Sweeping Industry “Hitting Its Stride”

As new NAPSA President, Pete Phillips has big goals for the industry over his next two years in office

Phillips presented a $2,500 check on behalf of the 1-800-Sweeper foundation to help rebuild Gatlinburg after the fires.
Phillips presented a $2,500 check on behalf of the 1-800-Sweeper foundation to help rebuild Gatlinburg after the fires.

If you attended National Pavement Expo last month, chances are you saw Pete Phillips running around the tradeshow floor in Nashville.

Phillips, who owns Clean Sweep Inc., based in Chattanooga, TN., was named incoming North American Power Sweeping Association (NASPA) president at the show, received the World Sweeping Association (WSA) 2017 Award of Excellence in Power Sweeping and presented a $2,500 check on behalf of the 1-800-Sweeper foundation to help rebuild Gatlinburg after the fires.

To say he was a busy man is an understatement, and that was only the beginning.

“I’m bullish on America,” Phillips says. “The industry is finally mature, the economy has really turned a corner and we’re about to make some serious headway. It's a beautiful thing."

Implementing Training Standards

One thing that stands out in the sweeping industry is that everyone has their own ideas as to what are the best ways to sweep a parking lot and each operator is trained accordingly.

The first thing Phillips hopes to accomplish at NAPSA is helping to introduce and roll out the Certified Sweeper Operator (CSO) Training program in the first quarter of 2017.

Over the last 18 months, Phillips has been working with NAPSA and a team of industry experts to develop an all-encompassing training program that companies can use and administer to their operators on a consistent basis.

“I was told, ‘associations do for the membership what the membership cannot do for themselves.’” Phillips says. “That’s absolutely right. We want to help members properly train their operators so that everyone is on the same page.”

These online training modules will not only give sweeper operators in depth training in an easily digestible form, but it will further hold sweeper operators accountable for the training they receive.

“The best way to train operators is to modularize it,” Phillips says. “That way you eat the elephant one bite at a time. All the modules are written and we’re ready to do some testing of the tests. We’re looking to get more input from members to make sure the content is specific enough to be helpful and generic enough to be useful.”

Phillips says the modules will cover topics like safe driving, sweeper basics, job maintenance, noise and dust issues, blowers and tools, post-accident procedures, ethics and more.

In addition to that, Phillips has lofty goals to work with the industry, NAPSA, WSA and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to create a national standard for sweepers to conform to when operating.

“Right now, we just put people in trucks and tell them to go sweep,” Phillips says. “We’re opening ourselves up to huge liabilities doing that.

“Once an ANSI standard is in place, operators can document their work to the national ANSI standard and be relieved of liability issues and have some protection against frivolous lawsuits.”

The main goal will be to have the ANSI Standard for Sweeping legislated in all 50 states.

“That is going to be a huge undertaking that won’t happen in just two years,” Phillips says. “We’re going to need a lot of involvement from everyone in the industry to get that done.”

Membership Matters

As an active participant in the industry, Phillips is a member of the three main sweeping industry associations, 1-800-Sweeper, NAPSA & WSA and sees benefits to each affiliation.

“Each group has its own benefits and challenges they want to address for the industry,” Phillips says. “I see it as a member of the industry to support those people who are supporting my industry.

NAPSA is 100% volunteer based with many industry experts, 1-800-Sweeper is doing great things to gain industry awareness with their virtual sweeping training program and Ranger (Kidwell-Ross, president of WSA), may be the single most knowledgeable person out there about sweeping and is a well-respected member of our industry.”

Phillips says that membership however, is only as strong as those that are involved in their associations and encourages those in the sweeping industry to get involved.

“We’re going to need all the help we can get to roll out these huge projects,” Phillips says. “Municipalities are seeing that completing sweeping in-house is not the most cost-effective way to manage their dollars, the water has already slid under the Tier 4 bridge and we’re ready to move forward with some big things.

“We have some daunting tasks ahead of us and I know we’re all busy running our own businesses, but many hands make light work and the rewards will be worth it.”

Phillips also says “Hi Mom!”

In addition to his duties with NAPSA over the next two years, Phillips will take the place of Sylvia Richards on the Pavement Advisory Board.