What benefits have you experienced as a result of working with/being a member of industry associations?

I am a life-long member of IEHA and have gained so much by my association with them. Early in my career, IEHA was my main source of industry  specific education. As I matured, IEHA provided me with opportunities to enhance my leadership and communication skills through various leadership positions, including Association President. I was the first African-American president of IEHA, which is something  I’m especially proud of. IEHA has also broaden my network of contacts and friends in the industry from all around the world. 
I am really pumped about being on the Healthy Schools Campaign Green Schools Leadership Council. We are focused on making our schools and universities healthier and safer through green cleaning and other sustainable practices. In 2015, the UW hosted the first-ever  Green School Summit with close to 100 attendees from across the country. 
I have attended every IEHA/ISSA annual convention and hope to continue. I am “old-school” in that I believe in face-to-face networking, but I also think that subscribing to various online blogs and industry groups is important. I recommend attending webinars and writing  blogs and/or articles on things you are learning or think can help others in the industry.  I also believe that what you put into something is in direct proportion to what you gain in return. I suggest that anyone interested in career growth stretch themselves by taking on new assignments, even if it means volunteering. It’s important to be a life-long learner; sign up for seminars, classes, and attend as many as you can to broaden your knowledge base.
Gene Woodard, R.E.H.
Director of Building Services
University of Washington

I have been a part of IEHA Houston Chapter for over 10 years and the knowledge I’ve gained from this organization is invaluable. I would say to any manager that they should join an organization. My experience with the Houston Chapter has been very educational. We have speakers/vendors that bring us a wealth of information monthly.
Babette Beene
Environmental Services Manager
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

I have benefitted greatly from being a member of several industry associations through networking, publications, seminars, surveys, resources and annual conferences. I would recommend that you choose the associations that fit YOU best. I can’t belong to all of the industry associations just from a time and money perspective but I chose two that I belong to that give me the most benefit for me personally and my employer. I also review the benefits at annual renewal time to make certain that those organizations are still viable to me. If not then I will look for a replacement. I currently belong to ISSA and IFMA for the cleaning and facilities benefits.
Steven Spencer
Facilities Specialist
State Farm Insurance

There are many benefits to organizations, including preparation of management and leadership roles, educational benefits and networking with others in the industry. I’d encourage anyone interested in  management or leadership to join any of the custodial or facility based organizations. If someone is currently a member of one of these organizations, I would encourage them to become engaged and involved if they have not already done so. The organizations are also great for anyone that enjoys learning more about the industry no matter what position they may hold.
Ada Baldwin, M.R.E.H.
Director of University Housekeeping
North Carolina State University

The sharing of experiences (good and bad), whether it be of products, processes, etc., is an invaluable asset in being a member of industry related associations. I would recommend to research local and national associations, especially those that are specific to certain job responsibilities.
The following are some that I belong to: the American Society of Power Engineers (boilers and pressurized vessels), the I.P.M. Institute of North America (Integrated Pest Management), the National Swimming Pool Foundation (Swimming and therapeutic pools), Council of Great City Schools (Urban School Districts), IEHA, ISSA, The Metro Buildings and  Grounds Association (S.E. Wisconsin K12 Public School Districts Facilities Managers/Directors).
Michael Gutierrez
Manager of Building Operations
Milwaukee Public Schools

I have been a member of IEHA since 1999. I have attended many conventions and meetings through the Association which has allowed me to meet & interact with many people from all parts of the world that oversee all types of facilities. The networking and problem solving is the #1 benefit I receive from this membership plus receiving up-to-date current information about changing trends in the industry or the newest upcoming products and equipment. 
I would highly recommend anyone join IEHA to have the opportunity to reach out to others when problems arise that you might not have dealt with in the past and are unsure of how to deal with it. The face-to-face discussions at meetings or conventions is priceless but many of these events can also be attended via telephone conference or email group (Unify on the Association webpage). Any way you would be able to attend is worth your time.
Doreen Bessert, C.E.H.
Worksite Placement Coordinator, Custodial Supervisor & Central Purchasing Agent
Manitowoc County DPW

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