With this year’s theme ISSA promised that ISSA/INTERCLEAN would be, “The Start of Something Big.”  The association certainly came through on that pledge as the trade show attracted more attendees and exhibitors than last year. Overall, the event, which was co-produced with ISSA’s trade show partner, Amsterdam RAI, posted a 13 percent increase in non-exhibiting attendees over last year’s show.  Total attendance was nearly 16,000 people.

“This successful show is just one example of how ISSA continues to bring together the leaders in the commercial cleaning profession to do business and exchange ideas,” said ISSA Executive Director John Garfinkel in a news release. “It is very rewarding to hear so many exhibitors and attendees tell us that this was their best show in recent years.”

Taking place in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Convention Center from October 18 to 21, the weeklong show provided distributors, building service contractors and in-house service providers with plenty of opportunities for education and networking. The “biggest” show highlight was arguably keynote speaker Tom Peters who shared how companies can excel during tough times to a crowd of 3,800 attendees.

Many of the convention education sessions highlighted how attendees could better showcase the overall value the cleaning industry provides. Featured speaker Robert Stephens, founder of the Geek Squad, agreed, saying the commercial cleaning industry was an unsung source of innovation during his seminar.

Of course ISSA/INTERCLEAN also included plenty of fun, especially considering the show took place in “America’s Playground.”  During the Trade Show Happy Hour, attendees took a break from the show with drinks and a performance by the Rat Pack Review.

ISSA/INTERCLEAN continued to be the place to see the newest products. This year’s exhibit space sold out, and of the 645 exhibitors, 107 were new to the show.

ISSA is reshaping its focus to represent a global industry and the trade show certainly reflected that. More than 13 percent of visitors hailed from 69 countries outside of the United States and Canada. In addition, the exhibit hall featured suppliers from 27 different countries. Trade associations from around the globe also were represented, including the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICS), the Cleaning & Support Services Association (CSSA) from the United Kingdom, the National Contract South Africa-based Cleaners Association (NCCA), the Polish Cleaning Chamber of Commerce (PIGC), and the World Federation of Building Service Contractors (WFBSC).

Closer to home, ISSA/INTERCLEAN once again hosted the co-located conventions of the International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA), Building Service Contractors Association International (BSCAI) and Association of Residential Cleaning Services International (ARCSI) as well as a variety of distributor buying and marketing group meetings.

Awards and Honors

During the convention ISSA handed out numerous awards to industry achievers.

The Jack D. Ramaley Industry Distinguished Service Award honors a person who has demonstrated leadership, professionalism and exceptional service through innovation, elevation of industry standards, and promotion of the association’s development. This year’s recipients were Jim Ferris, formerly with Equipment Canada, and Marek Kowaski of the Polish Cleaning Chamber of Commerce (PIGC).

Ferris started in the industry in 1964 with a position at a chemical and packaging plant before he moved to work for Copeland Laboratories. He also founded the Ferris Agency and established the wholesale division for the family’s business, Equipment Canada. Ferris served on numerous industry boards, including the ISSA board of directors from 1985-86 and on the Canadian Sanitation Supply Association (CSSA) board from 1976-83, from 1999-2001, and yet again, as president, in 2002. He also served on the board of the Sanitary Supply Wholesaling Association (SSWA) from 1987-93, and as president in 1990.

Kowalski has been board president of PIGC (which he co-founded as the Polish Cleaning Association in 2000-02), president of the Association of Polish Cleaning Industry Employers, and a member of the ISSA European Board of Representatives since 2009. In 2010, he was appointed by Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak as a permanent member of the country’s Trilateral Committee of public services team. From 2005-07, Kowalski served as the board vice president of the Brussels, Belgium-based European Federation of Cleaning Industries (EFCI).

This year Allen Soden, former president of Deb Inc., was honored with the Lou Goorland Honorary Membership Award, which recognizes individuals who are no longer actively involved in the industry. In addition, Joe Rhodenbaugh, president of Kutol Products Co., received the Manufacturer Representatives’ Distinguished Service Award; and Jim Chittom Sr., CEO of both Athens Janitor Supply and Roman Chemical Corp., received the YES Industry Special Achievement Award.

Prior to the show attendees voted online for the 2011 Innovation Award. Winners included: Diversey Inc., for its SmartDose in the Cleaning Agents category; Nilfisk-Advance for its Advance Adfinity REV Automatic Scrubber in the Equipment category; Georgia-Pacific Professional for its Sofpull Automated Touchless Dispenser in the Paper and Plastics category; Tolco Corp., for its EcoChoice Biodegradable Products in the Services, Technology and Other category; and Rubbermaid Commercial Products Inc., for its HYGEN Clean Water System in the Supplies category.

During the show attendees voted for the ISSA Best Customer Service Awards. Winners included: Diversey Inc., Earth Friendly Products, Realzyme LLC, and Spartan Chemical Co., Inc., in the Cleaning Agents category; Polti Distribution Inc., ProTeam Inc., Tennant Co., and Viper North America in the Equipment category; Ammex Corp., Kimberly-Clark Global Sales, Total Paper & Packaging, and von Drehle Corp., in the Paper and Plastics category; Fuller Brush Commercial Products, Impact Products LLC, Rubbermaid Commercial Products, and Tersano International in the Supplies category; BOC Plastics, HOSPECO, The Safety Zone, and United Soybean Board in the Services, Technology and Other category.    

Next year, ISSA/INTERCLEAN heads to Chicago. The show runs from October 16 to 19, 2012.