by Ranger Kidwell-Ross, editor
Celebrating 12 Years; 117 Newsletters; Thousands of Articles
In the mid-1990s, I started the first-ever magazine for the US power sweeping industry, which I called American Sweeper. Shortly after, I built a companion website at AmericanSweeper.com to archive the information. Unfortunately, 11 years ago I had to forfeit the domain – but was awarded ownership of all of the magazine archive information and articles – as the result of a sponsorship dispute.
On June 21st of 2005, with the support of nearly all of the sweeper manufacturing community, I launched WorldSweeper.com. Initially, because it was a new domain name and website, we had zero results in the area of search engine optimization. However, what we did have going for us was content; lots of solid reports, articles and information, along with links to and from a number of scholarly organizations with web stature.
I'm proud to report that today, 12 years to the day later, the WorldSweeper brand now leads the worldwide power sweeping industry in providing information about the job you do in keeping pavement cleaned and the environment better protected.
I began American Sweeper magazine in the first place because, after having produced the SuperVac Quarterly newsletter for Schwarze Industries for several years, I had picked up a good working knowledge of the advantages sweepers provided by removing pollutants before they could run off into waterways. I was looking for a business opportunity that could be more than just a job; rather, along with my 'job' I wanted to forge a career where I'd have the opportunity to perhaps make the world a better place to live.
From feedback received from the public works sector, I'd learned that many who ran sweeping programs hadn't really transitioned from the idea of sweeping for cosmetic reasons (think getting horse poop off of the streets) to sweeping as a first line of defense for water quality (think removing oils as well as detritus from clutch plates, brake linings and the like).
Now, in the twilight of my career, I'm proud of the impact made through the years. That said, we still have a long way to go in terms of increasing sweeping budgets commensurate with the extraordinary value sweeping provides over virtually all other, end-of-the-pipe, water quality pollution reduction methods. The challenge – and the fight – goes on.
Because there are so many educational articles archived on the WorldSweeper website, expect future issues of this newsletter to look back at some of them in order to re-remind readers of the value of the services they're providing. Power sweeping remains the first line of defense to maintaining water quality, which we've probably all heard is "the new oil" when it comes to future scarcity.
Be proud of your industry and the service your organization provides within it. However, you won't be the best you can be unless you utilize the educational resources at the WorldSweeper website to become informed about sweeping best practices. The quality of life your great grandchildren will enjoy may well depend upon it.
As always, if you have any news of potential interest to the power sweeping community, please let us know. Between this publication, the WorldSweeper.com website, and the World Sweeping Association, we'll be sure to get the information passed along to interested readers.
Executive Director, World Sweeping Association
PS If you haven't 'liked' our WorldSweeper Facebook page, what are you waiting for? That's where we offer industry previews and updates on an ongoing basis.
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June Newsletter Contents
(Scroll down to read stories or click on links.)
- Victory Sweepers Declares Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
- Sweeper Operator Dies in Tragic Accident
- Stewart-Amos Sweeper Co. Launches New Website and
Online Dealer Marketing Support Program
- A Look at the Iconic Elgin Street King
- City of Detroit Starts Sweeping Again
- Noteworthy in Sweeping: Steve Young: Looking Back Over a Life in Sweeping
- Not Exactly Sweeping: Elgin Track Sweeper 'Practices' for NASCAR Victory
Victory Sweepers Declares Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
On June 9th, Victory Sweepers applied for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, although apparently for legal reasons the company's name was changed to Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego, Inc. prior to taking the legal step.
Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows debtors to reorganize or liquidate according to a plan. However, any such plan does not go into effect unless or until it is recognized by the court system. Prior to that, hearings are typically held that may include testimony by creditors of the company. According to Mark Schwarze, president of Victory Sweepers, the company's management team felt that a Chapter 11 filing was "an opportunity to reorganize so as to better facilitate a pending sale, allowing Victory the best opportunity for debt repayment and market timing going forward."
As of press time there was no further information available on this topic. When it becomes available any new info will be put onto the WorldSweeper Facebook page.
Sweeper Operator Dies in Tragic Accident
On June 11th a Florida-based sweeper operator lost his life, apparently while trying to clear some sort of blockage on his machine, which appears to be a NiteHawk. Most published reports claimed the man was driving a street sweeper instead of parking area sweeper and, further, that he was "sucked into his sweeper." Of course, the latter is not possible with most any air sweeper, at least in terms of being sucked into the hopper area.
Although no further details have yet been made available, a higher likelihood would appear to be that the operator became entangled in something like a spinning curb broom and was propelled under the machine. In any event, WorldSweeper encourages you to use this tragedy as a teaching moment for your operators, no matter what type of sweepers they run. Review safety procedures with your personnel so they know the correct, SAFE, way to troubleshoot any problems with their sweeper(s).
Take a look at the CBS news report on the accident.
Stewart-Amos Sweeper Co. Launches New Website and
Online Dealer Marketing Support Program
The new Stewart-Amos website, located at www.stewart-amos.com, has been designed to provide visitors with quicker and simpler access to key features, benefits, and capabilities of the company’s street sweepers including 7 mechanical broom and 3 regenerative air models.
New to the website are illustrations that allow visitors to get a closer look at the key features and benefits of the various Stewart-Amos street sweepers. The site is also smartphone and tablet-friendly and allows photos, videos, product literature, and service and support information to be accessed at all times.
Stewart-Amos is also introducing a new Dealer Marketing Support Program as part of the website, which will allow authorized dealers to quickly browse, request, or customize marketing materials including advertisements, direct mail, emails, trade show banners and promotional pieces, product literature, and more. The Dealer Marketing Support Program will also provide the latest technical information and up-to-date specs, data sheets, and warranty information.
A Look at the Iconic Elgin Street King
Many sweeper old-timers would agree that one of the most notable and recognizable street sweepers ever produced was the Elgin Street King. In the middle of the 20th century the Street King sweeper – which Elgin marketing touted as 'The Very Finest in Street Sweeping Equipment – was on the job for public works departments throughout America. In a nod to the state of engineering at the time, the Street King was also proclaimed to be "built to give you all the advantages of hydraulic power."
Thanks to the brochure archives of sweeper aficionado, Kenny Page, WorldSweeper is able to offer you, in PDF form, a 20-page Street King brochure. The brochure offers an enjoyable look back toward the roots of the street sweeping industry to a time when the visibility available to a sweeper operator – as just one example – was virtually unlimited. (Since the Street King didn't even have an enclosed cab...!)
Take a look.
City of Detroit Starts Sweeping Again
After putting the program on hold for seven years due to Detroit's financial crisis, the city officially relaunched its residential street sweeper program last month. The $3.2-million sweeping restart program brought in 35 new hires, including 24 drivers. This will allow the city to begin sweeping 2,000 miles of streets in the southern and western parts of Detroit. The city plans to eventually expand sweeping to the rest of the city.
The city, which went into bankruptcy three and a half years ago, is just now becoming able to restore a service as vital to health and safety as street sweeping. Due to lack of funds, sweeping was discontinued more than two years prior to the bankruptcy filing. In conjunction with the sweeping restart, the Detroit Water and Sewage department will spend $3.9 million on new equipment to clear the city's approximately 90,000 catch basins.
Steve Young: Looking Back Over a Life in Sweeping
Steve Young was a fixture in the power sweeping industry for nearly 30 years. From his start as a contractor to selling Schwarze sweepers at the company's California office to founding Sweeper Parts Online, Young's story is one embedded within the power sweeping industry.
Since sweeping industry old-timers will likely know about this retired industry veteran, WorldSweeper's editor held a conversation with him. In the linked article, Steve talks about how he became a sweeping contractor in the mid-1980s and provided recollections and insight gleaned in his many years in the power sweeping industry. The article provides a fun historical overview of the industry, as well as a number of amusing anecdotes and tips that contractors will find to be useful.
Check out the article.
Elgin Track Sweeper 'Practices' for NASCAR Victory
Week after week during the NASCAR season the Elgin track sweeper cleans up after broken race cars as quickly as possible. Sounds exciting, right? Well, after watching all those celebratory burnouts by the winners, it's only understandable that the sweeper operators might get a little jealous.
It appears that line of thinking took form in this 30-second video that shows the track sweeper in what might accurately be called 'burnout mode.' As it says in the tweet, "Figured we should practice in case we ever won a race!" From the video, it looks like they've got the celebration part down. As may be seen by the photo above, which is a screenshot of the video, the power from the sweeper even bent the background telephone pole toward the action...
See it for yourself.