by Ranger Kidwell-Ross, editor
Technology: Keep Up or Risk Losing Out
I wrote my first story about the power sweeping industry in the Spring of 1988. The topic was the purchase of AAPLEX Sweeper Co. by Schwarze Industries, Inc. It was the lead article for the inaugural issue of the first-ever publication for sweeping contractors, the Supervac Quarterly newsletter. I had designed and written the publication at the request of Mark Schwarze, then vice-president of Schwarze Industries, Inc.
At the time, I was utilizing my graduate economics degree as a general business consultant in Huntsville, Alabama, where my wife was employed as a NASA research scientist at the Marshall Space Flight Center. The Schwarze company was my only 'low-tech client' in Huntsville, which was a high-tech support haven for both NASA and the army's Redstone Arsenal.
With 24 years covering the power sweeping industry now under my belt – eventually as editor/founder of American Sweeper magazine and now these last seven years as editor/founder of WorldSweeper.com – I can tell you that there are few successful low-tech holdouts remaining in sweeping nowadays. Today, if you're not wired you can't expect to stay hired.
Municipalities have to satisfy constituents who expect service at the speed of the internet. And, unless a sweeping contractor company has an online presence and a management team that's getting email via smart phone, they are in the gunsights of their competition. Those folks are probably not even aware of the vast resources available at WorldSweeper.com, let alone are they receiving this informative publication in their e-mailbox every month.
Read the rest of the editorial.
May Newsletter Contents
(Scroll down to read stories or click on links.)
- Contractor Captures Colorful Contract With 'Color Me Rad' Company
- Schwarze Industries Announces Executive Appointments to Management Team
- The Chess Match that is the Business of Contracting
- Texting and Driving Smartphone App is Safety Breakthrough
- Social Media Horror Stories
- Puerto Rico's Sweep and Vac Combines Contracting With Equipment Sales
- APWA Names 2012 National Top Ten Public Works Leaders
- Getting It Done While Getting Along: How to Overcome Your Co-Worker's Poor Habits
Contractor Captures Colorful Contract With 'Color Me Rad' Company
There is one thing that can be said for certain when it comes to being a sweeping contractor: When the phone rings, you never know what the person on the other end of the line might want you to clean up. The project that Virginia-based, Commercial Power Sweeping, Inc., took on last month was their most colorful ever.
'Color Me Rad' events are 5k run/walks where participants are pelted with packets of colorized cornstarch throughout the course. Then, at the finish line, so much of the colorful stuff is thrown that just what's left on the ground is 4-5 inches deep in places. The sweeping challenge was to clean up the finish line area to where no trace was left behind, all while minimizing airborne particulants. Check out the details.
Schwarze Industries Announces Executive Appointments to Management Team
The Schwarze Industries organization has announced a number of noteworthy changes in its management team, most notably at the positions of President, VP of Sales and Marketing, and at Plant Manager.
Howard May, Sr. is the new Schwarze President. May was promoted from his position as Vice-President of Operations at Schwarze affiliate, Bush Hog (both are owned by parent company, Alamo Group). Prior to joining Bush Hog, Mr. May Sr. was Vice President-Operations for Textron-Jacobsen in Charlotte, North Carolina.
In addition, Kevin Lozen has taken on responsibilities as Plant Manager of the Schwarze plant. Lozen comes to Schwarze from Florida Production Engineering, Inc., where he served 5 years as that company's Plant Manager.
The other new addition to Schwarze's senior management team is Gregory Heyer, the company's new Vice-President of Sales and Marketing. Heyer comes to Schwarze from Heil Trailer International, where he served as that company's Global VP of Sales, Marketing & Customer Service. Choose the link to our Industry Updates section for more detailed information about all of these changes, which also includes a listing of the current structure of the rest of the Schwarze sales and management team.
Read all about it.
Reflecting on chess games made the author, Ron Roberts of The Contractor's Business Coach, realize how close chess resembles the contracting business. Although the analogies in this article best relate to construction sweeping, they provide valuable insight into a number of types of business activities.
Ron Roberts, and his partner Guy Gruenberg, offer to WorldSweeper.com readers occasional guest editorials that cover the topic of sweeping. Through the years, we have found that these two veterans have much to offer when it comes to insight into business operations. This article is no exception. As you read it, we encourage you to think of each of the examples shown in light of your own company's unique situation and challenges. Read about it.
Texting and Driving Smartphone App is Safety Breakthrough
App4Drivers is a revolutionary $4.99 App available for Android and iPhones. It helps improve driving behavior by tracking texting, excessive turns, excessive speeds, quick accelerations or sudden braking.
App4Drivers can document answered texts or phone calls during a drive. The program will even alarm and notify the user – or a car owner or fleet manager – some distance away, as long as the App is active.
The software even creates a trip report and a map showing where driving performance exceeds desired set levels for speed, braking, turning, and for cell phone use. The map can be automatically transmitted to any desired location. Access to the administration portion of the system is via password protection.
Check out the whole story.
Social Media Horror Stories
At a recent webinar held by Manpower, attendees were asked to text the one word that describes social media in today's workplace. In top three order these were, Necessary (28%); Distracting (14%) and Dangerous (8%). The remainder of the list was an almost equal split of positive and negative descriptions.
There is no question that social media is here to stay and that employers must learn to make the most of it. Does your company have a social media policy that is in compliance with state and federal laws, rules and regulations, including being compliant with the National Labor Relations Act?
For a better idea of what can happen in this time of emerging social media regulations, you'll want to read the rest of the story, which labor law attorney Daniel J. Burdick wrote in his blog, Alabama Employment Law Report.
In the 1970s, Carlos Nevares made decisions for the sanitation department of San Juan, Puerto Rico. In that position, he became familiar with a wide variety of equipment, including a number of types of sweepers.
His long term goal became to get into the sweeping business, but he wasn't motivated to do so until he saw a magazine ad for an entirely new type of sweeper.
"All of the sweepers I'd seen you had to tweak them every day to get them to work right," said Nevares. "Then, in 1988 I saw an ad for a Schwarze air sweeper and was impressed enough that I visited the company
in 1989. We talked business and essentially by buying the sweeper I became the dealer for Puerto Rico.
In late 1989, Nevares bought his first Schwarze sweeper and started a contracting business based on the unit's capabilities in early 1990. He also started selling the Schwarze machines. "Today," says Nevares, "I believe I'm the Schwarze company's oldest dealership."
Read about Sweeping and Vacuum Unlimited, Inc.
The American Public Works Association (APWA) has announced the 2012 Top Ten Public Works Leaders of the Year. Marking the 52nd anniversary of the award, the honor is among the most coveted and prestigious presented by APWA. Each Top Ten Public Works Leader is recognized at local, community-oriented events, as well as during the Awards Ceremony as part of the APWA 2012 International Public Works Congress – Exposition in Anaheim, California during August 26-29.
"APWA is proud to honor the Top Ten Public Works Leaders from the U.S. and Canada, which are part of APWA’s National Public Works Week celebrations from May 20-26, 2012," said APWA Executive Director, Peter B. King. "These Top Ten Leaders are exceptional public works professionals who have been selected by a committee of peers for their career-long professionalism, expertise, service and personal dedication to improving the quality of life in the communities they serve."
See the winners.
AMA Webinar Entitled "Getting It Done While Getting Along: How to Overcome Your Co-Worker's Poor Habits"
Recorded April 26, 2012; available for download anytime
A special presentation for Administrative Professionals week, this webcast can help you have more time and less hassle in your day by exposing and problem solving several common productivity issues and bad habits often found in today's work environment. Webinar exposes and solves several common productivity issues and bad habits, including:
- Overcoming poor office etiquette habits
- How to avoid bad email etiquette habits
- Eliminating unproductive meeting habits
The presenter is the author of the book "What NOT To Do At the Office."
Registration is free, but you must register to download the program. Register and download by clicking on this link.