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Thank you for an incredible Symposium!

Wow, we’re fresh off a wonderful few days with all of our friends from the Simon Institute and feeling overwhelmed (in a good way) from all the great information, news and resources shared! 

The theme of this year’s Symposium focused on “treating janitors as first-class citizens.” We talked a whole lot about strategies to make custodial work safer, more evenly distributed and how we can continue to improve the training we provide. This includes training younger workers in a way that keeps them engaged—not as difficult as you’d think! 

A few of the highlights included a special introduction from Annmarie Wilson-Futrell, Director of Building Service for Valparaiso University. She shared some of her journey to learning about the (OS1) System and her excitement for what it will bring her team. Welcome!

Panelists discuss safety strategies in their businesses in a discussion moderated by Flint Belk of the Workers Compensation Fund.

A special thanks to all the presenters, including Dan Weltin, Editor-in-Chief at Trade Press Media Group, who shared new data available in their Cleaning Costs and Frequencies Report  which was given to all attendees. 

Thank you to everyone who also participated in our first Health & Safety Panel, which provided some interesting insight on safety strategies our users and supporters have in place to help improve safety for custodial teams and workers.

The data and knowledge shared is what makes Symposium so unique to any other industry event. Symposium attendees and presenters are truly the leaders in the custodial services industry!

Data provided by Dan Weltin, Editor-in-Chief at Trade Press Media Group.

On that note, several very important guests received awards during the (OS1) Awards Banquet and Ceremony. This included five high school students who work as janitors in the evening at the nearby Provo City School District. These students received Outstanding Cleaning Worker Awards, along with individuals from Los Angeles Habilitation House (LAHH), Sandia National Labs and the University of Michigan.

Thank you to our emcee for this year’s events, Alan Wagemester, VP of Operations at GMI Integrated Facility Solutions. In addition to introducing all of the presenters, Alan provided a touching tribute to ManageMen’s late founder, John Walker, ahead of a beautiful slideshow presentation.

Click here to see the Gallery of all the 2019 Symposium Award Winners.

Congratulations to the 2019 Outstanding Cleaning Workers!

Outstanding Cleaning Workers

Anthony Taylor, Los Angeles Habilitation House

Ryan Beal, Provo City Schools

Jonathan Boswell, Provo City Schools

Shelbi Campbell, Provo City Schools

Natalie Robinson, Provo City Schools

Oaklie Wilson, Provo City Schools

Sara Carillo, Sandia National Labs

Maryanne Cook, University of Michigan

Randi McQueen, University of Michigan

David Oldenberg, University of Michigan

Award Winners 2019

Sandia National Laboratories – 15 Consecutive Years of Audits Above 90% – Milestone

Valparaiso University – Rookie of the Year

The University of Texas at Austin – Sarah M and Charles E Seay Building – Best Audit

Sandia National Laboratories – Safety

Provo City School District – Best Training Program

Sandia National Laboratories – Best Cleaning Team

The University of Texas at Austin – Workloading

Joshua Sego, Michigan State University – Trainer of the Year

The University of Texas at Austin – Best Cleaning Program

(OS1) Green Certified Program of Merit

Los Angeles Habilitation House – U.S. Coast Guard LA/LB

The University of Texas at Austin – E. William Doty Fine Arts Building

(OS1) Green Certified Program of Excellence

Provo City School District – Amelia Earhart Elementary

Sandia National Laboratories

The University of Texas at Austin – Sarah M. and Charles E. Seay Building

We’ll be announcing the dates and location for next year’s Symposium soon! You won’t want to miss it! 

The Heart of Cleaning: Recognizing the People Who Make It All Happen

If you’re reading this blog, you already know that it takes a special kind of person to work as a custodian or janitor. The work is hard and often thankless. Wages can be low and people often talk down to you like you’re not important. When you see a full coffee cup in the trash can, you can’t help but think of the little consideration people have for others that their actions might impact. It might be your second or third job, but cleaning is something you probably do in the evening, when everyone else in your family is at home sleeping. When your shift is over, there’s a good chance your shoulders or back ache—but you come back the next day and do it all over again. 

As if the work of a custodian isn’t tough enough, we often see negative portrayals of cleaning workers in the media.

A custodian is blamed for stealing or abuse. A housekeeper in a hotel uses the same cloth to wipe down the toilet and sink. These stories play into the negative stereotype of the profession and, as we see it, just aren’t fair—99 percent of custodial workers aren’t thieves or villains. That’s why it’s important to celebrate the positive stories that truly reflect the heart of most people who work so hard cleaning the buildings where we stay, work, learn, heal and visit.

Cleaning Workers with Big Hearts

The first story comes from Northern Kentucky, where a janitor who earned $3.70/hour or about $7,000 year in 1976—a little ore than midway through his career. Alvin Randlett never graduated from high school, but spent 32 years working for a local elementary school before retiring in 2001. Known for his hard work and dedication to the school, his close friend shared that people all around town knew him and would yell out to him in passing, often giving him a hug. Never touching a dime of his pension, Randlett willed his life savings of $175,000 to child abuse victims through the Kentucky Child Victims’ Trust Fund. 

Across the river in Cincinnati, an elementary school janitor was recently named the 2018 Cintas Janitor of the Year. Beloved by students, parents and staff at a public elementary school, “Mr. Bob” received more than 182,100 votes to earn the title. In the week prior to the announcement, Mr. Bob worked with students to build bird houses for their mothers for Mother’s Day. In thanking those who helped him win, Mr. Bob said, “Make no mistake, the $5000 is incredibly awesome and will go to great use; however, the real prize is the way I was made to feel. That is priceless.”

Our neighbors to the north in Novia Scotia shared a story last week about a much-loved janitor who worked at a nursing home for 40 years. Johnny MacLeod lives with Down syndrome, but that had no impact on his performance or attendance. In fact, co-workers told the media that he never complains. 

“No matter what you would ask of him, he would never say to you, ‘That’s not my job,’” says support services manager Carolyn Zwicker. “He just takes it and just goes with it. He’s just amazing. We can’t imagine life without our little Johnny.”

Then there’s the story of Scott LaFayette, Sandia National Laboratories’ (SNL) 2017 Custodian of the Year and a 2017 Outstanding Cleaning Worker. Scott LaFayette retired from the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) after serving 22 with the department and joined the Sandia custodial team. Presently, Scott is assigned custodial duties within critical and high-visible buildings at SNL. He ensures that these buildings are always clean by adding a touch of excellent customer service in his work. Scott is ardently aware of the expected Engineering Safety culture pursuit within SNL.

He began his career at APD as a Patrolman, advancing up the ranks to Field Training Officer, Sergeant (four years), and retiring as a Lieutenant (seven years). Scott received his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from University of Saint Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

There are so many incredible people who keep the cleaning industry moving. Without the custodians and janitors, there would be no one to use the cleaning products that are manufactured, no one to remove dirt from our buildings to keep them healthy, no one to train and use the cleaning systems we design.

Whether you see this job as a transition in your life or a full-time career, whether you work in a school, a hospital, a hotel or an office building, know that we see you. We understand the hard work you do. We know it can be painful at times. But we also know that to do the work you do, it takes incredible strength, patience and perseverance. It takes a special kind of person to be a custodial worker. A person with a lot of heart. Thank you for all that you do.

Nominate a custodial worker you know who demonstrates excellence in everything they do for a 2018 Outstanding Cleaning Worker award by July 16, 2018. These awards will be presented during the 2018 (OS1) Users Symposium in Park City, UT, Aug. 6-8, 2018.

A Business Revolution: Doing More With Less

“Compression Thinking” is a distillation of 30 years of research by Robert W. “Doc” Hall, who explains his approach to business in this video. This is a new era, where resources are becoming more scarce and the impact of larger human populations on the Earth requires mankind to rethink business practices, which up to now have been seen as gospel truths. However, proven solutions do exist for business problems, both old and new ones, and Doc Hall explores them here… through his concept of Compression Thinking.

The Simon Institute, ManageMen and the (OS1) Users are featured in the video above.

The Cleaning Gazette – February 2015 Issue

The Cleaning Gazette – January 2015

The Cleaning Gazette – November 2014

The Cleaning Gazette – August 2014 Issue

The Cleaning Gazette – May 2014

Read all about it: The Cleaning Gazette – November 2013 Issue now available

Click on the link below to read the November 2013 issue of The Cleaning Gazette. The Cleaning Gazette is the official publication of the Cleaning Industry Trainer’s Guild.

Simon Institute joins ANSI, initiates SDO process

ANSIThe education facilities industry is on track to manage about one-third of the total cost of ownership of its facilities with the entry of one of its major supplier advocates into the American national standards process. The Simon Institute (SI) — the non-profit choice for the custodial, janitorial and housekeeping

industry in the US — recently became a member of the American National Standards Institute during World Standards Week in Washington D.C. October 22-23, 2013.

World Standards Week is an annual gathering of US standards developers from all business sectors of the US economy to develop policy and strategy for adapting to the changing world economies by hastening innovation through technical standards development. From this process a national standard for custodial services in
the education industry will emerge from a consensus process that will make a leading practice document suitable for adoption into public law. The word “consensus” is important since it represents a common viewpoint of those parties concerned with its provisions, namely producers, users, consumers and general interest groups

On November 1st SI initiated the process to become a registered standards developing organization (SDO). SDO’s provide the following benefits for any industry, in any country:

  1. SDOs provide a forum for collective decision-making and an alternative to standardization through market competition or government regulation.
  2. SDOs identify promising solutions and play an important role in promoting their adoption and diffusion.
  3. SDOs support lower prices offered by producers who are able to realize economies of scale in a global market.
  4. SDOs provide the technical means by which political trade agreements are put in place when divergent national or regional standards create technical barriers to trade.
  5. SDO’s level the playing field for building industry suppliers and service providers so that resources are available from multiple sources.
  6. SDO’s provide public safety benchmarks for front line enforcement authorities.

The entry of the Simon Institute into the ANSI process follows the trajectory of a 16-year University of Michigan-led national strategy to manage infrastructure costs of the $300 billion US education facilities industry through the American national standards process. Of this $300 billion — which includes large university-affiliated hospitals — about $75 billion is spent on cleaning — 90 percent of that cost; labor.

The objective of this is to put in place a permanent and enduring structure for continual leading practice development that will net TCO by $3 billion to $6 billion per year in an environment of rising risk,

complexity and regulatory conformity cost. In the long run, this process always results in more effective use of money, management of worker risk, and a hygienically safer built environment.

There is a subtle reciprocity between innovation and standardization. Standards stimulate the innovation of products, services and systems just as innovation drives the need for standardization. In some cases, a standard fosters innovation by establishing a baseline for design and performance that will satisfy user requirements.

The Simon Institute is the continuation of an organization founded in 2002 by The Boeing Company to identify, benchmark and incorporate best practices in facility custodial operations. The driving force of the original meeting was The Boeing Company’s initiative to qualify for the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award. Several world class organizations, all users of ManageMen’s Operating System One (OS1), were invited to meet with Boeing at the largest building in the world, the Everett Washington Boeing plant, to share or debate best practices in janitorial operations. At the conclusion of the symposium the group decided to continue meeting annually in a joint project to develop improved industry standards.

A well-conceived standard provides flexibility that suppliers or manufacturers can vary features, function, or price to establish their own niche in the marketplace. These variances can help to elevate user expectations of a product or service, thus raising the bar for future editions of the applicable standard. In other markets and technologies, innovation comes first. A single set of performance or design criteria are agreed upon and serve as the baseline for ongoing improvements.

A standard becomes the physical documentation of an agreed-upon solution that has already been time-tested and proven.

The next steps are as follows:
1. Public announcement of Simon Institute ANSI membership (this announcement)
2. Development of By-Laws and Consensus procedure
3. Establish technical committees
4. Write the standard
5. Release for first public review
6. Revise in response to public comments and re-post for 2nd public review
7. Revise in response to public comments in 2nd public review
8. Formally adopt the standard and announce its release in the ANSI Standards Action publication that is made available weekly to the public.
9. Promote adoption and support with conformity and accreditation programs.

Depending upon the process preferred by the Simon Institute, the foregoing process may be modified.

The most surprising standard of all may not ever be written but may always lie in the public eye. Our industry is engaged in policy initiatives that require us to confront the cost of value-delivery that is very expensive relative to available resources. All levels of government are under pressure to use intergovernmental collaboration to spread the cost of managing educational facilities across wider tax bases; capitalizing economies of scale or economies of skill inherent in some services. Our industry must hasten its effort to write its own rules, or we will have them written for us.