International Sweeper Summit – A Success in Tampa

The International Sweeper Summit & Equipment Expo concluded October 28th at the Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa and was the largest attended event to date. This year’s event was open to all contractors, municipalities, and professionals in the sweeping industry. Schwarze Industries, the Title Sponsor for a third year as well as this year’s Title Sponsor for the annual golf outing, continues to be a major supporter of the Summit. Joe Hendrickson, VP of Sales & Marketing for Schwarze says “We are honored to be included in the Sweeper Summit. Although we are a sponsor, we are treated like a partner. Schwarze believes this business model is positively contributing to a sustainable future for the sweeping industry. As a manufacturer, it is very important that we are welcomed into the meetings during the Summit and can apply what we learn to future innovation for our industry.”

There were some new features added to the show this year. The most impactful being the introduction of the Sweeper Summit App which was a valuable tool during the 3-day event. Attendees and exhibitors were able to view the schedule of events, receive live updates on sessions, as well as communicate with each other. The App will be accessible all year as announcements and updates on next year’s Summit in Las Vegas will be communicated via the new tool. “We are really excited to roll out our new App, it has been a great organizing tool for everyone attending the Summit”, says Carolyn Bell, Program Director of the International Sweeper Summit. “The App not only allows everyone to access the event schedule, and receive announcements, but it also provides resort maps, exhibitor information and a photo wall to post pictures from the event. We see this as a tool that we can utilize throughout the year, not just for the Sweeper Summit.”

Another new feature at this year’s event was the addition of the Summit SWEEPstakes; a game promoting attendees’ interaction with exhibitors, accessible from the App. Attendees completed a series of entertaining activities and engaged with exhibitors in a competition to earn the most points, with the winning contestant taking home a $1000 cash prize and 2nd place taking home $500. “The Summit SWEEPstakes was a fun way for attendees to interact with all the exhibitors.” says Ben Steyer, Executive Director of the show. Participating in these activities not only improved attendee engagement with our exhibitors but brought out the competitive spirit in an entertaining way”. This year’s 1st Place winner was Nikki Serafino of Air Sweep in West Springfield, MA and 2nd Place went to Morgan Harrod of Atlantic Sweeping in Chantilly, VA. Congratulations to both ladies!

The Summit kicked off with the annual golf outing on Tuesday, October 24th, with over 40 golfers. The winning foursome was Lee Ott – Asphalt Enterprises, Gib Tschudy – OPOC.us, Andy Williams – 800SWEEPER and Timm Morrison – Sweeper Man. Prizes were awarded at the Welcome Party on the pool deck that evening where food, drinks, a DJ, and Aqua Golf were enjoyed by all attendees.

The educational sessions began promptly at 8:00am on Wednesday & Thursday, October 25th and 26th. Guest Speaker Matt Garrett (TGG Accounting) started off Wednesday by providing an energetic presentation about creative ways that contractors can combat inflation. Garrett’s presentation was followed by a contractor-led Best Practice Round Table session that provided attendees the opportunity to discuss common issues they are faced with in their sweeping operations. With today’s challenging hiring environment, the Sweeper Summit’s content emphasized recruiting, training, and retaining top talent. To assist in promoting this message, Kathleen Quinn Votaw, an HR expert and business owner with over 30 years of recruiting and culture-building expertise, provided great insight on Putting Your People First and leading your team with trust. Thursday’s educational session started out with a Manufacturers’ Panel that included panelists Nick Bruhn of Schwarze Industries, Mike Higgins of Elgin Sweepers, Mirek Byczynski of ODRA Sweepers, and Frank Chulick of Stewart-Amos. A Veteran Sweeping Contractors’ Panel followed, as the audience heard from contractors Carl Barton of Aardvark Memphis, Mitch Armstrong of Armstrong Sweeping in Arvada, Colorado, Mike Kirchner of Clean Sweep of Orlando and Jay Presutti of East Coast Industrial Services, Inc, in Pine Bush, New York. In the final educational session of the Sweeper Summit, the audience heard from Sara Best and John Broer of Real Good Ventures and co-hosts of the Bosshole Chronicles Podcast, about simple proven actions you can take right now to hire with certainty, lead with purpose and keep your people engaged to help you crush your goals! Our speakers and sessions were informative and interactive and kept the crowd engaged over the 2 days.

Our Equipment Expo and Exhibitor show was a hit with 30 vendors on display. The Cocktail Reception, sponsored by Kimball-Midwest, on Wednesday evening was held in the Exhibitor’s area as well as outside in the Expo area. We finished with a group dinner on Thursday night on the 18th Green of the Saddlebrook Golf Course complete with a caricature artist. We made it through dinner before a heavy rain shower made everyone retreat from the golf course and into the bar for night caps. Everyone was wet, but all in good spirits!
It was a great show, and we look forward to seeing everyone next year, October 24-27 at the JW Marriott in Las Vegas.