Most people don’t like cleaning bathrooms. We do it, but we’d rather not. Some of us, however, earn our livings making sure bathrooms and a host of other environments are clean, sanitary and smell delicious. These maintenance professionals and their suppliers’ products take care of homes, hotels, hospitals, stadiums, dorms, schools, factories and offices.
The folks who are in these businesses, some 16,000 of them, came to Las Vegas last week for ISSA Interclean 2013. The former International Sanitary Supply Association (now just ISSA) holds its North American convention alternately in three cities: Orlando, Chicago and Las Vegas. This year, the Las Vegas Convention Center was the location of choice. The show producer, Amsterdam RAI, provided a schedule that included a trade show, seminars and a number of special events.
I was anxious to attend last Wednesday’s ISSA Interclean because the schedule included keynote remarks by Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, the online retailer now headquartered in downtown Las Vegas. A week earlier, Hsieh had been a featured speaker at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts. I wondered if this now-prominent local citizen was worth both his Smith Center and ISSA engagements.
In short, he was great — talking about his own and his company’s story, his vision for downtown Las Vegas and in fact, his live-work-play vision for all urban environments. His hour-long presentation was so full of enthusiasm for the future, as Hsieh and his colleagues see it, that I wished he were a candidate…. for something!
Note-takers at Hsieh’s talk were writing furiously. Among my notes, an item I had previously missed in news reports: because Hsieh’s team feels bike and ride-sharing should be part of downtown’s future, Downtown Project funds have purchased 100 Tesla automobiles…an order that makes me want to invest in Tesla, in spite of last week’s other Tesla news regarding fires. Downtown Project incidentally, is a $350 million effort headed by Hsieh to help transform downtown Las Vegas “into the most community-focused large city in the world”.
The Downtown Project vision also includes 100 furnished apartments that are loaned to invited Las Vegas visitors. Tours in the same building include Hsieh’s own living space. Hsieh also noted that the folks at Amazon, who now own Zappos, have kept their commitment not to interfere with Zappos in terms of changing the Zappos culture and mission. In short….Hsieh is an inspiring speaker, and amid all the gloom nationally, hearing Hsieh and his vision for the future is definitely a positive experience.
But yes, I’m off the subject. What do the folks talk about at ISSA Interclean (other than their keynote speakers)? Among the seminar topics: “Cleaning and Sanitizing of Food Services”, “Behind the Broom: Managing a Professional Cleaning Operation”, “Green Paper Products: Moving Beyond Recycled Content”, “Managing the Daily Workflow” and “Social Media Boot Camp”.
As to the trade show? As usual, I visited with a video camera and had a wonderful time seeing another segment of American business.