Clean Buildings Expo Debuts in Baltimore


BALTIMORE — March 29, 2019 — When Clean Buildings Expo (CBE) opened on Monday with pre-convention workshops, and then shifted into official convention mode on Tuesday, the confirmation was easy to see. CBE is now — officially — an event you should never miss.

CBE expoCo-owned and operated by ISSA, the leading trade association for the worldwide cleaning industry, and Trade Press Media Group, CBE is a brand-new conference and trade show for the commercial cleaning industry that focuses on education, innovation, and product information for in-house cleaning managers, executive housekeepers, facility managers, and building service contractors.

Attendees eagerly lined up for the assortment of more than 20 education sessions peppered throughout the event, and the grand opening of the expo hall featuring nearly 60 exhibitors.

All events Tuesday and Wednesday at CBE, including educational sessions and the expo hall, were complimentary to industry professionals to help them sharpen their business and facility strategies, and all combined earn a maximum of seven hours of continuing education units (CEUs).

Monday’s workshops

Attendees had two options for Monday, March 25.

The Accredited Auditing Professional (AAP) Workshop, taught by Mark Warner, an ISSA CMI senior training specialist, dispensed information in an interactive, hands-on program that provided more than 30 attendees what they needed to earn their AAP certification so they can perform a quality assurance audit within a facility.

CBE expo 5“The attendees to the CMI Accredited Auditing Professional class gained invaluable knowledge and certification that focused on auditing for compliance with standards and scope of work,” Warner said. “What does this mean? They can identify needs in workloading and resources. By identifying areas of deficiencies, these metrics can be used to identify benchmarks, which is instrumental in many ways, including measurement of performance gains or losses related to staffing adjustments, or equipment and chemical system changes. It also positions them to help with solutions to resolve those deficiencies.”

On a technical side, the session entitled “Mold: Should I Wipe it Down or Tear it Out?” by Doug Hoffman, executive director of the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors (NORMI), was directed to directors of facility management and equipped them with what they need to make smart decisions when mold is discovered in their buildings.

“My goal is to help employers and facility maintenance managers navigate through the issues surrounding indoor air quality problems,” Hoffman said. “Rather than feeling anxious about employee reaction to a mold problem, those in charge will better understand how to resolve the problem whether that resolution is handed with in-house efforts or is outsourced to a professional mold remediation company,” he added.

Tuesday’s high-caliber workshops

Tuesday started the official opening of CBE with sessions spanning from mold issues, facility management challenges, green cleaning, employee engagement, robotics, safety data sheet updates, and much more.

Robotics and technology

Of special interest on Tuesday was the session “Robotics and Automation’s Impact on Cleaning” by Jon Hill, co-founder of LaserClean Systems. In this advanced workshop, attendees learned about emerging tools and equipment that is changing many approaches to cleaning and work performed in buildings, with BSC survey data from ISSA outlining the value of automation.CBE Robotics class

“Tighter budgets and labor costs means we are trying to optimize each worker’s capacity,” Hill said. “The real innovation is when you can change the industry, and we feel there is a change coming on.”

Hill asked his audience how many faced the challenges of employee turnover. Virtually all in the room raised their hand in affirmation. He explained that 40 percent of the industry has 50 percent turnover annually and this, coupled with increasing minimum wages, presents a challenge with facility budgets.

The solution?

Hill stressed the future of technology, which is robotics and automation, to increase productivity of cleaning operations. “When you have the structure, you can introduce robotics and the idea is you can multi-task. The human (employee) is still in charge, and has to set it all up, but once it is done, he can do other things and you have multiplied his time almost by two.”

Employee management

Inspiring employees and developing a stronger, more positive work culture is a constant challenge that often baffles facility managers and executives of cleaning organizations. The session “Employee Engagement: A Case Study” by Gene Woodard, MCSCE, a director with the University of Washington, identified specific strategies to deal with the challenges of employee engagement.

“The greatest challenge we have and our greatest resource we have are our people,” Woodard said. Yet an “actively disengaged” workforce is the norm, with just three in 10 workers agreeing that their opinion really counts at work, he added, which creates a disconnect with management.CBE Employee Engagement session

Part of the ultimate solution, Woodard said, is to follow a “golden rule” of leadership principles, which involves respecting workers, having a constancy of purpose, and to lead with humility.

Woodard cited case studies and the resulting data and information, which he uses to constantly make improvements with the work culture at the University of Washington. UW has 239 full time custodians with each cleaning 48,536 square feet of space. Most of his staff is considered an “aging workforce” with English as their second or third language.

One such case study involved ergonomics and helping with the discomfort of cleaning that his custodians face, which leads to the challenges that come with absenteeism — among other issues.  “The objective was to reduce discomfort by having custodians participate in all aspects of the program,” he said. With specific, detailed training on how to better use tools — such as backpack vacuums and even toilet brushes — the study showed significant improvements with discomfort or injury issues related to backs, shoulders, knees, elbows, and wrists.

Of interest during the study was the fact that custodians were using their hips to hold open partition doors to bathroom stalls, bending over to the side, creating stress to their bodies. Once that was identified, magnets were installed to keep the doors open so the custodians could clean without unnecessary stress.

“The fact that our staff knows we care about them, they feel enriched and you can see it,” Woodard said. “People are owning it,” he added, “and if you involve them and they own it, attendance improves, their work improves, they feel better, everything improves.”

Productivity issues

Productivity challenges were also addressed, with the “Increasing Productivity: How and Why Remediating Your Cleaning Program Works” session by Ben Walker, the director of business development with ManageMen, Inc., concentrating on a 360 degrees of focus approach to cleaning operations.CBE expo 4

Walker spent much of his introduction highlighting the history and value of the ISSA Cleaning Times program, which as it evolved and grew over the years has impacted BSC and facility decisions on staffing and creating a more productive cleaning staff.

Defining “clean” was an important part of Walker’s presentation, as not understanding what it really means to the global cleaning industry equates to lack of proper cleaning processes. And cleaning for health should be top of mind, and he provided attendees with access to case studies to strengthen the argument for cleaning.

The United States cleaning industry is considered a $200 billion industry, with nearly 90 percent of it spent on labor. This comes with few standards, no licensing requirements, no barriers to entry, and affects absolutely everyone, Walker stated.

A popular segment of his presentation was showing images of productivity killers, actual janitorial carts and closets that are virtually worthless to the custodial staff. Add to that damage to surfaces due to ignorance with equipment and product usage, plus unique design and architecture in modern buildings that makes effective cleaning virtually impossible — and the perfect storm is created.

Part of the solution, Walker said, is multi-faceted, such as: Use the “Lean Six Sigma” approach; use data-driven methodology to reduce defects; reduce inventory that involves chemicals, tools, and equipment; choose a better productive process such as team cleaning; save floor space; and standardize all processes in a cleaning organization.

Morphing into WednesdayCBE expo 6

As activities progressed into the evening on Tuesday, with meetings and networking opportunities initiated by forward-thinking entrepreneurs and facility managers, attendees scrutinized sessions and workshops as they planned their next steps in becoming more effective and efficient for the future of their operations.

Wednesday’s sessions addressed topics such as carpet and hard floor care, cleaning for hospital environments, new cleaning technology and self-cleaning surfaces, and small business management solutions. These workshops included “Creating a Culture of Sustainability,” “Essential Knowledge for Small Businesses and Entrepreneurial Upstarts,” “Infection Control Risk Assessment,” and many more. Use this link to view the official CBE brochure and all the details of workshops, sessions, and the expo.

After two full days of high-impact education, networking opportunities, and a busy expo hall full of the latest products, trends, and technologies for in-house cleaning managers, executive housekeepers, facility managers, and building service contractors, the innaugural Clean Buildings Expo came to a successful close Wednesday evening.

CBE Expo Hall

Post-show education

The final educational event tied to CBE was the Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) ISSA Certification Expert Workshop on Thursday. This workshop gave professionals the opportunity to train to become a Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) ISSA Certification Expert.

Plan your future

CBE expo 3And if you were somewhere else during this year’s inaugural event, don’t make the same mistake next year.

Clean Buildings Expo has been embraced by the cleaning industry as an event not to miss, with the second annual CBE event slated to return to the Baltimore Convention Center March 17-19, 2020. Details, including information on the educational lineup and expo, will be announced soon.

And be sure to sign up and make your travel plans for the most valuable trade show in the global cleaning industry, ISSA Show North America, coming up November 18-21, 2019, in Las Vegas. Pre-register for free today.


Cleanfax Staff

Cleanfax provides cleaning and restoration professionals with information designed to help them manage and grow their businesses.

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