More than 250 restoration professionals came together in support of the industry at the 2022 RIA Inc. Conference and Trade Show last week.
The two-day event marked the first time the industry has come together in almost three years after the RIA Inc.’s previously scheduled conferences were cancelled due to the pandemic.
“It’s fantastic to see so many familiar faces once again after three years of being separated by distance and government regulations,” Owen Boak, RIA Inc. Australasian president told delegates in his opening address.
“I would like to thank all the members of our executive and administrative teams for the work they have put in not once, but on three occasions. I would also like to thank the vendors for their continued support,” he said.
The two-day conference, which saw attendee numbers increase since its 2019 event, provided highly technical sessions, business and leadership seminars, case studies of major restoration projects, networking events, and an exhibition trade show, with more than 20 vendors showcasing the latest restoration technology and equipment.
The education program focused not only on technical restoration issues but also on the challenges currently facing restoration companies including recruitment, retention, and employee engagement.
The conference’s keynote speaker Olympian Lisa Curry gave an inspiring address on how to motivate team members and the importance of putting passion, pride, and purpose into work.
RIA Inc. paves way for new industry standards
Delegates were also provided with an update on the association’s local arm, which has grown local membership by 16 per cent since the start of the year. It has also hired two full time employees to spearhead membership development, advocacy initiatives, and events.
“Since our last [event] we have evolved our industry association from being a sub-council of the North American brand into an association in our own right that enables us to work harder on building professionalism and standards throughout the region,” said Boak.
Oliver Threlfall, Chair – Advocacy and Membership Committee and CEO of Steamatic, and Wayne Perng, RIA Inc.’s Membership Development and Advocacy Manager, provided delegates with an update on the association’s advocacy activities.
The local advocacy committee is set to soon release a comprehensive series of position statements for members and the wider restoration industry.
“The purpose of the statements are to publicise RIA Inc.’s position regarding issues and matters pertaining to the restoration industry,” Perng said.
New member benefits in development were also outlined, including new staffing, marketing, and training resources, as well as additional promotional opportunities for vendors. The initiatives are the result of an industry survey conducted by RIA Inc. in the last quarter of 2021.
RIA Inc. also plans to hire a full-time advocate to represent the industry after the association reached its fundraising goal of $100,000 at the conference.
“We need a voice to speak on behalf of the restoration industry and to advocate for professional and sustainable claims practices,” Perng said.
Threlfall said the appointment of an industry advocate will help RIA Inc. and the restoration industry “be recognised and respected as a trade.”
Restoration specialist and industry advocate, Christine Boak, also shared her involvement in developing Certificate IV in Cleaning (Specialty Cleaning and Restoration).
Boak said the qualification has been included in Australia’s national vocational education and training (VET) framework by the Australian Industry Skills Council.
“This qualification gives us the opportunity to offer our staff a career pathway and make restoration and speciality cleaning a viable career option rather than something people ‘just fall into,’”she said.
“There are a number of RTOs that are developing the course and RIA Inc. hope to partner with some to make sure that we can deliver this training as widely as possible across the industry.”
Perng also announced the upcoming launch of an online advertising campaign by RIA Inc. to build brand awareness, which was developed with a Sydney-based advertising agency.
The RIA Inc. Conference and Trade Show concluded with RIA Inc.’s annual gala dinner where the 2021 and 2022 Australasian Lifetime Achievement Awards winners were announced.
Prior to the conference, RIA Inc., in conjunction with the Indoor Air Quality Association of Australia (IAQAA), hosted a one-day workshop, which examined current issues with indoor air quality and public health, with speakers covering topics such as epidemiology, toxicology, microbiology, environmental chemistry, and restoration.
Trade show exhibitors included Restore Solutions, Coach8, Active Environmental Solutions, Cool Breeze Rentals, Eurofins, Airhygiene Training, AeroAir, Actichem, Mycotec, AEML, Carpet Cleaners Warehouse, Violand Management Associates, Aeris Environmental, Climate Rental Solutions TESA Directive, Opira, Tramex, Prime Ecosystem, San-Air, IECL, Agile Equipment Hire and XPOWER.
Read more about the 2022 RIA Inc. Conference and Trade Show in the July/August issue of INCLEAN magazine.
INCLEAN attended the 2022 RIA Inc. Conference and Trade Show as a guest of RIA Inc.
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