by Ranger Kidwell-Ross, editor
Offering a Year-End Wrap-Up on Several Fronts
I attended the recent Pavement LIVE Expo in San Diego to try to achieve closure on the NAPSA story we broke last issue. My hope was that by meeting with the individuals involved we could all reach a better understanding of the situation.
On that front I'm sorry to say I was more than a little disappointed. As you will read, the NAPSA Executive Committee was unwilling to meet as a group. Also, the individual and group conversations I initiated with Board Members did not result in much resolution. However, the Expo did provide an opportunity to speak in person to the principal players, so as to get a better personal feel for what the motivations might have been for their unexplainable actions. Our lead story is what I sincerely hope is the final wrap-up of this unfortunate incident.
The Pavement LIVE Expo itself, though short on attendees from power sweeping, provided several seminars of interest to the industry. One of those, given by California Air Resources Board Manager, Elizabeth White, was an absolute 'gold mine' for anyone doing sweeping in California. The regulations are many, varied and difficult to navigate. I was astonished that every contractor in the region wasn't in attendance for a rare opportunity to get the info directly from a top CARB Manager, along with the ability to ask questions. We do have coverage on this topic as one of our stories, however.
The outdoor demonstrations were also an instructive new aspect of this year's Pavement LIVE show. The downside; no sweeping companies participated. However, in their defense: With so few sweeping contractors in attendance (I counted a total of just 16 contractor companies represented at the Sweepers' Roundtable...) and a price tag of multiple thousands of dollars for doing an outdoor demo, there's no way the cost-benefit made sense. I hope Cygnus can work that equation out for future shows.
I want to also bring your attention to our last newsletter article this issue, since it is occurring on December 15th. The hour-long SBA seminar on small business tax regs and issues would seem to be a great way to make sure you're headed in all the right directions going into 2012. A small investment of time for this free seminar could well pay enormous benefits in this tax year, as well as going forward.
Two of this issue's articles, on cleaning methods for pervious concrete and about Austin-Western sweepers, are the direct result of input by readers (you know who you are). If there's something you'd like us to cover, please let me know. Finally, I'm excited that Brad Humphrey has taken on the task of providing a weekly subscription e-newsletter article for pavement contractors. Be sure to check it out; Brad is a long-time presenter at the National Pavement Expos and one of the most knowledgable guys in the pavement maintenance industry.
Thanks to all of our subscribers for supporting WorldSweeper.com through yet another year (our 6th). We wish you all a great holiday season and hope the new year brings you all you could possibly wish for!
December Newsletter Contents
(Scroll down to read stories or click on links.)
- NAPSA President
Kevin Kroeger Resigns in Mid-Term, Part 2
- BMPs for Cleaning Pervious Concrete
- The Value of Cross-Channel Marketing
- Sweeper Regulatory Update: How to Comply with California's Recently Amended On-Road Regs
- Austin-Western: Once the 'Gold Standard' of Sweeping and Road Equipment
- Brad Humphrey, Cygnus, Start "The Contractors Best Friend" Weekly Newsletter
- FREE Tax Seminar Provided by SBA on December 15th (1pm, ET)
NAPSA President, Kevin Kroeger, Resigns in Mid-Term, Part 2
WorldSweeper wraps up its investigation into the lack of answers provided to NAPSA's rank-and-file members when the Association's President, Kevin Kroeger, recently resigned. This second article reports on the investigation that builds upon what was published in our November issue of this newsletter.
The article and analysis is written by WorldSweeper.com's Editor, Ranger Kidwell-Ross, who traveled to the recent Pavement LIVE Expo held in San Diego. The article includes a PDF copy of the Letter of Resignation submitted by Kroeger, as well as the information derived from conversations with a number of the NAPSA Executive Committee and Board Members who were in attendance. The report also includes information provided by NAPSA's Executive Director, Kimberly Fantaci.
Although, strictly speaking, the story directly affects only NAPSA members, it should be of interest to all power sweeping contractors in America. The ultimate goal of the WorldSweeper investigation is to ensure NAPSA is run in an open and transparent manner that makes the Association more widely attractive to power sweeping contractors throughout the U.S.
Read the story.
BMPs for Cleaning Pervious Concrete
Alan Sparkman is Executive Director of the Tennessee Concrete Association. In the following article, he provides an overview of what his Association has learned about BMPs for keeping pervious concrete roadways and other expanses cleaned and, as a result, functionally operational.
Sparkman's information overview starts with the construction and design process, then carries through to what is needed for effective cleaning of the surfaces. He also provides ideas and information about situations to watch out for, such as adjacent asphalt areas that tend to have particulate runoff that is more excessive than what occurs with concrete-paved areas. Read the story.
Power sweeping is a relatively low-tech industry. Because of that, both public works departments and contractors were slow to embrace the concept of transmitting information via their websites. After that came email contacts as an adjunct to phone calls and letters. Today, who wouldn't be lost without email?!
The same is occurring today when it comes to branching out into using social media to find customers, identify prospects and constituents and, generally, to interact with those who would – or should – be interested in knowing more about your company or organization.
Today, one in every nine people on earth is a Facebook user; Twitter manages an average of 190 million tweets per day. Just as stunning, the New York Times reported in January that over 107 trillion emails were sent in 2010. The important take-away for your marketing is this:
If you're not communicating with your customers via social channels as well as through email, you're not reaching your audience where it lives, works and plays.
Use the link shown below to access a 12-page PDF by solutions provider, Lyris. It provides a host of information in an easily understood writing style. For some, it's a great introduction to the concept of social media marketing. For others, it can be a blueprint for action.
Take a look.
Elizabeth White, the California Air Resources Board's Manager for Truck and Bus Regulation, provided an informative seminar at Pavement LIVE. Her topic was an update on the regulations faced by the power sweeping industry in California.
If you are located in California and think that you know all about the current regulations, keep in mind that they changed last year. In a nutshell, if the sweeper or other vehicle is over 14,000 pounds GVWR and it can be licensed to drive on-road – even though it may not be licensed during use – then it's regulated. However, most vehicles for personal use under 19,500 GVWR do not fall under the regulations.
Ms. White provided her seminar PowerPoint presentation to WorldSweeper readers as a PDF file. Also provided in the article is a video link to a presentation explaining the current program. Take a look.
What became of Austin-Western, eventual makers of the legendary street sweepers by the same name? The eventual ownership company was started in 1877 in Mount Prospect, Iowa, by Captain C.H. Smith and cofounders Captain Beckwith and Dr. McClure. As the C.H. Smith & Co. contractor firm, they were veterans of railroad building, employing the tools of the day: pick, shovel and wheelbarrow, assisted by an early type of drag scraper. They initially founded a firm to manufacture a crude wheeled scraper, which had been devised to hold about three cubic feet.
Austin-Western was the first road machinery company, with its origins dating back to the start of modern road building after the civil war. In the 1950's, as the Interstate highway commitment signaled the last of that great road infrastructure boom, Austin-Western was paired with Baldwin Locomotive, a holdover from the great age of steam. Unfortunately, that company offered a locotomotive product line that had been made obsolete by the new Electro Motive diesel engines by GM.
Our story is a historical overview of the Austin-Western company, along with information on how the design of the unique sweeper came about. You will also appreciate some of the other products designed by Alex Tremulus, the man responsible for the Austin-Western sweepers' sleek look. Take a look.
Brad Humphrey sat down with WorldSweeper.com's Editor, Ranger Kidwell-Ross, during the Pavement LIVE Expo to discuss his new contractor newsletter concept. Humphrey is partnering with Cygnus on the endeavor to bring a weekly subscription e-newsletter to the pavement maintenance industry.
The story offers a link to the video of the interview, as well as a look at the first issue, which was provided at no charge for WorldSweeper.com readers' review.
Read about the newsletter.
Edward S. Karl, CPA and vice president of taxation for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, will host SBA's free December web chat on "Tax Essentials for Small Business Owners." Karl will answer questions about tax deductions and credits business owners can use to reduce their tax payments, as well as other tax-saving tips.
SBA's web chat series provides small business owners with an opportunity to discuss relevant business issues online with experts, industry leaders and successful entrepreneurs. Chat participants have direct, real-time access to the web chats via questions they can submit online in advance and during the live session.
To post questions prior to the event, as well as to sign up and participate in this event, go to the SBA website and choose the event from the table of contents in the 'What's New' section on the right side of the SBA's home page.