5 Questions With Owen Boak

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Owen Boak, CR, WLS, CMP, is the founder and managing director of Elements Specialty Cleaning and Restoration in Melbourne, Australia, with 25 years of experience across all kinds of restoration. Boak was part of the founding team that led to the foundation of the Australasian Council, and the running of the Australian Conference & Tradeshow in June of this year. Boak is the incoming council chair of the RIA Australasian Council.

1. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST TREND SHAPING THE FUTURE OF RESTORATION TODAY?

The over-influence of middlemen and metrics-driven programs at the expense of quality and service. We are charged with the responsibility of putting people’s and businesses’ lives back together. It’s time the debate was changed, as the procurement models are broken and are delivering poor long-term outcomes for all the stakeholders in the process: the insured, insurer and the contractor. We need to get real and subscribe to our motto: We make it better — we promise in all that we say and do.

2. WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT BEING IN THE RESTORATION INDUSTRY?

I have always enjoyed the challenge of solving problems and that we are challenged in this respect every day. Every new project is a challenge to be overcome, and I have met some fantastically interesting people and have seen some interesting sights in my 25 years in the restoration industry. Our industry is so broad and diverse that there is always something new and interesting to keep you challenged.

3. WHAT IS ONE PIECE OF PROFESSIONAL ADVICE YOU HAVE FOR THE INCOMING GENERATION OF RESTORERS?

Focus on delivering a product that you are proud of, and keep learning at every opportunity. When you constantly strive to deliver quality outcomes, you will be recognized and you will always be in demand.

4. WHERE DO YOU FIND THE MOST FULFILLMENT IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL WORK?

If you have a genuine passion for what you do, then there are times you get to work on something historically or culturally significant, or to work on a project where people are in need and you are in a position to help. If you are for real, then those are the projects where you step up and work for the good of the project or the community, and give over and above. They are the ones you remember most.

5. WHAT RESOURCES, OTHER THAN RIA, DO YOU TURN TO FOR PROFESSIONAL GROWTH, INDUSTRY EDUCATION AND NEWS?

I regularly listen to IAQradio and subscribe to as many trade and insurance journals as I can get my hands on from around the world. It helps to see what is going on all over the place, as different perspectives are always interesting. Participation in industry and trade events and developing knowledge networks are fundamental to ongoing success.

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