5 Questions with Carol Driscoll

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Carol Driscoll, Technical Director at BELFOR, started out young in the restoration industry, first working in her parent’s business. Over the last three decades she’s gained numerous certifications and won several industry awards and accolades – the latest of which is the 2020 Women in Restoration Award, which recognizes those blazing a trail for their peers in the restoration industry.

First, congratulations are in order, as you’ve just received the 2020 Women in Restoration Award! What are your
thoughts around this?

I am truly honored and humbled. When I think of all the amazing, brilliant women involved in the restoration industry, it is a privilege to be acknowledged among them. This is a milestone in my career and I am beyond grateful for the recognition.

What have you seen as the biggest challenge(s) in your career so far, and how did you overcome it (them)?

I love a challenge and feel we grow through all challenges– life would be stagnant without them. A never-ending challenge is working with insurance carriers, TPAs, and auditors. I haven’t overcome some of those challenges yet, but I remain optimistic as we continue to work together. At times, it’s been challenging being a female in this industry, but I wouldn’t know any different and I certainly have not let that stand in the way of achieving my professional goals. I have hit glass ceilings in some places, and have not been offered a seat at the table in other situations. It’s been frustrating and discouraging at times, but thankfully, I have had far more cheerleaders than naysayers in my career. Every instance has taught me valuable lessons about people and systems, and each time I moved on to bigger, better things!

Who would you name as your most important mentors in the field, and why?

I’ve been involved in many facets of this industry (a field technician, sales and distribution, manufacturing and education) and have encountered many people I view as mentors. When I was a regional sales manager for Jon-Don, Jim Paolla was my boss. He was a great teacher; I learned a lot about business from him. He once told me I was like a bull in a china shop! He taught me patience. I learned change happens gradually; it’s not a race to the finish line. On the education side, IICRC instructors Joey Pickett, Barry Costa, Brandon Burton, and Kevin Fisher have been influential in my life. They each have tremendous skill sets as educators and inspired me to become an instructor. Rachel Adams and Ruth Travis showed me that women can actively participate in this industry. My current boss, Ted Foster, is another mentor who raised the bar high when it comes to delivering professional training and presentations, both virtually and in person. I never knew PowerPoint presentations could look so good! My dad, Dick Driscoll, who is also an IICRC instructor, has always been my biggest cheerleader. He continually encourages me to push through barriers and to believe I can do anything.

What resources or tools have you found to be the most valuable to you in your career?

Education – from IICRC classes in the early days of my career, to attending conferences and other classes today. I feel strongly that when I stop learning, I stop growing. I love to sit in other instructor’s classes and attend industry events. Meeting people with different experiences and knowledge has only enhanced my own knowledge, which I then pay forward to my students.

The year 2020 has been quite a challenge for everyone, whether in the restoration business or not. What do you see in the restoration industry’s future, and what do you think is most important for those in the field to be focusing on?

Technology. I see our industry moving quickly towards better technology in the field, specifically with meters, monitoring, and drying equipment. Within the next few years I think all restoration companies will equip their field personnel with iPads and other smart technology that will allow users to quickly enter and upload job data. Some companies are doing this already, but soon it will be required of all restoration professionals. For restoration contractors, the focus should be on preparation and awareness. It is important to prepare for these advancements, setting aside additional capital to purchase software, hardware, and other equipment, investing in technology training for field employees and end users, and continuing to learn and be aware of changes in technology. It is so important to be prepared, rather than to be left behind!

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