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Come Prepared and Make the Most of a Trip to Clean ’09

Eric Frederick |

Every two years, the Clean Show takes center stage in the laundry industry. Next week’s show in New Orleans may be your first. Or you may be like me and have been around since the beginning. But no matter how many Clean Shows you’ve attended, there are several surefire steps to ensure you get the most out of the show.
There are more educational opportunities this year than ever before. The Clean Executive Committee is dedicated to making this not only a first-class trade show, but also an excellent educational seminar. With so many sessions being offered, planning is a must.
It’s probably already too late, but I hope you reviewed the educational opportunities before making your hotel and travel reservations. This show is worth staying an extra day or two simply based on the wonderful educational offerings.
Plan to get to an educational session at least 15 minutes before it’s scheduled to start. Some sessions will run out of seating and possibly the speaker’s handouts.
Getting full value out of an educational program depends on your ability to effectively see and hear the presentation. If you like to sit in the back rows, then realize that, just like church, these seats will fill up first. If you’re like me and need to be near the front of the room for the presentation, then arriving early would be prudent.
Come to these sessions prepared to learn. Don’t stay out on Bourbon Street all night before a key, early-morning session. Be sure to bring a notebook and a pen or pencil. Drinks are allowed into most educational programs, so bring a cup of coffee or a soda to keep you going if needed.
Plan on fully participating in the program. When appropriate, talk with the attendees sitting around you. These programs often have group discussion or feedback components. Networking is a valuable resource, and the fellow laundry professionals you meet may become your most valuable assets.
Plan to visit all the booths on the show floor. Those of us who’ve been around since the first show back in 1975 may think we’ve seen it all. We tend to bypass booths that aren’t directly related to our segment of the industry. But over the years, I’ve found some of my best ideas at one of the small 10-by-10 booths. I hadn’t come looking for the product. I didn’t even know that it existed. But once I saw it and took the time to learn about it, I knew how to put it to use in my laundry.
We all have our favorite companies that we like to visit; we tend to look quickly at the others. We must train ourselves to fully investigate what’s new on the market. We need to fight our normal tendencies and make sure we’re effective consumers and professionals. I love to ask colleagues what they’ve seen that’s new and exciting. This encourages me to network with others and perhaps spend more time at a booth than I normally would.
If you’re planning to buy equipment, be sure to schedule visits with the companies you’re considering. The show booths can be hectic at times. Scheduling your stop allows you and the company to make the most effective use of the available time.
Pack comfortable shoes and clothes. You’ll spend a large portion of your time walking and standing.
Finally, be sure to leave time to chat with old friends or make new ones. Many of the sponsoring associations and the vendors have social events in the evenings during Clean. They’re great opportunities to network or catch up with old friends.
Planning ahead will ensure that you get the most out of your Clean Show experience.
 

About the author

Eric Frederick

Carilion Laundry Service

Director of Laundry Services

Eric Frederick is director of laundry services for Carilion Laundry Service, Roanoke, Va., and past president of the National Association of Institutional Linen Management (NAILM), now called the Association for Linen Management (ALM). He’s a two-time association manager of the year. You can reach him by e-mail at efrederick@carilion.com.

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