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Lisa holds a BS in Accounting from Penn State, is an IICRC Master Fire, Water and Textile Restorer, a monthly columnist for Restoration & Remediation magazine, and an author and instructor of various insurance and restorations related courses. Insurance policies and loss ratios were part of her childhood dinner conversation, as her father was an underwriter in the P&C Industry before retiring in 2004. That same year, Lisa married Ted Lavender, a Claims Adjuster, who spent over ten years in the Insurance industry. In the Summer of 2000, she and her husband started Berks • Fire • Water Restorations, Inc. ℠, which has grown into an award-winning, full service, regional restoration company. Lisa’s accounting background and understanding of the insurance industry helped grow the company to a team of approximately 50 professionals. In August 2012, she founded the Restoration Technical Institute as a way to share her knowledge and passion for the Restoration Industry and inspire others to achieve success. Since then, RTI has brought in the best instructors to teach IICRC and CEC courses to over 1,000 restoration professionals from across the country.
“I love my job because it is inspiring to be part of the learning process. It is so rewarding to not just share knowledge with colleagues from all over the country but also learn and grow from them. I love being surrounded by the expertise and knowledge that our instructors bring. It is all energizing, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have my job.”
Ted exemplifies the true entrepreneurial spirit. Growing up in Indiana, he spent time under the close tutelage of his father, Dennis, helping to build the family home. He continued to expand his interests in construction by pursuing a degree in Engineering from Ball State University. Ted began his career in the Insurance Industry in 1990 as a Claims Adjuster responsible for adjusting auto, property and liability claims for Prudential Financial. He quickly furthered his claims career as the Claims Team Leader for Cigna Investment Management. During a 10 year career in claims, he gained experience managing several claims departments, including property, casualty, CFIS accounts and Inamar boat and yacht division. He was also involved in the training process of claim professionals from all over the country while also managing and interacting with the Insurance departments in each state. These experiences helped Ted identify the need for a full-service restoration company that handles all insurance-related loss from beginning to end in Berks County. He and his wife, Lisa, brought his vision to life in the Summer of 2000. As President and CEO of Berks • Fire • Water Restorations, Inc.℠ Ted was recognized nationally by the US Chamber of Commerce with the 2013 Dream Big Small Business of the Year Award. Ted’s passion for serving his community shines through in his work with the Olivet Boys’ & Girls’ Club and the Vision Research Center, where he serves as an Advisory Board Member. He is generous with his time and talents by supporting organizations, people and causes that make our communities strong.
Kristen arrived at the Restoration Technical Institute with a versatile background from a variety of roles in nonprofits, small businesses and education. After receiving her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her Masters in Art Education from Columbia College, Kristen created and implemented original art curriculum for Pre-K through 8th grade students at Hinton Elementary School in Chicago. Her education helped her develop skills in creative thinking, problem solving and strategy. She put these skills to good use, allowing her to reach achievements such as initiating and maintaining an Amazon site that yielded $1 million in annual sales. Kristen most enjoys creating easy-to-manage streamlined systems that assist in planning strategies and events. She says, “From my experience as an educator, I learned how to work with and manage diverse groups of people. I enjoy harnessing individuals’ strengths, utilizing and building upon them during creative projects. I find that each person I work with adds a unique perspective to the marketing assignments, events, and projects that I initiate.” Kristen is grateful to be part of the RTI team and looks forward to meeting and working with the diverse industry professionals who take courses at the Restoration Technical Institute. It is her aspiration to make their time at RTI as productive and fun as possible so they leave inspired to continue to learn and grow as industry professionals. When she isn’t working, you can find Kristen outside rock climbing.
After selling the successful Air Quest Systems, a well-known manufacturer of custom desiccant dehumidifiers, large refrigerant dehumidifiers and portable air conditioners, Chuck turned his attention to training others how to utilize “big” equipment for “big” jobs. Chuck is a down-to-earth type fellow with vast knowledge and education. He is a hands-on instructor. If you have a question about drying anything, ask Chuck! Chuck has been a speaker at the Dri-Eaz Restorative Drying Symposiums, the Water Loss Institute, ASCR National, Connections East and West since 2011, SCRIA 2012 thru 2015 and DRC Canada. He has dried over 4 million square feet of structure, hundreds of thousands of books and documents and designed permanent systems for various manufacturing and storage projects over his 20 year career as an Application Engineer. Chuck has an associate’s degree in Electrical Engineering. His career spanned many years with large well-known companies before building Air Quest Systems from the ground up. In addition, Chuck is a contributing author to the new S500.
What does Chuck like most about the Industry? “I like to see the light bulbs going on. When you can take a complex subject like ‘Psychrometrics and how it manipulates Desorption in Wet Materials’ and make it as easy as waiting in line for the Tram at Disney! You see the lights go on and you know they’ve got it now. It’s a great privilege to be able to pass along information on how to be a better dryer.”