First Things First

Categories: ISSA

By Mikel Gabrielson | April 23, 2019 << Back to Articles

Last month’s Clean Buildings Expo (CBE) represented a number of first-time events – first collaborated trade show between ISSA and Trade Press Media Group, first time ISSA colocated a show with the National Facilities Management & Technology Conference and Expo (NFMT), and, on a more personal level, it was my first show in my new role as ISSA Director of Membership and Outreach.

The transition to my new role has been eye-opening and enlightening. After nearly 7 years on the ISSA Conventions team, focusing primarily on selling booth space, it was quite a change in the past few months learning the goals of our complete membership base, including facility service providers. CBE really served to reinforce my new role and brought things full circle for me. For many years I have been having conversations with manufacturers and exhibitors on how they can leverage their ISSA membership to grow their business. That same conversation happened at last month at the Baltimore Convention Center, but with our facility service provider members, and it was quite an illuminating experience. Knowing the type of solutions our BSCs and ISPs are looking for from their industry association is key knowledge for me and our association in servicing our membership as a whole.

It was really refreshing working the ISSA booth at CBE and, for once, not concentrating on selling booths at future shows. I absolutely loved the conversations I engaged in with attendees—from small start-up owners just finding their footing to established longtime manufacturers still passionate about their work. For example, I was able to spend some time with Lauren Skrapke from the U.S. Air Force. Our conversations ranged from our growing families to the challenges she faces in maintaining cleaning operations across the Air Force’s wide range of facilities. To be able to listen to the issues smaller contractors are facing with their labor force in order to compete has reinvigorated my own fervor for the industry.

I was also very humbled by our industry and the impact it has on every human on the planet by delivering a positive effect on our health and well-being. I know it’s cliché, but teamwork really makes the dream work. Our partnership with Trade Press united the industry for those few days in March, and NFMT welcomed us with open arms. The National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors (NORMI) and the Cleaning Change Solutions team offered the attendees outstanding educational and consultative opportunities. It was great to be able to work side-by-side in the booth with CMI’s Mark Warner, who is so dedicated to training and educating. His superstar status was almost as impressive as his wealth of knowledge in the cleaning industry.  

On both a personal and professional level, I found CBE 2019 to be a rousing success. I’m already looking forward to next year when we return to Baltimore for CBE 2020. In the meantime, I’ll be working with our team at ISSA to deliver amazing experiences throughout the year. If there’s anything I can do to improve your ISSA membership, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected].

About the Author.

Mikel Gabrielson is ISSA's Director of Membership and Outreach. He can be reached at 847-982-3477 or [email protected]