Why I love the IWCA ConventionBy Butch Chapman
My love for the annual IWCA convention was sparked by the growth it was able to provide me at a pivotal point in my career. I had begun to wonder if pursuing a career in window cleaning was no longer a good idea and maybe I should attempt to focus on a more stable career opportunity. I had just started with my 3rd window cleaning company and had no way of knowing if it would be any different than the previous two going out of business. At the time, I hadn’t received any formal safety training nor was I aware certifications for window cleaning were possible. The only training I knew of or had received was through, what was known as the “buddy system.” The buddy system was training you received from a co-worker while working in the field.
The IWCA unquestionably helped to open my eyes at my first convention in 2000. After attending my first Safety Class given by IWCA Safety Director, Stefan Bright, I was amazed by how much I didn’t know. With the formal Safety training, there was finally a sense of professionalism that had been missing within the Window Cleaning industry. The safety training and certifications showed the severity of this profession, a highly skilled profession, and a profession to be proud of.
During the following years, I made my climb into management and began to attend a vast variety of classes the conventions offered. I attended classes and seminars for, estimating, managing people, creating cultures, employee retention, Glass education, computers in tomorrow’s market, (yes, the IWCA could foresee the future ☺) and many, many more. Not only did the IWCA provide safety training, they worked hard to provide seminar classes for everyone from the technician to the owner for company growth. The more knowledge I obtained, the more certainty I felt in becoming more than a window cleaning technician. You know what they say, “Knowledge is power!”
Our company, Jenkintown Building Services, has been taking our technicians to the Annual Convention for the past 20 years. Every year, we try to select our up and coming technicians, managers and leaders to attend. Besides the education, knowledge, safety training and certifications, it is a great time to get together, spend time on team building and brainstorm how to make our organization better as well as bringing the entire knowledge home with us. This has always been very helpful on keeping our technicians and managers engaged, as well as giving them a platform to be heard. It’s truly amazing how hard someone will work to show their idea was a good one.
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