by Ranger Kidwell-Ross, editor
Educating the Expanding 'Sweeping Industry Fraternity'
Since I began writing about the power sweeping industry, via the first Supervac Quarterly published on behalf of the Schwarze family in 1988, the industry has grown enormously in many ways. Today there are more choices than ever when it comes to buying sweepers and related equipment. There are more manufacturers of both sweepers and wear/replacement items. Contractors have become more professional and now most are online and connected to the Internet via email, websites and social media.
Through those years there have been plenty of shakeups, though. During the recession, the around 5,000 sweeping contractors who were in business consolidated to closer to 3,000. Just this week I received notice that the Three 'B' Brush company is no longer in business, either.
In the main, though, the industry is thriving through an improving economy and the best access ever for getting up-to-date information about every aspect of sweeping. Operators' manuals are now just a mouse click away, as are troubleshooting forums, the ability to make manufacturer inquiries – and, via WorldSweeper.com – even news about what's going on with the worldwide sweeping industry. Our World Sweeping Association is now in its 5th consecutive year of providing an industry-oriented scholarship program and, now for the first-time ever, sweeping contractors have the opportunity to attend a weekend tradeshow designed just for them, WSA's Sweeper Roundup.
As you navigate the roads over the upcoming U.S. Memorial Day holiday, be especially courteous and cautious. Give yourself extra time to get to your destination and don't do any non-essential driving. I am also including the link to a one-page holiday safety reminder from nationally recognized safety expert, Pillar Engineering's John Meola. John provides a monthly 'Safety First!' update to members of the World Sweeping Association. If you want to hand out Meola's Memorial Day pdf file, here's the link at the WSA website.
Most importantly, take time to remember and celebrate the reason for the Memorial Day holiday. Most accounts say the holiday has its roots in the Civil War, when it was started in 1865 by former black slaves in Charleston, SC, as a way to honor 257 dead Union soldiers who had been buried in a mass grave. History has it that the former slaves dug up the soldiers bodies and worked for two weeks to give them a proper burial in gratitude for the mens sacrifice in the fight to give them freedom.
Celebrate the holiday by taking time to give thanks to those who have served in the military and recalling those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. When you see someone in uniform, say "thank you for your service." Then, when you come back to work on Tuesday, relaxed, refreshed and rarin' to go, give another round of thanks to the fact you won't be heading out in one of the 1894 era broom sweepers you'll see below...
As always, if you have any news of potential interest to the power sweeping community, please let us know. Between this publication, the WorldSweeper.com website, and the World Sweeping Association, we'll be sure to get the information passed along to interested readers.
Executive Director, World Sweeping Association
PS If you haven't 'liked' our WorldSweeper Facebook page, what are you waiting for? That's where we offer industry previews and updates on an ongoing basis.
May Newsletter Contents
(Scroll down to read stories or click on links.)
- Agenda Set for WSA's 2017 Sweeper Roundup
- Classification of Workers' Comp Categories for Sweepers
- This is APWA's 57th National Public Works Week
- July 1st is Deadline for Applying for WSA's Memorial Scholarships
- Broom Sweeper Patent, Circa 1894
- Not Exactly Sweeping: First-Ever CityXChange Summit Aims To Change The Way Cities Define And Solve Problems
Agenda Set for WSA's 2017 Sweeper Roundup
There's never before been a conference just for power sweeping contractors. Why would any sweeping contractor even consider not attending?!
You can now sign up to attend the World Sweeping Association's upcoming Sweeper Roundup,TM America's first-ever manufacturer-independent power sweeping conference and tradeshow. The event will be held this coming September 15-17th. The link below details the agenda and includes a signup link to attend. Many thanks to the Sweeper Roundup sponsors who are working with WSA and WorldSweeper to make the event a success!
Get info and sign up to attend.
Classification of Workers' Comp Categories for Sweepers
The power sweeping industry has long been put at an economic disadvantage in that the only Worker's Comp. classification nationally is that of "street sweeper." Now, thanks to a clarification in California statutes, contractors around the U.S. will be able to make a case for separating their company into two Workers' Comp. classifications instead of just the one.
The Workers' Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California (WCIRB) has changed classifications contained in the California Workers' Compensation Uniform Statistical Reporting Plan-1995 (USRP) that applies to employers in the power sweeping industry. Article includes link to the PDF with the information as well as results of a conversation with a representative of the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), which provides either guidance or a mandate on rates and Workers' Comp. classifications to 35 U.S. states.
Check out the details.
This is APWA's 57th National Public Works Week
National Public Works Week (NPWW) is celebrated by the American Public Works Association's (APWA) over 29,800 members in hundreds of municipalities throughout the U.S. and Canada. This year the NPWW celebration is being held during May 21-27, 2017, to honor the public works professionals who plan, design, build, manage and operate the infrastructure that ensures a higher quality of life for our communities. That includes many of WorldSweeper.com's readers and we thank you for your efforts!
Also included at the link below is a listing of APWA's 'Top Ten Public Works Professionals' for 2017.
Get the details.
July 1st is Deadline for Applying for WSA's Memorial Scholarships
Sweeping-related companies: Be sure to let your employees know about the availability of the World Sweeping Association's Memorial Scholarships! These are named in the honor of the late Dale McCaskill, Sr. a long-time power sweeping contractor who was killed in a car accident in 2011; and, in the name of the late Carl J. Austin, who was sweeping contractor before becoming a manager for many years with Schwarze Industries, Inc.
This marks the 5th year that WSA will be giving out two scholarships to relatives of employees of power sweeping-related companies (may not be relatives just of company principals). For those connected to WSA Member companies, the amount of each scholarship will be $2,000. For non-member companies the amount is reduced to $1,000. The deadline for applying is July 1st.
For complete information about the scholarships – available to students who are related to employees of sweeping-related companies and attending a higher education school including trade schools – use the link below. However, to just print out WSA's scholarship availability form suitable for posting onto your company's bulletin board click on this link.
Get the info.
Broom Sweeper Patent, Circa 1894
Have any complaints about your current mechanical broom sweeper(s)? Are they designed just the way you'd like? Do they sweep perfectly?
If you'd like to see how far broom sweeping has advanced over roughly the last century, you'll want to take a look at the patent drawings for one of the first-ever broom sweepers, which was patented in 1894.
More info and three more drawings.
First-Ever CityXChange Summit Aims to Change the Way Cities Define and Solve Problems
During the week of May 15-19 (2017) an unlikely group of officials assembled at the shoreline of Lake Como in Italy. Attendees included 11 global mayors (including the mayor of Atlanta), 12 startup technologists and more than a dozen of the world's highest profile venture capitalists. Over the course of five days at the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center they put their heads together for one purpose: problem-solving on how best to address the toughest urban challenges of the 21st century – including the best ways to keep cities clean.
As excerpted from the linked article: "Say, for example, a city wants to keep its streets cleaner. Officials may believe they lack a sufficient number of street sweepers and that they must buy more. So they solicit offers from high-tech street sweeper manufacturers, select the best price, sign a contract, and buy. Maybe streets get cleaner. Maybe they don't.
"But what if cities brought in industry perspectives from the start? What if they bid for the best answers to a question, like 'How do we keep our city clean?' – rather than 'What is the best (sweeper) product?'
Maybe the answer is better public education, or more rubbish bins," says Michael Berkowitz, the president of the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities program. Or maybe the answer is more street sweepers after all. Still, it's possible the city missed out on a better idea by neglecting to open the conversation earlier.
Check out the article.