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Goodbye Patrick Winters

A Look Back with Patrick Winters

In 2009, when the IICRC Board of Directors decided to hire a paid executive, it wisely selected a seasoned nonprofit expert who specialized in organizational assessment. That person, Patrick Winters, retires at the end of this month after more than six years of stewardship.

Winters' tenure as president of the IICRC has been marked by transformative changes designed to position the Institute as the leading technical organization serving the cleaning, restoration, inspection and installation industries. He has served under the leadership of four chairmen, Paul Pierce, Darrell Paulson, Tony Wheelwright and the newly elected Pete Duncanson. Winters retires with the Institute well positioned to serve these industries in the coming decades.

We asked Winters to share his thoughts about his tenure and the IICRC:

How long have you been involved in the industry?
I have been a nonprofit executive for 40 years. I secured my first job as an Executive Director when I was 25 at a small organization, and I have been with the Institute for almost six-and-a-half years.

How did you get involved with the IICRC?
I am proud to say I was the first paid staff person at the Institute. It is my understanding that the Institute had been considering hiring a full-time president for many years. When they finally committed to it, I applied and was fortunate to earn the position. My professional association and certification experience, along with my education aligned well with want the Institute was seeking.  I think it also helped that I specialize in startups, turnarounds and organizational assessments.

What are you most proud of during your time at the IICRC?

I’m most proud of the organizational assessment called “Striving for Excellence” that I performed six years ago. It demonstrated that there were many problems in the 10 functional areas of the organization. To correct those areas, we developed the Institute’s first strategic plan. We have made great progress on the plan but still have work to accomplish. One of the key areas that needed improvement was in governance. The whole governance structure, particularly the bylaws, was antiquated and did not come close to meeting nonprofit standards or best practices. We have made major changes in the governance structure, but work still needs to be done.

Also when I started, the Institute’s mission statement was three to four paragraphs long which told me that the Institute was not focused on what it truly was: a standard setting and certification body. I am very proud that we have a mission statement that I hear everyone reciting, a value statement to serve as the moral compass of the Institute and a strategic plan to guide the IICRC. Having a strategic plan also allowed us to focus on items that had only been talked about in the past, such as the purchase of a headquarters building and starting a corresponding association to provide services to registrants.  

I also introduced many management best practices, such as a planning, monitoring and evaluation process for all contractors and consultants; a request for proposal (RFP) process; a RASI chart and internal calendar; changes in financial planning and reporting; and others. The “Striving for Excellence” evaluation showed many problem areas, and with the blessing of the Board, we were able to make many positive changes.

I am also very proud of the turnaround in Standards and that could not have been accomplished without the expertise of Mili Washington and those Board members that supported the decision to hire Mili as they saw the need for professional support as a major part of our mission.

Externally, I am very proud of the memorandums of understanding (MoU’s) that we developed with organizations with a common mission. The return on investment of time has more than paid for itself and raised the profile of the Institute.

Any disappointments?
Certainly, the current state of the Institute management is troublesome and I thank the previous Board and the current Board for tackling the issue. The Institute is a powerful force in the industry and provides a major role in setting standards and certifications. It troubles all of us that our credibility and reputation have been damaged. But we have a strong Board, and the Institute will work itself out of the situation.

I am also disappointed that I was not able to make more progress on certification and international issues, but all the governance and external relations issues kept me from focusing on those areas.

Why are you retiring now?
I have wanted to retire for several years, but there was much unfinished business in the strategic plan, such as the RFP for a new management firm, the purchase and opening of the Global Resource Center and the startup of the association. Therefore, I was asked to stay on to help the Board and the organization accomplish these items.

What do you plan to do in retirement?
First, I plan to spend more time with my wife, son and family. I have two granddaughters that I don’t see enough. Second, I plan to play on a competitive, traveling, senior softball team. I love baseball, and it will be fun to lace up the spikes and get on the field again. I also have a consulting practice that specializes in association organizational assessments, serving as an interim CEO and conducting CEO searches for nonprofits. I will also be teaching classes in governance and organizational evaluations for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Institute of Organization Management, at the University of Arizona.

Any final thoughts on your years at the Institute?
I don’t think people understand that for profit and nonprofit CEO’s roles differ. I did not make decisions in a vacuum and implement them. Not all Board decisions are going to be popular, but they are made with the best interest of the mission in mind. It is then up to the CEO and management to implement the programs and policies that are passed. I have been blessed to work with very passionate board members and three Chairmen, Paul Pearce, Darrell Paulson and Tony Wheelwright. I thank the Boards and the Chairs for their guidance and support. I can only hope that these boards learned as much from me as I did from them. I wish the Institute much success in the future and will do all that I can to ensure its prosperity. It has been my pleasure serving the Institute.

If you would like to send Patrick a note, letter of congratulations or thanks, you can contact him at

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