By Diane M. Calabrese / Published March 2014
With the first day of spring in sight, we are filled with a sense of renewal. So it’s fitting to discuss a big change set to add to the vigor of the Cleaning Equipment Trade Association (CETA).
CETA PowerClean 2014 will co-locate with ISSA/INTERCLEAN® Orlando 2014. ISSA, the Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association, represents more than 6,000 distributors and manufacturers, as well as providers of building contract services. By aligning with ISSA/INTER-CLEAN, CETA PowerClean will get a boost. “ISSA draws 16,000 attendees,” explains Rick Wendt, President of CETA and the director of commercial sales at Briggs & Stratton Corporation headquartered in Milwaukee, WI.
The huge attendance at the ISSA gathering is matched by some high-profile speakers, says Wendt. “Past keynotes have been Margaret Thatcher, Colin Powell, George Bush—and recently, the CEO of Zappos.”
Wendt expects a great deal of synergy to result from the co-location. With fewer than 1,000 attendees, he explains, PowerClean focuses on education classes, an annual manufacturers’ summit, and meetings among members. By being able to crossover to sessions and exhibits at ISSA/INTERCLEAN, CETA attendees will meet with a surfeit of riches in terms of cutting-edge ideas and up-to-date industry information.
Of course, the most important dimension of the co-location is the way it will enhance the experience of CETA members. Dealers, distributors, manufacturers, and suppliers who are CETA members will have a convenient venue at which to identify and capitalize on more business opportunities, explains Wendt. And the opportunities will be global in nature with international businesses fully represented. Educational opportunities will be expanded, too, says Wendt.
PowerClean 2014 co-located with ISSA/INTERCLEAN will take place from November 4 to November 7 in Orlando, FL. “CETA will have its own pavilion within the ISSA show,” says Wendt. “Keeping all of the CETA exhibitors together will make it easy for those who do not want to walk the complete exhibit area.” Attendees that want to take advantage of the entire span will be rewarded. “Those that do walk the entire area can get added value in searching for more business opportunities,” says Wendt.
With past records as an indicator, as many as 17,000 attendees are expected. That means that all exhibitors improve their return on investment (ROI) as they reach out to prospective business links, explains Wendt. There is also a logistical convenience for some manufacturers and distributors, says Wendt. “We do have some members that are both ISSA and CETA members…they will have only one show to attend rather than two, or choosing just one.”
Naturally, CETA members will also want the chance to meet as a group. Arrangements for that are in the works. “CETA will be naming a host property in Orlando, so we can keep the members together to enjoy the business and social exchange,” says Wendt. Just as important, there will be time “to share success stories.”
Throughout its history, CETA has provided a forum in which members—who are competitors as well as colleagues—can learn from one another. It is as useful for a fledgling distributor to be able to talk with a veteran who has been-there-and-done-that as it is for a veteran distributor to hear some of the novel ideas generated by a new distributor.
Sparks sometimes fly. But that’s a good thing because they signal the potent energy of the group. Two minds may not always be better than one, but there’s no surer way to clarify one’s own thinking than to bounce ideas off someone in the same business niche.
“Last year was the year of change for CETA,” says Wendt. “This year is the transition year. And the following year, the members will be part of building for the future.” Discussions at PowerClean 2014 will move the transition year along. They decidedly will help firm up the vision—and reality—for the future.
CETA has an overarching commitment to increasing awareness of all that the cleaning equipment industry does. The education of the community at large leads to a better understanding of the products from the association’s manufacturer and distributor members. Such education also improves the embrace of members’ products.
Integrity, professionalism, and profitability are the highest ongoing concerns of CETA members. Educational opportunities ensure that members have access to the most relevant and timely information about pending legislation and regulations that affect their business operations.
Preservation of the environment and sustainable business practices are tightly linked in the worldview of CETA members. Making certain that legislators at every level have access to the information they require to craft good laws is part of the CETA agenda.
Like all organizations, businesses, households, etc., CETA will change some as it grows. By coincidence, Wendt made a change this year when he began his new position with Briggs & Stratton, the world’s largest producer of gasoline engines for outdoor power equipment.
More evidence of organizational strength derives from the early signups for the 2014 ISSA/INTERCLEAN that occurred at the PowerClean 2013: The early signups for 2014 exceeded all exhibitors for the 2013 meeting. “This was a great indication that our members/exhibitors were very pleased with the change, co locating with ISSA,” says Wendt.
As anyone who gardens knows, spring demands we look forward. We can lament the failed plantings of last year, but there’s no time. If we do not prepare the ground, get new plants and plots started, we will have lost the opportunity for another year. Take the past of garden plots into account, but do not give up regarding something worth growing. Each year in the garden has its own character. The idea is to make it a productive year.
Make it a bountiful year for CETA, too. Get involved. Plan to attend PowerClean 2014. Recruit a new member. Enrichment comes from adding, as well as changing.
CETA will continue to have its core offerings, although they may be reshaped. The top 10 reasons to join CETA in 2013 (www.ceta.org) were networking, annual trade show, benchmarking, CETA university, CETA scholarship program, leasing programs, shipping programs, message on hold discounts, access to a professional coach, and Cleaner Times | IWA magazine.
There will be some changes at CETA in 2014 and beyond. But they should be welcomed as solid indicators of strength and growth. Experimenting and changing are part of the American spirit, part of the CETA spirit. Engagement does count.