by RJ Patel, Chair, ISSA Residential Cleaning Council
Last year I received a phone call from Ernie Hartong and he told me that ARCSI had a new opportunity. He explained the details of a possible merger of ARCSI with ISSA.
My first thought was anxiety because of the unknown. What would this mean for ARCSI? What would happen to the family we had built at the association over the last decade? I knew if I had these concerns, so would the rest of the Board and the members.
We had several conference calls with the team, then we established a task force to delve into this opportunity. As the incoming chair of the Residential Council, I was on the task force and went with to Chicago with the team to meet with ISSA. We met John Barrett, the CEO of ISSA, who is the mastermind behind ISSA. I wasn't sure what to expect but the meeting was nothing like what I had expected. The meeting was anything but stiff and corporate. They were casual and friendly. One thing John told us has stuck with me since that meeting. He said ARCSI will still be ARCSI – just on steroids. Going from a staff of 3 to 50 is ARCSI on steroids and represents the opportunities that we have in front of us.
I have spent most of this week in a conference with the Residential Cleaning Council, the Emeritus Council and several key members of the ISSA staff team. In the words of Tom Stewart, I think we “laid the foundation for how the world sees housecleaning.” We talked in depth on how consumers generally view the residential cleaning profession and in many cases, don't even see us as professionals. We are in the service industry and are no different than building contractors, electricians, etc. We are going to continue our efforts that began with the 2nd Decade Campaign in creating an awareness among the public of the need to hire a professional to clean your home.
The Council also spent significant time and energy on discussing how we can grow the membership. As a young association, ARCSI struggled to create awareness among residential cleaning companies of our existence and the benefits to your company. With the support of ISSA, those struggles have been minimized. We have the very real opportunity to pull more companies into our ranks and make our vision for ARCSI a reality.
Near the conclusion, I asked the Council to put into words how they felt about the future of ARCSI. Here is how they responded:
After leaving the retreat, I am filled with even more optimism than I was during our initial task force meetings. I think this was a beautiful marriage between ISSA and ARCSI and I am looking forward to our future.
I encourage you to take advantage of all that ISSA and ARCSI have to offer. Also be on the watch for more to come on what your membership can mean to you! If you have any concerns or questions, please don't hesitate to contact Ernie Hartong or me.