Continuing Education: Restorers Explain Why Knowledge Is Key

For restoration professionals, certification is extremely important. As technologies and techniques change, staying on top of best practices can set a business apart. But for those who haven’t gone through certification courses, the thought of going back to school can be a bit scary.

John Browning, CR, CPPA, is the vendor manager and large loss technical adviser at On Side Restoration. Penny Tralau, CR, WLS, CMP, CLS, is the managing director of Mould Rescue Pyt Ltd. C&R asked them about their experienced going through differing programs and why they would recommend it to others.

C&R: What inspired you to seek out high-level certificate training?

John Browning (JB): Coming from construction where obtaining tickets meant higher positions, obtaining higher credentialing in restoration opened up more opportunities. The Certified Restorer Program was a natural step to assist me in my work practices and being recognized as a leader and expert in the business.

Penny Tralau (PT): I kept coming upon situations that were beyond my basic certifications.  I knew there had to be a more to learn and then I found the RIA certifications. The “on the job training” is always extremely valuable but the formal education kicks you along to levels beyond your imagination.

C&R: Where were you at in your career when you decided to do this?

JB: I was currently a project manager for a restoration firm when I took the program. It allowed me to grow and venture out into my own restoration company. Later, I was able take this experience and partner with another firm to create revenue growth from $1 million to $5 million a short period of time. In the early 2000s, this was a large sum.

PT: I had been in Restoration for about five years. I felt a little stale and wasn’t being challenged beyond the daily jobs. I founded my company from scratch so it has been a long road but so valuable.

C&R: What was the process like to actually get the certificate?

JB: The process was brutal, invigorating and very rewarding.

PT: Being in Australia presented a challenge because I had to travel across to the states with some of my dear colleagues, which was fun but also expensive — and meant time away from the business. The actual process was a little daunting because there was a lot to learn and terminology that I had never come across, however the teachers and the education team were a tremendous support.

C&R: What have some of the benefits been since you’ve received your training?

JB: I went from a large loss project manager, to owning my own restoration firm, then into consulting, and finally to my present role within a very large firm in Canada. It has rounded out my experience and knowledge and elevated my status with my peers.

PT: The benefits of the training for me have been in applying my knowledge on the job. Being able to think a little outside the box to come up with some inventive solutions that help my customers. In addition it has excelled me into the field of expert witness reporting, the higher level of qualifications has assisted greatly.

C&R: How does having a professional certificate elevate you among your competition?

JB: I have become the person that not only our internal team looks to for oversight and guidance but, our customers do as well. Word has gotten out in the industry that my knowledge is key to assisting them in issues they may be having with projects whether pre loss or post. I can assist them in assessing liability or viability. This adds to value to myself and my company.

PT: Having a higher level of certifications and exposure to a group of peers has allowed me to stand out from the crowd.   My application of knowledge and how I handle situations speaks for itself.

C&R: If someone is apprehensive about getting a professional certificate — whether they’re worried about the cost or the time or anything in between — what would you say to convince them to go for it?

JB: Designations and certifications are like badges of honor. They prove that an individual has taken the extra time and effort to truly understand their craft and these are always recognized as value when looking to advance. They elevate the status of the individual because they are understood to know more for the education they received. This is in all industries not just restoration. In restoration, the days can quickly be consumed with work and leave little time for formal education. It’s risky business to rely on knowledge only obtained while in the field because it could be incomplete or wrong practices that are learned and that costs more money than the time it would have taken to learn to do it right.

PT: I would tell them not to hesitate. Obviously it needs to fit with their business culture and their service offering but if they are looking to grow personally or professionally then get on board.

C&R: Anything else you would like to add?

JB: Education and training is an investment in the future. Any training received, only adds to their overall life skills and experience preparing them for the future. My education has rewarded me with a progression of experience and allowed me to be a productive and valued part of the business. The oversight and leadership that I am tasked to provide daily is quantifiable in not so much the revenue we gain but the revenue we don’t lose.

This article was shared in C&R with the permission of the Restoration Industry Association.

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