning and restoration company. Then in 2001 Kevin opened Pearson Carpet Care and grew it into a multi-truck operation and was able to sell it in January 2018. Since then Kevin has been an industry consultant and performs inspections for the flooring manufacturers.

Kevin has also spent many years working to raise the level of the cleaning, restoration, and inspection industries through the IICRC. Over the years, Kevin has served on standards committees, chaired the Certified Firm Committee, Chaired the Nominating Committee, Chaired the Education Committee and served many different officer positions on the Board. Kevin currently serves as the IICRC Chairman of the Board for (2019 -2021).

Z-Man’s Blog:


Détente (from the French “relaxation”) is the easing of strained relations, especially political, by verbal communication. The term, in diplomacy, originates from around 1912 when France and Germany tried unsuccessfully to reduce tensions.

Following Cuban Missile crisis, “red phones” direct communication between DC and Moscow in the event of emergency.

Most often, the term is used now to refer to a phase of the Cold War. The policy of relaxing tensions between the Soviet Union and the West, as promoted by Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger and Leonid Breshnev between 1969-1974.

Détente between the Soviet Union has resulted in summits, treaties on nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, even a handshake in space and has had positive global implications.

I opine that it is a fitting term to use in reference to positive achievements of former competitors the IICRC and RIA.

Nuggets mined from today’s show:

Intraorganizational Communication:  While they had met previously, Kevin and Mark got to know each other during the 11 month negotiations between IICRC and RIA. They frequently communicate by phone and unhesitatingly interrupt each other’s personal time when needed. They are both newer faces to their respective organizations and neither was part of their organization’s “good ole boys” network. As neither was involved in the history of strained relations, Mark and Kevin have been able to set aside the past, begin with a clean slate and a guiding principle of “what’s best for the industry.” Mark and Kevin consider the relationship between organizations to be a unique opportunity.

New Management:  RIA found association management by a firm that managed multiple large organizations to be challenging. Too often, RIA members and volunteers were frustrated by poor service experience. RIA’s volunteers found that management staff were not consistently and timely completing the necessary tasks, resulting in volunteers losing the joy of volunteerism.

Changing management companies is disruptive.RIA changed management firms to improve member and volunteer experience. Katie Smith led the task force that recommended a switch to Association Headquarters; the same management firm that runs IAQA and NADCA.

IICRC hired Michael Dakduk, as the new CEO in March. After only 5 days on the job; Michael was ordered to close the IICRC Global Resource Center due to Covid19. As a US Marine, he adapted, improvised and overcame; so that business would continue. He obtained laptops for all of the staff, made needed changes to the phone system so employees could work from home. Before he was even hired, Michael demonstrated his connections and networking skills by introducing Kevin Pearson and Robert Pettyjohn to discuss mold in military housing with senators and congressmen in DC and handing out IICRC standards to other influential people.

Essential Business:  RIA members and IICRC Certified Firms were designated as essential business.

Joint Covid19 Guidance:  RIA members and IICRC Certified Firms and registrants needed timely guidance on Covid19.

Kevin and Mark are receiving credit for facilitating the speedy development of a series of informational Covid19 guidance white papers. Written by a team of volunteers including: Mark Drozdov, Michael Pinto, Norris Gearhart and skillfully managed by Brandon Burton the team wrote and distributed the original Covid19 guidance document and 2 revisions. The papers provide important information now when its useful rather than after the fact when it’s too late. The work product has attracted new people who have applied to become part of the team.

RIA is bringing leadership to important industry issues by hosting a series of open and transparent industry briefings. These briefings have had thousands of real time views.

Inability to conduct classroom training:  After the IICRC board approved online training in an emergency session, within 1 week Mike Dakduk and GRC staff selected, sourced and distributed the mechanism for online training to IICRC schools. This allowed for 1400 exams to be taken quickly. It was done right the first time. Not all IICRC courses are approved for online delivery (e.g. Applied Structural Drying is excluded).

IICRC schools have used cameras creatively to record demonstrations of important learning objectives.

An important component of RIA Advanced Designation Courses is the comradery and careerlong relationships that are formed during training courses. This is hard to duplicate online.

RIA Advanced Designations:  RIA has completed and published the Certified Restorer Body of Knowledge. RIA has 4 Advanced Designation courses which comprise the new Certified Restorer Program. (Water Loss Specialist, Environmental Loss Specialist, Contents Loss Specialist and Fire Loss Specialist). RIA is glad to partner with IICRC to administer both existing and forthcoming training and certification programs.

RIA is working with IICRC to begin beta testing online training by midsummer.

IICRC has created a help desk for RIA members.

Advocacy:  According to a poll of those firms within it, the disaster restoration industry is fragmented (or fractured). Fragmentation works against the industry. The restoration faces grave challenges from: estimating platforms who use unfair and inaccurate pricing, 3rd party administrators who nitpick invoices, 3rd party consultants who are engaged by the insurance carriers after work is completed to withhold payment and demand price concessions, regulatory challenges. RIA is focused on advocating for the restoration industry.RIA has begun a dialogue with Xactware regarding pricing, uncomfortable discussions that must occur. RIA members are the sole bearers of the financial burden of advocacy.

Career Path:  Both IICRC and RIA acknowledge that the industry has some bad apples. Both RIA and IICRC are advocates for a better educated industry. RIA wants to see restoration firms held accountable to higher professional & ethical standards and greater barriers to enter the industry. David Hodge (from IICRC) and Josh Miller (from RIA) are working on taking Water Loss Specialist and Certified Restorer to the masses so that consumers demand a WLS or CR, creating a career path. Progress has been sidelined due to Covid19.

A primary requirement of successful détente, is the personal chemistry between the people involved. Mark Springer and Kevin Pearson seem to have the necessary chemistry.

Z-Man’s final comments:  RIA previously came to member and industry defense fighting a costly patent litigation battle over the issue of structural drying. RIA is advocating on behalf of the industry and fighting 3 industry threats: unfair computerized pricing, and downward price manipulation by third party administrators and late entry of consultants. A new patent troll threatens the construction and restoration industry.

I suggest that a short promotional video fund raising be created and shown at all IICRC restoration course outlining the past and current threats to the industry and the current RIA/IICRC efforts to combat them. The goal is to seek small donations from every company. The financial burden for defending and protecting the industry must be shared by all not continue to be borne by a few.

Z-Man signing off

Trivia Question:

Out of the 8 billion people currently living on planet earth, name the only person on earth who has ever been documented as the first person to be born on a continent.

Trivia Answer:

Emilio Marcos Palma (born January 7, 1978) first person documented born in Antarctica.

Answered by:

Darren Hudema, Puroclean  Fort Lauderdale, FL