Award Winners 2023


Good outcomes don’t just happen. Behind each one – a new product or service, a growing business, a collegial assist – there is an individual committed to doing and striving for excellence.

To recognize members who exemplify the best of the industry, CETA [Cleaning Equipment Trade Association] presents awards annually. The 2023 awardees are: William (Bill) Sommers – Lifetime Achievement, Jim O’Connell – Lifetime Achievement, Melvin Farley – Distinguished Service, and Brenda Purswell and John Purswell – Lifetime Membership.

Known well to members of the industry, the five awardees have accomplished much more than we can recount herein. So do read more about each recipient at the website.

Here we share a bit of background, as well as a few thoughts from each recipient on the meaning of the award, and comments from CETA members who nominated the award winners. Let’s start with Melvin Farley, the owner of Coils-R-Us in Siloam Sprigs, AR, and the winner of the award for distinguished service.

In a Cleaner Times profile of his company in 2015, Farley said this about the concept of doing and getting it right: “We all just work for the company. And we all do what we all know is right for the company’s success. We are all on the same team from the top to the bottom. And we practice it every day.”

Lacie Conner, a team member at Farley’s company who self describes on LinkedIn as a hat wearer, nominated her father for the distinguished service award.
It was an easy decision.

“As a kid, I fluttered through dad’s office paying no attention, but he always had a phone in his ear,” says Conner. “I began working with him thirteen years ago. I began to see and hear and understand the wealth of knowledge and experience that he really has. He’s a smart cookie and deserved the nomination. ”For his part, Farley is gratified – and focused. “It was an honor to be recognized by my peers,” he says. “And I was just doing my job.”

William (Bill) Sommers, a lifetime achievement awardee, has stepped back from his leadership role at the company he founded. But he continues to participate in the industry he joined in 1958. Serving in the U.S. Army from 1963 to 1965, Sommers has otherwise been industry-engaged in product development (misting and cooling systems) and service. Sommers says having his three sons in attendance when he received the award was very special. So, too, is the company of lifetime award winner recipients that he has joined. “Many of them were mentors, friends plus business associates,” says Sommers. “What a group.”

Recalling his three years of service as a CETA board member as one of the “most enjoyable” he has had, Sommers cites a unique opportunity. “CETA has brought together a family under its umbrella.” Make that a family with depth and breadth of knowledge. “From a person – me, raised from the bootstraps of a single proprietor, then into the assembly of business acumen provided by the board, was simply an eye-awakening experience,” says Sommers.

Sommers’ record of service includes civic organizations, such as Elks, Sertoma, and VFW. He explains the civic groups have a different focus, which is “benevolence” and “the need to pay it forward”. CETA, a professional organization, is designed to foster collegiality and rigor among industry competitors. “In the working arena I depended on the members of CETA, especially the vendors who provided to [my company] the knowledge of the industry,” says Sommers. “To my friends and associates, thank you.”

Christopher Sommers, the president or Pressure Systems Inc. in Phoenix, AZ nominated his father for the award. “I’ve worked in my family’s business for over 30 years and see firsthand what my father has given to the industry.,” he says. “It was important to me that he be acknowledged for his hard work.”

The younger Sommers echoes his father’s sentiment about what a special occasion – one to “cherish” — the awards ceremony a PowerClean® 2022 was. “I was proud to see him recognized for all his accomplishments, and it was awesome to be there with my brothers as well.”

CETA awardees past and present get noticed. As they go about their activities, they demonstrate the kind of commitment and optimism that others want to emulate.

Jim O’Connell, president of Pacific Bay Equipment Sales and Service in Modesto, CA, was nominated for a lifetime achievement award by Chad Rasmussen, the CFO of Royce Industries L.C. with corporate headquarters in West Jordan, UT.

“At the top of my list for nominating Jim was my firsthand experience watching his contributions to our industry,” says Rasmussen. “[As a board member], he helped transition the association through changes in the association and in the industry.”

The “consistent actions and hard work” of O’Connell are worthy of emulation, says Rasmussen. So, too, is his approach to complex issues.

“While working and leading a volunteer organization, there are times when people disagree,” says Rasmussen. “Jim has been a great example to me of how you can speak your mind while also genuinely listening to people and recognizing that oftentimes, there is more than one solution to an issue.”

“[The award] is very humbling for me as it is [from] my peers,” says O’Connell.

“This award culminates 35-plus years of working in the industry and is truly for me the highest and most meaningful honor I have ever received.”

The structure of CETA is such that many otherwise competitors come together to work towards a common goal. It’s a structure O’Connell embraces as solid and remarkable. “[We] are all working towards a common goal which is to promote our industry as well to educate our members – [and] the general public,” he explains. “I have had a tremendous life because of this industry, and I will continue to do whatever I can to pay back as well as to pay forward for our next generations,” says O’Connell.

In 2013, Brenda Purswell and John Purswell Sr. were the recipients of lifetime achievement awards. In 2022, the former owners of Alklean Industries, Inc. in Pasadena, TX received lifetime membership in CETA. “[To] be given lifetime member status is a great honor for us indeed,” says John Purswell. “When you start a small business and run [and] build it for 51 years, you develop a lot of relationships and friendships with people in your industry.”

The Purswells’ participation in industry organizations antedates the formation of CETA in which they are among the charter members. The list of “good things” stemming from service and membership in CETA is too long to recount, they say. “But the people we had the privilege to serve with and become friends and business associates with is unmeasurable,” says John Purswell. “The lifetime membership allows us to continue to attend [meetings] and visit with old friends and keep up with industry changes. We feel blessed and thankful for that honor.”

And like all award recipients, the Purswells continue to do and do with ardor. For example, Brenda Purswell now serves on the board for the nonprofit organization Heavens Army – Home of Amazing Grace in Cleveland, TX, which rescues women from all forms of abuse.

CETA awardees past and present demonstrate how doing brings good outcomes.



Lacie Conner – Coils-R-Us

Melvin Farley – Coils-R-Us

Jim O’Connell – Pacific Bay Equipment Service and Sales

Brenda Purswell – Alklean Industries

John Pursell – Alklean Industries

Chad Rasmussen – Royce Industries

Bill Sommers – Pressure Systems, Inc.

Christopher Sommers – Pressure Systems, Inc.

CETA Plans for 2024

Calvin Rasmussen, the 2024 president of CETA [Cleaning Equipment Trade Association], tells us about the plans the organization has for 2024. Rasmussen is the CEO of Royce Industries, L.C. headquartered in West Jordan, UT.

First and foremost, CETA will continue to build on its strong foundation of “advocating for industry standards, playing a consistent role in regulatory influence, being the top resource for distributors in the cleaning equipment and related products industry to get information,” says Rasmussen.

That “information” encompasses resources that assist members as they improve profitability, keep pace with technical and regulatory changes, network to establish best practices, or strengthen their employee and ownership teams. All initiatives of the association aim to add strength to each member company.

There are several ongoing efforts in the technical and regulatory realm. In the broadest context, members can be sure that focus on regulations and standardization remains acute.

The CETA-sponsored Technical Harmonization Committee (THC 335H) will carry on with work on the harmonization of UL 1776, UL 60335-2-79, CAN/CSA C22.2 No. 68, CAN/CSA B140.11, CAN/CSA E60335-2-79 to complete UL/CSA 60335-2-79, which is Particular Requirements for High Pressure Cleaners and Steam Cleaners. “This initiative is truly on the ‘two-yard’ line,” says Rasmussen.

Slated for review in 2024 is CPC 100, the CETA Performance Standard. “[The] standard will go through some enhancements that may include battery certification standards and [a] more comprehensive application process,” says Rasmussen.

Work with the Californian Air Resources Board (CARB) to provide relevant industry feedback on important regulations, such as those for small off-road engines (SORE) will be ongoing. As the transition that California and other states are making to zero-emission equipment (ZEE) moves forward, thoughtful, sustained industry feedback is crucial.

For instance, Rasmussen says it may be possible to persuade CARB to reconsider the status of pressure washers with gasoline-fueled engines that operate at less than 25 horsepower. If categorized as essential tools, such engines could receive exemption from the SORE rule.

In the business logistics sphere, CETA members will be able to avail themselves of familiar benchmarking and continuing education programs, as well as regional meetings. And a reconsideration — and possible reintroduction — of an industry-wide service flat-rate program will be undertaken.

Rasmussen looks ahead to a vibrant year for CETA, one that will culminate with PowerClean® 2024 (October 29 to November 4, 2024, Orlando, Florida at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort). CETA will again partner and co-locate with PWNA.

PowerClean® 2023

Reconnect, refresh, and relax. Sounds good.

Better than good, given PowerClean® 2023 (October 11-15, Glendale Arizona) offers the opportunity to experience the best of the ‘three Rs’ in a single place. The venue for the annual meeting and tradeshow is the Renaissance Glendale Hotel & Spa.

CETA will be co-locating with PWNA, as it has done so successfully in past years. Both organizations commit with full force to a unifying philosophy: Two teams. One Vision. Advancing the industry forward.

An annual opportunity to reconnect fortifies the vital interaction among distributors, manufacturers, suppliers, and the end-users they serve (in contracting and industry). This is the fourth time CETA and PWNA are co-locating.

Two already strong organizations, each with more than three decades of engagement, CETA (33 years) and PWNA (31 years) look to keep building on success. PowerClean® allows attendees to explore all the possibilities – and challenges – of the future.

For CETA members, the greater the challenge, the more promising the possibilities inherent in meeting it. From exacting standards in equipment design to innovation that gets high marks from regulators — and draws a positive response from end users, members of the Cleaning Equipment Trade Association are committed to their industry.

Like CETA, PWNA is all about getting it done right. From minimizing water and chemical use, consensus about best practices guides methods.

It has been six years since PowerClean® attendees gathered in the U.S. West. Glendale lies just nine miles northwest of Phoenix. It’s an easy destination to reach and one that promises splendid weather in mid-October. In fact, some equipment demonstrations will be outdoors.

Refresh through learning, discussing, and listening. The choices are many and varied.

Seminars will be offered in hazmat, water reclamation, benchmarking, digital marketing, technical updates, and CARB [California Air Resources Board]/SORE [small off-road engines]. Industry roundtable topics include website development, service department structure, sales coaching and compensation, and growing sources of revenue.

There will also be plenty of opportunities to learn through the spontaneous discussions naturally sparked during the opening reception, business meeting, or the special gathering of Women of CETA. And for many attendees, nothing will match interaction at the tradeshow where a distributor can hear from a contractor.

Distributors and manufacturers talking one-on-one with contractors gain insight into wish-lists. They are the very lists that inform innovation.

Arizona in October is almost synonymous with a relaxed environment, but there will be some structured ways to relax, too. Sandy Hackett, the actor, comedian, producer, and author, who is the son of Buddy Hackett, will be keynote speaker. And the PowerClean® 2023 Golf Tournament will award prizes for first and second flight teams, as well as longest drive and longest putt.

“The digital age has made communication easier and more accessible than ever before,” says Scott Hansen, president of Alkota Cleaning Systems in Alcester, SD. “However, there is still the highest value to have in-person meetings within our industry.”

Hansen explains that in-person meetings make it “much easier to strengthen relationships that are crucial for the success” of the industry. “I value the relationships I have gained through PowerClean®.”

What makes the person-to-person, real-time and in-place connection so significant? Troy McCall, national sales director at American Honda Motor Company, Inc. in Alpharetta GA, reflects on that.

“Over the last couple of years our capacity to meet and work virtually has grown,” says McCall. He adds that virtual links are great for flexibility and efficiency, but in-person meetings continue to have real value for collaboration.

Make that “collaboration amongst a more diverse group of business associates,” says McCall. “Typically, when you are in-person you are more engaged in the conversation, which leads to more suggestions and questions.”

The immediacy of the interaction adds vitality to it, explains McCall. When ideas flow and as reactions occur quickly, it adds value to the information shared.

That information flow includes the new, the tried and true, and the yet-to-be realized just waiting for some kindling. Recent entrants to the industry, veteran members of industry and everyone in-between mixes and mingles.

“I value the networking aspect the most,” says Ryan Lindaman, industrial sales manager at Hydra-Flex, Inc. in Savage, MN. “It’s an opportunity to keep up with all the new changes in our [industry].”

Seeing new technology on display at the tradeshow is one of the many dimensions of PowerClean® that Lindaman enjoys. Another is the “opportunity to get away from the ‘busy-ness’ of your business to learn about new ways your business can grow,” he explains.

That growth may be “through a new product or implementing new best practices,” says Lindaman. The multiple sessions at PowerClean® encompass possibilities of all sorts.

One of the possibilities, too, is just the deeper understanding that derives from a conversation with a peer. “In my opinion, the most significant advantage of attending an in-person meeting with industry members is building personal relationships that are not possible through other modes of communication such as text, phone, email or zoom,” says David Presley, president, Hydro-Chem Systems, Inc. in Caledonia, MI.

“Meeting people in person allows us to forge stronger bonds and connect on a deeper level,” explains Presley. “It also makes it easier to build trust, which is essential in any business relationship.”

Presley says that the ability to discover “shared interests and experiences” with colleagues, competitors and clients and make “strong connections” with people only just met is a very positive experience. “It was truly inspiring to see how everyone came together to learn and grow together.”

Al Bonifas, the former owner of All-Spray, and a 40-plus year veteran of the industry, says the “personal interaction with like-minded people with similar interests [cannot] be duplicated any other way.” He adds that “it’s hard to shake hands” across digital modes of communication.

The serendipity of PowerClean® cannot be overstated, says Bonifas. He says he often learns something very useful in life or business that he did not even set out to find. And there are the relationships built that he will “cherish” always.

Karl Loeffelholz, distributor division manager at Mi-T-M Corporation in Peosta, IA, says the component of PowerClean® he values most is building and keeping relationships strong. The setting provides a great way to discover ways to be of more assistance to customers.

“Equipment dealers enjoy seeing, getting familiar with and checking out what’s new and innovative in the industry,” says Loeffelholz “It is a great place to meet and share your products, programs and story with existing and new potential customers.”

The “networking atmosphere” at PowerClean® catalyzes building and improving relationships, says Loeffelholz. “Relationships create partnerships that you have for years to come, it’s what makes everything worthwhile.”

PowerClean® is a three-dimensional, real-world experience for which there is no virtual world substitute. Get registration information at the website or send an email to

Finally, let’s go back to reconnect, refresh, and relax, and add the chance to reminisce. “I met some of the greatest people at PowerClean® that I will remember for a lifetime,” says Loeffelholz. “My wife Kim and I to this day enjoy getting together with a number or our customers and just kicking back for drinks dinner and just reminiscing.”

Make October 2023 a memorable month. Attend PowerClean®.


Al Bonifas – CETA Past President

Scott Hansen – CETA President

Ryan Lindaman – CETA Secretary

Karl Loeffelholz – CETA Vice President

Troy McCall – CETA Treasurer

David Presley – CETA Member

Membership now more important than ever

Complicated. Challenging. Confounding. Choose all three.

It’s the reality of doing business in 2023.

Regulations seem to be multiplying at an exponential rate. Hiring and retention can be difficult. Supply chains get disrupted.

Less than easy to forge ahead alone. Fortunately, no one must.

The Cleaning Equipment Trade Association [CETA] provides the resources and collaborative environment that industry members need to succeed in any economic environment. And this environment may become one for the record books.

Membership in CETA is now more important than ever. Yes, there is every benefit of belonging to a professional organization – learning from others, networking, continuing education, professional discounts and more.

But in the 365 day-to-day of doing business, membership confers an even greater advantage. That is the significant force that can be realized by competitors joining together to consolidate their expertise and bring it to bear as they work for reasonable regulations.

Greg Sprunk, president of Superior Cleaning Equipment, Inc. headquartered in Phoenix, AZ, has a branch in California. He knows the regulations that have already rolled out in the Golden State and will eventually move across the nation.

“The work [CETA has] done with the CARB [California Air Resources Board] and SORE [small off-road engines] committees is huge,” says Sprunk. “And regulation across the country is only going to get worse.”

It takes industry-specific knowledge to be heard clearly when regulating bodies request comments. [We] need to have an organization with our best interests at heart working for us,” says Sprunk. “That is CETA.”

The association has been at the forefront of engaging on industry issues since 1990. “CETA was instrumental in not having hot water pressure washers classified as boilers,” says Sprunk. “This would have meant a yearly licensing fee and many restrictions.”

The importance of CETA cannot be overstated, explains Sprunk. “[I] want a group that’s looking out for my industry.” And that’s CETA.

Looking in all directions, in fact, as the association keeps members up-to-date with structural and innovative changes in the industry. “There is and will continue to be great new technology, great advances in the cleaning industry, more efficiencies and opportunities in the future,” says Sprunk.

Among the structural changes are those connected to the move away from combustion engines as part of the global climate movement. SORE expectations are part of the effort to reduce carbon dioxide and other emissions.

“The replacement of internal combustion engines [is] going to completely transform our industry,” says Al Bonifas, former owner of Allspray, and the immediate past president of the association. He adds that the ever-increasing regulations growing from climate initiatives cannot be ignored.

“Those individuals and companies that are not proactive will be negatively affected,” says Bonifas. “These changes will create many challenges but will also create many opportunities.”’

Bonifas expresses concern that some industry members do not fully appreciate how fast things are moving and expectations changing. Ignoring the trajectory is not a viable option.

CETA, explains Bonifas, helps members put the challenges and the opportunities in equilibrium. “[It] will educate, advocate [for], lead and guide our industry in the tumultuous years that lie ahead.”

With its decades-long experience in advocating for the members of the industry and a long list of successes, CETA is well-prepared for the coming years. Among accomplishments are the CPC-100 performance standards for manufacturers of pressure washers, a benchmarking program for distributors, and a commitment to development and enactment of safety standards (e.g., UL 1776, UL 60335-2 -79).

The THC 335H [Technical Harmonization Committee], which formed in June 2004 with four industry members for the development of UL 60335-2-79, has grown to more than 30. The deep and broad knowledge among its members ensures the priorities of industry will meaningfully inform national and multinational standards.

The association is an advocate for best practices in dealing with wastewater and emissions. And on an as-needed basis it has stepped forward immediately to assist members with difficult topics (e.g., California Prop 65, pandemic) by collecting, consolidating, and disseminating accurate information.

CETA is ready for what comes. And there is more to come.

“One of the most vexing issues facing our industry today is the furtherance of regulations by government agencies against the use of pressure washers with less than 25 horsepower engines,” says R. Calvin Rasmussen, CEO of Royce Industries L. C. in West Jordan, UT. And he reminds of again of the implementation of SORE regulations.

Rasmussen explains that by working together members of CETA can make their voices heard. On behalf of the association and the industry, he presented an argument for giving manufacturers of pressure washers more time to comply with SORE rules.

“Without the help of [CETA] we would not have had the success heretofore in moving this issue down the field,” says Rasmussen. He emphasizes that continuous efforts are needed to make certain industry goals and regulations remain in equilibrium.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — and environmental entities such as CARB that trend a bit ahead of EPA, see the taming of carbon dioxide emissions as just a first step. Nitrogen oxides and methane emissions, for example, are being scrutinized and rules for reductions in allowable amounts developed.

Individuals can offer public comment regarding any pending federal rule when it’s posted for comment. Yet a clear statement on behalf of an association representing industry members carries more weight than a series of individual statements.

“Our voices are louder when we stand together,” says Karl Loeffelholz, distributor division manager at Mi-T-M Corporation in Peosta, IA. It’s very important, he adds, that there be the maximum amount of input from industry members.

It’s an integral part of the mission of CETA to “stay on top of certifications, regulations and day-to-day requirements” for industry members. The association benefits distributors greatly.

Of course, the benefits of membership do not begin and end with the rigors of business. They extend to the recreational and social timeouts at the annual meeting (PowerClean). And through a separate financial entity (The Scholarship Foundation), family members and employees of CETA members can apply for competitively awarded scholarships. Employees can also apply for financial assistance with continuing education and certification courses.

One big benefit of membership, already cited, is the access to benchmarking that comes at no cost with membership in CETA. “[Benchmarking] is an effective way to compare business portfolios and be able to make subtle changes to increase profits,” says Loeffelholz.

Back to the nuts and bolts, though, there is no better example of how fast things are moving in a challenging direction in 2023 than SORE regulations. “[The regulations] will affect all of us greatly in the near future, we are already seeing this in other states,” says Loeffelholz.

“[The] Technical Committee is spending a lot of energy time and money on making sure the California Air Resource Board understands how this affects communities and all business in general, which in turn directly impacts the pressure washer distributors,” explains Loeffelholz.

Hoping for the best and/or sunny thoughts cannot erase the serious issues affecting the industry. The hard work of running a business demands attention to every factor affecting the business  –  internal ones and the external ones alike.

Not yet a CETA member? Visit for membership information.


Al Bonifas – CETA Past President

Karl Loeffelholz – CETA Vice President – MiTM

Calvin Rasmussen – CETA Sr. Vice President – Royce Industries

Greg Sprunk – CETA Membership Committee – Superior Cleaning

CETA Scholarship Foundation – What to Know

The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.

Robert Louis Stevenson’s couplet is known so well it often gets corrupted with the word ‘wonderful’ substituted for ‘number’. That’s understandable. In our minds and hearts, we know there’s always something more to learn and do.

And most of the opportunities for expanding our minds are wonderful. Often satisfying the thirst for knowledge derives from more than a do-it-yourself effort, or a combination of individual and formal learning.

As part of its commitment to life-long learning, the Cleaning Equipment Trade Association (CETA) established the CETA Scholarship Foundation (February 2, 1996). The CETA Scholarship Foundation, which underwent a structural change in the last two years, stands as a separately incorporated charitable organization.

The foundation has a two-part mission. Its core mission since its inception has been to provide scholarship opportunities to CETA members, their families, and employees. Now, there is another dimension to the mission: to provide financial assistance to employers for employee training and education.

Dennis Black, president of McHenry Pressure Cleaning Systems, Inc. in Frederick, MD, serves as the 2023 chairperson of the foundation’s board of trustees. [The trustees function in the spirit of a committee, shepherding the procedures for selecting awardees, as well as in a fiduciary capacity for the foundation.]

As leader of the group responsible for the foundation, Black wants to be sure CETA members know what’s new. He also points to the way past successes have been amplified.

The more CETA members know about the opportunities that exist through the CETA Scholarship Foundation, the more they take advantage of them. (And the more they can lend a hand to help others do the same in the future.)

“My goals [for the committee] are to continue working on and strengthening our new programs that were created and revamped the last few years,” says Black. “Those include the Great Futures Program and our new Grant Program.”

The Great Futures Program competitively awards scholarships to the children and employees of CETA members. Evaluation of applications is handled by an outside (third-party) evaluator. Nine scholarships were awarded in 2022.

“The newest program is our grant program,” explains Black. “This allows the CETA membership to provide all types of training to their employees and have [the foundation] help pay for it.”

The grant program for continuing education of industry members is extremely important. It benefits both the participants and the industry. Moreover, there’s a streamlined mechanism for obtaining a grant.

“All members need to do is submit an invoice and the simple application to apply for 50 percent of the cost up to a $500 maximum of the class or training,” says Black. “We feel this is a great benefit to the CETA membership, [assisting them in] offering continuing education to their employees.”

The moniker Great Futures program aims to capture the philosophy that supports it. “The [committee] is proud of all the good the foundation has provided in the past and believes we are preparing for ‘great futures’ for our CETA members,” explains Black.

Building on the existing strength of the CETA Scholarship Foundation is a priority for Black and his trustee/committee colleagues. Part of the additional strength will come from a perpetual funding source.

“We have [started] a drive to have the scholarship endowment fund to be self-sufficient – self-funding,” says Black. “We plan on kicking off this program this year.”

Russ Hess, regional manager for Northeast USA, Eastern Canada with Alkota Cleaning Systems, Inc in Alcester, SD, is the executive chairperson of the foundation. He becomes chairperson in 2024.

Like all the trustees, Hess is enthusiastic about the foundation as well as an ardent supporter of CETA. As such, he encourages other CETA members to consider joining the efforts of the CETA Scholarship Foundation trustees.

“I would like every CETA member to know that, if you are so inclined, please come forward to offer your candidacy to become a foundation trustee,” says Hess. “We need future trustees.”

Hess emphasizes the gratification derived from serving. “I promise you will enjoy the satisfaction in knowing that you play a role in furthering the education of CETA members and their employees. Additionally, you will enjoy working with your peers within the industry toward a common goal.”

Another trustee, Mike Tonies, the vice president of sales at Hydra-Flex, Inc. in Savage, MN, also cites the importance of getting involved when possible. “As trustees, we are committed to executing the strategic vision set for the scholarship foundation” for the present and the future, he explains.

“[We] are deeply focused on the goal of sustainability,” says Tonies. “This is both for our scholarships and the newly created grant program, as well as creating continuity with the board of trustees.”

Tonies stresses the plans taking shape now for the foundation are possible because of the structure already in place. “[We] are very excited to continue the great work that so many have contributed to in the past.”

Time and money

The CETA Scholarship Foundation succeeds because of the contributions of time and money that are made.

“The education programs are all funded by generous contributions from the membership of [CETA],” says Gary Scott of Alkota Cleaning Systems, Inc. and the treasurer for the foundation.

The contributions arrive in many forms. For instance, Lease Consultants Corporation, Des Moines, IA donates a portion (one percent) of every standard financial transaction originated by a CETA member.

Many CETA members donate funds sufficient to award a scholarship in recognition of their company. Some members donate funds in memory of an individual.

Scott, like fellow trustees, notes the importance of taking the foundation to an endowment level sufficient to sustain the program without special fundraising each year.

Why do people contribute to the foundation? “Our association is made up of very generous individuals,” says Scott. “They see the need and they respond.”

There’s something more though than simply a willingness to give – and help. Those who contribute also value the concept of life-long learning. “Education not only improves the [companies in our industry] but improves the lives of many,” says Scott.

A scholarship recipient may not stay in the industry, but the recipient will go on to help build and fortify communities. That carries real meaning for Scott – and for other trustees and for CETA members.

“Scholarships have been provided for [those who studied to take roles as] nurses, engineers and many other lines of work,” says Scott. “An educated populous improves the lives of everyone.”

An award from the CETA Scholarship Foundation may be just the financial lift a student needs to complete or begin an educational experience. It’s all about promoting the many riches that come from following the number of wonderful things in the world. And we all benefit.

Plans for 2023

The Cleaning Equipment Trade Association (CETA) turns 33 years old in 2023. With a strong foundation firmly in place, CETA has one overarching goal: Build on that foundation.

“CETA will continue to follow the strategic plan as laid out by the Board of Directors,” says Scott Hansen, the 2023 president of the association. Hansen is the president of Alkota Cleaning Systems, Inc. in Alcester, SD.

The benefits of membership are well known to CETA members. And as more distributors, manufacturers and suppliers in the industry realize the advantages of joining with competitors and colleagues, the association expects membership to grow.

Growth is exciting, explains Hansen. With it comes “new ideas and more voices” and there’s nothing like fresh perspective to make an association, as well as the industry it represents, stronger.

In turn, the greater strength makes it easier to meet the challenges already in the picture and those on the horizon. Hansen puts SORE [small off-road engine] regulation and CARB [California Air Resources Board] expectations high on the list of challenges within view.

“Everyone in the industry needs to be aware of [each] regulation and how it may affect their business,” says Hansen. “We as an industry need to continue to educate customers about the benefits of a pressure washer and how [pressure washers] are needed in many industries to keep people healthy.”

Getting the word out regarding the importance of the industry – the contributions its products make to hygiene and safety across virtually every sector of economic activity, will continue to be a priority. The A to Z of economic sectors served by CETA members – agriculture to zoological parks and every place from hospitals to schools in between – outnumbers most industries.

CETA members meet regularly to collaborate and to continue learning, as well as to find ways to resolve issues that challenge the industry. The place and date for PowerClean 2023 are already set: Glendale, AZ – October 11-14, 2023.

PowerClean 2023, the annual conference, provides a venue for showcasing products, discussing the thorniest industry concerns, making new contacts, and keeping current with industry changes. Because PowerClean 2023 now co-locates with PWNA, the meeting affords members an informal way to interact with the customers they serve.

In addition to PowerClean 2023, a regional meeting has already been scheduled. It will take place in San Antonio, TX on June 7-8, 2023. Regional meetings, which were introduced a few years ago, allow members to put an acute focus on a technical or other issue.

Members need not wait for annual or regional meetings to partake in all CETA offers. “Get involved,” says Hansen. “Reach out to a board member and join a committee or volunteer to help with a project.”

In doing, there is growing – for the individual, the organization and the industry. And “the networking opportunities that CETA provides” cannot be overstated, explains Hansen.

The benefits that attach to membership are many. A complete list is available at the CETA website ( One huge benefit is the benchmarking program, which is available to members at no cost. Benchmarking allows members to assess their strengths and weaknesses, thereby identifying ways they can shore up profitable strategies.

During 2023 CETA will continue to promote performance standards for manufacturers of equipment. CPC 100 is the association’s standard, which when met signifies a machine has been subjected to a uniform method for testing and rating.

Many distributor members are also expected to use the year to attain certification. CETA-Certified distributors take an extra step to document their compliance with industry and ethical standards.

Attention to and growth of existing programs is just one part of the outlook for 2023. New initiatives are also in the works.

“The CETA Scholarship Foundation has a new and exciting grant program for continuing education that can help all CETA members with education for employees,” says Hansen. The program will help offset costs for continuing education among members and their employees.

Sales, trade, computer, marketing, language, and training in customer service are some of the areas in which a pursuer of continuing education may be supported. Again, visit website to read the details.

Hansen says he looks forward to the promise of the new year. And he values the support that has come and will come from colleagues as he steers the association.

“The CETA board is a great collective of talent in our industry,” says Hansen. “I have learned something from everyone on the board about leading this great organization and working as a team.”

Hansen explains that “having been involved in committees and working as a group” with the association over the years has helped prepare him for his tenure as president. He expects year 33 in 2023 to be a good one for CETA.

Scott Hansen – CETA President

Why Are We Going

Well worth the wait. We write that in advance of PowerClean 2022.

Why? Because PowerClean 2022 – October 12-15, 2022, in Orlando, FL promises to be the most robust meeting and tradeshow CETA [Cleaning Equipment Trade Association] has ever had.

For the third time, CETA will be co-locating with PWNA [Power Washers of North America]. The alignment means enthusiastic and committed distributors, manufacturers, and contractors will converge at the same place with the same goal: Make a strong industry even stronger.

The setting for the meeting is the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort. The resort and the mild air of the Sunshine State in mid-October ensure that every meeting, conversation with a colleague – new or old, and pause for recreation will be a memorable one.

There’s a bit of poetry written into the name of the Spanish revival-style architecture meeting hotel: Shingles were once made from the cypress trees in the region, an area contiguous to the headwaters of the Everglades.

The venue, which is ranked as a top 20 meeting hotel by Cvent, could not be a better one for fostering collaboration and re-calibration. Not a distributor, manufacturer or contractor in the industry has not had one or more significant challenges to overcome since PowerClean 2019.

“[PowerClean 2022] is a time to get back together as an association, as a group of very hard-working people, and most importantly as a group of good friends,” says Jack Hill, executive director of sales and marketing at General Pump in Mendota Heights, MN. For “the right reasons” difficult decisions had to be made in the two previous years, but now it is the time to move on.

In any year, the energy generated by the interaction of industry members would be enticing. But this year, members will be able to bounce ideas and concerns around as they identify solutions for some vexing issues, such as those with the supply chain and material and freight increases, says Hill.

Also looking forward to interaction with colleagues in the non-virtual world is Jimmy Welch with American Pressure Inc. in Robbinsdale, MN. The opportunity to “see old acquaintances, meet new ones, see new products and learn new techniques as well as industry trends” begins his list of plusses.

“From the technical side, [the meeting offers the chance to] get the latest information on updates to safety standards as well as emission requirements,” says Welch. And he emphasizes the “questions welcome” dimensions of the technical sessions.

Among the technical offerings will be a panel sharing expertise on pump inlet supply systems and a panel sharing the latest on unloaders. There will also be a DOT [Department of Transportation] safety class on hazmat.

There’s plenty to learn at the CETA sessions. But don’t stop there.

“I encourage our distributor members to get crossover badges to the PWNA educational seminars and learn what they are learning,” says Welch. “It’s always good to be in the know.”

Technical, equipment, and regulatory issues coupled with the turbulent global economic situation cover a lot of territory. Yet the whole of that big territory is circumscribed by tax laws, especially how they affect the financial structure and decision-making at companies.

Dr. Bart A. Basi, an attorney and CPA, will lead a discussion on the new tax laws, with special emphasis on how a company best maintains its cash flow. He will also discuss options in legal structures for businesses with an eye toward which options provide the most favorable tax status.

Other notable speakers will cover topics ranging from customer expectations to mentorship. The richness of the PowerClean 2022 program can be perused at the CETA website (

The Women of CETA (WOC) group will meet during PowerClean 2022. Brenda Purswell, president of Alklean Industries, Inc. in Pasadena, TX, worked to drive the beginning of the group just over a decade ago. There’s something special about taking the time to convene and talk exclusively with other women members of the association, even though the women are an integral part of every facet of CETA.

Karl Loeffelholz, dealer division manager at Mi-T-M Corporation in Peosta, IA, welcomes the ability to get together and network with peers in Orlando. He cites the tradeshow as a great highlight of PowerClean.

The tradeshow allows attendees to see vendors all in one place and see what’s new and exciting in the industry, explains Loeffelholz. Moving easily between tradeshow floor and seminar sessions can be a great learning experience.

Attending educational seminars allows members to “pick up new ideas” for their businesses, says Loeffelholz. It’s also a good way “to find out what changes people have had to make through these trying times to stay successful.”

There’s nothing like being able to affirm that others have ‘been there and done that’ because it’s a reminder of what can be accomplished even in headwinds. But sometimes there are gentle breezes – and they should be appreciated.

To be sure, there will be time for recreation in addition to the scheduled sessions at PowerClean 2022. The golf tournament is an excellent way to take in some of the fresh Florida air. CETA’s PowerClean Golf Tournament will offer prizes not only for first and second place teams in two flights, but also for the longest drive, longest putt and closest to pin.

Al Bonifas, the 2022 president of CETA, and the owner of All-Spray in Swanton, OH, reminds members changes in the industry have continued apace since 2019. There’s no easier way for a distributor, manufacturer, or contractor to verify he or she is up-to-date than to attend PowerClean 2022 — learn and discuss.

“[There] are many things changing in our industry,” says Bonifas. “From UL certification, to SORE [small off-road engine] regulations proposed by the California Air Resources Board [CARB] to all the different technologies that contract cleaners are using in their businesses…”

Keeping up matters. So does understanding each vital link in the industry.

Nothing makes it easier for a distributor to understand a contractor and vice versa than for the two to talk to each another. That applies at every juncture: manufacturer and contractor, and manufacturer and distributor.

“Fostering ongoing relationships and making new ones to help businesses deal with everything that’s happening and confronting the challenges head on is what conventions are for,” says Bonifas. Moreover, the reality is that the amount of information condensed in the sessions “is huge and very invaluable.”

In its 32nd year, CETA is just a bit older than PWNA, which is in its 30th year. There’s a lot to celebrate for members of each organization. And sometimes there’s no greater motivator than taking a bit of time to celebrate what’s been accomplished. It’s a way of acknowledging that if much has been achieved, a great deal more is possible. So, let’s get going.

CETA and PWNA have a theme for their co-located meeting: ‘Two teams. One vision. Advancing the industry forward.’

Bonifas advises taking the sentiment in the theme to heart. “Invest in your business and come to PowerClean as we bring the industry together.”


Al Bonifas – AllSpray

Jack Hill – General Pump

Karl Loeffelholz – MiTM

Jimmy Welch – American Pressure

Why They Serve

Limitless? Not hours in a day.

Yet so important are some activities, we find the time. Keeping the Cleaning Equipment Trade Association (CETA) and the CETA Scholarship Foundation strong are two such activities.

Several CETA directors (board) and trustees (education foundation) tell us why they serve. (And they encourage others to do the same.)

“I wanted to meet more people in the industry and help the industry grow,” says Delany Johnson, sales manager at Wayne Combustion, Fort Wayne, IN. “[Serving has] also helped me learn more about what others need from us.”

Johnson expresses a sentiment oft-relayed by those who guide organizations: One receives as one gives.

“The people you meet on the board are wonderful, and the experience has been more than I could ever [have] imagined,” says Johnson. “[The experience] helps you understand the industry better.”

A rewarding experience? “Yes, it has been, and I hope to serve again,” says Johnson.

Return service is not unusual. “This is my second time serving on the board, the first time was 20 years ago from 2002 to 2004,” says Karl Loeffelholz, dealer division manager at Mi-T-M Corporation in Peosta, IA. He has been with the company for 30 years, most of them spent directly involved with distributors.

Loeffelholz knows very well the connection between manufacturers and distributors – as well as end users. And it spurred his service.

“I wanted to give back to the industry,” says Loeffelholz. “Being directly involved with the industry you serve can be very rewarding, everyone should give it a try.”

We all have ideas about priorities and needs. Get involved and act on them.

“[Board service] gives me the opportunity share and implement new ideas and make the necessary changes to keep the association moving forward,” says Loeffelholz. “Being involved allows me to better understand what the CETA organization is all about.”

Interaction through leadership broadens perspective. “A lot of ideas, hard work and passion go into making the industry a more productive association for everyone,” says Loeffelholz.

And there’s a great bonus in service, explains Loeffelholz. “I also like having the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends.”

Of course, the board of CETA has one unifying priority: Keep the association strong. Yujin Anderson, general manager at Steamericas, Inc. in Inglewood, CA, tells us about her path to the board.

“I had the privilege of witnessing what CETA committees do to impact the industry prior to [my nomination to the board], while serving on an ad hoc committee [dedicated to pandemic issues] back in 2020,” explains Anderson. “I wasn’t expecting to be nominated, and it was such an honor when it happened.”

Board service has many dimensions – all welcome, explains Anderson. “It’s a unique opportunity to learn from industry veterans.” And much more.

Once on the board, says Anderson, industry competitors become true allies. “We put the industry first, not the company you represent.”

Collaboration among board members coupled with adherence to thoughtful strategic planning is motivational. “It is inspiring to see the current and past leaders of the organization up close,” says Anderson. “You strive to be part of [those contributing] to the industry someday just as they have been.”

And then, there’s just much to savor about connections made. “I [love] the opportunity to interact with my distributors – who serve on the board – outside the supplier-distributor relationship,” says Anderson.

The formal and informal facets of board and trustee service reflect the nature of CETA, an organization that brings together distributors, manufacturers, and suppliers – all of which keep a sharp focus on the end user of the products they make and sell. The structure cuts vertically through the industry and fortifies understanding. An end-user’s question to a distributor has the potential to result in an innovation or improvement in a product from a manufacturer.

“I was motivated to serve as a CETA director from seeing the impact the association has on its members,” say Ryan Lindaman, industrial sales manager at Hydra-Flex, Inc. in Savage, MN. “From sharing best practices to providing benchmarking programs for its members, CETA has a true and lasting impact on its members.”

And like others who comment herein, Lindaman points to the way the experience of service adds to his knowledge base – and to his professional development. “It [is] a great opportunity to learn from other industry professionals,” he says.

Lindaman would encourage others to consider board service for the reasons already cited – and more. “[It’s] an opportunity to have an impact and to serve others in the industry. The networking opportunities are endless as well.”

Even though he is quite new to the board, Lindaman can cite a particularly gratifying experience. “In the short time I have been a director, the most rewarding experience is seeing the work and education being done regarding issues like SORE/CARB [small off-road engine/California Air Resources Board regulations].”

There’s always something that would benefit from our attention. When one goal is met, a forward-looking person sets another (just as does a forward-looking organization like CETA).

Helping the rising generation of young people develop an outlook based on goals set and goals met fortifies communities and the nation. Industry and commerce stay strong. The education foundation supports the formal learning process through competitively awarded grants to family members and employees of CETA members.

Recognizing the importance of the support of the foundation, Russ Hess, regional manager (Northeast United States, Eastern Canada) for Alkota Cleaning Systems, Inc. in Alcester, SD, welcomed the opportunity to serve as a foundation trustee.

“I was motivated to become involved after my daughter, Erica, was awarded several CETA scholarships,” explains Hess. “The scholarships were such a help to her, and to our family, helping to minimize the need for student loans.”

It’s quite uplifting to serve in a way that ties together generations, explains Hess. “I heartily encourage colleagues to serve as a CETA trustee. Serving as a trustee allows the opportunity to work with other positive-minded individuals toward a common goal. I depart every education foundation meeting and CETA event with an upbeat attitude. The experience is so rewarding.”

Also serving as a trustee is Dennis Black, president of McHenry Pressure Cleaning Systems, Inc. in Frederick, MD. Black has served previously as a board member.

How did Black decide to serve? “The honest answer is I was encouraged by peers to get involved,” he says. “My original business partner and others that were already involved in CETA encouraged me. I am always thankful that these great friends gave me the ‘push’.”

There’s so much to gain from serving, says Black. “Just to mention a few [gains] – working with others to accomplish common goals, learning more about your industry, making many friends and associates with other CETA members…”

CETA involvement at the board and trustee level enables “tremendous learning from great people,” says Black. [It] has made me a better person. Learning and making relationships have benefitted my business and me personally more than I can describe.”

Black sums it up this way: “This is our industry and CETA is our industry organization, being involved just makes sense. It is not only giving back. It is helping to create a better future for our industry and our businesses.”


Ryan Lindaman – Hydra-Flex
Yujin Anderson – Steamericas
Dennis Black – McHenry
Russ Hess – Alkota
Delany Johnson – Wayne Combustion
Karl Loeffelholz – MiTM

Membership has it rewards – (From a members prospective)

From the Empire State to the Grand Canyon State, the CETA 2022 membership committee represents the breadth of our nation. That’s good for outreach and great for staying in touch.

The four committee members are Richard Benham, president of Kepner Equipment Inc./Chaffee-Ward Equipment in Canandaigua, NY; Al Bonifas, owner of All-Spray in Swanton, OH; Ryan Lindaman, industrial sales manager at Hydra-Flex, Inc. in Savage MN; and Greg Sprunk, president of Superior Cleaning Equipment Inc. in Phoenix, AZ. Bonifas chairs the group.

Each individual brings a unique perspective to the membership committee. But they all share one unifying view: The Cleaning Equipment Trade Association (CETA) provides substantial benefits and resources to members. And it does so in an industry-specific way.

Yes, membership in any vital professional organization offers the opportunity for growth and camaraderie. But for distributors, manufacturers and suppliers in our industry, membership in CETA confers the added advantage of interacting closely with peers (and competitors).

There’s much to gain from allying with others who experience the same challenges. Informal and formal interaction at regional and national meetings – and via phone and zoom, goes a long way toward clarifying and resolving issues.

What are some things the collaborative environment of the association enables? Industry-specific problems and issues can be discussed and resolved. Regulatory entities can be persuaded by the force of a united voice. New technologies and methods can be appraised.

From his vantage, Lindaman sees two huge benefits to CETA membership. One is benchmarking. In an indirect way, he explains, benchmarking facilitates “learning some of the best practices from colleagues in your field.”

And the second benefit? CETA is “a voice to represent the industry regarding new laws and regulation,” says Lindaman By preparing input for regulatory comment and monitoring new regulations, it reduces the possibility that regulations will have a negative impact on the industry. Lindaman cites the work of the association’s technical committee on SORE [small off-road engine] regulation and UL1776.

Connecting with members and potential members “to help them understand the resources that are available to them” through CETA is a priority, says Lindaman. “We want to empower them with the knowledge that their peers and other industry leaders have used to make their business successful.”

Lindaman interacts with distributors each day in his role at the company where he works. He relishes the give and take and looks forward to the same on the membership committee.

Like Lindaman, Sprunk wants to get word more widely disseminated about all that membership in CETA offers. He plans to tap his love for marketing to accomplish that.

Does Sprunk have a particular strategy he hopes to use? “Well, speaking as a dealer, I think [prospective members] are just pulled in a lot of directions and we just need to get people’s attention.”

The main question Sprunk and his committee colleagues pose to non-members is, ‘How can you afford not to be a member of CETA?’ The successes of the association to date illustrate just what a significant industry force it is.

“From stopping the reclassification of hot water pressure washers to boilers, which would have led to much higher cost and more regulation in Texas, to the success in California [on SORE],” says Sprunk, successes keep multiplying. “CETA helps the entire industry, period.”

Sprunk also points to the wealth of information from benchmarking. “Comparing your company to others [to] see how you are doing is a very unique opportunity most small businesses don’t have access to,” he explains.

Then, there are the connections. “The access to other dealers across brands as well as other manufacturers” is a real plus, says Sprunk. “Meeting people you wouldn’t normally meet. The tradeshow every year is also very good. We as dealers tend to be in a bubble – [CETA gets] you out and lets you have a broader view of the industry.”

With professionals pulling together, they can accomplish much more. Strength in numbers is an axiom routed in physics.

Can there be too many members? No. More people bring experiences and in-need-of-resolution issues from their own companies, thereby creating more energy.

As chairman of the membership committee, Bonifas wants to add members. He has set a goal of a 20 percent increase. Ambitious and doable sums it up.

Doable because the committee will be “marketing the benefits and recent accomplishments of CETA,” explains Bonifas. “There is no other association in our industry serving the distributors of pressure cleaning equipment.”

All familiar channels are used in “getting these messages out,” says Bonifas. “But nothing works like recommendations or referrals or the personal contact of one dealer to another on how CETA has benefitted them.”

Participation in the association puts professionals on a steep and solid trajectory. “There is no faster, better way to shorten the learning curve to be more successful [in] our industry,” says Bonifas.

Besides its geographic dispersion, the membership committee reflects the range of experience within our industry: veterans and newer members, as well as owners and employees. Such a combination ensures the retention of all that’s been built as a foundation and the continuation of building with cutting edge outlooks and tools.

“The work, time and energy that has been put in by previous boards has gotten our organization to a point where we are stronger than ever and doing more for our members in very tangible ways,” says Bonifas. Some of the ways – benchmarking and intense efforts of technical committee, have been mentioned.

Yet there are many more benefits to note. They include PowerClean, the annual conference and tradeshow in which CETA co-locates with PWNA (Power Washers of North America], certification for distributors, access to discounted shipping rates, lost/stolen equipment alerts, credit card processing discount program, and opportunities for employees and family members to compete for scholarships (through the CETA Scholarship Foundation).

The annual and regional meetings of CETA incorporate education, certification, and networking. The association offers a program to assist members in keeping their employees certified to meet Hazmat, OSHA, and DOT requirements. A performance standard for manufacturers (CPC-100) and certification for distributors allow members to not only document their adherence to excellence, but also to increase their visibility with the display of certification logos.

Beyond the substantial (and still abridged lists) of benefits, there is the ‘something more’ that derives from membership. Commitment to CETA, a professional organization, is synonymous with commitment to the industry.

The commitment signals an interest in contributing to the strength of the industry through continuing education, development, and innovation. It also demonstrates that there is an understanding of how building lasting links in all directions – including present to past, produces the kind of vigor necessary to sustain not only our industry, but also the economic activity that enriches the nation and the world.

Engagement is a powerful energizer and motivator. There is always something else to learn, do and share. CETA gives members the opportunity to do all three – and more.

Bonifas sums it up this way: “With all the challenges and changes going on in our industry, there is no better way to be informed and to be a proactive participant in our industry than being a member of CETA.”

Not yet a member? Then, join today. Contact


Al Bonifas – AllSpray

Rick Benham – Kepner

Ryan Lindaman – Hydra-Flex, Inc.

Greg Sprunk- Superior Cleaning Equipment Inc.

If you enjoyed this article, reach out to CETA and let us know.  You could win a free prize at PowerClean 2022.

Benchmarking (Reflections from the 2022 committee chairman)

Not yet taking advantage of the benchmarking program offered by the Cleaning Equipment Trade Association (CETA)? [Make that offered as a benefit of membership at no additional cost.)

Well, R. Calvin Rasmussen, the new chairman of the CETA committee on benchmarking, wants to be sure current and prospective members of the association understand the utility of the diagnostic tool for a business. Rasmussen is president and CEO of Royce Industries L.C. in West Jordan, UT.

What goals has Rasmussen set? “To grow the level of participation in this valuable tool,” he says, is at the top of the list.

Rasmussen explains he will work to be sure members realize the benefit of benchmarking. By “exploiting this tool in their individual companies,” CETA members may be able to make big gains and experience a “potential explosion of growth.”

Again, participation in the annual benchmarking program is open to members at no cost. Participants receive an individualized performance analysis report (PAR).

The PAR shows a company how its structure compares to others. Can the company improve, for instance, by reducing cost tied to each sale — by using mapping to minimize travel time or committing to make an additional sale per trip?

“To me personally, receiving the annual PAR is like waking up on Christmas morning,” says Rasmussen. “I cannot wait to see what the report has in store for our company.”

The PAR does not present numbers, percentages, ratios and more as standalones. “[It] also educates you [the participant] on how to understand the data points,” explains Rasmussen. “[It] helps you understand where you rank among your peers that have similar operational sizes to your company…”

As years of participation in benchmarking accrue, a company gains an even more robust understanding of its health and its opportunities for shoring up every part of the business. Standing against peers and quantitative movement (growth or decline) from year-to-year emerge clearly.

The clarity provided illuminates a path forward, explains Rasmussen. “[It] helps your company pivot and adjust” as needed to maintain position – and grow.

“Participation in benchmarking is easy,” says Rasmussen. Moreover, the financial data submitted by participants is fully protected. Anonymity of participants is fundamental to the mechanics of the program, which is administered by a third party with no member of CETA involved.

In short, the PAR prompts participants to ask tough questions. Can more be done to control expenses? How much more can we control expenses without jeopardizing sales opportunities? The PAR also proves a useful tool when meeting with lenders or others providing credit to a business.

Rasmussen’s company has participated in the CETA benchmarking program from its inception. “We use benchmarking and its subsequent PAR as part of our annual budgeting, planning and strategy.”

Among the “golden nuggets” in the PAR, says Rasmussen, are sales per information, such as per employee, per customer, per vehicle. “Since we have been participating in CETA benchmarking so long, just this single datapoint has helped us ‘go deep’ with each of our customers.”

And what does Rasmussen mean by going deep – an example? “Instead of simply selling [a customer] a pressure washer, [information from the PAR] has helped us focus on selling additional items, [such as] detergents, automatic parts washers, accessories, parts and preventative maintenance.”

The PAR not only indicates where operational improvements can be made, but it also affirms strength. While Rasmussen’s company learned it spends too much on liability and casualty insurance and too little on advertising and promoting itself, it also learned that its employees are well paid.

It’s possible to look at the PAR as a profile of fitness. It’s analogous to a personal health profile that provides guidance for how to trim down or bulk up or generally get into top condition.

A business has assets of many kinds – its product and/or service, inventory, facilities, land, vehicles, employees, etc. Each one of the assets has a preservation cost tied to it.

Employees must be paid. Facilities must be kept in good working condition. There’s an entire area of finance focuses on just what a company must do to both retain and maintain assets and realize a profit.

The return on asset figure (ROA) is sometimes used as a snapshot of the financial health of a company. The ROA for a company in good shape is lower than many new entrants to business might think. Obviously, zero or less is untenable. But 10 percent is good. (A business has many, many expenses tied to its assets – and existence.)

For distributors, being able to tease out factors such as the expenses required to produce sales, inventory required to support sales, and investment in AR [accounts receivable] needed to support sales, generates ideas about how to get to or otherwise improve a 10 percent ROA.

What PAR makes clear to new business owners especially is that sales volume alone does not mean much. Somewhere in the gross margin there must be a profit – a sustaining profit.

So important is an understanding of financials to distributors, that three manufacturers – Alkota Cleaning Systems, Inc., Kärcher and Mi-T-M Corporation – sponsor the CETA benchmarking program. Through their sponsorship, they make the program free to members. Profit Planning Group in Boulder, CO, operates the confidential benchmarking program for CETA.

Manufacturers have a vested interest in the wellbeing of their distributors. Moreover, the better distributors can forecast their needs precisely, the tighter the controls on expenditures for both manufacturer and distributor. As the two most recent years have brought challenges to supply chains, accuracy in forecasting and accounting – to benefit individual companies, the industry and society – has become more important than ever.

The enthusiasm Rasmussen has for the benchmarking program is palpable. “As you can gather, I love this program,” he says.

The way that the results from the PAR can be tailored to a format for a particular company makes it all the more useful, explains Rasmussen. Along with the PAR, a participating company receives a prescriptive action plan.

The prescriptive action plan, customized for each participating business, is a summary of the five places where the company should focus attention – and suggests the three to take on first. (Rasmussen says his company tackles all five recommendations.)

Focusing on the recommendations brings results. “We have experienced year-over-year growth every year since participating in the CETA program,” says Rasmussen.

As individual participants in benchmarking get stronger, so does the industry. “As individual CETA member companies grow, our industry grows,” says Rasmussen. “As our industry grows, every one of our CETA member companies are introduced to new and improved products to offer, which continues to strengthen our individual companies’ foundations.”

Association members – who are competitors as well as colleagues, getting together (anonymously) to consolidate and evaluate information through a third party, adds to a “win, win, win,” says Rasmussen. During his tenure as chairman of the benchmarking committee, he hopes to do one thing above all others.

Rasmussen says he will strive “to express to CETA membership – especially distributor members – that the value received from participating in annual benchmarking, and its subsequent PAR, alone is worth the cost of annual CETA membership.”

Today is a good day to join CETA to get started.

R. Calvin Rasmussen

President and CEO

Royce Industries L.C.

1355 West 8040 South

West Jordan UT 84088


More (including four years more) on SORE – Jimmy Welch, Jim O’Connell, R. Calvin Rasmussen

Nothing more welcome than good news, and this is a short account of some good news for members of the Cleaning Equipment Trade Association (CETA):

The deadline for sales of new pressure washers powered by small off-road gas-combustion engines (precisely defined as non-road spark ignition engines that operate at or below 19 kilowatts) to meet zero-emission standards in California is January 1, 2028.

The deadline had been January 1, 2024. Efforts by CETA members have been instrumental in gaining four additional years for research, design, and manufacturing of the best battery-electric-powered pressure washers possible. Let’s review their efforts, which are ongoing (because there’s more to do, always).

The efforts provide an excellent example of how important engagement with regulators is. They also illustrate the depth and breadth of the support that CETA members receive from their colleagues, who in this case are those who leapt in and engaged with regulators to inform and suggest alternatives.

Our compressed and essentially chronological account begins with a CETA member who is anchored in the state where it all began.

“‘Blanket elimination’ of small gas engines is not a constructive solution…” wrote Jim O’Connell in a letter to his customers regarding the 2020 Executive Order AB1346 from Governor Newsom. Of course, O’Connell, the president of Hotsy Pacific in Modesto, CA, refers to the essence of the order: sale of new internal-combustion engine powered vehicles and equipment to end by 2035.

Thirteen years is a long time. But the provisions of the executive order begin to pile up a lot earlier.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has authority to formulate regulations under the 2020 order. And on October 09, 2021, it set zero-emission as a limit for small off-road engines (SORE), which immediately pulled in our industry. Moreover, it set the limit for as early as January 1, 2024, which would mean no combustion engines on sales of new pressure washers after that date.

(Note: See the December 2021 Cleaner Times article on SORE for the basics via

By October 12, 2021, the CETA Board of Directors initiated a response. A committee dedicated to keeping pace with SORE, communicating with CARB, and informing membership began to take shape. First and foremost, the committee’s aim was to be fully involved in the rule-making process at CARB.

  1. R. Calvin Rasmussen, the president and CEO at Royce Industries L.C., West Jordan, UT, chairs the SORE Committee. (All committee members, who have given countless hours to ensuring CARB has a complete understanding of equipment manufactured by our industry and its importance to health and safety, are listed at the end of this text.)

Even before a specific committee formed, Jimmy Welch, the chair of the CETA Technical Committee, was looking ahead to the ramifications of SORE. Welch is a team member at American Pressure Inc. in Robbinsdale, MN.

With that background, let’s look at where we are with SORE (as we write in late December 2021). To do so, we will amplify perspectives from O’Connell, who is anchored in the Golden State, Rasmussen, who heads the committee, and Welch, who keeps pace with all things technical for CETA.

In his letter to customers, which he copied to CARB, O’Connell suggests they can help inform legislators about the importance of small gas engines. An elimination of small gas engines, he explains, would be a one-size-fits-all approach to an effort that requires a more tailored approach.

“Pressure washers are an integral part of companies, schools and municipalities for cleaning, sanitizing and maintaining premises to ensure safe and clean environments for the public, children and employees,” wrote O’Connell. An abrupt end to efficient internal-combustion powered pressure washers would remove a highly efficient tool from efforts to maintain hygienic settings.

“[We] were able to get the CARB staff and board to listen to our issues and they have since allowed us more time to comply, along the same lines as they had specified for the generator industry,” says O’Connell. (The generator industry was given a date of January 1, 2028.) Good news, but the hard work for the committee, which spent six intense weeks in late autumn on the issue, continues.

The intensity of the work completed to date includes providing comment at a CARB public hearing on SORE. Rasmussen did that on December 9, 2021. His candor included a statement our readers know well, “as goes California so goes the country.”

In his comments Rasmussen emphasized the utility and importance of industrial pressure washers in all sectors of the economy. Indeed, he took the opportunity to remind CARB about the many ways that agencies in California use pressure washers to “clean, disinfect and sanitize everything from homeless encampments to playground equipment, from graffiti removal to disaster clean-up sites.”

Rasmussen cites the zero-emission equipment (ZEE) goal of AB1346 as one that would benefit from context and conditional implementation. For instance, although there are at present battery-powered pressure washers (67 percent of residential market), they are not suitable for professional use.

Results of efforts to date speak to the positive importance of give and take. Small gas-combustion engines used on pressure washers will be able to follow the same new reduced (exhaust and evaporative) emissions regulations as generators until January 1, 2028. (See the SORE tab at the website for details and links: Then, they will be expected to meet the ZEE expectations.

Four extra years give members or our industry significant time to design and manufacture equipment that qualifies as ZEE and simultaneously maintains its potency for accomplishing cleaning projects thoroughly and efficiently. Rasmussen and Welch in a letter to CETA members guarantee there is still work to be done.

And Welch explains some of the complexities that contribute to tasks ahead. For one, CARB is pushing electrification as a mechanism for reaching ZEE goals.

In designing pressure washers to meet ZEE, manufacturers must also consider the availability of a power source. “[The] power grid has a lot of limitations – for example 120-volt…” says Welch. Gasoline engines allow a work around. They also allow operation in areas with no or limited availability of electric power.

“While residential [pressure washers] can use electrical – 120-volt, for example, and have some battery products, they are still limited in performance,” explains Welch. And he adds the pressure washers captured in the SORE category are a major market segment because of their portability and ability to do all types of essential cleaning.

Still, the activity of the SORE committee and the results it has achieved to date demonstrate the importance of doing instead of fretting. As Rasmussen and Welch wrote in a recent letter to CETA members, not only members of the association, but all members of the industry are affected by parameters set by state, federal – and local, governments.

Not a CETA member yet? Perhaps today would be a good day to take a few minutes and join. (Inquire via

SORE Committee members in addition to Rasmussen, Welch and O’Connell are: Al Bonifas (All Spray), Gregg Brodsky (Alkota), Doug Hartley (American Honda), Dave Johnson (Steam Cleaners Inc.), Casey Meelker (Nilfisk/HydroTek), Michael Ricketts (Hotsy of Southern California), Rex Shull (Kärcher North America), Eric Towers (Octo Pro Wash), Trena Williamson (Northern Tool + Equipment), David Wyett (Always Under Pressure).

December 2021 Plans for 2022 – Al Bonifas

A vibrant and growing organization that represents the professional interests of distributors, manufacturers, and suppliers, CETA leadership is a team effort. And the team sees a vigorous 2022.

In 2021-2022, Al Bonifas, owner of All-Spray in Swanton, OH serves as president of CETA. He works together with an enthusiastic and expert-rich board of directors.

Speaking for the CETA leadership team, Bonifas says he expects to see much accomplished by the association in 2022. First and foremost, CETA will continue to build on its strong complement of programs, initiatives, and activities.

Members are already looking forward to the 2022 PowerClean in Orlando, FL (October 12-15, Shingle Creek). They recognize CETA as the top resource for distributors in the power-cleaning products industry.

It’s a recognition taking hold more firmly as CETA provides networking, education, and training opportunities. As such, membership is growing. And Bonifas wants to see growth truly accelerate.

The more members, the more collegial connections, and the higher the visibility of the organization. High-visibility professional organizations command attention from regulators when comment is being collected on new regulations.

And there are pending regulations that require immediate and ongoing attention. One of them, explains Bonifas, is the small off-road engine (SORE) regulation from the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

SORE in California is modelled after the initiative of the Environmental Protection Agency, but it will take effect much sooner. Without some give and take from CARB, it will put new requirements on pressure washers beginning as early as January 1,2024.

“Our new SORE committee will be working on behalf of CETA to forward our response as well as the comments from our members to the CARB,” explains Bonifas. An extension (to 2028) of the deadline to meet zero emissions requirements for pressure washers powered by small combustion engines is urgently being sought.

Bonifas says the sanitary benefits of using pressure washers must be weighed in the risk-benefit analysis. CETA will offer comment to CARB to make certain the health and economic benefits of using pressure washers in the SORE category are fully appreciated.

[Note: See the article on SORE in the December issue of this magazine for details regarding the parameters for engines covered by the legislation and regulation.]

Not exclusively for the feedback to CARB, but also for the benefit of the public, Bonifas envisions a stronger focus on disseminating information about all the good that pressure washers and related tools accomplish.

“There are so many applications like cleaning agricultural livestock barns to control spread of diseases, to cleaning invasive species off of boats – to keep them from spreading, to cleaning kitchen exhaust systems so the grease buildup doesn’t create a fire hazard,” says Bonifas. All should be known.

Moreover, CETA members should have ready access to examples. And they do. Good and growing, CETA University, an online repository, continues to expand.

The university enables instructional videos and audio programs to be compiled and retrieved by members. Bonifas expects the ‘holdings’ to become more robust in 2022.

Indeed, the holdings already offer a single-point access to resources. The consolidation of information includes organized modules and primers from manufacturers and distributors. Thus, CETA-U serves as a location for members who want to find assists for training employees in the best possible way.

Formal and informal endeavors will continue to provide members with new ideas regarding how to fortify and grow their businesses. In addition, again as a part of membership, distributors will be able to participate in the benchmarking program.

As a self-check on how a company is doing – and how it can do better still – the benchmarking program gets very high praise from members who use it. The more companies that participate in benchmarking the more precision-driven the results, and the more useful the results are to individual companies.

Via benchmarking, which protects all data submitted with utmost privacy, a company can compare its sales, service, and inventory expenses with similar businesses. (‘Similar’ businesses but identities are not known.)

Getting the word out regarding the utility of benchmarking as a part (optional) of membership is a priority in 2022. Stronger companies, stronger industry…

And as for a stronger industry, distributor members who have not yet done so will be encouraged to obtain CETA certification. The CETA Certified logo elevates recognition of the company – and of the industry – by demonstrating a commitment to excellence. Manufacturer members of CETA who meet the association’s CPC100 standard can similarly use that logo.

The CETA Scholarship Foundation gets stronger each year. The trajectory will continue in 2022. The foundation raises funds for scholarships, which are awarded through a competitive merit-based system. Members in good standing and their employees and family members are eligible to complete the application process.

As the nation resumes the level of activity that prevailed into late 2019, the familiar and important methods of interacting will again define the association. They will include not only the roundtables and seminars at annual meetings, but also regional gatherings.

Sustained sharing of ideas and solutions, as well as a bit of friendly competition, will resume in a welcome way in 2022. Naturally, members will be able to rely on the committee dedicated to technical issues and standards, which is led by immediate past-president Jimmy Welch of American Pressure Inc. in Robbinsdale, MN, for the most up-to-date information.

It’s not only the SORE regulation deriving from CARB that must be understood and incorporated into business models. There is the steady stream of modified and new regulations from EPA, OSHA and DOT that must be internalized too. CETA facilitates the dispersal of new information in the timeliest way.

A company could go it alone and successfully conform to all regulations – ranging from hazmat to California’s very specific Proposition 65. Yet there is something about working with colleagues – and competitors – to meet the ever-changing expectations for our industry.

Dealing with a seemingly daunting new requirement becomes quite a bit easier when an owner hears from a colleague about what worked – and how compliance was not so difficult. In 2022, Bonifas wants to make certain that members of our industry take full advantage of the collective expertise that defines it.

Passionate about what they do, CETA members are eager to welcome others to their association. As Bonifas sees it, the members reflect the advice of President John F. Kennedy.

The 35th president (1961-1963) suggested that citizens — as a sound alternative to asking what their country could do for them, ask what they as individuals could do for their country. Bonifas endorses that sentiment. And he uses it as a jumping off point to encourage members and prospective members of CETA alike.

“We have enough going on that we are hoping members don’t just ask what CETA can do for them, but instead ask what they can do for CETA,” says Bonifas.

[Not yet a member or questions about membership? Send inquiries to .

Al Bonifas

CETA President 2021-2022


November 2021 Technical Updates – Q&A with Jimmy Welch

There’s nothing like being able to sit down with a technical expert in a subject and ask him a few questions. It’s a way to not only get a bit of amplification on the facts, but also to just get a few of the ‘I wonder why’ and ‘What’s next’ queries answered.

CETA members know well the updates and in-depth information they can tap thanks to the efforts of the association’s technical committee. (See Jimmy Welch with American Pressure Inc. in Robbinsdale, MN heads the committee.

We had the opportunity to put some questions to Welch. His answers provide a great overview of technical updates, and a significant illustration of the robust information available from CETA, the Cleaning Equipment Trade Association.

Question: UL cancelled the long-anticipated effective date (was to be March 21, 2021) for transition from UL 1776 to UL 60335-2-79. Why was the effective date cancelled?

Welch: In meetings of the CETA-sponsored THC 335H, the Technical Harmonization Committee, which has several manufacturers who have product third-party-tested to UL 1776, it became clear there were only a few that had completed UL 60335-2-79 requirements. So the extension was requested and granted.

The 60335-2-79 has some new requirements like the 96-hour endurance testing. Third parties include UL, CSA, ETL, or a nationally recognized testing laboratory (NRTL).

Question: Was the cancellation a surprise?

Welch: Yes and no. Manufacturers had been given five years to get the products they have with UL 1776 to UL 60335-2-79. But this is an expense that many had not invested in mainly because of the additional cost of the 96-hour endurance test. Many chose UL 1776 on existing products. However, the few that did choose to complete their UL 60335-2-79 did so with newer products.

Question: What kind of impact does the cancellation have on the industry?

Welch: No real change as the cancellation of the transition still allows manufacturers to use UL 1776 or UL 60335-2-79.

Question: The statement at the CETA website indicates the UL received “no negative responses” to the prospect of cancellation and thus went forward with it.

Welch: Yes, no negative responses.

Question: No negative responses — how can that be explained?

Welch: Many products that are UL 1776 exist today with good, safe performance. There are only a few changes in UL 60335-2-79 which do enhance the product safety, but everyone understood that more time is needed to complete the update.

Question: When do you anticipate the transition will take place?

Welch: Once manufacturers working with third-party testing laboratories can complete the transition to UL 60335-2-79. Many manufacturers may choose to wait until the THC 335H completes the current binational work being done between UL and CSA.

THC 335H is currently working on the harmonization of UL 1776, UL 60335-2-79, CAN/CSA C22.2 No. 68, CAN/CSA B140.11, CAN/CSA E60335-2-79 to complete UL/CSA 60335-2-79, which is Particular Requirements for High Pressure Cleaners and Steam Cleaners.

The committee is also currently revising or updating UL 1776 to the newest NEC/NFPA requirements for GFCIs.

Question: The CETA CPC-100 performance standard is fully described at the CETA website. Is there information from the 12-page detailed description of the standard there and its criteria that you would like to highlight?

Welch: The rating of maximum pressure is noteworthy. It is obtained from a pressure washer in continuous operation during which time the following performance data are recorded at five-minute intervals: Six pressure values from pressure gauge located at the pump manifold, as well as flow; the maximum working pressure will be the average of these values.

For advertising purposes, the maximum pressure a machine can be rated is 10% more than the calculated average. Or, if some prefer, the actual measured pressure and flow must be 90 percent of advertised flow.

[Wondering about not only the details of CETA CPC-100, but also how it compares with PWMA standard for pressure washers? See the side-by-side comparison provided by CETA via One significant difference, which anyone who drives a car should appreciate, is that the CETA CPC-100 standard acknowledges an engine should not need to run full out – at maximum rpm – to achieve the maximum pressure; indeed, the standard requires a 15 percent reserve. That requirement is a nod to supporting engine longevity, making the certification particularly valuable to end users.]

Question: Why is it important for CETA to have its own standard?

Welch: As the industry’s trade association, CETA is at the forefront working with our members. A unified way of testing the product is necessary so current, as well as future manufacturers have a detailed performance standard and distributors know they are selling a quality product that performs as it should when they sell to their customers.

           Question: Can you give an example of other significant issues the technical committee is monitoring?

Welch: Emission compliance to EPA and CARB [California Air Resources Board] is again becoming a concern to our industry. For example, members of our industry who sell equipment in California must meet CARB requirements.

The current California AB-1345 Air Pollution for small off-road engines (SORE), which includes pressure washers, states “The Governor’s Executive Order No. N-79-20 of September 23, 2020, directs the state board to implement strategies to achieve 100 percent zero emissions from off-road equipment in California by 2035, where feasible and cost-effective. The state will not achieve that goal without further regulation of SORE, including a mandate to transition all sales of new equipment to zero-emission equipment.”  And “the state board shall, consistent with federal law, adopt cost-effective and technologically feasible regulations to prohibit engine exhaust and evaporative emissions from new small off-road engines, as defined by the state board. Those regulations shall apply to engines produced on or after January 1, 2024, or as soon as the state board determines is feasible, whichever is later.”

[For readers who believe it’s a stretch to imagine pressure washer engines soon will be encompassed by SORE, consider that section 43018.11 of CARB proposes to encompass “both commercial and residential lawn and garden users” of engines – yes, even lawnmowers.]

Question: Anything to add in this short Q and A?

Welch: It would be good to recognize the THC 335 H members, which I am honored to serve on and chair. They are Brian Burnelli (Briggs &Stratton Corporation), Darrin Conlon (Underwriters Laboratories Inc.), Mike Conway (Southwire Company, LLC), Allieter Denyer (Easy Kleen), Michael Dums (Intertek Testing Services N.A.), John Evans C.E.T. (Stanley Black & Decker Canada), Marvin Evans (CSA Group), Charalambos Freed (Nilfisk, Inc.), Jay Halloway (Alkota Cleaning System Inc.), Preben Hosbond (Nilfisk, Inc.), Annie Marie Jacobs (Underwriters Laboratories Inc.), Frederik King (EU-united), Volker Koenig (Andreas Stihl), Hamid Lakzadeh (BE Power Equipment), Pierre Legault (B140 TC member), Leonard Letea (CSA Group), Tan Lu (CSA Group), Barry Milstead (Tower Manufacturing Corporation), Joe Musso (Underwriters Laboratories Inc.) Karl Pasternak (Dynablast), Daniel Pearson (Kärcher North America), Mike Priest (Easy Kleen), Steffen Reiser, (Alfred Kärcher GmbH & Co. KG), Hassan Shah (Dynablast), Bryson Sharp (Northern Tool + Equipment), Mikhail Sher (Nilfisk, Inc.), Charles Tibboles (R.W. Beckett Corp.), Daniel Tyndall (EPPS Products), Brad Van Otterloo (Mi-T-M Corporation), Mark Wegner (Sioux Steam Cleaner Corporation), and Kenneth Wills, technical secretary (CETA).

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Jimmy Welch

CETA President 2020-21

CETA Technical Chairman

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