CLEANING TO A HIGHER STANDARD

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Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight: Core Mechanical, Inc.

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Core Mechanical Spotlight

By Chuck Howick, Sr. VP Core Mechanical, Inc., Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Division

1. How and where did your company start?
Core’s IAQ Division naturally evolved from Core’s roots as a company performing HVAC installations, service, & repairs. Simply put, our clients needed more. They came to realize that routine cleaning was a key element of “servicing” their systems, directly leading to fewer repairs and longer lasting units.


2. What area does your company service?
Total Indoor Air Quality.


3. What does your company stand for?
Core Mechanical, Inc. is committed to continuously improving its services in order to better satisfy the needs of its customers, exceed their expectations and deliver on time, high quality services.


4. How did you get started in the KEC industry?
When you think of HVAC, you picture conditioning the air you already have (Heating / Cooling / Filtering / Dehumidification / Humidification), but to achieve Total IAQ, you must be able to isolate and remove contaminants prior to them becoming part of the interior atmosphere. Kitchen exhausts do just that. So to maintain their performance we needed to keep them functioning as designed… by cleaning them.


5. What did you do in your prior life before KEC?
USN Nuclear Enlisted Machinist Mate, Engineering Laboratory Technician, and Officer.


6. What surprised you most when you started in the KEC industry?
The misconception that kitchen exhausts sole purpose was to keep grease from entering the buildings air. Very few consider the enormous amount of heat, moisture, smoke, and cooking odors that accompany that grease. A typical HVAC system would be overcome by these contaminants well before the grease built up to problem levels. Don’t get me wrong, I have seen grease an inch thick with multiple fungal growths thriving in the slime!


7. How did you get your passion for KEC and describe your passion for the industry in words?
I may have already partially answered this in question 4. You can’t have total IAQ without a fully functioning kitchen exhaust. Cleaning & servicing KE’s is a necessary step to reaching total IAQ.


8. How did you go about making the quality control changes that brought your company to where it is today?
IKECA is all about risk mitigation through training, awareness, and compliance. Delivering these attributes to my team inherently brought about the quality we desired. Technicians typically show up to work thinking they are going to do a good job. With tools in their bag including this training & awareness, they are guaranteed to succeed. With a company climate strongly embracing compliance, you get a win – win every time.


9. What were some of your goals that IKECA helped you to achieve and how did IKECA help you to achieve them?
IKECA provided the resources I needed to perfectly execute my projects in order to get return customers!


10. What do you think is the greatest value of being an IKECA member?
Immediate access to knowledge sharing. Goes back to question 8, providing the tools my team needs.


11. What would you most want to say to the AHJ’s about our industry?
Consider making IKECA membership a requirement to receive kitchen exhaust cleaning contracts. Continue to increase awareness of IKECA.


12. What would you most want to say to the restaurants about our industry?
I borrowed this from the IKECA website: “Hire Only the Best Trained and Certified IKECA Members” to clean & service your exhaust systems! The lowest bidder may not be the “best value” for your kitchen exhaust needs. Take the time to determine “best value”, it will pay dividends.


13. What is your favorite hobby?
Target shooting all types of firearms. I am thrilled by the engineering behind them and the skill needed to use them. The kid in me still likes the big boom also.

Member Spotlight: Grease Stop, LLC

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Grease Stop Spotlight

By Greg Fisher, CECS- President Grease Stop, LLC

1. How and where did your company start?
In November 2004 when I bought a dealership based in Reading, PA.


2. What area does your company service?
We currently cover a 4 hour radius from Reading including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and New York.


3. What does your company stand for?
Most companies will tell you quality. Well, to me that is understood. If you are not a quality company, you will not grow the business.  The main reason, which I have learned while being a sales executive for Xerox, is that people do not make decisions based solely on price, quality, or contracts. All these are factors of the decision making process, but good service and customer satisfaction ranks highest. At Grease Stop, we have national accounts, major stadiums, mom and pops, fast foods, schools and churches. We earn the customer’s trust regardless of size, by providing excellent service and customer satisfaction. This creates a good customer-vendor relationship.


4. How did you get started in the KEC industry?
The commute, the government, and being an employee convinced me to start my own business. Without any knowledge of this industry, I had an opportunity to become a dealer of a hood cleaning company with territory back in Reading, PA, my home town. There was no business plan or process presented.  I was part of approximately 15 other dealers with no experience, learning on our own and paying the price for our mistakes.


5. What did you do in your prior life before KEC?
I was a Xerox sales executive for 22 years, living in Annapolis, MD selling data center mainframe printers to the Federal government in Washington, DC.


6. What surprised you most when you started in the KEC industry?
First of all, I never knew about the KEC industry. What surprised me most was the amount of grease that we had to take out of the kitchen exhaust systems to make it clean. We discovered that not all hood cleaning companies would clean the entire system.  We discovered that the fan did not have a hinge kit or grease containment, horizontal ducts were not cleaned, or access panels were not opened. There didn’t seem to be regulations controlling the process of cleaning within the KEC industry.


7. How did you get your passion for KEC and describe your passion for the industry in words?
In 2011, I broke away from that dealership and created Grease Stop, LLC. I wanted to learn more about the industry so I was reading the information on other KEC websites. One of the sites was Nelbud’s site, and I decided to email Nelson Dilg. He suggested that I look into joining IKECA. I checked out the IKECA website and decided this was exactly what I was looking for to gain this industry knowledge.


8. How did you go about making the quality control changes that brought your company to where it is today? 
The key to do this is in two parts. Part one: thoroughly train and certify your employees. Part two: Maintain the quality and detail of the processes. At Grease Stop, administration, management and clerical work together in the job preparation process. The technicians arrive to start their shift, read their work orders, and confirm appointments to complete their scheduled jobs. Follow-ups with picture reviews, customer calls and deficiency reports are always completed the next day. Every company basically performs the same process in cleaning. However, it is the detail and follow-up with the customer that makes the quality process outstanding.


9. What were some of your goals that IKECA helped you to achieve and how did IKECA help you to achieve them?
I wanted to know the KEC industry to further my knowledge and understanding. I wanted to learn about OSHA, EPA, Worker’s Compensation, liability insurance, personnel issues, and payroll. The bi-annual meetings have opened my eyes to all of this. IKECA has also introduced to me other owners which are willing to work together for the growth of the industry. The C-10 is a perfect example of this.


10. What do you think is the greatest value of being an IKECA member?
The sharing of industry knowledge, helping to make each KEC business successful.


11. What would you most want to say to the AHJ’s about our industry?
Our industry needs to work together with all the local AHJ’s. Please reach out to the IKECA members within your territory so we can help keep the industry safe from fire.


12. What would you most want to say to the restaurants about our industry?
Take our reports more seriously and correct the deficiencies to keep your restaurant safe.


13. What is your favorite hobby?
Boating and fishing in my Cutwater on Kent Island in the Chesapeake Bay.

Member Spotlight: Chief Fire Prevention & Mechanical Corp.

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Chief Fire Logo

By Frank Mitarotonda, CECS, CESI

1. How and where did your company start?
After graduating from St. John’s University in 1988, I went to work as a Cash Manager for Time Warner, in New York City, only to find I was not cut out to be a pencil pusher. I began my search to become an entrepreneur. I had a former employer who had just purchased a “Mickey Mouse duct cleaning company” called Chief Fire Prevention.   Chief Fire Prevention was established in 1979 by a former volunteer Fire Chief in Mount Vernon, New York and only had six employees at the time. In 1989, Chief Fire was sold and I bought into the company as a managing partner at the age of 24 with two other investors. The company grew from six employees to just under 100 today, with a total of 65,000 square-foot facilities. Within several years, our customer base started to grow rapidly; I soon realized there were many other services that we could provide to our existing customer base, thus the birth of installing kitchen fire system, fire extinguishers, exhaust design and fabrication, electrical and mechanical.


2. What area does your company service?
New York City and the Tri-State Area (New Jersey & Connecticut), proxy 100-mile radius of 10552.


3. What does your company stand for?
Chief Fire Prevention has become a ‘brand’ onto itself. We take pride in our work and the positive impact that it has on our clients and the industry as a whole. Not only do we take pride in the work itself, but we relish in the fact that the industry knows “Chief Fire” as a unique brand that is synonymous with other leaders of innovation and service in their respective industries.


4. How did you get started in the KEC industry?
I’m still not sure if it’s a blessing or a curse (insert chuckle here), but it all began 27 years ago when a business partner and I bought out what was then a failing company named ‘Chief Fire Prevention’. From that point on I would visit jobs by day, do the jobs myself at night, sleep an hour or two in the car, and then repeat. The early days were no piece of cake, but I’m happy to look back and reflect on the days when our future wasn’t certain.


5. What did you do in your prior life before KEC?
I worked in the finance industry at Time Warner NYC and as a grocery store manager in a 24-hour open air market in the Bronx during the tumulus decade of the 1980’s. I think this is what laid the foundation to be a fair but tough businessman, and a purveyor of quality goods and services. Quality and dedication to my commitments has always been a badge of honor that I wear proudly.


6. What surprised you most when you started in the KEC industry?
Coming out of St John’s University, I had no idea the industry existed, so naturally the biggest surprise was that this niche market was untouched, untamed and pretty much wide open like the Wild West during the California Gold Rush. The sky was the limit, New York was on the rise, and investment capital was flowing with Trump and other major developers building these majestic castles in the sky. Mayor Rudy Giuliani was cleaning up the city and back then you could see that the pulse of Manhattan was rising again.


7. How did you get your passion for KEC and describe your passion for the industry in words?
The passion I’ve experienced was due to the compassion I felt for the business owners who were getting ripped off by the fly-by-night companies who operated out of a garage and hid behind a fancy business card. The first time I pulled a filter, popped my head in the plenum and looked up into the duct, I was greeted by Mr. Stalagmite and Mrs. Stalactite of grease. I knew this was a severe fire hazard and when I presented my findings to the potential customer he nearly fell to his knees in fear of a fire and the resulting damages, loss of life, lawsuits etc…
Here was a man who had invested everything in his dream, to own a restaurant in the Big Apple, and because of a predatory business practitioner, he could have lost it all in a grease fire like so many have. From that day on I’ve set the tone in my organization that we will never settle for the crutch of mediocrity.


8. How did you go about making the quality control changes that brought your company to where it is today? 
I set forth in-house safety and quality assurance standards, adapted pressure washing and invested huge amounts of money (that we didn’t have) and bargained that if we educated our customers, they would pay a premium for the best and most innovative service. It worked!


9. What were some of your goals that IKECA helped you to achieve and how did IKECA help you to achieve them?
IKECA has been a vehicle which has provided a necessary “National Awareness” in regards to fire safe business operations that have been the life-blood of our industry and the businesses it represents. IKECA is a vast coalition of collective partners who strive to be the innovative leaders of a necessary industry. Chief Fire Prevention has benefitted immensely as a member due to the amazing work IKECA has done for the industry as a whole.


10. What do you think is the greatest value of being an IKECA member?
There is immense value in being part of an organization that holds its members to the highest standard. IKECA promotes active and real time information sharing between members and acts as a launching pad for ideas and the shared value that comes from experienced professionals working for a greater and safer industry standard.


11. What would you most want to say to the AHJ’s about our industry?
Our industry exists for the purpose of maintaining a fire safe, hazard free operation of commercial kitchens and industrial exhaust systems as a whole. The industry works to protect both the lives and businesses within the Authority’s Jurisdiction. We see AHJ’s as partners in our quest to ensure that everyone is safe and secure. The importance of what we do cannot and should not be overlooked and\or minimized. We can and should work together as partners with the AHJ’s in good faith for the purpose of keeping our communities safe and operationally efficient.


12. What would you most want to say to the restaurants about our industry?
Consider us an industry a partner, one where we mutually benefit from open and honest communication for the purpose of helping you protect your business, employees, and all who could potentially feel the devastating effects of a kitchen exhaust fire. We are a service based industry as well as a protective force that helps allow business continuity and disaster avoidance.


13. What is your favorite hobby?
Sleep. Working in the “City that Never Sleeps”, I don’t get much time for what was a punishment as a child. It has become a luxury as an adult.  So I look forward to my new hobby.

Member Spotlight: HOODZ of the Mid and Lower Hudson Valley

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Hoodz Hudson Valley Logo

By Wayne Tomassi, CECS, CESI

1. How and where did your company start?
In August 2010, my wife Eileen and I completed Franchisee Training at HOODZ International and started our HOODZ franchise in LaGrangeville within Dutchess County, New York, approximately two hours north of New York City.


2. What area does your company service?
As a franchisee, we are given a territory to manage; however, there are currently no other franchises surrounding ours in New York, so we also currently handle clients that are within 1 ½ hours travel from our location. Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, Kingston, Saugerties, Ossining, Mt Kisco, and Yorktown are major towns/cities in our territory. Outside our territory we service Middletown, Goshen, Monticello and other locations in Orange and Ulster County.


3. What did you do in your prior life before KEC?
I was a Senior Facilities/Equipment Engineering Manager at a major industrial semiconductor company, with experience in cleanroom design, equipment fit-up and maintenance of both the facilities and equipment. Eileen had over 30 years industrial experience, with nearly 20 years in safety and health administration.


4. How did you get started in the KEC industry?
When the company closed the plant moving operations overseas, I lost my job 8 months before full retirement, thus losing 60% of my pension. As Facilities Manager, I was one of the last out the door overseeing the closing of the plant by BELFOR Property Restoration, who at that time was starting the BELFOR Franchise Group under its management. As Facilities Manager in a semiconductor plant, I oversaw maintenance of toxic, solvent, acid and corrosive exhaust systems – doing the same for grease, didn’t seem too far an extreme. Coupled with Eileen’s safety background, HOODZ was a perfect fit.


5. What does your company stand for?
HOODZ is a kitchen exhaust cleaning company, and like all IKECA members, strives to be recognized not just as a hood cleaner. We like to say, “HOODZ Cleans from Roof-Top to Cook-Top!” With my experience in the design and maintenance of major exhaust systems, I strive for my franchise to be recognized as a technically competent, professional, high quality service provider that not only cleans exhaust systems, but can perform preventative maintenance to keep them in top condition. In doing so, I strive that my business also positively reflects on other HOODZ Franchises and IKECA KECs.


6. What surprised you most when you started in the KEC industry?
That other KECs, the real ones, like other HOODZ Franchisees and IKECA KECs, should not be competitors, but work together to keep commercial kitchens safe and compliant. Our HOODZ franchise was given a list of 2,000 restaurants in our territory, which did not include schools, industrial facilities, hospitals, nursing homes and other kitchens in that count. Simply requiring each to be cleaned twice a year (reality is that many could also be quarterly or monthly), that’s more than 4000 cleans a year, almost 11 per day. Reality is that there are not enough capable and quality KECs to do them all. Therefore, there is enough work for all, we shouldn’t be competitors, and we should work together.


7. How did you get your passion for KEC and describe your passion for the industry in words?
As a lifetime engineer, I’ve always had the passion to evaluate, and try to improve everything that I am challenged with. So taking my engineering experience, I prepared a “Hood Cleaning 101” course that was certified by NY State for AHJs to obtain CEUs to maintain their certifications. We enjoy working with AHJs and fire suppression companies to keep establishments safe and compliant.


8. How did you go about making the quality control changes that brought your company to where it is today?
The HOODZ Picture Perfect process is an invaluable process to evaluate your crew’s quality by checking their before/after pictures. I also shared my phone number with numerous fire suppression company technicians which service the same localities as my HOODZ franchise. I request that if they ever find poor workmanship from my teams, to take a couple of pics and text them to me immediately. As a result, my HOODZ franchise also receives many referrals from those same fire suppression companies.


9. What were some of your goals that IKECA helped you to achieve and how did IKECA help you achieve them?
The CECS, and especially the CESI certifications complement my facilities engineering experience to make HOODZ of the Hudson Valley the recognized, best quality KEC in our service area.


10. What do you think is the greatest value of being an IKECA member?
IKECA’s members live up to the goal to advance the quality of cleaning, inspection and maintenance of commercial kitchen exhaust systems worldwide. Being recognized as a member can only be a strong benefit.


11. What would you most want to say to the AHJs about our industry?
Non-qualified, poor quality KECs could actually be more dangerous to commercial kitchens, giving a false sense of security that their systems are clean and safe when they are not. This is demonstrated by localities like Boston, the state of Massachusetts, New York City and others requiring the certification of KECs.


12. What would you most want to say to the restaurants about our industry?
You get what you pay for.  Finding the cheapest KEC could actually be more dangerous giving you a false sense of security that your systems are clean and safe when they are not.  You want correct and quality cleaning to be performed by a professional the areas that you cannot do yourself.


13. What is your favorite hobby?
Eileen and I enjoy maintaining our koi pond and flower gardens. We frequently enjoy vacationing where we can do some bass fishing, or try to catch some prize sized fish while deep sea fishing. Whenever possible, we like to visit and enjoy the experience of our four grandsons.

Member Spotlight: Chemiclene

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Chemiclene Logo

By Thomas Daum, President

1. How and where did your company start?

My grandfather started the company in Jersey City in 1954.


2. What area does your company service?
New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.


3.  What does your company stand for?
Hard work and fair pricing.


4. How did you get started in the KEC industry?
Kitchen exhaust cleaning is work we have always done for some of our bigger clients and we branched out from there.


5. What did you do in your prior life before KEC?
Our company has also always cleaned HVAC systems.


6. What surprised you most when you started in the KEC industry?
The large amount of companies which are in the industry.


7. How did you get your passion for KEC and describe your passion for the industry in words?
My passion developed from helping the commercial industries that need this type of service. My passion is in developing good relationships with our clients.


8. How did you go about making the quality control changes that brought your company to where it is today?
In recent years, our technicians use their field experience and work with a safety consultant to plan each specific job to be done as safely, efficiently and quickly as possible. This ultimately saves us, as well as our clients, time and money. It also allows us to make sure that our employees are always up to date with training and any new safety regulations from OSHA that affect our field. I find that the extra cost of a safety consultant makes our customers feel more comfortable with us. I highly recommend that small businesses hire a safety consultant.


9. What were some of your goals that IKECA helped you to achieve and how did IKECA help you achieve them?
A goal that IKECA helped us to achieve was having the ability as a company to solve any unusual or unique problems for our customers within a job. Whether it’s the IKECA Journal or talking to other members at conferences, we have been able to solve these problems. Another goal that IKECA helped us to achieve is bringing in new business. New customers have called after getting our information from the IKECA website. IKECA allows legitimate businesses within our industry to compete on different, and obviously, better terms than fly-by-night operations.


10. What do you think is the greatest value of being an IKECA member?
Having an organization to lean on for advice, instruction, etc.


11. What would you most want to say to the AHJs about our industry?

Newsletters and seminars are very vital to the industry, especially to newcomers just starting out.


12. What would you most want to say to the restaurants about our industry?

Ours is a service that is needed for your business.


13. What is your favorite hobby?

Golf and spending time with friends.

Member Spotlight: Vent Tec

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Vent-Tec Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning

By Rob Hove, CECS, CESI

1. How and where did your company start?

Vent Tec started life in 1983 as the hood cleaning division of a Seattle fire services company. We purchased the business in 2004 and changed the name to Vent Tec.


2. What area does your company service?
The Puget Sound area of Western Washington, including Olympia, Tacoma, Seattle, Bellevue, Everett, Bellingham, and surrounding areas.


3.  What does your company stand for?
Our motto is “we clean what you can’t see” and we mean that literally. We encourage (beg) our customers to inspect our work, and we provide a written guarantee that they will never find anything that was not cleaned, and cleaned well. Of course we know that few customers will do a real inspection, so we insist they at least look at our slide show of the first cleaning.


4. How did you get started in the KEC industry?
I owned a business brokerage for almost 20 years, and this company was the one I could never sell. It had no profit to speak of, but I was convinced that with proper pricing and cost controls, it could do very well. We bought it, got rid of unprofitable customers, improved management, and it turned around in about six months. Of course, that’s not the whole story.…(see question 7).


5. What did you do in your prior life before KEC?
Prior to starting my brokerage, I worked in finance and foreign start-ups for a major oil company. At one point I worked in a large refinery and discovered to my horror that I was surrounded by the explosive power of a small nuclear bomb. I learned that “OK”, or “good”, was not good enough. The goal had to be perfection, and then maybe we wouldn’t blow up.


6. What surprised you most when you started in the KEC industry?
The lack of urgency and importance about fire safety on the part of too many restaurants, some exhaust cleaning companies, and even some AHJs.


7. How did you get your passion for KEC and describe your passion for the industry in words?
My passion came from a 3 am phone call from Seattle Fire Department during the first month I owned the business. We had two duct fires that month, and I vowed we would never have another. Lots of hard work and fingers crossed, so far so good. Our company had a good reputation and our employees thought they were doing good work. Unfortunately, the standard of quality in our community was very low, so we had a lot of work to do to improve work quality. Since then, our goal has been to set the highest bar for exhaust cleaning quality in every community we serve.


8. How did you go about making the quality control changes that brought your company to where it is today?
One of the first things was to join IKECA so I could learn how to do things the right way. We got rid of the customers that would not pay a price that allowed us to invest the time necessary to do fire safe work. We implemented a rigorous picture program, and made our employees accountable for their results. The toughest part was convincing employees that we were serious about quality, and that when we said “do whatever it takes to get it completely clean,” we actually meant it. Some refused to believe it, and they were replaced. No one in our company has ever been criticized for spending too much time on a job (although some people have gotten coaching on how to be more productive—there’s a big difference between the two).


9. What were some of your goals that IKECA helped you to achieve and how did IKECA help you achieve them?
Other than saving our company, not much. Seriously, every exhaust cleaning company that cares about providing a quality service should be in IKECA.


10. What do you think is the greatest value of being an IKECA member?
Networking with successful people who have valuable things to say.  IKECA also provides an avenue for industry leaders to give back to the community.  It amazes me how many important fire safety advances have come from the hard work of the IKECA founders and many others since.  All of the work is volunteer and uncompensated.  IKECA members should be proud of their organization.


11. What would you most want to say to the AHJs about our industry?

  • Your community probably has far more kitchen exhaust fire hazards than the AHJ expects.
  • Many IKECA members are experts in exhaust system fire safety, and are a valuable resource for AHJs.
  • High quality exhaust cleaning companies need the support of AHJs to address known fire hazard locations.

 

12. What would you most want to say to the restaurants about our industry?

  • Management in each restaurant makes a decision about whether fire safety is important to them – please make the responsible decision!
  • Inspect your exhaust cleaning vendor’s work. Good companies like to show off their work. Bad companies provide excuses and fuzzy pictures.

 

13. What is your favorite hobby?
Land yachting, hiking, and reading history.

Member Spotlight: Hydro Clean

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hydrocleanlogo
By Jim Jenkins, CECS

1. How and where did your company start?
We started in 2001 and ran the business out of our farm just outside of Springfield, MO for several years. We just recently moved to a new location this year.  We acquired a 11,000 sq ft former retail building that had been vacant for a while. We did a complete remodel on the entire building and added overhead doors in the rear to make drive-thru lanes for the crews to clean out and load up their trucks.


2. What area does your company service?
We currently service most of Missouri, the eastern half of Kansas, Northwest Arkansas and Northeast Oklahoma.


3. What does your company stand for?
Do it right or do it somewhere else.  There is no place on a bank deposit slip for excuses. Only results go in the bank.


4. How did you get started in the KEC industry?
I had just bought some equipment and was doing a variety of different things with it when one day I was visiting my grandpa in the nursing home. I struck up a conversation with the head of maintenance and he asked if I cleaned hoods. I gave him a bid for a couple of their facilities and he gave me the green light.  At the time I did not have any employees so I kidnapped my 92 year old grandpa from the west wing and put him to work. With my lack of experience and the speed and efficiency of a nursing home refugee, we knocked that puppy out in only 4 hours and 45 minutes. We still have those first two accounts to this day and fond memories from a great learning experience.


5. What did you do in your prior life before KEC?
We had a Ford dealership in a small town in Southwest Missouri.


6. What surprised you most when you started in the KEC industry?
When we entered this industry our particular market mainly had a guy or two here and there that were running kind of hit and miss. From the beginning we ran our operation as business and not a side job. That approach helped us get a handle on our market early in the game and it also brought up the level of professionalism for some of our competition.


7. How did you go about making the quality control changes that brought your company to where it is today?
We are constantly working with our people to find a more efficient way of doing things. We don’t skimp on equipment. If there is a tool that gets the job done better or quicker we will spend the money. We have a very good maintenance program to help minimize breakdowns and reschedules. We also try keep our vehicles and tools clean to present a positive image. One of my pet peeves is to see someone go into a kitchen with dirty equipment and say we are here to clean your hoods. I am sure the managers first thought is how are you going to clean my stuff when you can’t seem to clean your own.


8. What were some of your goals that IKECA helped you to achieve and how did IKECA help you to achieve them?
It helped us to see the big picture a lot better and how far you could go with this industry.


9. What do you think is the greatest value of being an IKECA member?
For us it has always been networking. There has always been a lot of useful information that we have heard at lunch or during breaks in the hallway. There have been many times that I have been able to make a quick call to a fellow member and resolve a problem from their experiences rather than a trial and error method.


10. What would you most want to say to the restaurants about our industry?
This is a get what you pay for industry. If someone is cheap there is probably a reason. Is a safety related item the best place to cut expense? In the end, how much could that savings potentially cost if the service is not done properly?


11. What is your favorite hobby?
Family time and restoring old cars.


E-News Edition: September 2015 : Hydro Clean

Member Spotlight: Airways Cleaning & Fireproofing Co.

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airways_spotlight

By Tim Greene, CECS, CESI and Joe Jacobs, CESI

1. How and where did your company start?

Tim Greene started in Fort Lauderdale, FL with his mother in 1975.

2. What area does your company service?

We cover the east coast of South Florida, from Fort Pierce to Key West, and west to Naples. We are looking to expand to Orlando in the near future.

3. What does your company stand for?

Doing the right job for the customer or not doing it at all. We will not do half jobs.

4. How did you get started in the KEC industry?

Tim Greene: After graduating college, I worked for Airways Cleaning in PA., then migrated south and was allowed to continue using the same name.
Joe Jacobs: I was trying to sell commercial-industrial real estate in Long Island during the Jimmy Carter Presidency, but 22% interest rates prevented success. I was introduced to Long Island Duct Cleaning Company and the rest is history.

5. What surprised you most when you started in the KEC industry?

Tim Greene: I was surprised by the lack of quality service providers.
Joe Jacobs: Before starting in the KEC industry, I did not know a duct (duck) did not have feathers.

6. How did you get your passion for KEC and describe your passion for the industry in words?

After learning that the KEC industry was really about fire prevention, I knew that I was doing worthwhile work to help protect the public.

7. How did you go about making the quality control changes that brought your company to where it is today?

  • Taking good pictures and reviewing them for problem areas
  • Sending notices of hazardous conditions and inaccessible areas to alert customers of problem areas
  • Following up for customer satisfaction

8. What were some of your goals that IKECA helped you to achieve and how did IKECA help you to achieve them?

We have learned a lot about ventilation, grease fires and fire prevention.

9. What do you think is the greatest value of being an IKECA member?

Having a forum to discuss problems and industry issues while gaining continuous education in the field.

10. What would you most want to say to the AHJs about our industry?

Seek out the educational opportunities of IKECA and the help of IKECA members to help achieve fire safety standards in the food service industry.

11. What would you most want to say to the restaurants about our industry?

Cheap hood cleaning companies are actually more expensive than you might think with what the increased costs of mechanical breakdowns, repairs and increased fire hazards can cost.

12. What is your favorite hobby?

Tim Greene: Golf
Joe Jacobs: Golf and fishing

E-News Edition: March 2015 : Airways Cleaning & Fireproofing Co.

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