Categories: Member ProfilesBy ISSA Today Staff | August 1, 2022 << Back to Articles
Many members of the cleaning industry are driven by a mission bigger than punching the clock and turning a profit. Whether it’s cleaning for health, investing in employees, partnering with charities, or helping other entrepreneurs reach their goals, the industry is full of companies seeking to do good work above and beyond clean floors and happy customers. That couldn’t be truer for SOAR365, a disability services provider and an ISSA member organization in Richmond, Virginia.
SOAR365 is a nonprofit organization founded in 1954 by families looking for a better way to care for loved ones with disabilities. To fund human services like adult day support, youth programs, summer camps, and more, the company operates a business solutions division that offers janitorial and cleaning services, grounds maintenance, assembly and logistics, and administrative services to commercial and government clients.
Cleaning buildings, changing lives
Mike Atkins, assistant vice president of facility management services with SOAR365, notes that his company is unique in the cleaning industry as a nonprofit organization with a mission dedicated to creating an accessible and inclusive workplace. Unemployment among those with disabilities seeking work is around 65%, and SOAR365 aims to address that problem directly with its own employment practices. Nearly 60% of the SOAR365 workforce have a disability. So, in addition to providing care services for individuals with disabilities, SOAR365 Business Solutions create life-fulfilling opportunities for individuals with disabilities, those who are eager and excellent employees.
“We have heard when we are hired that it’s a win-win-win,” Atkins explains. “Our customers win because we are doing a great job. SOAR365 employees with disabilities win because they are able to get and keep jobs that offer competitive wages, excellent benefits, promotion opportunities, and increased independence. SOAR365 program participants win because the profits earned by business solutions help support human service programs.”
The ISSA impact
SOAR365 has been an ISSA member organization since 2018, with its facility management division taking advantage of the resources and certifications ISSA offers. Atkins is most inspired by the people in his company, and he says that ISSA membership has provided more opportunities to serve and celebrate the SOAR365 team.
Recently, SOAR365 joined ISSA in celebrating National Cleaning Week. The company honored its cleaning staff with meals, gift cards, giveaways, and more. Atkins credits ISSA for highlighting this event as another opportunity to invest in their hardworking employees.
ISSA membership has also helped SOAR365 stay competitive in the cleaning market. The company has an inspirational mission, but that alone isn’t enough.
To attract and satisfy customers, SOAR365 must provide excellent service backed by industry certifications too. Atkins says ISSA’s Cleaning Industry Management Standard-Green Building (CIMS-GB) Certification has been especially beneficial in giving his company the credibility it needs to market to new customers and pursue contracts in government buildings.
After reflecting on how ISSA has impacted SOAR365, Atkins concludes: “I would tell my peers [in the cleaning industry] to lean forward, partner with ISSA, and take full advantage of every resource that they have to offer.”
For more on SOAR365, tune into this recent ISSA Impact video interview and podcast.
About the Author.
For more information, visit issa.com/magazine.