Things I Learned at the NIR Conference

In a previous, My Words – My Plan for 2010, I spelled out my plans for this year; one of the words I committed to for the year was Education.  I will continue to learn, to be educated and to educate others this year.It is with that in mind that I reflect on my recent attendance of the National Institute of Restoration‘s (NIR) 2010 Executive Leadership Conference and the Things I Learned.

  • I learned, through a series of interviews with member companies and consultants that work with the NIR, that integrity is a big part of their business philosophy and daily work.
  • I learned that the restoration industry is made up of family owned businesses that are genuinely concerned with the well being of their clients, the homeowners.
  • I learned that renovation companies work for the homeowners and at times are advocate for the homeowners in negotiations with the insurance companies.
  • I learned that these companies, the owners and employees do not need to be told how to network or the value in developing relationships.
  • I learned that some so called experts truly do not understand the power of relationships.  This particular lesson is one that I have unfortunately seen repeated over and over again.  I witnessed a professional blow off a potential contact, just because that person was not in the renovation industry.  Did I mention that this contact works for one of the largest health care companies in the southeast?

We all attend conferences, training sessions, networking events and socials with different agenda’s and plans. I encourage you to approach these events with open minds, and open eyes.  Spend some time observing what people are doing or not doing.  You may be surprised!


  1. John Lusher says:

    Thank you so much Kimberly!!! I appreciate your ongoing support, referrals and wisdom!!!

  2. Hey John my friend!First off, let me say that I LOVE that you place education so highly in your 2010 plan. Of course that has nothing to do with my background as a teacher;-)I love how you concisely laid out the specific points that you took away from this conference. So many times people go to conferences and then come back with no clear take aways.So much as I am in love with Social Media, there is no substitute for that face to face contact and the ability to make real connections (apparently something that professional needs to learn!)Thanks for sharing such great observations!

  3. John Lusher says:

    Thank you Danielle!! Education is the key to life and face to face is the key to relationships, no matter how we meet, virtually or in person!

  4. Rochelle Veturis says:

    Oooookay John. I love this last part, “We all attend conferences, training sessions, networking events and socials with different agendas and plans. I encourage you to approach these events with open minds, and open eyes.” It’s easy to fall into the trap of prejudging people or treating them a certain way because you think they are powerful (or not as powerful), influential (or not as influential), famous, well connected, and the list goes on.You’ve inspired me to really take those notions and toss them out the window John. There are dozens of divine appointments waiting for us when we attend these kinds of conferences (trust me … I’m fresh off of SXSW), and sometimes it takes something or someone to shake you, and help you get out of your own way. Thank you again for being that person John. More like this please. Great content.

  5. John Lusher says:

    Thank you Rochelle, you ROCK! I appreciate your encouragement and comments; let’s get out there; learn and observe!

  6. Hey JL! I’m very glad you made the absolute most of your trip, knowing that you drove for miles and miles across state lines and invested non-refundabe time and gas, with the hunger to learn and better a better person than you were the day before (Which is a hard act to follow! =P). You are committed to your education, and it must be empowering that you’re reaching that goal!And like Rochelle said – you are throwing all of your preconceived notions away and clearing your bucket so that you make room for all the new relationships you form at the convention, all the new insights to be better equipped and stay relevant. You can’t do that with a semi-full bucket of old stuff!To be honest, I never had to deal with the restoration industry before, so everything you just posted here is new to me, and refreshing to know that most companies are small, independent, family-owned, relationship-oriented, and advocates of homeowners like me, who just bought a home not too long ago.Keep learning and sharing!

  7. Gina Parris says:

    Okay, I ‘m starting to have REALLY REALLY bad cabin fever as I read everyone’s event takeaways. So my first response may just to be to find the events I need to attend and believe for the details to work out at home while I’m away.One of my clients was a national franchise in the restoration business and I loved hearing how they take their mission so seriously as they are helping families in crisis. They definitely taught me a thing or two.Hooray for tossing out pre-conceived notions and embracing all kinds of education. I am positive that you left a great impression on those you interacted with too.

  8. Thanks for sharing John!And now the contractor speaks: :)I’m with you 100% on education. It really does separate the professionals from the rest.About mindset: Tomorrow I’ll be in class to be certified for the new Lead Removal rules that go into effect April 22. I have to be honest that I wasn’t approaching this training with the open mind that you suggest so thanks for helping me with my mindset- good timing! The good part about my previous not-so-positive approach is that I found someone on twitter who is taking the training with me 🙂 so we’ll make it a mini tweetup!About restoration contractors: I’m with you that the vast majority of contractors overall have great hearts and will be the first on the block to help a neighbor, ect. The other kind of stories that we hear and work to eliminate seem to come more from a lack of professionalism than a lack of character or ethics. Having said that, I am currently a professional witness for a client who had a restoration company do a real number with their project. Extreme unprofessionalism is the best way to state their case- so it is out there. But thanks to guys like you, continually seeking to learn and serve the community, our industry will be moving forward to serve the best interests of those we serve.Keep up the good work!

  9. John Lusher says:

    Thank you Paul for the incredibly motivating comments!! I am ready to do even more now! I hope you never have to deal with the restoration personally, but if you, the small, locally owned companies are the best!!Let’s keep learning together!!

  10. John Lusher says:

    Thanks Gina, your comments are greatly appreciated. This is a very unique business and I LOVE learning from those around me!! Now, we have to get you out of your cabin 🙂

  11. John Lusher says:

    Thanks so much J, I appreciate input from someone in the construction industry that has seen the good and the bad. Fortunately the restoration industry does have more good people and companies that are committed to helping. Always approach any meeting with an open mind; and let us know how the training/mini Tweetup goes!

  12. John,I attended the conference and was quite impressed with the depth of commitment and professionalism within the rank-and-file.I am not directly involved in the industry however, I will become an associate of the NIR if for only the relationships with quality professionals as yourself.Rich

  13. John Lusher says:

    Thanks for the comments Rich!! I am sure that joining the NIR will serve you well with information and the networking opportunity! I enjoyed our conversations and look forward to more!

  14. Kimberly Christian says:

    One great thing about you is that you learn something in everything you do. 2010 will be a great year, though because of your willingness to learn and help others…along with your strong integrity you are going to be an even better asset for Consolidated Construction and the NIR.

  15. John Lusher says:

    Thank you so much Kimberly!!! I appreciate your ongoing support, referrals and wisdom!!!

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