2023 ISSA Achievement Awards Honorees Recognized During Spotlight Session

The 2023 ISSA Achievement Awards honorees were recognized during the recent ISSA Show North America, held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, in Las Vegas, in mid-November. This year’s achievement awards, and their recipients who spoke through video presentations at the event’s “Then, Now, Forever | Celebrating 100 Years Of ISSA” spotlight session, are:

  • The ISSA Honorary Lifetime Achievement Award, whichhonors an individual who, in the opinion of the ISSA Board, deserves recognition for substantial contributions to the advancement of the industry and/or to ISSA over a significant period. This year’s recipient is former ISSA Executive Director John P. Garfinkel. For more than five decades, Garfinkel has been an influential force in the cleaning industry. As ISSA Executive Director from 1991 to 2015, he was instrumental in championing many of the initiatives that have bolstered membership and established ISSA as the leading association for the cleaning industry worldwide.

“One of the most meaningful moments in my career came when the ISSA Board of Directors invited me to serve as the executive director. At the time, I had already experienced 25 years in management within the cleaning industry. As the executive director of ISSA, I had the privilege of continuing, developing and extending many friendships over the years. I cherish those friendships and the profound mutual respect that was developed,” Garfinkel said. “Throughout my tenure, the association’s paramount mission was to enhance the value of cleaning and expand the size of the market by fostering greater awareness of cleaning’s importance.

“One of the most significant challenges, and a milestone which I hold dear, was my role in helping unify the very diverse business functions of manufacturing, distribution, and cleaning services — as well as the international aspects of our industry — within the power of ISSA. My greatest appreciation goes to all of you for this recognition. Thank you very much.”

  • The Jack D. Ramaley Industry Distinguished Service Award, reserved for individuals with at least 10 years of outstanding service to the professional cleaning industry, was presented to Ilham Kadri,founder of The ISSA Hygieia Network, and current CEO of Solvay, a Belgian multinational chemical company. Inspired by her grandmother, Kadri has been a tireless promoter of women in the cleaning industry. She founded The ISSA Hygieia Network during her previous tenure as CEO of Diversey.

“My ambition for The Hygieia Network in 2015 was to help build a platform that involved mentoring, networking, and advancing women while indirectly combating illiteracy and promoting our invisible heroes. I’m deeply thankful to John Garfinkel, who was the ISSA Executive Director at the time, for believing in this project. I am also forever grateful to his successor, my friend John Barrett, who supported me with passion during the first critical years of the network,” Kadri said. “Thank you, ISSA, for this honor — and for reminding us all, every day, that there is no health without cleanliness and hygiene. Let me conclude by dedicating this award to my grandmother and her memory, as without her I might never have found my profound passion and dedication to the cleaning industry.”

  • The Manufacturer Representatives’ Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes individuals who support manufacturer representatives, the industry, and ISSA, was presented this year to Keith Angel, former president of Angel Cotton Associates. Over the course of his 30-year career, Angel participated in countless manufacturer product and advisory committees, and led his agency to become one of the largest in the country. During his time as the ISSA Manufacturer Representative Council Chair, he was instrumental in developing the Manufacturer Representative Scholarship that continues to provide opportunities to the next generation of reps.

“I am both thrilled and humbled to receive this award. I hope it reflects my desire to positively impact those with whom I’ve worked with over the years,” Angel said.

He also thanked family members, co-workers and mentors who helped him succeed, as well as ISSA, which he said remains, “The linchpin that focuses on all facets of our business and provides a forum for which everyone can work together.”

  • The ISSA NextGen Rising Star Award in Honor of Jimmy Core acknowledges emerging leaders who make positive contributions to their organizations and the industry. Travis Caldwell, director of sales, government at Imperial Dade, was honored for his commitment to educating building service contractors and food service contractors engaged in government work. In addition, Caldwell serves as an engineer in the U.S. Army National Guard.

“I’m deeply grateful as I accept the ISSA NextGen Rising Star Award in Honor of Jimmy Core. It’s not just my achievement, but a testament to my colleagues, mentors and family who have helped and entrusted me with the opportunity to succeed at Imperial Dade,” Caldwell said. “This award symbolizes a journey marked by dedication, hard work, personal growth, and the constant presence of challenges. It underscores the valuable lesson that within every difficulty there exists the potential for growth. It’s those very opportunities that illuminate our path forward.”

  • The ISSA Hygieia Network Rising Star of the Year recognizes a woman who has made significant achievements and demonstrated consistent upward mobility in her career within the industry. Elizabeth Hawver, Essity Vice President of Omnichannel, Wholesale & Office Distribution, was chosen by her peers for her impressive career trajectory and outstanding achievements within the cleaning industry.

“I’m so honored to be recognized as this year’s Rising Star and super grateful for my colleagues, customers and teammates who have shared their perspectives and feedback along the way. Such feedback has been a gift, helping me learn, grow, and become a better version of myself,” Hawver said. “I love this industry and I love ISSA. I believe both are filled with people who work hard, have fun, and ultimately, look out for each other. If you agree, then please join me in spreading the word so that we can bring in, and build, a strong talent pipeline for the future.”

Maintenance Sales News Editor Harrell Kerkhoff contributed to this article.

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