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Welcome to our July 2007 newsletter!

What's important, anyway -- at least important enough to expend resources to investigate?

by Ranger Kidwell-Ross

Ranger Kidwell-Ross, editor That's the question I ask myself when deciding what topics to write about personally, or when I set out to find usable information that's been written by others.

Topping the list this time is safety. Since our last issue, I provided expert testimony to a California attorney in a near-fatal accident involving a sweeper backing into a workman. Then, less than two weeks ago as I write this, a 51-year-old flagman who lived under an hour's drive from my home lost his life when a sweeper backed over him. This apparently occurred while his back was turned flagging traffic from the other direction, and despite the sweeper having a backup alarm and rear-viiew camera.

As a result of these senseless tragedies, I've contacted two experienced milling contractors, 30-year industry veteran Mike Lucht and 35-year sweeping contractor John Dubbioso, and asked them to provide audio interviews on sweeper safety on paving and repaving jobsites. These are included in this edition of our newsletter. Perhaps through these and further coverage we can mitigate future tragedies of this sort happening to others.

For the past months I've been hearing about more employee problems than ever before. So, we have several articles by noted authors on several aspects of that issue. You'll find these useful whether you're the HR person for the sweeping department of a state DOT or the owner of a single sweeper looking to hire your first employee. When you're done reading them, you'll be better able to choose the right employees, and know more about how to compensate them and keep them happily productive.

For the first time I'm aware of, you'll find coverage of a story that I predict will prove to have enormous 'legs' in this industry: assessment of the amount of stormwater runoff pollution coming from parking lots, and how efficient parking lot sweepers are in removing it. The audio interview you will hear stemmed from the contact Robert Haley, MS4 Program Coordinator for the City of Murphreesboro, Tennessee, made with me. His mission? To find out how to rate the efficiency of different makes and models of sweepers in terms of their ability to eliminate stormwater pollution from running off of the parking lots they clean.

But wait, it gets better... As is true in many, if not most, areas of the country, Tullahoma is assessing a stormwater pollution fee on its business community. As is typical, this fee is based on amount of impervious area (roofs and pavement) a business has. This far-thinking administrator is willing to explore reducing a given business' fee amount but wants a quantifiable way to do so. Currently, there is method I'm aware of to fulfill his request.

It's too early yet to see how this will play out, but my view is that it heralds the start of parking lot sweeper testing. After all, if a sweeper with a particular removal efficiency, used in a particular manner, will save a property manager significant money -- a portion of which they would then pay their parking lot sweeping service -- there's a powerful incentive. Since I've already heard of stormwater assessment fees in excess of $1000 per month in some parts of the country, it seems clear we're headed in the direction of parking lot sweeper efficiency testing. Time will tell. However, this article did spur me to add an 'Environmental' folder to the Parking Area Sweeping portion of the website.

As you know, in street sweeping the need for pollutant removal is becoming more entrenched all the time. We have a two-part article on that topic by three stormwater consultants who have deep sweeping industry connections. If you're trying to reduce runoff pollution, you'll want to read what they have to say about the methodology of testing.

John Dolce, patriarch of the fleet management industry, has blessed us with another down-to-earth article on how to better manage your vehicle fleet. This one teaches even those who own a single sweeper how to benefit from the statistics relied on by savvy large fleet managers. If you manage a larger fleet, this same information will show you when to swap out your vehicles in order to save a bundle for your organization.

Ron Roberts' work is becoming more impressive all the time. Although initially more targeted for the general construction industry, his articles are readily transferable to sweeping contractors. This issue we are offering several of Roberts' stories, each of which is a great overview on his topic.

Thanks to Gabriel Vitale for his 'heads-up' to look into reprinting an article on employee theft he spotted in the June 2007 magazine of the New Jersey Utility and Transportation Contractors Association. As you'll read, it offers a number of ideas about how to stop employee theft before it starts, as well as to detect it when it's happening.

Gabriel also suggested making a pdf link to a print-friendly version of the newsletter that would contain all the stories in one pdf file. So, we did. You'll find it shown under the masthead. Now, you can print out the entire newsletter for reading away from your computer.

Unfortunately, there is no way to include the in-story links or audio files in the pdf, so you'll need to visit individual stories for those. Another difference is that, wherever there were only headers on the last page, these were omitted. However, you will find that each of the pdf story files includes the web address for that particular story. Providing this addition takes an extra couple of hours of effort, so if you like this addition enough to have us do it again please let us know.

Okay, I waited until last even though it's pretty exciting stuff. We were one of only six websites in our category to win a U.S. APEX Award for Publication Excellence this year. And, if that's not enough to burst a button, my new book written for, "The Rise of Biodiesel," was one of only 11 books/e-books chosen for an APEX Award this year, as well. If you want to learn about what biodiesel is and is not (and have a spare $20), I suggest you buy a copy.

As you might expect, we'll be offering more about what it takes to switch your sweeper to biodiesel in the weeks and months to come. Expect this alternative fuel source – so new that Microsoft Word still flags it as a misspelling – to explode into availability in your area in the near future if it hasn't already.

All-in-all, you'll find plenty of reading you can use to make more money and/or become more professional and up-to-date in the sweeping industry. Have a topic you wish we'd write about? Then let me know. Our goal is to write about what you want to read.

As always, if you have a sweeping-related need please tell 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 information 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.

Good Sweeping!
Ranger's Signature
Ranger Kidwell-Ross, editor

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. If you're a contractor who uses this website, please help support the site and, at the same time, increase the exposure for your company, by getting a Contractor Locator listing.

And, if you're not yet a naPSa member, we are still offering you an incentive to do so. For a limited time, when you become a member you'll get a $50 discount on any Contractor Locator listing here at

If you like what you read in this newsletter or on the website, be sure to thank the advertisers who sponsored it. The only way for them to know you appreciate their support of is to tell them!

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