By Diane M. Calabrese / Published December 2022
Industry achievements, professional engagement, and societal contributions are a matter of routine among the members of the Cleaning Equipment Trade Association (CETA). Each year CETA recognizes members who are exemplars in those spheres with awards for lifetime achievement, distinguished service, and community service.
Each award recipient is meritorious in his or her own right. Each award recipient also stands as a symbol of the depth and breadth of CETA members.
“Recognition helps people realize the value of the contributions the recipients have made to the industry, their companies, and their communities,” says Scott Hansen, president of Alkota Cleaning Systems Inc. in Alcester, SD, and the 2023 president of CETA. “It’s a great way for CETA to show appreciation for their efforts.”
Recipients also serve as a reminder of the vigor of the organization. “The industry is blessed to have such great people, and to be recognized by your peers as instrumental leaders is a true honor,” says Hansen. “All of the recipients should be proud of the work they have done for CETA.”
The 2022 president of CETA, Al Bonifas, sees the importance of recognizing members in similar terms. (Bonifas is the former owner of All-Spray in Swanton, OH.)
“I believe there are many people in our industry who deserve to be recognized,” says Bonifas. “They go above and beyond to help their company, their industry, and—most importantly—others; and this in turn helps them in their career and their life.”
That spirit of finding ways to “go above and beyond” is ever-more important in a larger context, explains Bonifas. “This behavior is what this country and the world needs more of today, and any way it can be encouraged is a good thing.”
Roy G. Chappell, CEO of Chappell Supply and Equipment in Oklahoma City, OK, reflects on his 2022 award for community service. “This award means a great deal to me personally and for our company because it is a group effort.”
A company is part of a community beyond its business walls, explains Chappell. “I believe you are part of the community you live and have your business in. Therefore, people can both build the community and have synergy with the police [a specific dimension of his service] by helping others.”
That synergy Chappell’s company has developed in an important way: by donating bicycles to be distributed by police to children. Building on an annual practice started four years ago, his company gives bikes to precincts that then put them in the hands of children.
More than 30 bikes were given in 2022. “It is worth every penny when you see the looks on the kids’ faces when they hear the call to come up and get their bike because of some act of kindness they performed where they live,” says Chappell.
Yes, in this realm of community service, there is a round-robin of good interaction generated. The children themselves are being recognized for their own service.
Understanding builds with interaction between law enforcement and children. “It helps build communication with the kids and the police, especially when other children want one of those bikes for the next year,” explains Chappell.
Moreover, Chappell envisions positive future outcomes. “You never know when one of the recipients may decide to become a police officer in 8 to 15 years because they received a bike due to this community effort.”
Bike distribution takes place in conjunction with a Christmas party that Chappell attends each year. It’s a “rewarding event,” he says.
“I encourage all business owners to help in your community,” says Chappell. And he suggests working with law enforcement as one good way to go. “Please call the local precinct where your business is located and find out how to get involved.”
Indeed, the 2022 CETA award winners have all taken the “get involved” advice of Chappell to heart. Let’s list the other award winners before moving on and provide a few highlights of the many ways in which each of the award recipients exemplify the best of our industry.
• Terry Murray, vice president, Etowah Chemical Sales and Service—Lifetime Achievement
• Chad Rasmussen, CFO, Royce Industries L.C.—Distinguished Service
• Ben Hagemann, CEO and general manager, American Pressure Inc.—Distinguished Service
And while we are at it, let us also name the two 2022 recipients of Lifetime Membership in CETA: David Hildebrand, who retired from Barens Inc. this year; and Charles Tibboles, who retired from R.W. Beckett Corp Inc. this year.
To a one, the individuals recognized with CETA awards and the honor of lifetime membership demonstrate involvement, and it’s involvement of the quiet and most productive sort—self-effacing and credit-sharing. No surprise that “It was a team” and “I didn’t do it alone” are the sorts of phrases recipients use when reacting to their recognition.
Lifetime achievement in the industry started 48 years ago for Terry Murray when he began working for Beaver Sales and Service in Alabama. He moved from delivery to manager, working in different roles along the way.
When the company where he got his start sold to Quaker State, Etowah Chemical Sales and Service launched. That was 1980, and from that year forward he and the company’s president, Mike Turner, have been building the business, which now has nine locations in three states (Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia).
Murray gets high marks from employees and customers for being an excellent listener and a lifelong learner. He shares his passion for the industry and learning as an educator and trainer as well as a mentor.
In 2013 Murray served as president of CETA. He has also served on the board of directors and as a trustee of the CETA Education Foundation (now the Scholarship Foundation). Donating time and sponsorships to community nonprofits, as well as board service, are among his many activities.
Distinguished service award winner Chad Rasmussen has served CETA in many ways, including as president as well as a member of the board and as treasurer. He earned an MBA at the University of Utah—David Eccles School of Business. He takes service in stride, and he balances it all with family activities.
Distinguished service award winner Ben Hagemann began his work in the industry when he was in high school, working summers. As he studied for a degree in computer science and business at University of Minnesota, he continued to work part-time. Today, he and his brother, Josiah Hagemann, own the company that their parents started. Hagemann has served CETA in many capacities, including president, board member, and chair of the technical committee.
Community service award winner Roy G. Chappell spoke for all the recipients when he put the focus on doing—giving, training, mentoring, and helping. What he did not mention when he gave us his reaction to receiving the award is another recognition he received: the Medal of Commendation from the Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association, an award for leadership and commitment to giving.
Leadership—showing how it is done and living by example—is an integral part of the lives of the 2022 award winners, as well as the two new lifetime members. It’s the sort of guidance that makes an organization, an industry, and a nation strong.