Eulogizing restoration industry trailblazer James “Jim” Barrett

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By Pete Consigli

It is with great sympathy we share the news of Jim Barrett’s death April 16, 2017.  Jim had been retired for many years living in the Boston area with his wife, Joanne, who was frequently at his side at industry gatherings when Jim was active in the Restoration Industry Association (RIA), an association he loved and helped grow in the 1970s and 1980s.

He was a member of the Honorable Order of the Blue Goose Association and a member of the Adjuster’s Round Table of Boston. Jim was an early adopter of forging mutually beneficial working relationships between restorers and adjusters and their claims offices.

Jim Barrett

Inaugural CR Induction of Class 1981 at the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, CA | (L to R) Don Bragonier, Bob Carrier, Marty King, Reed Dow, Jim Barrett, Major Long (Murray Dow, unpictured)

Jim was the first restorer to receive RIA’s most prestigious credential in 1981 and was Certified Restorer (CR) #2, following in the footsteps of Marty King, CR, ASA, the founder of the Certified Restorer program. Jim loved being a CR, and as member of the first CR induction class at RIA’s 1981 convention in San Diego, California, he helped advocate and build the CR program in the 1980s and 1990s.

I fondly remembers my friendship with Jim in the industry’s early days of development and growth. Jim was one of the cleaning and restoration industry’s trailblazers who embraced a philosophy and Esprit de Corps epitomizing personal and professional growth through “association” along the way — that this is how businesses and an industry got built.

Pete Consigli, CR, WLS, is an honorary RIA member. He is an RIA Industry and Education advisor for the global restoration community.


jim barrett

Jim Barrett, “holding court” at an industry trade show in the early 1970s

By Cliff Zlotnik

It’s with great sadness that I announce the passing of James V. Barrett.

Jim Barrett was the founder of Fire Restoration Services of New England and an inspiring industry pioneer who built a legendary service company doing high-profile restoration projects for high-profile clients including the Kennedys, sports personalities and other celebrities.

He was extremely proud of being a CR, a designation he earned in 1981. His CR number is #002. Realizing a need for the independent pooling of talent and resources necessary to handle large losses, he partnered with three other restoration firms to form Restoration Associates, the first such venture of its kind.

He was generous, willingly sharing his technical knowledge and business acumen through his long and strong association involvement and volunteerism. He hosted plant tours of his impressive facility, which was truly both “state of the art” and “best in class.” Those of us who knew him and had less experience and smaller, less mature and less successful business all wanted to emulate him and his success. He epitomized the class act.

He was a past president of the New England Institute of Restoration and Cleaning (NEIRC) and a past president of the National Institute of Fire Restoration (NIFR), a division of the RIA when it was formerly known as ASCR International.

A founding member of the restoration industry, Jim is fondly remembered by those who knew him and especially those who rose in the ranks of the industry alongside him.

He wasn’t all business; he also liked and knew how to have fun. A happy-go-lucky Irishman with a smiling face and a friendly greeting, he had a gift for storytelling and joking. I’ll miss the hearty slaps on my back and his friendly encouraging words.

He will be missed.

*This eulogy formerly appeared in IAQ Radio Episode 457 from April 21, 2017.

Cliff “the Z man” Zlotnik, CR, WLS, CMH, is an honoary RIA member. He is co-host IAQ Radio.

For the official obituary of Jim Barrett, please click HERE.

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