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Reporting on the Good, the Sad and the Ugly

This month's feature articles represent the 'yin and yang' of power sweeping journalism. Our feature story on sweeping and stormwater runoff pollution abatement underscores the value of power sweeping in one of the key environmental issues facing the U.S. – water quality.

Topping the sad list is our eulogy on the passing of Dale McCaskill, who has long been an icon in the power sweeping industry.

Finally, the recent actions – and reactions – by NAPSA's Board of Directors make it appear they may have been intentionally keeping important information from the NAPSA membership. If that's the case, it's an ugly turn of events.

Ranger Kidwell-Ross, editor

by Ranger Kidwell-Ross, WorldSweeper's Editor

I had planned this month's editorial to revolve around a quote in an article written by a gentleman named Bob Lutz, who cautioned business owners not to make the mistake of "cheapening a little at a time and expect that the buying public / customers won't notice." On second thought, perhaps editorializing on a modification of Lutz's caution is still in order.

The Board of Directors of the North American Power Sweeping Association (NAPSA) recently made a decision they may have thought their members would not notice. On November 10th a new slate of NAPSA officers was announced in mid-term without explanation or elaboration. Omitted from the news was that the Association's President, Kevin Kroeger, had resigned in mid-term. Or that he had resigned due to ethical concerns about the actions of six members on NAPSA's Board of Directors.

I found the NAPSA story an extremely difficult one to cover, since I have known most of the NAPSA Board for many years on at least a professional level. However, bringing the information to the light of day can only serve the long-term interests of power sweeping contractors – which should be the central goal of NAPSA. After you read the article, feel free to let me know your thoughts whether positive or negative.

The biggest concern: It appears that without the involvement of WorldSweeper the NAPSA membership may never have known anything about what occurred behind the scenes in the organization. That certainly fosters the appearance of impropriety, whether or not any actually occurred.

Don't make the mistake of letting the NAPSA story overshadow your reading of our other stories in this issue. Our feature on the increasing capabilities of power sweepers to address water quality runoff pollution issues should be of widespread interest and analysis to anyone in the street sweeping end of the industry.

Although it would be of great value to have an industry sweeper test that had been performed by all of the street sweepers in the marketplace, the results of the relatively recent independent tests on several Elgin models raise expectations about the role sweepers should and could be taking in terms of pollution removal from roadways. Only when similar results are widespread, however, can sweeping reach its potential for use by stormwater managers around the U.S. and elsewhere. We continue to encourage other manufacturers to join in this independent testing process in the coming months and years.

I am writing this portion of my monthly column less than 24 hours after learning my longtime friend and industry mentor, Dale McCaskill, has been killed in a car accident. Through the over two decades I had the pleasure of knowing Dale, I came to rely on him as one of the top voices in the power sweeping industry. When someone needed help, Dale was always there when called upon.

I also got to know him as a fine vocalist and musician when he became part of the Schwarze Roundup's "AllStar All-Sweeper Band" many years ago. I know that any of you who were there still remember the roar in the Huntsville Convention Center when the Harley roared through the arena and up to the stage, with the AllStar All-Sweeper Band members then launching into Born to be Wild (the sweeper version).

It was an event I still hear brought up when people reminisce about sweeper tradeshows past. As a member of that band, along with Dale, Gale Holsman (president of American Sweeping, Inc.) and Steve Hanvey, (now Victory Sweepers' chief engineer), I have extremely fond memories of the event. Godspeed, Dale...

Finally, be sure to take especial notice of two of our other articles this month. QR Codes are fast becoming widely used in the U.S. by those with smart cellphones. Get your website up-to-date with this exciting technology to ensure you do not miss out on this emerging technology.

David Ross' use of written reminders to his sweeper operators during holidays and inclement weather is another idea you can use in your sweeping company or public works sweeping division. We are entering the season when distractions are galore and there is more traffic on the highways and in parking lots than at any other time. I encourage you to adapt the notices used at Millennium to your own organization, so as to maximize your employee safety as well as the safety of those around them.

As always, the articles in this issue are designed to help you find crucial insight for your business. My hope is you find they all help in one way or the other. If you have ideas about articles you'd like to see in the future, please let us know that, as well. Our goal is to write about what you want to read. And, if you have a sweeping-related need please contact us about it. We'll try to assist in any way we can.

I routinely reference articles and studies, provide information from my "Fundamentals of the Power Sweeping Business" manual and put contractors and city officials in touch with others who may have answers to their informational needs. By the same token, if you have a story you can provide, additional information on any of the topics we've covered – or need more details – please let me know. I'll be glad to help if at all possible.

By the way, if you don't have a listing yet in our Contractor Locator section, you are missing out on what is arguably the best advertising value in sweeping. At the same time, you'll be helping to keep online and active.

Good Sweeping!
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