When January 1, 2020, rang in the new year, everyone was upbeat and optimistic. The U.S. economy was booming, unemployment was at its lowest point in decades, the stock market was strong, and all economic trends pointed upward.
Personally, I was excited about my new role as president of the ISSA board and looked forward to helping our association live up to our mantra of Advancing Clean and Driving Innovation. I was also eager to lead both the winter and summer ISSA board meetings. And honestly, I could not wait to cut the ribbon at my first ISSA Show as president, which was to be held in Chicago.
Who could have known that February 29, 2020, leap year Saturday, would cause the world to come to a screeching halt? It was on this date that the CDC reported the first known COVID-19 death in the United States, at Evergreen Hospital in the state of Washington. Eight months later, over 1.3 million people worldwide have lost their lives to this terrible virus, including over 260,000 Americans.
We have seen cities, states, and entire countries shut down their economies in an effort to stop the spread. We have seen unemployment skyrocket. We have seen people lose their loved ones and their businesses. We have seen shortages of hand sanitizers, gloves, masks, disinfectants, and toilet paper. In a nutshell, 2020 will be a year that we will all want to forget and get behind us.
However, we were very fortunate that last year, John Barrett, executive director of the ISSA, asked the board of directors to approve his idea to hire Patricia (Patty) Olinger as executive director of a new ISSA division named the Global Biorisk Advisory Council™ (GBAC). GBAC is recognized as a leader in training, education, and certification in forensic restoration, biorisk management, decontamination, and infection/contamination control disciplines.
The board approved Barrett’s vision and Olinger started with ISSA on September 1, 2019. Barrett’s foresight was uncanny, as who would have thought we would be facing a worldwide COVID-19 pandemic just a few months later? To date, 300-plus facilities have achieved GBAC STAR™ accreditation, and more than 3,300 facilities in over 80 countries have committed to GBAC STAR. Additionally, more than 15,000 industry professionals have enrolled in the GBAC Fundamentals Online Course: Cleaning & Disinfection Principles. This is just another example of how ISSA is living our tagline of Advancing Clean. Driving Innovation.
Being president of the ISSA board in 2020 has been, to say the least, interesting. I am the first board president to host a virtual board meeting and virtual trade show. People ask me what I have enjoyed most in serving three terms on the ISSA board of directors. Unequivocally, I have enjoyed getting to know the people that I have met along the way. The ISSA staff, who I have introduced in my last five articles, are some of the most talented professionals in our industry. Also, every board member has taught me more about our industry than I could have ever imagined.
So, as this is my third and last board term, I want to thank everyone for allowing me to serve our association. Serving as president of ISSA was truly an honor, and because of this terrible pandemic, I can assure you that I will never forget the year I was board president.
Stay healthy, and I think we can all agree, 2021 cannot arrive soon enough!
Original Article written by Ken Bodie
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