By Diane M. Calabrese / Published April 2021
If only there were someone to ask…
There is. Distributors, manufacturers, and suppliers who are members of CETA [Cleaning Equipment Trade Association] can turn to industry colleagues.
“Wayne Combustion Systems joined CETA to learn more about the pressure washer market,” says Delany Johnson, senior sales engineer at the company based in Fort Wayne, IN. “And it was a great fit.”
Johnson points to the market insight gained—where it is at, where it’s going. “It has also benefited us by helping us know what the new standards are going to be.”
Figures and facts at the ready are a boon. But, there are some significant intangibles tied to membership, too, such as 360-degree discussions in an informal setting.
“The trade show has been great for meeting and connecting with others in this market,” says Johnson. “We have met lots of users and technicians that help us improve our products by telling us what they want in units going forward.”
In fact, it was originally “networking opportunities” that drew Kepner Equipment Inc./Chaffee-Ward Equipment to CETA, says Rick Benham, president of the company based in Canandaigua, NY. “Because of CETA, we have made new relationships and strengthened existing ones.”
After joining the association, Benham learned about other benefits, which have become important to his company. “Benchmarking is a great tool to measure our company’s performance to others within our industry.”
Improvement is what benchmarking enables, explains Benham. Weaknesses can be identified with the tool and then strengthened.
The interactions among CETA members—whether taking advantage of regional meetings or the annual PowerClean—serve as a much-welcomed reinforcement for members. They talk, learn, and strategize.
“As a CETA supplier member, the benefit that continues to be valuable for us is networking,” says Mike Tonies, director of industrial sales at Hydra-Flex Inc. in Savage, MN. “Taking advantage of regional events and the annual PowerClean has allowed our organization to form many great friendships and strengthen customer relationships.”
One thing is certain. At PowerClean, the annual meeting, connections get made in all directions. (Co-location with PWNA at the most recent meetings brought contractors into the mix.)
“As a manufacturer, I really appreciate the networking and contacts I make at the PowerClean show,” says Daniel Sherlock, senior manager, engines and export, in the Power Equipment Division of American Honda Motor Co. Inc. in Alpharetta, GA. “I get a chance to meet new people who can help grow my business, and I also get the opportunity to strengthen relationships with current business partners by spending some quality time with them at the show.
“I also find the educational seminars quite valuable, as they help me not only understand the current environment but also determine what the future looks like in the cleaning equipment space,” continues Sherlock. “These seminars help me formulate business, product, and service strategies going forward.”
For those industry members who are not yet members of CETA—or who have allowed a membership to lapse—Al Bonifas, owner of All Spray in Swanton, OH, offers a passionate reminder of why joining matters. Bonifas recalls the 2019 acceptance speech that Gregg Brodsky (at that time the senior western sales manager for Alkota Cleaning Systems Inc.) gave on receipt of his award for lifetime achievement.
Brodsky, says Bonifas, told industry members that if they were not actively engaged in making things happen, they were in effect just observing and hoping everything turned out fine. And if it did, they would benefit from the work of others.
Industry members working together through CETA can accomplish much. Brodsky cited the example of work on the harmonization of U.S. safety standards so that European efficiency standards would not carry more weight.
Bonifas, who currently chairs the CETA membership committee, encourages every prospective member who is on the sidelines to join. The essence of CETA is to preserve the livelihood of members—a message Brodsky sounded with clarity.
Ensuring equitable representation and solid input on pending regulations is an integral part of the CETA mission. So, too, are networking, education, and training.
There are so many welcome dimensions to the mission of the association, however, that any one of them may serve as the point of first contact. From there, many good things happen.
“When we first joined CETA, we were just starting to recruit distributors for our product line in North America proactively,” says Yujin Yoo Anderson, general manager at Steamericas in Inglewood, CA. “Access to the distributor network was the main motivation at that time.”
Transparency attracted Anderson’s company. “Unlike other organizations who monetize access to their member list, CETA was transparent and open about who their members were. While the number of members wasn’t the biggest, we quickly realized almost every distributor member was a qualified company for us to work with.”
The qualifications that Anderson notes are amplified by the many distributors who become CETA-Certified. They do so by taking the time to document their adherence to rigid standards.
Like other members, after joining CETA, Anderson found many other benefits. “I would say access to technical and industry updates is an important one to me personally,” she explains. “As our company is not as sizeable as some of the other manufacturers, we do not always have regulation or standard updates sent to us internally,” she explains. “I have been a beneficiary of the information made available by CETA members who truly care about the betterment of the industry as a whole, and I aspire to be able to contribute more to CETA.”
The efforts of CETA officers, board members, and administrative staff have accomplished much across 31 years. Ranking first, possibly, is focus on remaining nimble—able to quickly adapt to assist members.
When the pandemic emerged in 2020, the technical committee quickly expanded its purview to find, consolidate, and disseminate the most current information to members. That effort did not push aside other activities of the association, though.
Benefits to members were sustained, extended, and enhanced. CETA University, a repository of learning tools and information, has been reinstituted. CETA Scholarship Foundation took its new name to better reflect its mission. Standards for manufacturers (CPC 100) have been embraced. Women of CETA becomes an ever-stronger group. And the referral program that helps members realize savings by using certain vendors continues.
Jimmy Welch, the current president of CETA and a member of the team at American Pressure Inc. in Robbinsdale, MN, is steeped in the technical aspects of the industry. (Current work by Welch and other technical harmonization committee members includes efforts to harmonize with IEC 60335-2-79 as well as the Canadian standards CAN/CSA-E60335-2-79 and CAN/CSA-B140.11 to accomplish a binational UL/CSA 60335-2-79 so suppliers and manufacturers can have one safety standard.)
“Comradery with peers” has become very important to him, says Welch. “Over the years, I have had the pleasure of meeting a lot of our industry members. CETA brings us together for the betterment of our industry. Our members are always interested in learning new things from product to application. We have had a lot of great people who have retired, and there are new people stepping up, so we must continue to meet and learn.”
For more information about membership and benefits, visit www.ceta.org.