Disaster Kleenup International Inc., a North American network of independent property damage restoration contractors, announced that its founder, Edgar Perry “Ed” York, died on March 13, 2006, after a long illness near his home in Vancouver, Wash.
York launched DKI in 1974 as an outgrowth of an academic research project and led the company through its first decade, barnstorming the country recruiting cleaning contractors into the ranks of Disaster Kleenup. The consummate salesman (he ran away with a carnival at age 13), he recruited contractors with outlandish promotions and advertisements, including his famous “Year and a Day” guarantee, which was intended to differentiate his company from those that offered ‘just’ a one year guarantee. Those initial contractors, and many that followed, today make up the backbone of not just DKI, the largest property restoration network in North America, but also many of DKI’s primary competitors in the industry.
York’s contributions to his industry were not limited to DKI. He also founded two other well-respected organizations – the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) and the Society of Cleaning Technicians (now ISCT), in addition to serving on countless boards. All these contributions led CM/Cleanfax, a leading industry trade journal, to declare York its ‘Person of the Twentieth Century’ in 2000.
“To say that without Ed there would be no DKI is too simplistic a statement,” said Dale Sailer, DKI’s current president. “He was a mentor to so many contractors who for so many years struggled to become better businesspeople. The enthusiasm with which Ed tackled every challenge, turning each into a limitless opportunity, instilled the confidence necessary for his business disciples to grow and prosper. Indeed, Ed’s spirit infuses many of the things we at DKI still do today.”
York’s life after retirement was no less noteworthy, as he worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life conditions for disabled Americans, and also worked diligently on environmental issues.
To recognize York’s contribution to DKI and the industry, DKI is making a donation in York’s name to Hospice Southwest of Vancouver, Wash., which cared for York at the end of his life. It will also be renaming one of its annual awards to the DKI Spirit Award, each year invoking the spirit that Ed York brought to his family, his community, his company, and his industry. The DKI Spirit Award is given to a deserving DKI member at the annual Insights industry conference, which is sponsored by DKI. Additionally, the 2007 conference, which will be held in San Antonio, Texas, Jan. 16-20, 2007, is being dedicated in York’s memory.
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