Cleaning Industry’s Past, Present And Future Highlighted At 2022 ISSA Show North America

Three tradeshow days, educational and networking opportunities, panel discussions and guest speakers highlighted the 2022 ISSA Show North America, which took place in October at the McCormick Place Convention Center, in Chicago.

Distributors, manufacturers, facility managers, building service contractors and residential cleaners came together face-to-face for information sharing, relationship building and product innovation — all designed to help attendees discover new solutions for improving efficiencies, skills and profitability when it comes to proper cleaning and disinfection.

A highlight at each ISSA Show is the General Business Meeting, which traditionally includes the introduction of new, and recognition of outgoing, members of the ISSA Board of Directors. An update of the past year for the association and cleaning industry, along with a look ahead, are also traditionally presented.

During his address at the meeting, ISSA Executive Director John Barrett discussed two main topics:

n The launch of ISSA’s Rethink What Clean Means ( campaign; and,

n ISSA’s upcoming 100th anniversary in 2023.

ISSA announced its partnership earlier this year with comedian, actor, host — and known germophobe — Howie Mandel, when launching its “Rethink What Clean Means” campaign. The objective is to educate people about the pivotal importance of cleaning, while also supporting businesses as they elevate the standard of clean.

To help raise awareness on the importance of cleanliness, Mandel is presenting an online video series, “Howie Clean It,” taking viewers on a journey to discover the hidden grime in seemingly clean spaces.

“There is so much about this campaign to love, but primarily it’s the promise to increase demand for the products and services that you (within the cleaning industry) provide,” Barrett said.

He added “tools” within the campaign’s “toolkit” can be customized to fit each company’s needs.

“The initial push (of the campaign) is directed at consumers, but that is going to give way, over the next 12 months, to a greater focus directed at facility managers,” Barrett said.

As for the 100th anniversary of ISSA in 2023, Barrett said the celebration will involve different events and culminate during the 2023 ISSA Show, scheduled for November 13-16, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, in Las Vegas, NV.

“We want to give special focus during this celebration not to ISSA, but to the people and companies (who/that) have helped define our industry over the past 100 years,” he said.


One highlight during each General Business Meeting is the introduction of new, and recognition of outgoing, members of the ISSA board of directors. The 2023 board includes new ISSA President Matt Vonachen, of Vonachen Group. The president’s post is a one-year term. Vonachen succeeds Harry Dochelli, of Essendant, who now serves on the board as Immediate Past President/International Director.

Vonachen became the first ISSA president to represent Building Service Contractors (BSCs), and he spoke of that significance during his address.

“I have had the opportunity, in my career, to work in a family distribution business, work as a manufacturers’ rep, and be involved as a BSC. That experience has allowed me to see our industry from many different sides, and understand what (ISSA) means to all of those segments,” Vonachen said. “Looking ahead, in addition to the initiatives that John (Barrett) highlighted, I am personally excited about the investment that our association has made in CIMS (Cleaning Industry Management Standard). ISSA also remains committed to the Global BioRisk Advisory Council. GBAC programs and GBAC STAR™ accreditation help to keep facilities, across the country, clean, safe and healthy. That is done with the use of scientific protocols and expert advice as it pertains to cleaning, disinfection and infection prevention.

“Finally, ISSA advocacy and governmental affairs initiatives continue to make an meaningful impact for our members, and the overall industry. ISSA was recently awarded a $160,000 grant from OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) for workplace safety and health training, related to infectious diseases. That includes COVID-19. We hope the grant will be the first of many to come.”

Vonachen also encouraged participation in the ISSA Clean Advocacy Summit, scheduled for March 30-31, 2023, in Washington, D.C. He added the summit is a chance for ISSA members to meet with their elected federal officials.

“As industry leaders, it’s important to engage in advocacy, and let our legislators know what we need, in order to support and grow our businesses,” he said.

Outgoing ISSA President Harry Dochelli also addressed attendees during the General Business Meeting.

“As president, my goal has been to find ways for ISSA to give back to its members. I’m therefore excited about the Rethink What Clean Means campaign. I challenge anybody to find another association running a virtual campaign that, in a few weeks, has had 200 million impressions, and features a celebrity like Howie Mandell,” Dochelli said. “I’m confident that ISSA is in very good hands moving forward. It’s an association that is constantly evolving, finding out what is important to membership and working to keep our world safer.”

The following individuals were recently elected to serve on the 2023 ISSA Board of Directors, led by incoming ISSA President Matt Vonachen. They are:

  • Vice President/President-Elect: Matthew J. Schenk, Midlab;
  • Executive Officer: Tom Friedl, Hospeco Brands Group;
  • Manufacturer Director: Nicole Goulet, Diversey;
  • Distributor Director: Laura Ann Craven, Imperial Dade; and,
  • Canada Director: Brock Tully, Bunzl Canada.

In addition to Vonachen, returning from the 2022 board to serve in the following positions on the 2023 board are:

  • Past President/International Director: Harry Dochelli, Essendant;
  • Secretary: Scott Stevenson, KleenMark;
  • Treasurer: Mercer Stanfield, Brame Specialty Company;
  • Distributor Director: Michael Chiappe, California Janitorial Supply;
  • Manufacturer Reps’ Director: Jay Shearer, J.J. Shearer Company;
  • Manufacturer Director: Matthew Urmanski, Essity Professional Hygiene, North America; and,
  • BSC Director: Valerie Burd, ABM.

The following individuals completed their service on the board in 2022: Steve Lewis, Golden Star, Inc.; Brendan Cherry, Bobrick Washroom Equipment, Inc.; Amir Karim, Polykar; and, Ailene Grego, SouthEast LINK.


Acknowledged during the General Business Meeting were three ISSA Achievement Awards honorees for 2022. The annual awards recognize cleaning-industry professionals who are committed to driving the industry forward through their positive contributions in business and beyond.

The achievement awards, and their recipients who spoke during the meeting, are:

n The Manufacturer Representatives’ Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes individuals who support manufacturer representatives, the industry and ISSA, was presented to Myron Schultz, president of Lambskin Specialties.

Schultz continues to work hand-in-hand with 17 manufacturer representative groups that promote and support his company’s sales and marketing efforts.

“Lambskin has employed manufacturer representatives for decades — since about 1970 when Mark Reimers and Irv Goldstein signed on — and continues to seek their input through rep meetings, and regular phone, email and zoom contact, while also joining them in the field supporting their efforts,” Schultz said.

He thanked the many people who have helped his company prosper, including his business partner and the factory staff, as well as the men and women who have represented Lambskin over the years, most notably Reimers & Goldstein, Walt & Tom Kolterman, PJ & Ted Gilbert, Dick Friedman and Bob McClung.

“Today, our representatives are more than just people who work for us, they are partners, they are friends, and we rely on them. One thing my father taught me years ago, ‘If you have great sales representatives, you are equal to almost anybody in the industry.’ There have been, and continues to be, so many great reps who work for us,” Schultz said. “To say I’m grateful is definitely an understatement. This industry, at its roots, is about family, connections, communication, tradition, integrity and commitment to quality. It is as much about people as it is about products. I hope we never lose sight of that, particularly after all we have been through during the past couple of years (with the pandemic).

“In honor of the legacy of my grandfather and my parents,  and on behalf of my wife, my family, and our company — with great humility — I am honored to accept this award.”

During the presentation of the award at the General Business Meeting, ISSA Manufacturer Representative Director Jay Shearer mentioned that Schultz initiated, and helped develop, the Mobile Analytic Rep Application (MARA) program his company uses to provide its manufacturers’ representatives with detailed sales activity, on demand and in real time. The goal of MARA is to increase the value of customer interactions, allowing the reps to work more efficiently while generating greater sales volume.

Schultz explained after the General Business Meeting: “I was having trouble providing reps with current data  related to their accounts. What we were feeding them was totally insufficient to permit them to do their jobs. I asked my friend John Manzoian (of J&M Technologies) for advice and he connected me with Mark de Jeu.  Mark worked with me to develop and launch MARA. It’s based on software that he developed for distributor sales representatives. As far as I know, no such program had existed for independent manufacturer representatives in our industry.

“Today, (MARA) provides our reps with accurate and immediate access to all the data associated with their accounts. That includes what products have been purchased, pricing, invoice numbers, shipping dates, order frequency, most popular items, and order tracking. And the best part — the rep doesn’t have to enter any data. It all comes from our own sales data. I am really proud that we have empowered our reps with MARA.”

n 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 Meredith Reuben, retired CEO of EBP Supply Solutions.

For nearly four decades, Reuben led EBP Supply Solutions with the philosophy of collaborating with customers to ensure their business success. She also continues to be a strong advocate of The Hygieia Network, which is part of ISSA Charities, and provides education, mentoring, networking and support programs to help women succeed and advance in the workplace. Reuben is a past chairperson of The Hygieia Network Council, and currently is on the Hygieia Executive Advisory Board.

Along with her mother, Reuben took over the family business, EBP Supply Solutions, in 1984 after the death of her father. She was one of the first female CEOs in the cleaning industry, and was instrumental in helping the company grow over the ensuing decades into a leading distributorship. Recently retired, EBP Supply Solutions is now a division of Imperial Dade.

Reuben spoke of the help she, and her mother, received in running a company after the death of her father.

“Don’t forget, we were the daughter and the wife of the boss, but every manager and employee at our company who had experience and expertise, was very supportive of us, with a positive and open spirit. We could not have made it without them,” Reuben said. “During my tenure (at EBP Supply Solutions), that culture of family spirit, entrepreneurship and continuous improvement continued.”

She noted it’s the same culture that has allowed ISSA to approach its 100th anniversary.

“I have come to realize how much of our industry’s culture revolves around giving, and in particular, nurturing the next generation. I also realize how lucky I have been to be part of that culture — both as a recipient and as a contributor. That includes seeing the development of The Hygieia Network, which has been inspiring, as has witnessing the incredible support for its mission and work,” Reuben said. “It’s been a wonderful journey, and many thanks to all of you for this wonderful honor.”

n The ISSA NextGen Rising Star Award in Honor of Jimmy Core acknowledges emerging leaders who make positive contributions to their organizations and the industry. Tillman Keller, district sales manager at Kelsan Inc., was honored with the award this year. His talents include building new business relationships, which has resulted in a promotion to Kelsan’s business development department, where he has earned the “Rainmaker Award” for three straight years.

“A lot of people ask me what I do for a living. To that, I half-jokingly respond, ‘I sell toilet paper,’ or ‘Have you heard of Michael Scott or seen The Office?’” Keller said. “Although each response I give is out of fun, there is much more to what we do, as an industry. Jimmy Core (a fellow Kelsan employee who died in a swimming accident in 2016) was not just a member of our industry, he was an advocate for the homeless community. His heart and passion for others is what this award represents.”

In response to Core’s past efforts, Keller detailed ongoing work at Kelsan in support of the Nashville (TN) Rescue Mission.

“Like Jimmy Core, this award, and our entire industry, stands for much more than a case of toilet paper. I’m extremely grateful and happy to be here,” Keller said.


SSA Charities Board Co-Chairs Ted Stark and John Riches highlighted at the General Business Meeting three signature charitable programs of the association: ISSA Scholars, The Hygieia Network, and Cleaning For A Reason.

“ISSA Scholars is our original charity, supporting students with scholarships for higher education. Since 1988, we have provided over $4 million in scholarship funds, to 1,515 students,” Stark said.

Riches added that 55 high school graduates and continuing education students collectively received $157,000 in funding for 2022, as part of the ISSA Scholars program. Online applications will soon be open for 2023 scholarships. Applications will be available at

Also discussed was The ISSA Hygieia Network (, dedicated to the advancement and retention of women in the global cleaning industry by fostering diversity and inclusion.

“The ISSA Hygieia Network provides education, mentoring, networking and support programs to help women succeed and advance in the workplace,” Stark said. “Hygieia has expanded its online presence with the recent launch of the ISSA Hygieia Network Career Academy. It provides access to virtual conferences and webinars in association with ISSA’s online learning center platform.

“Hygieia has also partnered with DePaul University to participate in the online DePaul University Career Edge Certificate program. It awards learners a certificate of completion.”

Stark added The Hygieia Network has attracted over 900 conference and webinar attendees thus far in 2022. These people have come from across the United States as well as international countries. In September, Hygieia held its 10th Networking and Leadership Conference, and earlier in 2022, launched a new mentoring platform.

Stark and Riches also spoke highly of The Hygieia Network’s eighth annual awards program, which took place during the 2022 ISSA Show. This year’s award winners were:

n ISSA Hygieia Network Member of the Year, which recognizes a woman’s involvement in activities that align with Hygieia’s mission and vision. The winner was Stephenie Henderson, of Berry Global, for her dedication to Hygieia and efforts to grow its impact;

n ISSA Hygieia Network Rising Star of the Year, which honors a woman age 45 or younger who has made significant achievements, and demonstrated consistent upward mobility, in her career within the industry. The award was presented to Kenisha Middlebrooks, of TTI Floor Care North America, for her career trajectory and achievements within the cleaning industry; and,

n ISSA Hygieia Network Company of the Year, which celebrates a company’s involvement in activities that align with Hygieia’s mission and vision. It was awarded to Sunbelt Rentals, for its contributions to advancing the role of women in the cleaning industry, while increasing diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace.

In addition to revealing this year’s award winners, also recognized was the 2022 Hygieia Network Scholarship recipient, Madalynn Kennedy, who is pursuing a degree at Otterbein University, in Westerville, OH.

The Hygieia Network also hosted a panel discussion during the 2022 ISSA Show, focusing on how to engage and retain women professionals in the cleaning industry. The panel was moderated by The Hygieia Network Program Director Dr. Felicia Townsend, and included panelists Rachel Brutosky, from Nilfisk; Lisa Gould, from Envoy Solutions; and Katie Snider, from Network Distribution.

The third ISSA Charities signature program that Riches and Stark spoke about is Cleaning For A Reason, which provides free home cleaning for patients with cancer. Founded in 2006 by residential cleaning contractor Debbie Sardone, it became part of ISSA Charities in 2017.

“Despite earlier COVID-19 restrictions, and unprecedented labor shortages, Cleaning For A Reason has continued to thrive. Generous and compassionate cleaning companies continue to volunteer to make a difference for cancer households by  cleaning their homes for free, remembering that some people are facing even bigger challenges,” Riches said. “With the support of founder Debbie Sardone, a challenge to raise $100,000 in one year was presented, for the second year in a row, to 400 cleaning partners. More than 200 of those partners have risen to the challenge, and as of August, have already raised over $40,000.

“Cleaning For A Reason has also rolled out a corporate franchise partnership, inviting franchise cleaning companies to sponsor partnerships, with our non-profit, for all of their franchisees. That has helped Cleaning For A Reason maintain its base of 1,200 cleaning partners to serve cancer patients — a very worthy cause.”


The following are recipients of the 2022 ISSA Show Innovation Awards, which recognize the latest advancements for the commercial, institutional and residential cleaning industry.

“In the last few years, the cleaning industry has faced unprecedented challenges,” ISSA Show North America Director Amie Gilmore said. “However, it has also been presented with many opportunities to innovate. This year’s awards recipients are dedicated to sustainability, elevating the industry, and advancing cleaning for health.”

 Gausium was honored with the Innovation of the Year Award for its Phantas commercial floor cleaning robot. The recipient of the new Environment & Sustainability Award, for its dedication to environmental innovation, was HyTech Seas Dispensers, by Sofidel Group, which are manufactured with recovered ocean plastic waste.

Honorees of the Environment & Sustainability Award were:

  • EasyDose™ Laundry Detergent, by Seventh Generation Professional, a Unilever Brand, an ultra-concentrated laundry detergent made with 60 percent less plastic and 50 percent less water; and,
  • Jet H2 Ultra, by Byoplanet/Clean Republic, a hand-operated electrostatic sprayer for disinfecting and sanitizing surfaces.

Recipients of the Innovation Industry Choice Awards, chosen within specific categories, were:

  • Facility Service Providers — Tork Clarity Hand Washing Foam Soap, by Tork®, an Essity Brand, made with 99 percent ingredients from natural origin, with a biodegradable formula that features a low impact on aquatic life;
  • Distributors — ALLORGANIC® USDA Certified Organic Hand Soap, by Charlotte Products, an unscented, easy-rinsing, foaming hand soap;
  • Manufacturers’ Representatives — Clorox EcoClean™ Disinfecting Cleaner, by Clorox Pro, a ready-to-use disinfectant cleaner made with plant-based active ingredients that kill 99.9 percent of illness-causing germs in two minutes or less; and,
  • Residential — 800 Ct Lysol® Surface Disinfecting Wipes, Bucket and Refill Pack, by Lysol Pro Solutions, empowering cleaning teams to deliver heightened expectations around hygiene, and enable businesses to realize cost savings, optimize resource use, and help reduce packaging waste.

The Innovation of the Year Award Honorees were:

  • Unger Generation 2 nLITE® Waterfed Pole, by Unger, a telescopic window cleaning pole designed with refined details and precision;
  • DMx Warewash Chemical Dispenser, by Hydro Systems, a smart, versatile warewash dispenser, designed to accurately and reliably dispense solid or liquid detergents, rinse aids or sanitizers in commercial kitchens;
  • The Cleani Automated Door Handle Disinfecting Device, by Cleani, designed for proactive well-being in public spaces;
  • Cobi 18, by ICE Cobotics, an autonomous floor scrubber that applies a constant flow of cleaning solutions and leaves floors dry; and,
  • Rosie, by Tailos, a robot for commercial cleaning that focuses on vacuuming public spaces and guest rooms in hotels.

Maintenance Sales News Editor Harrell Kerkhoff contributed to this article.

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