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American Window Cleaner Magazine Interviews


Master Window Cleaners of America Association

Founded by Jack Nelson of Cumberland, Maryland.


June 2008

The American Window Cleaner Magazine had the opportunity to interview them recently.

The interview with founder, Jack Nelson, follows.



1. Last year you mentioned that educational opportunities are one of the benefits and that one of the major topics of late is the waterfed pole system. How has your site helped to educate cleaners about waterfed pole cleaning this year?


Well, we have a complete education center on Water Fed Pole. It was created by experts in the field. Don Chute was the top contributor, but Phillip Alexander & Craig Aldrich also contributed a greatly. It's almost always a group effort to get anything done. Howard Connet organizes and put it on the website. It's right out front where any window cleaner in the world can see it.


2. Tell me about the Going Green section. Give me an idea of how to become certified, how many are certified and why you started this? Is the certification offered through the MWCoA or an outside agency?


We are still working on the "Going Green" Section. It takes a long time to get something like this completed. We have spent 2 months on what we have so far, we are about another month or so from getting it completed. What we need to work on right now is the test itself.


We started the "Going Green Education" because we wanted to be on the cutting edge. "Going Green" Is everywhere. Customers are already asking "Are you Green?" So, we got the education together to teach member what it means to be "Green" and it is a very complex explanation. Being "Green" is much more than just using "Certified Green" chemicals. It's really a life style. Many window cleaner won't be interested in the certification, but I believe the education will come in handy for them.


MWCoA will do the certification. There is a brief overview at www.mwcoa.com/Green_Education.shtml . Our first statement there is that we are not coming at this from a political position but from an ecological position.


3. Tell me about the on-the-job mentoring program, how it works and how it has grown this year.


Great timing on this question. I just had a window cleaner come and work with me this past week. He has been in business for about a year and just wanted to see how someone else does it. James Gaustch from Middleburg Pa. came down for the day. I really didn't teach him how to clean windows. I showed him how to run a job. Everything from greeting the customer, to where to start and how to save as much time on a job as you can. If you can save 15 to 20 seconds on every window, and you have 35 windows on a job, that can really add up. We clean about 70 windows a day on average. The mentoring program isn't huge, but it is happening here and there and it pays off, especially if you are fairly new to either owning a business or new to window cleaning. Window cleaners are the best kind of people. They are willing to share their experiences and so much more.


4. Has there been an annual supplier seminar since June 2007? If so, when and where was it, what were the highlights?


Last October we had a seminar in New Jersey at Racensteins and then the next day we went to Connecticut to tour the Unger plant and had another seminar there. Dan Fields spoke at both events and was a huge draw for window cleaners. We had 57 window cleaners in New Jersey and 27 in Connecticut.


This Spring we went to the Colker Co in Pittsburgh and had 23 window cleaners attend. Fabricating Debris was a key topic there. 18 of the attendees had never heard of Fabricating Debris, so it was a great educational opportunity. Don Chute, Ionics, came up from Georgia, Bob Camp, Unger, came in from Connecticut, John Siebenaler, IPC rep, from Minnesota and Lynn Peden, President of EacoChem, from near Pittsburgh, all came to speak on their field of expertise. The highlight to me is that all these people sacrificed their time to share with window cleaners. I can't thank them enough.


Personally, I think it is a great honor that I have the opportunity to share what I have learned with other window cleaners.


We have one seminar planned for this October, but right now the location is up in the air. Our goal was to have it in Lubbock, Texas with Jim Willingham, but he has since passed, so we are working on the details. There will be info on the front page of our website, www.mwcoa.com . If we are fortunate, it will still be in Lubbock, Texas.


We are also working on a Seminar in North Carolina for March of 2009. Our ultimate goal will be to have seminars in all 50 states. Yes, ALL 50.


5. Tell me where the idea for the Window Cleaning Hall of Fame came from?


That's easy. All that I have because of those who came before me. I was surprised that no one had done anything like this. The first line on the HOF page reads- "Our goal here is to Honor the men and women who made what we do for a living easier and a more honorable profession."


Howard Connet and I worked on who we should put in for the first year. So we went back as far as we could to find the history of window cleaning (modern day window cleaning). First, we needed a squeegee so Ettore Steccone was the easiest choice. He invented the squeegee in about 1938. Once you have a squeegee you need a place to buy it, so Joseph Racenstein (Opened in 1909) was an easy choice. To find all this info we searched American Window Cleaner magazine from August 1986. AWC Magazine was created by Rod Woodward and Richard Fabry. Rod was the one with the creative mind and the drive, though we could have inducted both. Jim and Jacinda were inducted because they started the get togethers and helped form the IWCA. Gary Mauer was inducted because he saw the future through the Internet. Basically we tried to find people who had firsts for the industry. Henry Unger was inducted because of his drive to improve products that are already on the market, by doing this, Unger pushed other companies to also improve products for window cleaners. There are far too many products to list here.


We now have a committee that will nominate and induct the next group of 5 or 6 HOF members on April 10th, 2009 in honor of Jim Willingham's passing.


6. Did participating in last year’s article bring recognition to your association? In what way?


Most everyone who came to the seminars said they read about us in AWC. Many members cite the articles and ad in AWC as to how they found out about MWCoA.


7. What were the highlights of the annual seminars in Newark and Bridgeport? How many attended, did you consider them a success?


I think we covered this pretty well in #4. But let me know if you need more info.


8. What is upcoming for the MWCoA?


When we started MWCoA I could never have envisioned we'd be where we are today, So what the future holds is really up to the future. MWCoA adjusts and adapts quickly to what is going on in the industry.


9. What are your personal goals, and/or the association goals, for the future of the MWCoA?


Each year we set a membership goal for the association, we have never failed to achieve that goal. We are now over 300 members. Our goals are to help window cleaners through education, seminars and discounts offered from sponsors. We have an official insurance provider who can save a small window cleaner 50% over other insurance companies. That's just one example.


Our goals for the future are to have seminars in every state. Bring the association to the window cleaners.


End Interview


Reprinted with permission - 2008

American Window Cleaner Magazine



* Mid 2008 Membership stands at over 300 Members in 45 states and 13 countries.