Cleaning Management Institute's (CMI) Director of Training W. Marion Ivey has worked with CMI since 1989.
Ivey started in the cleaning industry in 1980, and in 2002 he launched his full-time training enterprise, Ivey's Training and Consulting Services.
With three decades of JanSan training presentations under his belt, Ivey was the obvious selection for CMI's first Trainer Spotlight.
Phillip Lawless: After three decades, what is it about training that brings you back? What do you enjoy about it?
W. Marion Ivey: From my perspective, this [industry] was a natural fit for me because I am a very clean person, to say the least. To me, cleaning is more than just removing the soil contaminants and providing, as much as possible, a germ-free environment. Cleaning has always been — and I think this goes back to my Marine Corp background and definitely the home that I grew up in — preservation.
A building is subjected to contaminants and foreign substances that help deteriorate surfaces every single day. When you build a new facility, it’s pristine and beautiful, and it just looks glowing. Everybody loves it. But the very first time the occupants enter that facility, the deterioration starts. They’re bringing contaminants from the outside to the indoor environment.
But what keeps me going is the passion ... I love being able to go in and stand before an audience and talk about how we preserve and how we maintain these environments and keep them, at the same time, as germ free as possible. They’re never going to be 100 percent germ free, but we can control that environment and the amount of germs that we co-exist with on a daily basis.
PL: What are the best reasons for cleaning operations to invest in training?
MI: In the previous years of our industry, many [managers] basically said, “Okay, I’m going to put you with Tim, and Tim is going to teach you everything you need to know.” Or, in many cases, they didn’t even do that. They simply said, “Here’s the keys, there’s the custodial closet down there. Go clean.” There are some horror stories, and I keep hearing them even today, about injuries and making buildings unsafe ... because of the cleaning processes.
That, to me, should never happen in this day and age. It is definitely about understanding why we’re cleaning and what we're cleaning with. And having that empowerment — that is a powerful tool. It makes the difference [with] the efficiency and the effectiveness.
There’s no doubt that if you want to look at a dollar value for those people who are competing, that say, “What’s going to get me in the door?,” maybe it won’t be the lowest bid. Instead, it's all about how well you can actually sell to these folks when you’re trying to get into their door. How are you going to clean? And how your staff … what type of training they have. To me, that speaks volumes.
PL: Are there any technological advances that you’re excited about moving forward in the cleaning industry?
MI: Obviously the traditional tools have improved, I can’t tell you how many folds over, from when I entered [the industry] in 1980. The most exciting part for me now is we’re becoming not only “greenable,” which I consider sustainability, but we’re going to have somewhat less dependency on chemicals as we continue to move forward. As they invest in the R&D, research and development, relating to steam and relating to other alternatives ... we can minimize the amount of chemical products that we have to use.
The LEED certification that is offered now, and the things you have to do to meet the criteria — you have to make sure the cleaning department is also cleaning the building in a manner that helps maintain that certification. [This] is going to require that we have less chemicals involved and more alternatives to chemicals.
But the technology alternative, in terms of cleaning with chemicals, that is exciting for me, and I’m looking forward to seeing where we go with this. Because I look back at what has happened over the past five years, and we’ve just — wow — we’ve opened a lot of eyes. And we’ve needed to do that. When they build new facilities today, they’re not building them necessarily with the same materials that we built with [before], not even over the last 10 or 15 years.
Yet, looking at the surfaces that do and do not require a surface coating, [there are] surfaces that we can’t just use the traditional surface type cleaning chemicals on to maintain them. I mean, this is amazing. I’m happy to see it. I’ll be able to say that I witnessed this [change] in my lifetime, while I was here on the earth.
It’s growing, and this is not a fad, something that is just going to fizzle out. This is here to stay, and I only see it getting better as we continue to move forward.