Will it all come out in the wash?

I’m on my way back from The Clean Show, where there was tremendous interest in my TRSA-sponsored educational session, “Crisis Communications: A Practical Guide to Protecting Your Reputation.” Whether they were commercial laundry operators or others in the textile industry, attendees recognized the importance of communicating effectively in a crisis.

A massive, cylindrical washing machine

Space ship or tunnel washer? You decide.

Among the highlights of my presentation were:

  • Having a crisis response plan that includes communications protocols for media, customers and other key audiences.
  • Identifying a spokesperson who can represent the company well.
  • Dos and don’ts of media interviews, focusing on honest, open communications.
  • Preparing talking points that drive all answers in media interviews.
  • Incorporating social media in a crisis communications plan
  • The role of leadership in navigating a crisis effectively.

Following the presentation, TRSA hosted a press conference to unveil results of a new survey that reported business and consumer perspectives on service professionals wearing uniforms. The conference also unveiled the new TRSA animated video we developed with videographer Tom Donnelly.

Opening day on the trade show floor was eye opening with the size of the equipment and advanced technology used by the commercial laundry industry TRSA represents. For me, it was a valuable window into an important, far-reaching industry.

A large green banner depicting a women clutching plastic saying "sometimes I feel like I'm drowning in plastic."

The laundry industry has a bright green streak.


Sustainable Energy Fund launches 
energy savings program for nonprofits

Sustainable Energy Fund (SEF), a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to educating, supporting and financing energy users seeking a sustainable energy future, has launched its Nonprofit Energy Savings Agreement (NESA) to provide expertise and funding to nonprofits seeking to install energy efficient features into their buildings.

NESA will use utility bill savings created by the added energy efficiencies to repay SEF for its upfront investment. The utility customer, in this case a nonprofit, will retain a portion of the utility bill savings while SEF is being repaid. Once SEF is repaid, the utility customer will receive all of the utility bill savings.

Contractors working through the program will be required to provide performance guarantees, ensuring the nonprofits involved receive a minimum annual savings on their utility bills. According to SEF, if those savings arent achieved, NESA will compensate those utility customers for the difference.

This program is an invaluable resource for nonprofits that might not otherwise have the financial means to undertake a sizable, energy efficiency capital improvement project,said John Costlow, president and CEO of the SEF. The ultimate savings that can be achieved will help these nonprofits focus more resources on their mission rather than their operational costs.

According to SEF, the small commercial building market in the U.S. requires $35.64 billion in capital to appropriately conduct energy efficiency retrofits. Such retrofits would result in $138 billion in savings in the subsequent decade following construction. However, organizations are typically stymied by lack of funding, expertise and awareness. SEF will help reduce such barriers with shared industry expertise and funding.

For more information on NESA, please visit www.thesef.org or call (610) 264-4400.

Addison Wolfe offers self defense classes to mark national realtor protection month

(Check out a video of the agents in action at their self-defense class)

To help promote Realtor safety following National Realtor Protection Month, Addison Wolf Real Estate is hosting two self-defense classes for its Realtors on April 2 and April 9 at New Hope Karate. Nearly 30 of the firm’s 45 agents have signed up to participate so far.

“The reality is we live in a world where bad things sometimes happen,” says Robert Reynolds, a Realtor with Addison Wolfe and owner of New Hope Karate. “Being able to defend yourself in these rare instances is important. These classes will give Addison Wolfe agents an added advantage should they need to defend themselves.”

According to a March 2015 Member Safety Report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), only 46 percent of real estate brokerages have standard procedures and recommendations for agent safety. Further, the report found only 18 percent of respondents have participated in a Realtor safety course.

Reynolds, who has three decades of experience teaching self defense and is a 5th Degree Master of Tang Soo Do, says the classes will focus on basic awareness issues as well as self-defense techniques. Those self-defense techniques will include:

  • Multiple defenses to wrist and shoulder grabs by assailants
  • Defense against a rear choke hold
  • Take downs (if warranted)
  • Where and how to strike an attacker

The NAR report noted Realtor safety concerns are heightened due to open houses, vacant properties, and properties in remote areas. In addition, the high community profile of most agents can sometimes draw unwanted attention.

Although Addison Wolfe doesn’t publicly disclose its agent safety protocols, it does recommend the following basic safety tips to all Realtors:

  • Alert your office when you go to a showing or open house. Make it a standard practice to call your office at the conclusion of each.
  • Always have two people host any open house.
  • Let clients and prospects take the lead entering properties or various rooms. This allows you to be able to exit ahead of them if necessary.
  • Always carry your keys in one hand and cell phone in the other during a showing. The keys can be a non-threatening weapon if needed.
  • Arrive early to all showings and open houses and plan an exit strategy should you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation or if you feel threatened.

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