5 Questions with Lisa Dickson

Lisa Dickson has worked for Dayspring in Missoula, Montana, as an estimator & project manager for 12 years. She started working in the industry in San Francisco in 1995, and became a CR in 2004 after studying under Marty King. At the time, there were five women CR’s in the industry.

1. WHAT INITIALLY DREW YOU TO THE RESTORATION INDUSTRY?

Curiosity! In 1995 I was living in the Bay Area and answered an ad for a “fire cleaner” in the San Francisco Chronicle with a local restoration company. From the day I sat down to interview with Kevin Waldron, the owner of Olympic Restoration, I was hooked. The work was exciting and took me to every corner of that big, beautiful city! It was a way to help people in need, and knowing that I was able to assist them through a difficult time was very rewarding, and still is.

2. WHAT WAS YOUR MOST CHALLENGING PROJECT?

Many years back, a local leading supplier, fabricator and molder of industrial plastic products plant suffered a terrible fire loss. The main production area was most heavily damaged, and the entire shop had to be dismantled and rebuilt while production, shipping and administrative work in the rest of the plant was still underway. We had crews working two full shifts seven days a week on demo and clean-up and repair tradesmen working nights to set new equipment and repair offices and production areas.

As with any large commercial loss, minimizing business interruption is paramount. Challenging as it may be, the rewards are even greater. This was both a challenging and successful project thanks to a great effort by the many individuals involved in the restoration process.

3. WHAT ARE THE GREATEST CHANGES YOU’VE SEEN IN THE INDUSTRY OVER THE PAST 10 YEARS?

Third party administrators in our industry have created a new set of rules for the restoration contractor. Administrative tasks have become more weighted, and mitigation specialists have become “drying experts.” This has created a whole new challenge and struggle for the contractor. It is important to be well educated in industry standards and have a general understanding of all aspects of our industry.

Another dynamic change is the advancement of technology at our fingertips. The opportunity for the link of information between insurance companies, adjusters, agents, customers and contractors is now instantaneous, and only the strong will survive.

4. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE THE NEXT GENERATION OF LEADERS?

My advice to the new leaders of this industry is to support RIA because our industry grows stronger with unity. The more we advance and share, the better we can provide our professional services to the customers we serve. Spend time in the field working, and take every opportunity to advance your knowledge and become a Certified Restorer. Last but not least, be kind. In a world of controversy and strife, be the calm. Your life will be better for it.

5. WHY ARE YOU INVOLVED IN ORGANIZATIONS LIKE RIA?

I stay involved with the RIA because I want to be networked with professionals in our industry. I find great comfort in knowing that we all share common struggles and victories. RIA offers a broad scope of educational opportunities and information that isn’t offered elsewhere. I have gained much from my affiliation with RIA, and staying involved allows me to give back.

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