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Cleaning in the USA

Summer is a busy time of the year for me. I travel a lot, attending shows and seminars wherever I can find them. In the last couple of months, I’ve been on the road at least three weeks each month, often returning home for a day or two before heading off in search of another learning adventure.
Here are some of the highlights of my June and July travels.

Cleaning Schools in 2002 and Beyond
Perry Shimanoff and I just completed our summer School Custodian Seminar series that is sponsored each year by the California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO). This year we conducted our six hour “Restroom and Classroom Cleaning Program” in Fresno, Sacramento, San Francisco, Huntington Beach and San Diego, CA with approximately 90 school custodians in attendance.
Perry and I have been presenting this seminar program for seven years. In total we have conducted 100 seminars and have trained over 5000 school custodians in the State of California alone. In August we will be taking the program on the road to schools in Yakima, WA, Parkersburg, WV and Bakersfield, CA.
It’s interesting to note that regardless of where we hold the class, the problems and challenges that school custodians face on the job are pretty much the same. Here’s what school custodians tell us is bothering them:
– A lack of support and cooperation from teachers, administrators and students.
– More buildings and more students, but fewer custodians and shrinking budgets
When it comes to cleaning problems, the following items always seem to top the list of complaints:
– Classroom clutter
– Graffiti
– Bathroom odors
– The G Words
– Glitter, Glue, Gum, Germs, Grass stains, Grit and Grease

Floor Care Technician Certification Seminar
Thirty-two industry professionals attended the Floor Care Technician course for IICRC certification that was held June 27 & 28 in Cleveland, OH as part of CMEXPO 2002. Guest instructors included Glen Franklin, Owner of Franklin Floor Care in Snohomish, WA and Ed Hisey, The Stone Man, from Orlando, FL.
There were lively discussions about all aspects of maintaining floors in schools, hospitals, colleges, manufacturing plants and homes. Hisey’s presentation regarding the maintenance and restoration of stone, marble and terrazzo floors was well received, as was Franklin’s insight into the hands on aspects of burnishing, scrubbing, stripping and refinishing floors in commercial and institutional buildings.
At the end of the two-day class twenty-nine apprehensive students took and hopefully passed the 160-question certification exam. Discussions are underway with the Cleaning Management Institute and other commercial sponsors to bring the Floor Care Technician Certification course to at least ten additional locations in 2003.

Cleaning Management Expo 2002 – Cleveland, OH
If you weren’t there you missed a good show. Even though the number of attendees was down a little this year, presentations were well attended. There was a high level of interest and enthusiasm by the attendees in what the speakers had to say about a wide range of subjects.

ISSA/INTERCLEAN Las Vegas, NV. October 16 to19
All I can say is this is the biggest and best cleaning show of the year, Don’t Miss It. If you only plan on attending one show a year, this is the one to attend. Hundreds of booths, thousands of attendees, plus the food, drink and fun of Las Vegas. If you are into cleaning, what ever you’re looking for, you’ll find it at ISSA/INTERCLEAN. This is the granddaddy of all the cleaning shows in the world. And it doesn’t get any better than when the ISSA/INTERCLEAN Show is in Las Vegas.
Adding to that, Cleaning Management Institute will be conducting as series of post convention seminars. I’ll be roaming the aisles looking for you. Be there or be square. For info visit: or call CMI at 518-783-1281

BOMA International Convention 2002 – Chicago, IL
It was a good convention. Although in my opinion the exhibit space was much smaller than in previous years. The hot topics at this year’s convention were related to globalization and consolidation, as well as the economic and insurance woes faced by building owners and managers everywhere.
The Annual State of the Industry Presentation was upbeat and optimistic, yet guarded. The office building industry reflects the heart beat of the U.S. economy. There are tremendous pressures on all service providers to reduce costs yet maintain quality. Bottom line, it’s a customer driven market, you either give the customer what they want and need in service and price or they will find someone else who can and will do the job. Like it or not, that is the cold cruel reality of today’s market place and there is no use crying about it. You either dig in and do what it takes or you pick up your marbles and get out of the game.

Woven Rug and Carpet Symposium
This week I’m in Scranton, PA attending a four-day class with sixty rug and carpet inspectors from around the U.S. This is a high level, one of a kind specialty seminar that basically gives you more than you can absorb or even understand about how woven rugs and carpets are manufactured, repaired, and inspected. Tomorrow we are touring a local mill that has the looms that make Wilton, Axminster and Velvet weave rugs and carpets.

The program is put together by Fred Gamble of Advanced Flooring Specialist and taught by David Hunt and other industry insiders. Fred always puts on a great program that you won’t find anywhere else, last year I attended his program in Dalton, GA on the inspection of laminate flooring.
You may not be familiar with the inspection side of the industry. But it’s important to know where to find a Certified Inspector when somebody says you ruined my carpet or floor. There are about 400 Certified Senior Carpet and Floor Covering Inspectors in the U.S. Inspectors are hired by carpet and floor covering manufacturers, retailers, installers, cleaners and consumers to be their independent eyes and ears when there is a problem with a carpet or floor covering. The job of the independent inspector is to sort out the issues and if possible to determine whether a claim or problem is related to manufacturing defects, installation errors, maintenance, expectations or abuse, among other things. Some inspectors also correct problems related to manufacturing and installation.
It’s an interesting and analytical job for those who like to gather the facts, sort out the details and hopefully help people solve problems. And even though it pays in the range of $85.00 an hour or more, it’s not for the weak of heart, the chances are pretty good that someone is going to be unhappy with and probably challenge your findings. If you’d like more information on services of or becoming a Certified Inspector give Fred Gamble a call at 530-888-1217 or email him at or visit the IICRC website at