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Al's column

by Al Wahnon

CLEAN BREAK: Larry Lynch was a drummer with the Greg Kihn Band but he found the work not steady and the income erratic. So he dropped his drumsticks and went into the carpet cleaning business. He was tired of playing on tours and yearned to be home with family. “We were all married when we started that band, and we were all divorced when it ended,” he said. Lynch, now 61, decided to start his own business and had a friend teach him how to clean carpet, after which he founded Larry’s Extreme Clean in 2004. Why carpet cleaning? Three reasons: I never heard good reports about carpet cleaners; it’s physical work, so it keeps me in shape; third, “it’s pretty lucrative.” Today, he’s drumming a happier tune.

AWARDS: Four the fourth consecutive year, the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) was the recipient of the prestigious Golden Thinker Award from the North American Precis Syndicate for its consumer awareness campaign. The coveted honor is awarded to individuals and companies whose featured press releases have received extremely high pick-up and use by America’s newspaper editors…Another industry winner is Cleaning & Restoration (C&R) magazine, the monthly technical journal of the Restoration Industry Association (RIA), which received an Apex award for editorial excellence in a com- petition sponsored by Communications Concepts. The September 2009 issue of C&R focused on social media marketing and won the Apex for publications that print more than 32 pages. C&R has won 18 design and editorial awards over the past six years.

HONOR: Paul Pearce, chairman of the Institution of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), has been selected to serve on the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) 2010-2011 International Section Council. He begins a one-year term on Aug. 21, during ASAE’s Annual Meeting and Exposition, where he will discuss emerging issues and opportunities for associations seeking to work effectively overseas. Pearce’s experience and expertise in global matters will be an asset to the Council and the ASAE’s more than 22,000 association CEOs, staff professionals, industry partners and consultant members.

WHOOPING CRAIN: Growing in popularity every day, issues with environmental impact are featured in all media—newspapers, television and websites. Crain’s New York Business magazine recently profiled ecological entrepreneur and Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) board member Sean Ragiel, who has managed to help the environment and turn a profit while doing so. Titled, “Entrepreneurs make a clean break: Wanna buy a used carpet?” the article explains how last year Ragiel’s company, CarpetCycle, “collected 12 million pounds of discarded carpeting from offices and other commercial buildings in New York and New Jersey. His team in Elizabeth, N.J., sorts the carpet by type, prepares it and ships it to manufacturers that remake it into new carpets, automotive parts and other products. Mr. Ragiel grossed $2.5 million last year.” CarpetCycle’s New York City market generates 1 billion pounds of spent carpet each year, or about one-sixth of the nation’s output.

PASSING: Larry W. McCurdy, a director of Mohawk Industries and chairman of its Audit Committee, died on Aug. 3 at the age of 75. He had been a member of Mohawk’s board since the company’s initial public offering in 1992. “Larry was a key contributor to our growth over the past two decades,” said Jeffrey Lorberbaum, Mohawk’s CEO. “He had a distinct perspective that combined all aspects of finance, marketing and manufacturing to positively position a business in a competitive environment. He brought a keen intellect and unique experience that reached across a broad array of subjects. He was a strategic thinker who helped us find innovative solutions to the challenges we faced. We will miss his good counsel and friendship.”