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Americas Finest Window Cleaning Professionals

Master Window Cleaners of America

MWCoA Member Question and Answer Session

Sponsored By

J. Racenstein & Co.

Window Cleaning Supplies Since 1909

J. Racenstein Co. has the World's Largest Inventory

of Window Cleaning Tools and Equipment.

Reprinted from an earlier 2007 session

Jim Willingham

New Day Window Cleaning Services

Lubbock, Texas

US Squeegee Speed Champion

Successful window cleaner

Water-Fed Pole expert

An original founder of the IWCA.

First Member inducted into the

Window Cleaning Hall of Fame

This interview is with Jim Willingham. If there is anyone who doesn't recognize that name, you are about to get an education.

Here's what I know.

Jim Willingham is one of us, but we are no Jim Willingham. You see, Jim Willingham has touched every aspect of the window cleaning industry. He was there at the beginning as it was exploding into a profession.

Read on and learn.

1. First of all I want to tell you it is a HUGE honor for me to be able to interview you. I expect I am interviewing Jacinda also right?

Well no not yet but I'll ask her.

2. This has got to be the mother of all Husband and Wife teams. Please tell us where it began, the year, the location and why window cleaning.

I started in Odessa. Started right before I met my wife of 20 years, Jacinda, and went to clean her mother's windows. At first she didn't want anything to do with me. Why Window Cleaning? To be honest it was something I could open my mouth about and sell, easy task for me at the time.

3. So from there, you got the idea of a little seminar. (The first window cleaning convention in the U.S?)

What was it like planning to bring people to Lubbock Texas?

It was like pulling teeth. Lubbock (where???). My wife was ready to divorce me after a month. I got calls from all over wanting to know what the $50.00 covered. I think everybody had a great time thanks to Jacinda.

4. So, you got the ball rolling and before you know it, the IWCA is formed. You were there the first day. Tell us what it was like. I expect it was somewhat unreal?

It was history in the making. I was invited to join the group in the room, several people were not asked to come and thought they were left out but I think it was friends of friends thing not the size of company.

I was asked to be the first President but turned them down, turns out the smartest thing I ever did, learned from, Jeff Valcourt (Valcourt Building Services, Arlington Va.), Carl Peterson, (General Window Cleaning a union shop), and World Window Cleaning (a non union shop in Chicago), Herb Hirzel (City Window Cleaning Willington, Delaware), Larue Coleman (Jobs Building services Houston TX) and others.

5. I want to throw out a few names and you tell me your first thought on them if you would.

Rod Woodward-

Good Kid, tough loss. He came to Lubbock to work. Funny Guy. He showed me how to use the Ettore Supersystem when he came. I had thrown it across the street the day before. Funny thing is he wanted a Cowboy hat to help; he picked out a $400.00 Stetson. I bought him a $200.00 hat and we had to go back and "fix" the area he did.

Richard Fabry-

Different guy, but very in touch with the window cleaning industry. He really wanted to promote the industry in General. I remember waking him up during some BOD meetings, but he was always there.

Marty Racenstein-

Marty was a tireless guy for the Industry. He wanted everyone to do well and prosper. I didn't like him at first but grew to love the guy later.

Michael Smahlic-

A golden guy in my book and someone I feel blessed to call a friend. He will do anything to help someone if needed. I remember calling him about the seminar in Lubbock. He asked me how many were coming and I said I hope about 50. His company sent 50 of everything they made. It filled the UPS truck. I wanted to tell everyone the seminar was canceled and keep all the cool stuff but I didn't.

6. You have met everyone in the industry. Is there any one person that stands out and you can say, the window cleaning industry is where it is today because of this one guy?

I have been impressed with Larue Coleman for business, Carl Peterson for heart, Vickie Head (Wagoner) (A1 orange Cleaning services, in Orlando Fl) for employee relations and production.

7. You have traveled pretty extensively around the world. Is there much of a difference in window cleaning in other parts of the world?

I was blessed to attend the show in Amsterdam due to Pulex Corp in 1991. I learned that windows were done weekly due to the fact that when the German occupation was going on the homeowners kept the blinds open to show that nothing was going on in the house and that continued after the war.

8. Water Fed Pole is growing in popularity. What part of the market is being cleaned by WFP and how do you expect that to change?

Well, good question. I think it is like a ladder and if you don't have one you can do the work but why not have one when you need it. I can tell you that customers are ordering the systems now. I've been telling people for years that this was going to happen and it is.

9. Are we ahead or behind in relationship to window cleaning to other countries such as the U.K.? How so?

I think we are ahead. The general public is behind but that is changing. Giving to a charity is a great way to start in your community.

10. You are often near or on the cutting edge of what's going on in the window cleaning industry. What do you see in the near future? Or far future?

Well I see Companies becoming known in the communities and providing service to that community. I also see the need for professionals in the Industry. Right now they do not see much of a difference.

11. What advice would you give to someone wanting to enter the industry?

LOOK professional, act professional and be ready to say NO if they do not treat you as one. Nothing trips my wire faster than someone treating me or my guys "as just someone trying to make a few bucks". Take your time and build up to a level you want.

Thank you for allowing me to interview you and I hope we get to meet at Racensteins in New Jersey in August.

Jim Willingham

New Day Window Cleaning Services

Lubbock, Texas

US Squeegee Speed Champion

Successful window cleaner

Water-Fed Pole expert

An original founder of the IWCA.

First Member inducted into the Window Cleaning Hall of Fame

Jim Willingham passed away April 10th 2008.

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