ISSA/INTERCLEAN® USA 2006 started off with a bang, October 4 and 5, at Chicago, IL’s McCormick Place, with a packed keynote attendance of more than 4,200, overflowing seminars, and almost 10,000 unique visitors on the tradeshow’s first day. However, the strong start was followed by a drop-off in attendees heading into the weekend, due to this year’s Wednesday-through-Saturday schedule, spanning October 4-7. The result was a show that attracted 16,637 participants, including those registered by the new co-located DistriPakUSA show, which had reciprocal exhibit access with ISSA/INTERCLEAN.

“Let’s cut to the chase,” said ISSA Executive Director John Garfinkel. “While we achieved our highest-ever first-day attendance and the seminars were bursting at the seams the previous day, more attendees left earlier than usual due to the event’s unusual Saturday closing. This caused Friday afternoon and Saturday to be slower than normal for the final days of the convention, and tempered what was shaping up to be an otherwise excellent event.

“We believe ISSA/INTERCLEAN draws a solid crowd, with potential for an even larger attendance. At the same time, we have listened to our members and are investigating ways in which we can foster a more balanced participation throughout the length of the tradeshow next year,” added Garfinkel. “We are confident that those adjustments, combined with a return to the Tuesday-through-Friday lineup, will bode well for us in 2007.”

Removing Saturday From the Lineup
ISSA/INTERCLEAN fell on a Thursday-through-Saturday exhibit schedule this year because it was the only week that allowed the event to take place in a single hall (McCormick’s South Hall) instead of the split-hall scenario (the North Hall) previously required when the event was in Chicago. This move helped to address a prior sore spot with many attendees and exhibitors who found two floors more difficult. To accomplish this change, and to avoid the high Jewish holidays, the show needed to be pushed back a day, leading to the Saturday closing.

“We will move back to a Tuesday-through-Friday format for the foreseeable future,” said Garfinkel. “We also are quite excited about Orlando [FL] next year because it has been a highly successful venue, compared to other prominent spots within the United States, for many other industrial tradeshows that rotate between cities.”

While ISSA and its partner, Amsterdam RAI, would prefer to hold their North American event on the same days each year, the tradeshow must compete with much larger consumer and commercial shows also angling for the top dates in such popular locations as Las Vegas, Orlando, and Chicago. A show the size of ISSA/INTERCLEAN must be contracted as far as 10 years ahead to obtain the highly preferred dates of mid-September through mid-November. The same is true for shows that request the spring months.

Distributor & FSP Attendance
ISSA continues to push into new areas to attract larger crowds to the annual event. One growth strategy for ISSA/INTERCLEAN has been the co-location of both distributor and facility service provider (FSP) events during the week as well as continued alliance efforts in both areas.

Such efforts drew 5,412 distributor attendees to Chicago, about even with last year’s distributor turnout. Included in that total are 593 paper distributors drawn by DistriPakUSA, a distributor-focused packaging show led by the NPTA Alliance. DistriPakUSA also attracted 227 other potential buyers to ISSA/INTERCLEAN.

FSPs, including both building service contractors (BSCs) and in-house service providers (ISPs), reached 2,824 participants this year. Many exhibitors surveyed commented on the high quality of these visitors, noting that some of the top leaders in both sectors were well represented.

The International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA) celebrated its 75th anniversary during its co-located conference at the show, and this year the Association of Residential Cleaning Services International (ARCSI) conducted its third annual conference at ISSA/INTERCLEAN USA.

An arrangement with the Club Industry show, a fitness-industry event also taking place at McCormick October 4-7, helped attract scores of fitness center and recreational facility managers to ISSA/INTERCLEAN’s exhibit floor as well.

While registration data indicates that distributors attending ISSA/INTERCLEAN USA continue to represent more than 70 percent of the distributor purchases made within the United States, it also shows that consolidation has affected the number of companies in attendance. In addition, data collected from BSCs and ISPs shows that 89 percent of these attendees manage purchasing budgets of US$25,000 or more, with 33 percent posting budgets of $500,000 or higher.

International Participation
There were 1,705 international attendees in Chicago this year, 10 percent of the total attendance. Visitors represented 69 countries. The depth of ISSA’s international partnerships also was seen in the attendance of many industry alliance partners from around the world, including AFIDAMP (Italy); BCC, BICS, and CHSA (the United Kingdom); CSSA (Canada); and PSC (Poland).

Changes to the ISSA European Board also were confirmed in Chicago. Keith Baker of Carpet Cleaning Solutions Ltd. was named the new chairman of the ISSA European Board of Representatives and will continue to represent the United Kingdom. Günter Glöckner of Solution Glöckner GmbH will represent Germany, and Jorgen Grimstrup of Besta ApS will represent the Nordic countries.

Industry Alliance Participation
In addition to the many international trade associations that were present, still many more U.S.-based organizations responded to ISSA’s alliance-building efforts by participating in this year’s ISSA/INTERCLEAN. A number of distributor marketing groups also held member events during the show. Some exhibited, and all had members in attendance.

Many associations and institutes hosted seminars at the new ISSA Education Theatre, sponsored by Tennant Co., right on the exhibit floor throughout the three-day show. Among those participating were: the American Institute of Cleaning Science (AICS), ARCSI, the Brigham Young University Facility Management School, the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI), the Cleaning Industry Research Institute (CIRI), GreenBlue, Green Seal, the Healthy Schools Network, IEHA, the Low Moisture Carpet Cleaners Association (LMCCA), the Sanitary Supply Wholesaling Association (SSWA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Design for the Environment program (EPA DfE), and the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED-EB program.

Select Institute for Inspection, Cleaning & Restoration Certification (IICRC) technician courses also were held during the week. Local chapters of the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) and Institute of Supply Management (ISM) were in attendance, and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) exhibited as part of its alliance with ISSA.

Keynote and Educational Sessions
The keynote speaker, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, kept the attention of more than 4,200 people right to the very end of his presentation Thursday morning. In fact, the session’s attendance broke McCormick Place records for room capacity, according to convention center managers. Giuliani spoke about the key tenets of strong leadership and shared real-world experiences, including that of leading New York City through the September 11 terrorist attacks. He also engaged in a lively question-and-answer session with attendees.

Wednesday and Thursday’s educational conference also played to packed audiences—despite being in larger rooms than in past years. For the third year in a row, the All-Industry Networking Lunch was sold out when more than 500 participants came together to share ideas. Participants principally represented ISPs and BSCs from around the world. Distributors and manufacturers who also attended the event reported that it provided them with valuable customer contact and feedback. The Fifth Annual ISSA Women’s Forum, sponsored by the JohnsonDiversey Women’s Business Council, also drew more than 100 attendees.

Tradeshow Floor
A total of 683 exhibitors at ISSA/INTERCLEAN and 97 exhibitors at DistriPakUSA displayed their products and services this year. For the second year in a row, 17 percent of ISSA/INTERCLEAN’s exhibitors were new participants, with 45 percent of last year’s new exhibitors returning.

This year, six companies earned the ISSA Best Customer Service Award, voted on by attendees as providing the best customer service of all the exhibitors on the tradeshow floor.

More than 90 percent of distributors and FSPs responding to on-site polling said they found new products or companies when walking the tradeshow this year. Many of the respondents said the online directory at www.issa.com, which highlighted first-time exhibitors and ISSA Innovation Award entries (see below) helped them find new products and customers.

At the same time, more than 40 percent of exhibitors surveyed said they expanded their booth, provided food or beverage in their booth, or tried new exhibiting techniques this year, which created an even bigger buzz on the tradeshow floor than in Las Vegas. Thirty-six percent more exhibitors said they plan to expand their efforts next year in Orlando, a figure verified by the 2007 booth drawing.

In addition to the ISSA Education Theatre, another new feature on the show floor this year was the Show Floor Transit System. Golf cart “trains” shuttled attendees and exhibitors around the exhibit hall on two “loops” in a tribute to the famed Chicago Loop transit system. Trains largely were driven by ISSA-member volunteers, including many ISSA board directors. Due to the popular response to the service, a similar transit system will be offered next year in Orlando. ISSA members interested in volunteering as a way to meet attendees and see the show floor can contact the association at 847-982-0800 or info@issa.com.

Back by popular demand was the ISSA Zone Sports Bar, sponsored by Spartan Chemical Co., which had packed crowds, especially when attendees were looking for a place to watch key baseball games. The ISSA Happy Hour, featuring a concert by the Blues Brothers, also drew a large crowd and led to additional networking well after show hours on Friday.

The ISSA Innovation Award Program received rave reviews for the second year running, as 23 companies vied for attendees’ accolades in hourly Innovation Revue shows. The Chicago gangster-themed performances highlighted entries in five product and service categories. More than three times as many distributors and FSPs as last year voted on which products they felt were the most innovative.

General Business
Saturday morning’s General Meeting ushered in the new members of the 2006 ISSA Board of Directors, headed by 2006 ISSA President Kyle Ogden of Carroll Co., Garland, TX. Other new board members included Vice President/President Elect Jim H. Chittom Sr. of Athens Janitor Supply Co., Inc., Athens GA, and Roman Chemical Corp., Rome, GA; Manufacturer Director Paul C. Betz of Betco Corp., Toledo, OH; Manufacturer Representatives’ Director Keith J. Angel of Angel-Cotton Associates, Inc., Signal Hill, CA; and new ISSA European Board of Representatives Chairman Keith Baker of Carpet Cleaning Solutions Ltd., Leicestershire, UK.

The following individuals also were honored by ISSA during the week:
• Roger Parrott Jr. of RoVic, Inc., Manchester, CT, received the ISSA Jack D. Ramaley Industry Distinguished Service Award
• Mark Reimers of Pro-Team, Boise, ID, received the ISSA Manufacturer Representatives’ Distinguished Service Award
• Gareth Mason of NaceCare Solutions, Mississauga, ON, Canada, received the YES Industry Special Achievement Award.

During the meeting, the Honorary Membership Award also was changed to the Lou Goorland Honorary Membership Award to honor the late Louis Goorland of Wilmington, DE-based Goorland & Mann.

ISSA/INTERCLEAN North America
Starting in 2007, ISSA/INTERCLEAN USA will formally change its name to ISSA/INTERCLEAN North America as part of a shift toward more accurately referencing the ISSA/INTERCLEAN shows around the world and their regional scope. The ONE SHOW for the North American cleaning industry will head to Orlando, FL, October 23-26, 2007. In honor of the year 2007, the show will carry a 007, James Bond theme.

Your Mission Awaits You in Orlando, and ISSA is planning a show that is sure to thrill. Check back at www.issa.com/show throughout the coming year to find an interactive exhibit directory, event schedules, and updates.

Other ISSA owned or endorsed shows to be held in 2007 include:
• Pulire Asia, February 6-8, in Singapore
• Pulire 2007, June 5-8, in Verona, Italy
• ISSA/INTERCLEAN Central & Eastern Europe, June 20-22, in Warsaw, Poland
• ISSA/INTERCLEAN China, September 19-21, in Shanghai, China