PHOENIX — May 2, 2019 — The 2019 International Restoration Convention + Industry Expo of the Restoration Industry Association (RIA), which took place April 30-May 2 in Phoenix, began with a kick-off reception in the expo hall Tuesday evening.

Attendees roamed the expo hall, exploring new offerings from exhibitors, networking with new and known peers, and munching on mini pork empanadas and other finger foods.

After the reception, a small group gathered together for the annual pinning ceremony where those receiving RIA designations were honored. This year’s pinning ceremony saw the first to receive the new Contents Loss Specialist designation, with Mike O’Donnell becoming CLS #1.

Mike O’Donnell receives CLS designation #1

Wednesday began with a breakfast reception before the opening remarks and town hall. The two-hour town hall covered many important points regarding the future of the restoration industry.

During the event, RIA and the IICRC announced a strategic partnership between the two organizations. IICRC Chairman Pete Duncanson said of the need for the partnership between the two, “If we don’t regulate ourselves, someone else will—our government or the government of wherever you’re from.”

RIA Chairman Lee King and Duncancson signed the agreement in front of all attendees at the 2019 International Restoration Convention + Industry Expo Kicks town hall as a sign of the collaboration to come.

All current RIA Certified Restorers will receive updated IICRC certificates. A webinar discussing the collaboration is forthcoming.

RIA Vice President Elect Mark Springer lead the town hall where attendees were able to submit questions and vote on polls via online software.

Ed Cross, chairman of the newly developed Advocacy and Government Affairs Committee discussed the committee’s goals, including announcing its mission statement:

AGA mission statement

Cross talked about the need for coming together as a group, advocating for each other, to work together for the common cause of supporting legitimate restoration companies and finding ways to handle the major issues often referenced—insurance collaboration issues, specifically third-party administrators.

“Today all of you in this room have the opportunity to change [the disjointedness of the industry],” Cross said. “There’s an imbalance of power, and we can correct that if we can just get organized.”

“All of you need to be the advocates of this industry.”

Visit www.restorationindustry.org for more information and to take part in industry advocacy. The RIA asks restoration companies contribute 1/100 of 1% of their revenue for this advocacy.