If there's one thing I learned while attending IEHA's national conference in Las Vegas, it's that the Housekeeping Solutions reader wears many hats. These executives are managers, decision makers, purchasers and custodial, laundry and maintenance experts. They're promoters of sustainability and they're product testers and process innovators. They are the heart of every facility.

But without certification, these executives are often not taken seriously or given the credit they deserve.

One anecdote I heard from a reader stressed the importance of custodial certification: "Just as a hospital needs a certified dietitian or registered nurse, it also needs an environmental service professional that is certified to run the department."

Such certification should be a top priority for custodial executives within all facility types. It demonstrates the achievement of a milestone and creates awareness of the knowledge, professionalism and elevated skill levels managers possess.

As mentioned in our November cover story, the University of Texas at Austin provides certifying education to all employees — a program that has generated great interest. But for facilities that don't have a formal education program in place, certification is attainable through industry associations such as IEHA, APPA or ISSA.

Managers are wise to keep up on education and seek that next level of management. Achieving certification establishes a standard for professional practice and provides recognition managers deserve.