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Member Spotlight: Precision Kleen, Inc.

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September 2014 : Precision Kleen, Inc. 
By Randy Conforti, CECS, CESI

How and where did your company start?
My HVAC/R business was out of the back of a service truck in Cleveland OH, for love of money and the ability to hustle. The KEC was the execution of a written business plan.


What area does your company service?
It started with Northeast Ohio and now Northern Ohio.


What does your company stand for?
Solutions through Service! Keep Reading

Member Spotlight: AA Services of MO

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May 2014 : AA Services of MO
By Joe Dahlem, CECS


I discovered IKECA in 2000 when I was trying to sell a hood cleaning business as a Business Broker.

I talked to Rod Getz the following year.  He convinced me that this Dirty, Dangerous, Dysfunctional, Disgusting business opportunity would eventually become a normal business. I bought AA Services of MO in October 2002 and attended my first IKECA Technical Seminar five days later.
For new and start-up companies considering the commercial kitchen exhaust cleaning opportunity, in my opinion, it would be foolish to go alone when you have IKECA to guide you. The dozens of friendships I have established have been met with offers to visit other members around the country to see how they approach their businesses. The Annual and Technical meetings can be used as a source of refreshing those relationships and to set up future on-site visits.

IKECA affords us a cost effective method of meeting many like-minded businesses trying to become better at what we do. When I bring in an experienced hood cleaner I often find that person is working in accordance with an earlier standard, using tools that haven’t been used in years. After Service Reports? What are those? Do you mean Don Pfleiderers’ essential method and procedures for capturing proof that the job was done right the first time? You have to be kidding!

How does a company with inferior procedures change? I would suggest that meeting real people and sharing the struggle is a great way to start. Starting and maintaining a business model is tough enough. To include the cost of IKECA is often considered by startups to be something to do later. For me, IKECA has made THE difference. We face a tough industry in tough times. In my opinion, our country is moving toward more government and more regulation creating uncertainty in the marketplace. Having people to turn to who know your business is invaluable.

Why would any commercial kitchen exhaust cleaning business not want to be a member of IKECA in these coming times?
Feel free to share other ideas and concerns at joedahlem@gmail.com.

Member Spotlight: DunnWell/Cintas

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DunnWell

March 2014DunnWell, a Cintas Company
By Roni Evans, CECS


How and where did your company start?

DunnWell started from a restaurant cleaning supply business over 15 years ago. Customers were inquiring regularly about securing dependable and effective kitchen exhaust cleaning for their restaurants. A need was recognized and DunnWell began working to fill that need for both local North Carolina restaurants and national chains who wanted a managed program for all their restaurants.  Since that time DunnWell was acquired by Cintas, growing and serving customers in national accounts for both kitchen exhaust cleaning and fire protection services.


What area does your company service?
DunnWell, a Cintas Company currently manages fire prevention and fire protection services for large corporate restaurant, retail and commercial accounts across the United States.


What does your company stand for?
DunnWell/Cintas’ vision is to be the best national provider of fire protection and kitchen exhaust services in North America.


How did you get started in the KEC industry?
My start in the KEC industry began by being hired as the first Customer Service Representative for DunnWell over 9 years ago.  I’ve been an intricate part in shaping DunnWell’s program, working with corporate customers to understand their needs, raising the bar with the technician affiliates in our network to adopt many of the ideals of IKECA, educate them on NFPA #96, and put processes in place that enforce and increase the consistency of the quality of work across the country.  Accomplishing this, DunnWell has raised the standards of our industry on a national basis, one business owner at a time.


What did you do in your prior life before KEC?
In my prior life, I worked in several service industries and small businesses which prepared me for the high expectations of the restaurant industry vendors and the challenges our affiliates face every day.


What surprised you most when you started in the KEC industry?  
Perhaps the most surprising thing was how much customers needed to learn about the importance of this service to their business, and the safety of their employees and customers.  It is still often viewed as a housekeeping service, rather than a fire prevention service. It has been a driving force for me in my career, to get this education out to our customers, authorities having jurisdiction as well as the technicians in our network.


How did you get your passion for KEC and describe your passion for the industry in words?
As I learned the business, understood its importance and worked with the people delivering the service, it became my passion to work at all levels in this industry to educate all involved of the important work we do.  Finding new and better ways to reduce the challenges we all face is my focus with everything I do. The people I work with in the field and inside DunnWell share this passion, and it makes it exciting and fun to make strides in this industry toward the ideal we all see in front of us.


How did you go about making the quality control changes that brought your company to where it is today?
DunnWell works with KEC service providers across the country, all operating their businesses differently. Quality control, reviewing documentation and photos for this number of providers is a must to keep the results validated and consistent and to the expectations of our customers. We use NFPA #96 as our guide and have brought many of our affiliates up to a higher standard, exposing them to IKECA and regulations surrounding the work we do together.


What were some of your goals that IKECA helped you to achieve and how did IKECA help you to achieve them?
IKECA has helped in so many ways; it’s hard to point out just one. The power of a group of people sharing ideas and working together toward a common vision has affected the way I do my job, and what success looks like.  IKECA offers tools to assist the people I work with to accomplish the standards that we all look toward.  The experience and passion of the people involved in IKECA are priceless.


What do you think is the greatest value of being an IKECA member?
The greatest value for me is to know our industry, the people, the practices, and be an active part of where it’s going in the future.  It affects us all, and we have the strength in numbers and the ability to help direct it.


What would you most want to say to the AHJ’s about our industry?
Let IKECA assist you to know more about the kitchen exhaust system, and the risks in this environment. The public looks to you to prioritize these risks and protect them.  IKECA has the tools and expertise to make your job easier.


What would you most want to say to the restaurants about our industry?
Educate yourselves about your fire prevention systems, the risks they present, the standards and how to evaluate the services you are receiving.  KEC is more than a cleaning; it’s a life safety service. Value it, and understand it.

Member Spotlight: Kool Kleen, Inc.

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E-News Edition: February 2014 : Kool Kleen, Inc
By Jan Paulat and Kathy Slomer, CECS, Kool Kleen Inc.


How and where did your company start?
Rick and Jan Paulat started Kool Kleen Inc. in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in1986. Kathy Slomer, their daughter joined them in 2004.


What area does your company service?
Pittsburgh, Pa and the surrounding areas including Eastern Ohio and Northern West Virginia. Although after this winter, we are ready to find a nice sunny location down South that is in need of a Kitchen Exhaust cleaning company, who is with us on that?


What does your company stand for?
Live by our motto “Do what we say we are going to do when we say we are going to do it”.  We are also proud to be in business for almost 30 years, and although at times they drive us absolutely nuts, we  have the best employees that happily, well most of the time, do their job day in and day out despite the weather challenges.


How did you get started in the KEC industry?
Rick and Jan Paulat started Kool Kleen Inc. with all intentions of building on the business idea they purchased from Business Ops and that was cleaning refrigerant units, evaporators and coils in commercial applications.  Well call after call restaurant or facility managers would point at the hoods and say can you clean these? Rick explained it well, we call it his shrimp philosophy. He said if you go into a restaurant everyday and ask for shrimp and they don’t have it eventually they will add that to the menu. We did the same, every day we were asked to clean the exhaust system so with a lot of hard work we figured out what to do and did it.


What did you do in your prior life before KEC?
Rick owned several Aamco Transmissions for 20 years and Jan worked with him for 10 of those years before they started Kool Kleen Inc. Kathy worked as a training manager for Chi Chi’s and then on to Boston Market.


What surprised you most when you started in the KEC industry?
Almost 30 years ago there was not a KEC industry and everyday was a surprise. Whether we were dealing with employee issues, what chemical worked best, how to obtain insurance it certainly filled our days with certain unknowns. That is the best part of belonging to IKECA are the ideas that are shared at every meeting.  We can honestly say that still to this day there is not a meeting we don’t come away with something.


How did you get your passion for KEC and describe your passion for the industry in words?
In the beginning the passion was the income, although today it still is our passion and to also work with restaurant owners, facility managers, and AHJ’s to educate them on the importance of what we do day in and day out.


How did you go about making the quality control changes that brought your company to where it is today?
Well by a lot of mistakes at first and then we joined IKECA in 1991 after seeing an advertisement in Cleaner Times,  we had to figure out how we were going to pay our application fee let alone start attending meetings but we did. One of the best decisions we made.  We were able to share our stories with others in the industry and come up with solutions that worked.  When we think back to everything we were introduced to over the years whether it was magnetic scrapers, picture programs, chemical, and tools we would not be where we are with quality if it was not for IKECA.


What were some of your goals that IKECA helped you to achieve and how did IKECA help you to achieve them?
IKECA helped me to achieve my goals of learning about the industry from speaking with and becoming friends with many of the other IKECA members. IKECA also provides my company with the credibility and professionalism that comes with certification. It helps when selling our services that my customers know we have acquired the knowledge and experience that comes with certification.


What do you think is the greatest value of being an IKECA member?
We don’t even know where to start. IKECA has so much to offer when you get involved. Jan served on the board for years and then Kathy became a board member in 2010. We both truly believe that when you get involved the value is endless. There is also so much going on at the Committee levels that when you see a group of members come together and complete a project that benefits all of the members , it’s exciting to see. We are both thrilled with the ANSI/IKECA C-10 and AHJ recruitment.


What would you most want to say to the AHJ’s about our industry?
We would say the same to both AHJ’s and restaurants because at the end of the day in our eyes they have the same liability. What we do promotes life safety and it should not be taken lightly. We want them to give us a chance in educating them to understand what we do and why we do it.


What would you most want to say to the restaurants about our industry?
That our objective is to keep your facility, staff, and patron’s safe and to understand the importance of what we do. Yes we are often referred to the “hood cleaners” but we are much more than that.


What is your favorite hobby?
Jan is a wonderful artist and she’ll kill me for saying that she won 3rd place in a water color show that she recently exhibited in. I was the winner in that; the picture that won is proudly hanging in my home. Kathy loves to do anything outdoors and also scrapbooks.

Member Spotlight: Interior Maintenance Company

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January, 2014 : Interior Maintenance Company
By Matt Mongiello, CECS, Vice President of IMC


How and where did your company start?
Interior Maintenance Company (IMC) was started by my parents, Charles and Maria Mongiello in 1973 as a small janitorial maintenance firm servicing office buildings and small private schools in the suburbs of Philadelphia. It slowly grew to a large company employing over 125 persons. In the late 1980’s, the janitorial industry was changing, and consolidating.  My father began looking for ways to diversify our cleaning services and started a Commercial Air Duct Cleaning Division in 1990. I joined the company full-time in 1991 right after college, following my brother Chuck who had already been working for the company. After establishing the Duct Cleaning Division, we started cleaning kitchen exhaust hood systems in 1998 and formed our Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning Division around 2001. IMC has continued to evolve to provide our customers with a variety of specialty indoor environmental cleaning services including high surface cleaning and duct sealing.


What area does your company service?
IMC typically serves the Mid-Atlantic region, but we have completed specialty projects all over the United States including Texas, Florida, Kansas, California, and Hawaii.


What does your company stand for?
IMC has always strived to distinguish itself by its business professionalism, and also by providing experienced supervision on every project.


How did you get started in the KEC industry?
We started in the KEC industry when our duct cleaning customers started asking us about hood cleaning. It was an easy transition because our duct cleaning crews were already working night shifts, they understood the duct system layouts, and they were used to a dirty job. Once we were able to acquire enough business, we stopped mixing the personnel and kept dedicated individuals and management to the KEC division.


What did you do in your prior life before KEC?
IMC has always strived to distinguish itself by its business professionalism, and also by providing experienced supervision on every project.My family and I have always been in the cleaning business. We are celebrating our 41st anniversary in business this year!


What surprised you most when you started in the KEC industry?  
What surprised me the most (and still does) was the difficulty in educating customers about the hazards of incomplete cleaning of the entire exhaust system.  Many facility owners just are not aware of the amount of grease accumulation that occurs in their duct system beyond the hood, and the safety concerns that exist.


How did you get your passion for KEC and describe your passion for the industry in words?
I got my passion for KEC by seeing firsthand the grease, and “fuel for the fire” that accumulates within these systems. Coming from the duct cleaning industry, where it may take years for dust and debris to accumulate, it is still amazing to me how quickly grease accumulates.


How did you go about making the quality control changes that brought your company to where it is today?
Quality control is a constant challenge in our industry. We believe that consistent supervision of all facets of the job improve quality control.  Our decision many years ago to incorporate strict photo documentation of every job – no matter how small or large – greatly improved supervision of our field personnel.


What were some of your goals that IKECA helped you to achieve and how did IKECA help you to achieve them?
IKECA helped me to achieve my goals of learning about the industry from speaking with and becoming friends with many of the other IKECA members. IKECA also provides my company with the credibility and professionalism that comes with certification. It helps when selling our services that my customers know we have acquired the knowledge and experience that comes with certification.


What do you think is the greatest value of being an IKECA member?
The greatest value in being an IKECA member is meeting with other members. I have always found that speaking with my peers in business is a huge asset in acquiring information and knowledge about our industry. What better way to avoid mistakes than by learning from those who have already succeeded?


What would you most want to say to the AHJ’s about our industry?
I would want to say that they need to become more educated!  Find out what is happening in these systems and be aware of the hazards. I would encourage them to ride along on a cleaning and see first-hand what we see every night in the KEC industry.


What would you most want to say to the restaurants about our industry?
Same as before – find out what we do!  Stay late at work one night and watch our crew clean. If you know how and what we clean, you can assist us greatly in performing our work well and leaving your restaurant safer and cleaner then when we arrived!


What is your favorite hobby?
I enjoy growing and running a company that has served many customers over the years.

Member Spotlight: Liberty Services, Inc.

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August 2014 : Liberty Services, Inc.
By James Luebke


How and where did your company start?

My wife Kelly and I started our business in Union, OH in a basement where motorcycles were stored and a 486 computer.


What area does your company service?
Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, and West Virginia.


What does your company stand for?
DunnWell/Cintas’ vision is to be the best national provider of fire protection and kitchen exhaust services in North America.


How did you get started in the KEC industry?
I was selling restaurant paper supplies and everywhere I went they ask me where they could find a good hood cleaner.  So, I went to work at American Steam Cleaning (a hood cleaning company in Greenville, OH) to learn the business.


What did you do in your prior life before KEC?
Sold paper supplies to restaurants.


What surprised you most when you started in the KEC industry?  
How dirty of a job it was!


How did you go about making the quality control changes that brought your company to where it is today?
By implementing a picture program, on-site inspection from 3rd party, and on-site inspection from team supervisor. As well as inventory control from KECsupplies.com, BizUnite Employee Perks, Equipment: hands down, the magnetic duct scraper. As well as our GPS system Fleetmatics.


What were some of your goals that IKECA helped you to achieve and how did IKECA help you to achieve them?
Certification, technologies and tools of the trade.  HR issues, 3-D drawings and better communication with customers on deficiencies.


What do you think is the greatest value of being an IKECA member?
Certification, AHJ training, overall learning of KEC industry, and the C-10 standard so owners and companies can understand the code better.

 

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