ISSA Show North America Virtual Experience Recap

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By Jeff Cross | December 10, 2020 << Back to Articles ISSA Show North America Virtual Experience Recap

ISSA Show North America Virtual Experience 2020 made history November 16-19 with an expanded selection of education, workshops, spotlight speaker opportunities, awards presentations and, to cap it all off, an interactive trade show.

“We were grateful for everyone’s willingness to try something new,” said Lindsay Roberts, the group director for ISSA Show North America. “We knew a virtual event would never replace the in-person experience. We also knew people still wanted to unite as one industry. They wanted and needed education, products, and connections. We focused on bringing these critical elements to the platform.”

The virtual event boasted more than 250 exhibitors, 12 networking events, more than 150 exhibitor-hosted events, 41 live sessions, 25 on-demand sessions, 11,000 video meeting invitations exchanged, and nearly 14,000 unique visitors to the virtual platform.

“I was so impressed with the audience’s open minds and positive attitudes. And equally impressed with their ability to quickly learn to navigate the elements of the virtual experience platform. It proved what we already knew, that our industry is resilient, resourceful, and adapts quickly,” Roberts added.

Be sure to add ISSA Show North America 2021 to your calendar. It is scheduled as an in-person event in Las Vegas, November 15-18. Visit for more information.

And now, a short review of what happened at ISSA Show North America Virtual Experience.

2020 Industry Achievement Award Winners

ISSA has announced its 2020 Achievement Awards honorees.

The Jack D. Ramaley Industry Distinguished Service Award goes to Brian Slack, CEO of Pro-Link Inc. The ISSA NextGen Rising Star Award in Honor of Jimmy Core goes to Kyle Pickens, regional sales manager with Home Depot Pro.

“We are pleased to recognize these two professionals who have made positive impacts in the cleaning industry,” said ISSA Executive Director John Barrett. “Slack has been a shining example of leadership and industry expertise throughout his career, and Pickens represents the future as an emerging leader in our industry.”

The Jack D. Ramaley Industry Distinguished Service Award honors individuals with 10 years of industry experience who have demonstrated outstanding service to the cleaning industry through their innovation, professionalism, leadership, elevation of industry standards, promotion of the association’s growth and development, unselfish dedication without personal gain, and emulation of the ISSA Code of Ethics.

Throughout his 30-year career, Slack has dedicated himself to the continual improvement of the cleaning industry by championing training and helping customers implement optimal cleaning practices.

Slack also has rendered an invaluable impact on ISSA, serving on the association’s Exhibitor Committee from 2013 to 2017.

ISSA NextGen Rising Star Award in Honor of Jimmy Core recognizes emerging leaders who are helping to change the way the world views cleaning by making positive and innovative contributions to their organizations and the overall cleaning industry.

Pickens started with Home Depot Pro four years ago as a field sales professional in northern New Jersey. In 2019, he was promoted to regional sales manager for the institutional market in the New York andNew Jersey metro market.

2020 Innovation Award Program Winners
The Innovation of the Year Award honor went to Diversey, for the TASKI® IntelliSpray for swingo® by Diversey .

Runners up for the top award were Botanical Disinfectants by Unilever Brand’s Seventh Generation Professional, and HyTech Ocean Dispensers by Sofidel Group.

Category winners
The five category winners of the 2020 ISSA Innovation Award Program were:

  • Cleaning Agents: Botanical Disinfectants by Seventh Generation Professional, a Unilever Brand
  • Dispensers: Tork PeakServe® Recessed Cabinet Adapters by Tork, an Essity brand
  • Equipment: TASKI® IntelliSpray for swingo® by Diversey
  • Services and Technology: Silver Defender Antimicrobial Protected Films
  • Supplies and Accessories: OmniClean by Unger Enterprises LLC.

Star Awards Winners Revealed
The Star Awards honor industry legacy companies who have consistently exhibited at the ISSA Show North America while maintaining their ISSA Membership who have reached 40, 50, 60 and 70 years in the industry.

For this year’s recipients, the 60-year honor went to National Chemical Laboratories Inc. and Tork, an Essity Brand. The 70-year honor was awarded to Rubbermaid Commercial Products.

ISSA Hygieia Network 2020 Awards
The ISSA Hygieia Network, an ISSA Charities signature program dedicated to the advancement and retention of women in the cleaning industry, revealed its 2020 award winners.

The Rising Star of the Year Award, open to women aged 45 and under who have made significant achievements and demonstrated consistent upward mobility in their career within the industry, was presented to Kim Price, Vice President of Sales Force Effectiveness at Georgia-Pacific, CPG Customer Organization.

The Hygieia Member of the Year Award, which recognizes an industry professional or company that has made a significant contribution to the cleaning industry, was presented to SC Johnson Professional.

Spotlight Speaker Sessions

If You Can See It, You Can Be It
A second chance at life was what Jeff Henderson, award-winning celebrity chef, received when he got the job of a janitor and dishwasher in Chef Robert Gadsby’s restaurant in Los Angeles, California after serving a decade in prison.

Henderson recalled how his motivation began when he was a child working with his grandfather who owned a cleaning service, cleaning laundromats in Southern California. Watch the session with your All-Access Pass, available through March 31, 2021. Visit

Breaking Through: My Journey to Becoming the First Female NFL Official
When Sarah Thomas was a young girl growing up in Pascagoula, Mississippi, her father instilled in her the idea that she could achieve anything she wanted on her own. “Don’t depend on a man for anything,” he told her. That sense of independence, along with being accountable for her own choices, fueled her success as a basketball player in college and later on her path to becoming the first female official in the NFL. Watch the session with your All-Access Pass, available through March 31, 2021. Visit

COVID-19: Where Do We Go From Here?

This session featured a panel of experts that discussed ongoing and future strategies that the global cleaning community must embrace.

The event featured Patricia Olinger, the executive director of GBAC, Dr. Gavin Macgregor-Skinner, the director of GBAC, Carolyn Berland, the senior scientist/brand innovation manager at Essity, and David Causton, the general manager of McCormick Place in Chicago.

“It’s been a year of partnerships,” Dr. Macgregor-Skinner noted in his introduction. “What comes next? What is needed? Where are the gaps?” he asked attendees. He then explained how to translate written procedures and protocols into practical “how to” guidance that can be used by the cleaning industry. Watch the session with your All-Access Pass, available through March 31, 2021. Visit

About the Author.

Jeff Cross is the ISSA Media Director with brands that include ISSA Today, Cleaning & Maintenance Management, and Cleanfax. If you, your company, or organization would like to be considered for inclusion in an ISSA media project this year as part of our 100th anniversary, please contact him at [email protected] or 740-973-4236.