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I know some roof cleaners who are cleaning kitchen grease hoods in the winter time, to make extra money. Here is some OLD information that may be of interest to somebody.

The Guru of Grease

Phil Ackland, The Guru of Grease

Delco Cleaning Systems proudly presents

Phil Ackland -- The Guru of Grease

To help our readers get to know a bit more about our new kitchen exhaust cleaning school and the instructor, we contacted Phil Ackland and asked him to tell us a bit more about himself and how he arrived at this point in his career.

Robert M. Hinderliter: Phil, most people in this industry know you to some degree, from your writings and participation with IKECA and PWNA, but there must be more to it. Such as, how is it you got into the kitchen exhaust field in the first place?

Phil Ackland: I started in the summer of 1966. I was between grade 11 and 12 and looking for a summer job. I answered an ad from the State Employment agency about cleaning. I drove out to meet this guy and was hired at the grand wage of $2.00 an hour, which was quite a sum back then for a 17-year-old. Of course, I did not know what I was getting into. The first job we did was a char-broiler steak house and my job was to crawl into the duct and scrape this greasy crud out with a wide putty knife. I'll never forget that first job, Jerry Barnum, the owner of the company, surprised me by saying that when you were crawling a duct you got time and a half. So, being the budding young capitalist that I was, I figured I was going to get rich from this job.

Of course the truth was something different. As it was I had the duct cleaned out in less than an hour. And soon discovered that the duct crawling part of the job was not very time consuming.

But the thing that kept me in the field was Mr. Barnum. His attitude towards life and his way of seeing things had a great influence on me. To this day I still count him as a very dear friend. He introduced me to a lot about how to make a living in this field, including the importance of how to sell. Especially, how doing things others were afraid of or ignored, could be very profitable. He believed you owe it to yourself and the ones you love to be the best you can be. No matter what you do. I think that's what was the greatest thing I learned from him. We developed a great relationship. So, I just kept working for him throughout my final school year, on weekends and holidays, then after my hitch in the Army I came back to work for him.

Eventually, I matured to the point of wanting to go out and have my own business, but I did not want to work in Jerry's area of Western Washington State. So, when one of his partners wanted to open a business in Vancouver, Canada, I agreed to go along as the foreman. Although things did not work out that great, I learned a lot from Jerry's partner, who was a terrific salesman. That education and the need to branch out on my own, forced me to learn all the different points I needed to run my own business.

I started a company called ComVent Specialty Cleaning, which eventually became incorporated as Commercial Vent Cleaning Ltd.

Robert: What year was that?

Phil: I started ComVent in 1971. My first employee, Ed Sander was a guy from the prairies. He was a hard worker and very energetic, which was really helpful in keeping me focused in those early days. One day he asked if I would drive him back to Saskatchewan, which is one of Canada's Prairie Provinces. His sister was getting married, and as he did not have a car he wanted me to drive out with him. I agreed, as I would be without a worker anyway while he was gone. While we were out there I met his family, who were wheat farmers and absolutely the salt of the earth. They took me in as a friend and made me feel very welcome. The upshot of all this is although one of Ed's sisters was getting married, there was another one. After a pretty short time I was hooked, and it was one of the luckiest things that ever happened to me.

Therese and I were married in April of 1972, and it took me a while to realize it, but eventually as Commercial Vent grew, I found that Therese was very gifted with financial management. With her managing the money and my "gift of the gab," we were able to build the company up to a nice profitable little family business. Although Ed went on to other things, I was again fortunate to get a fellow, Len Wolf, who also was conscientious and a hard worker. With his help we were able to get the business past just a one-truck operation.

Robert: So how did you get involved in the NFPA #96?

Phil: That came about by something Jerry Barnum had taught me. It always pays dividends to work with the local AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction). I had been involved with the Fire Department Inspectors for sometime and one day a couple of them asked me to join them for this conference. The National Fire Protection Association was having a meeting in Vancouver and the subject was kitchen exhaust systems. So I went and listened.. It was an interesting experience. Toward the end of the meeting they asked if there were any questions, and never being afraid of voicing my opinion, I got up and quizzed them on solid fuel cooking, char-broilers and mesquite, things like that. They did not have any answers. After the meeting I was approached by Richard Best, the staff liaison for the NFPA#96 and asked if I would like to join the committee. I was honored just to be asked and after talking it over with Therese, we agreed to do it.

Robert: So how did that first meeting turn out?

Phil: Well, it was an experience that's for sure. I got a copy of the NFPA96 Standards and practically memorized it. I studied it and realized there were a lot of holes, especially when it came to maintenance. I learned how to submit proposals.

Robert: Yes, I think I heard about this. You submitted quite a few didn't you.

Phil: Yes, of the about 100 proposals I think I submitted 40 or more of them. When I got to the meeting, which was held in Washington DC, I saw how they chewed up these proposals. Looking at them from many sides and how the proposals would effect various levels of the ventilation industry. Fortunately for me, my first proposal was about fifth or sixth on the list. So, I got to see a little of how the system worked before being thrown into the ring. By the end of the three days, I had won some and lost some. But I was told after it was all over that many committee members thought that I brought a level of common sense and practicality to the committee. Which I took as a real compliment.

Robert: What else did you bring out of the meeting?

Phil: Well, as I sat there I realized I was in the presence of some pretty heavy hitters. The chief engineer of McDonald's, representatives from gas and electrical associations, as well as insurance companies, big manufacturers, like Gaylord, the hood maker, Ansul fire extinguishers and people like that. And there I was Phil Ackland, the vent cleaner, from BC, Canada. It was a little intimidating to say the least.

So, when we got home I decided to see if there were any other greasepipe cleaners out there who would like to get together and try to create some sort of association or something. I really didn't know what I was doing. I can still see my wife and I, with envelopes and paper spread out all over the living room floor. Folding and stuffing them in and sending them off all over North America. Therese thought I was crazy, but she also was willing to help. It wasn't long before the calls started coming in.

Robert: Who was the first to call?

Phil: I wasn't home at the time, but when I returned, Therese told me this guy from Idaho called and basically, wanted to know what had taken me so long? He told her that he had been thinking about this for a long time and it was about time somebody did it. That of course was Jay Taylor, probably one of the greatest guys this field has ever known. Jay took the bull by the horns and contacted some guys he knew through his connections with Gaylord. We agreed to get together in Portland Oregon in May of 1990. At that meeting was the nucleus of people who would become the International Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning Association. Guys like Jay, Larry Caraway, Roy Leonard, Barney Besal and a number of others. We agreed to get together again in Las Vegas a few months later. At that meeting there were twenty or more and we had a lot of interest from others that couldn't make it on that short of notice. It was a good time and great experience. We talked about our problems and how we should speak to the Restaurant, Insurance, Fire and other industries that control what and how exhaust systems are built and maintained.

Robert: You mentioned Barney Besal, isn't he the guy you are involved with in making access panels?

Phil: Yes, even at that first meeting in Portland, Barney and I really hit it off. It was he and I that carried the ball of forming the association in the early beginning. As I remember, he was the secretary/treasurer in the beginning.

So, we were in contact with each other a lot. We had similar interests in motorcycles and I think were are both perfectionists, in our own ways. I still think Barney is the most knowledgeable person there is when it comes to waterwash systems. Anyway, out of that relationship we landed on the need for a good quality access panel that would meet the new NFPA#96 requirements. Ultimately, we came up with one and had it tested by UL and actually got a patent on it. But manufacturing them at a reasonable price and marketing them was a different story. We struggled along for a few years, making a few and getting nowhere, when we got an offer from Larry Capalbo of Flame Gard. He had been at that Las Vegas meeting and was an early supporter of the vent cleaners, even though he is a manufacturer of grease filters. His filter making business had expanded to the point that he needed to buy a big turret press and was looking for other things this machine could make. Larry redesigned our access panel a bit so it could be cut out in one piece by the turret press and then we were in real business. With the marketing and reputation of Flame Gard, we have been steadily growing ever since.

Robert: Getting back to IKECA, how did things go with figuring out its original direction?

Phil: Even at the very first meeting in Portland we wrestled with the values that would represent the association, who would be qualified as members, and what types of memberships there would be. We discussed varying ideas, at the one end of the scale of opening it to everyone and anyone, regardless of who they were or what field they were in. To the other end where we would collect a small, tight group of selected companies and create a nation-wide marketing group, sort of like Century 21 or some of those other real estate groups that join together to do mass marketing, but that are really each independent local businesses. In the end we sort of settled for something in between.

Robert: Why did you leave IKECA?

Phil: That was painful, but it was a necessary thing. I put my heart and soul into making IKECA succeed. In time, the board of directors was coming together as a working group. Previously most all decisions had been left up to me, which was a heavy responsibility. Now they, the Board of Directors, wanted to make more of the decisions, which was reasonable. But I felt we were becoming a little too exclusive and exclusionary for a trade association. It was and is their right, but I think as a trade association you need to train and teach even those who would possibly become your competition. That is a tough call and I understood their resistance to my rather idealistic philosophy. In hindsight, I guess I put in too much heart and not enough reality.

But in reality, the primary reason why I left was that I had done all I wanted to with my company back home in Vancouver. My wife and I wanted to sell the company and do something else with our lives. As many may know, it is not easy to sell a service business and ours was especially difficult because we were in between a little company that an owner operator might want and a big company with all sorts of assets and staff and things like that.

Robert: So what did you do?

Phil: Well, by this time we had built Commercial Vent into a 6 truck business with a full office staff doing telemarketing and scheduling. Basically we had created a "system."

Robert: What do you mean by a "system"?

Phil: A complete circle from initial contact of a new customer, through sales, job completion, collection, record keeping and then repeating the whole process. We became very efficient. It made running a business much simpler. But we both wanted to do other things with our life. You only get one trip around the bases, so to speak, so you better make the most of it. But we soon found that running a business is very different from attracting someone willing to take it over. We had to go right back to the basics. I did a lot of research and felt that the best way to maximize the value of the company was to create a franchise organization. This took a lot of time and mental and emotional energy.

I just could not do both, run IKECA and get Commercial Vent into a condition that would be attractive to a buyer. I owed it to Therese to focus on the company and the future.

Robert: Do you still have contacts with IKECA?

Phil: I met a lot of very good people and made many friends, although I do not see them as much as I used to. A few years back I wrote the NFPA Questions for their Certification Test.

Robert: Speaking of writing, what ever prompted you to write a book on cleaning vent-a-hoods?

Phil: That again was one of those great opportunities. A very close friend of mine, who is a college professor, was taking a sabbatical for a year and suggested we write a book together. The business had sold by this time and I was looking for something to do. I found that retiring too early can be really boring. So, we started, figuring that this would just be a pamphlet, maybe 50 to 75 pages. Well the deeper we got into it the more we realized that contrary to popular belief, there is a lot more to this business than meets the eye. By the time we were finished the book was nearly 400 pages. And we had cut out a lot of subjects.

Robert: What did you leave out?

Phil: Sales and Marketing for one thing. We felt that many owner/operators would not want their employees learning too much about sales, for fear they would quit and go in business for themselves. Ultimately we wrote a Sales and Marketing book that is a companion for the main manual. Another thing we left out was a chapter on Communications.

Robert: What is the need for communications?

Phil: Well, it's two-fold. First, we have to communicate with our prospective customers if we want to make the sale. Then there is communicating with co-workers or employees, if we want to get the most out of our business potential.

Robert: So what ever happened to that chapter?

Phil: We still have it but I am going to use it as part of this Delco Course for those who are interested. It is the sort of thing that is best done in a hands-on manner, where you are actually in the physical presence of others. It should be fun. It is also something I will be teaching at the upcoming PWNA convention in Las Vegas.

Robert: When did you get involved with PWNA?

Phil: Daryl Mirza deserves the credit for that. He asked me in 1998, if I would be interested in writing a Certification Program for greasepipe cleaners. Prior to his asking me I had assisted the City of Vancouver, Canada, with the creation of a Certification Program. This was done from the point of view of the "Authority Having Jurisdiction" deciding what was important to them. It gave me a great deal of insight. The Fire Department and others in responsibility are not concerned with creating advantages for members of any trade association or individual contractors for that matter. Their first concern is community safety. I was able to learn more of how they value this whole process and what is important to them.

I was interested in Daryl's offer because of what I had seen of the way PWNA focussed on sharing information and welcoming new people into their organization. Also, I would have some control over the caliber and integrity of the program. Although there were compromises that had to be made, I think the finish package is something to be proud of. It is a hard program, but it is something that can be taken to the Fire departments and restaurant industry to show that people who have studied these points and agreed to live up to the principles within the Program will make better service providers.

Robert: Do you think this will make a difference in the market?

Phil: To be frank, it is going to take time and it is going to be frustrating. I have always felt that it was not your competitor that was your enemy; but the attitude of the restaurant industry, that did not want to pay for proper service. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of good conscientious restaurant operators, but there are a lot more who only care about the immediate bottom line, and if their restaurant hasn't burnt down lately, then why spend money on maintenance. I feel this is the primary attitude that keeps kitchen exhaust cleaning from becoming a reputable business in the eyes of many. Restaurant Owners, and Operators say out of one side of the mouth that they want good dependable service, but at the same time they don't want to pay anything for it.

Robert: Those are fairly strong words.

Phil: Yes. And I have told a number of restaurant operators and groups the same thing. They will acknowledge that it is the truth, when it comes right down to it.

I have reached a point in my career, that I feel I have proven my knowledge and experience. I have served a number of lawyers and insurance companies as an expert consultant. And I have now written a book for the Sheet Metal Contractors known as SMACNA on how to install kitchen exhaust systems. So, I think it is fair to say that I have a fairly rounded and deep knowledge of this ventilation field. And it is this that I want to share. If people are interested, then I'll help them in any way I can. This is another reason I am looking forward to this school of Delco's.

Robert: How do you mean?

Phil: I wouldn't kid anyone into thinking what they are going to learn is going to make them an instant success, but after three days they will be dizzy from the knowledge I plan on giving them. For one thing, they will have to pre-read selected portions of the new manual and other pre-course assignments, so we can start right off with the meat and potato issues of this field.

Robert: You mentioned your new manual. What is that about?

Phil: As you know we have sold all the copies of the first manual. For the last year I have been interviewing people and revising that manual until we have what I think is the definitive source of information on this cleaning field.

Robert: How is it different from the first manual?

Phil: For one thing, its focus is clearly on making the reader more money. Either by being able to do this service more efficiently or training their people how to do a better job. Also there is information on how to protect yourself from liability by being good at record keeping and there is a chapter on Add-on services and products that will make you a nice bonus. In the first manual, I sort of made suggestions, I think I am more forthright in this one.

I also believe the Certification Chapter will become the benchmark for this industry. The Insurance, restaurant and fire community helped me put these values together. In fact the whole book is really a collection of information from some of the most knowledgeable people in the fields that affect this greasepipe cleaning field.

Robert: You use the expression "greasepipe cleaner" a lot. Is that a phrase they use in Canada?

Phil: No, I guess it is one of those words I inherited from Jerry Barnum, sort of like your "vent-a-hood." expression, Robert. Neither word really fits but just sort of sticks.

Robert: What other things are you doing?

Phil: That's sort of a leading questions. In the last couple years I have been putting a lot of time and effort into promoting a revolutionary new roof top protection system that is very reasonably priced. This system is now starting to take off. And, as you know, we are working together here at Delco, to build a new water filter for wastewater that I am really excited about.

Robert: One last question. What do you feel is the most important thing you have contributed to this field.

Phil: That is sort of an embarrassing question. I guess it would be the positive affect I hope I have left with people. I know that I have my detractors and I really understand how they feel. This kitchen exhaust cleaning field is young and for it to ever amount to anything we all have to try to pull together where we can and respect each other, where we have differences. It continues to be my hope that one day we can make this a field that people can make a good and honorable living at. I know that may sound a bit idealistic, but that's me.

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Here is the story of a successful hood cleaner. This is a very old article, and Daryl today owns a multi million dollar business! 

Turning Kitchen Grease into Gold: A Success Story

By Drue Ann Hargis-Ramirez, Write Right Enterprises



Christie Kaye-Mirza & Daryl Mirza


The popular children’s fable of Rumpelstiltskin gifts a miller’s daughter with the talent to spin straw into gold. Well, the success story of Daryl Mirza and Christie Kaye-Mirza is no fable. Together they turned kitchen grease into gold, spinning a side gig into a corporate giant with $36 million in annual sales. What’s the story behind their success and what can you learn from their fable come-true?


Partners in Business & Life

Daryl was a computer techie and a people person. Not long after college graduation, he went into managing restaurants for Burger King, setting up new stores and establishing services for maintenance of the facilities. Christie, not long after graduation with a BS in Pharmacy from Drake University, was working three jobs with a dream of owning her own business. She often ran to the local Burger King for lunch between jobs. She recalls laughingly how Daryl would fight to serve her whenever she came in.


The Beginning “A Juggling Act”

“Daryl couldn’t find anybody steady to clean the kitchen exhausts,” Christie recalls. That’s when they noticed an article in Entrepreneur Magazine advertising a school called Black Magic. “Christie and I attended their school then came back and started on our own [business].” It was the mid-1980s. “Christie worked full time as a pharmacist and I worked full time at Burger King, then we’d come home and go back to bed for a few hours, wake up in the middle of the night, go out and clean a hood [or two], and go back to bed for a few hours, then the next morning we’d wake up and go to work again.” They started their first company under the name of “Ducts, Unlimited,” out of KenoshaWisconsin. Somehow they kept up their juggling act for the next five years.


They tried lots of different avenues in the power washing industry. For a few years Christie operated Christie’s Cleaning, doing flat work and exterior store cleaning, even as she continued to work full time as a pharmacist solely because she loved it. They even tried truck fleet cleaning and building restoration. Daryl recalls attending the first convention of the Power Washers of North America (www.pwna.org) where he first met Robert Hinderliter, President of RAHSCO Cleaning Systems and founder of the PWNA. “At that time we only had a couple of employees and [were still] trying to find our niche in the industry.”


A Perfect Fit

In the end, they focused on kitchen grease exhaust cleaning. “We decided the money was to be made at night,” Christie says simply. “I was always the one in the kitchen doing the hood and duct work and Daryl was on the roof and he’d handle the heavy fans.” Christie smiles when she recalls how Daryl would have to lift her up since she stands only 5 feet, 3 inches whereas he’s 6 feet, 2 inches. She also maddeningly recalls how Daryl would frequently pilfer tools from her bucket and never return them. It is now apparent they were a perfect fit together and a perfect fit for the kitchen grease exhaust industry. “It was unspoken as to who would do what. We worked in the field for eight years together.”


Achieving Successful Growth

In 20 years they grew their company from a husband-and-wife team to a multimillion dollar corporation, primarily from reinvestment and acquisitions.


“Just remember you’re the last one to get paid instead of the first one in the feeding chain. Use the company’s money wisely to buy things and invest in things that will make a good return for the company. A lot of people don’t stay focused. If you have a piece of business and you want to go after a specific piece of business, stay focused on that. Put a good plan together and stay on it,” advocates Daryl.


In other words, if you’re going to diversify, don’t do it in a fragmented way, but put the resources behind it that will ensure success. A prime example is the story of Christie’s Green Machine. “Daryl and I used to take turns getting new vehicles. That year it was my turn.” Daryl had other ideas and convinced Christie to take the money and buy a filter cleaning machine for one of the companies called Filter Brite that they started. “Daryl would show customers our high tech cleaning system and jokingly say this is my wife’s car. I didn’t get a new vehicle for another five years, but the sacrifice moved us forward. It made our filter cleaning automated, a three-step process through one machine. Before, it had been done by hand.”


Daryl says that the average exhaust cleaning business does about $400,000 in business annually with maybe 20 companies in the country bringing in over $1 million annually. Their kitchen exhaust cleaning brings in $27 million annually in business. He attributes this partially to standardization of practices and services and the fact that they remain a family owned business. “When we purchased Facilitec-USA two years ago, they had 19 branches and we took it to the current 50 branches.” From these 50 branches around the country, they are able to operate their various operations.


Daryl says he is always looking for businesses that might have related markets that he hasn’t penetrated yet. In such cases, he might acquire the company and offer the prior owner a position at Facilitec, handling the branch and area for them.


Some Keys to Success

“People management is huge,” Daryl emphasizes. “If you can get people to work for you and enjoy what they’re doing, and pay them fairly, you can be successful. Being able to motivate people to do their job is critical because you have to be able to depend on those people while you’re doing your job.”


He also emphasizes the importance of not forgetting the people and keeping in touch with all your staff, not just your management. “We just had a big company meeting last week and had everybody here from around the country.” Daryl’s employees say he’s very approachable and easy to talk to, and he lets them know he’s always ready to hear their feedback.


“When we first purchased Facilitec, we went out to every branch within 6 months of owning the company. We went out and saw the employees and went out at night and met the crews. Nobody ever from that company in the prior ownership went out and saw the people and heard their concerns. It was a good show of support for the crew and management people [alike].”


In fact, their first employee, Michael Patrick Allen, still works for them today, operating out of Filter Brite, which is a grease filter exchange services in Illinois, one of the many businesses they have started over the years. “He had worked for Daryl at Burger King and when he graduated from high school he started working for us full time in September 1988,” says Christie.


Keeping the Focus on Customers

Daryl admits that working in the restaurant industry helped at the onset, but it wasn’t the key to their success. “You have to look at whatever service you’re going to provide and look at it from the customer’s point of view. What are their issues? How would you resolve them? And do it at a decent price for them. Look through their eyes at your services. I did have an advantage because I was on the restaurant side but that only got us so far. We still had to do the work.”


He acknowledges that while he’s a fierce competitor, he also respects his competitors. “Being in business is about relationships with vendors, customers, [and] competitors. If I screw up the account, we’ll lose it. You respect the competitor who took it away from you.”


He also keeps the focus on his customers by operating his own distribution system. “Our distribution center is a facility in Genoa CityWisconsin. We acquired the facility when we purchased Prism last year, which is the filter and soaker division of our company now.” Prism, which was his last acquisition, has revenues of $6 million per year. The facility holds every product needed to do exhaust cleaning. “The 50 branches tell [distributing what they need] and they get a shipment once a month through our trucking system. We have three semi’s that deliver our stuff throughout the country exclusively.”


He also bottles his chemicals through the distribution center. Instead of each location keeping 55-gallon drums on hand, which is the norm for the industry, he has them put into one-gallon labeled containers to meet all chemical safety guidelines and ships them to the 50 locations.


In this way, he simplifies the distribution for all his locations. “Otherwise, I’d have 50 people ordering different supplies from different vendors, and then you’d have these managers focusing on supplies instead of managing customers.”


Marketing and Sales

Although his business does $27 million in grease cleaning annually, all his companies together with their related services brings in $36 million annually in sales. He notes there are different ways to grow companies. One way is through reinvestment, another way is through acquisitions, and a third way is through marketing and sales. He now employs all three methods.


“In the earlier years, probably the first 10-13 years, we did acquisitions,” Daryl notes. And although he’s always pursued new business, now they keep their philosophy simple. “We want the customer to call us.” If they call us, there’s a better than good chance they’ll get the business “So we do lots of marketing, postcards, advertisement in restaurant newspapers, [etc.], and that helps us attract those customers.”


Now he also employs a sales team consisting of eight salesmen around country. “Last year the sales team sold $8.2 million in new business for our company, not including acquisitions.” Even Daryl admits this number is unbelievably huge.


“With our acquisition of Facilitec, we were able to put a package together for them [the sales team] to address the needs of what customers were looking for. We gave the salesmen the tools they needed--better reporting, web access, and standardization for customers of products and services. They’re highly motivated but they needed the backend support.”


Our new business comes mostly from the smaller regional chains and mom-and-pop restaurants. Why the success in this area? At the smaller business level, Daryl explains, decisions can be made easier and there’s less hoops to get through than the bigger chains. And although Daryl readily states they can meet the demands of the bigger chains, they can now give the same level of services to the local businesses, the smaller guy.


A Bit of Advice

Christie recalls that it took her and Daryl three hours to clean their first hood, which would only take them about 25 minutes today. Obviously, they’ve learned a few things since the beginning.


“Wrapping techniques to make sure you capture your water are important,” for example, says Christie. “If you wrap your exhaust properly, you can funnel the water into a bucket properly and won’t need to clean everything in the kitchen afterwards. It cuts down on the hours spent on the job.”


What does Daryl have to add? “The more efficiently you can manage information, the better you are.” His computer techie background has come in handy in this regard. Facilitec handles thousands of digital pieces of information weekly. “The more efficient you are at doing it the better you’ll operate.”


He uses billing as an example. “We have two people that take care of our billing department and they bill about 2,400 invoices per week.”


He says that without computer technology, he couldn’t run an organization as big as their business has grown. “And I love the challenges you can overcome with computers. We just gave our field personnel Blackberries, but we’ve been able to incorporate a way to enter information into the Blackberry so it gets more quickly [into our database.]” This helps ensures more accuracy as well as speed.


Networking and Training

Daryl recalls that the technical training school he and Christie attended in the mid-1980s no longer exists, but there is other caliber training available, which he highly recommends. In fact, Daryl was an instructor at RAHSCO’s university extension.


“There’s a huge advantage [for folks who take these hands-on courses]. The people who used to come to my RAHSCO classes were there for four days and got a wealth of information. Schools like RAHSCO’s are excellent, especially when they deal with one subject, which is critical. You’ll get your most bang for your buck.” He adds that you’ll realize a return on your money almost immediately in revenue. “You are going to save [the money] instantly just from the mistakes you won’t make because of the class.”


Daryl and Christie are also supporters of associations, such as the PWNA. “I wish I had an organization like the PWNA to bounce questions off of and ask advice [when we got started]. You can get amazing information, even from competitors,” Christie points out.


“It improves the industry,” Daryl says. Certification training and associations like the PWNA, he says, “offers ways for people to get better, to learn what they supposed to do, and how they’re supposed to do it, and not have such a big learning curve. When I started 20 years ago, I had to learn on my own.”


The roundtable discussions are the most important, in his opinion. “It is all about knowledge and what you can learn. The show and the presentations are good, but that’s about half of what you can learn. It’s interacting with the other people and learning from their mistakes and successes and mingling with them to get their information.”


With continued networking and ongoing certification training, the future will hopefully bring exactly what Daryl would like to see – “a higher standard of quality and care.”


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That was a great read!

I am not a hood cleaner, but still Daryl Mirza and Phil Auckland are like Grease God's to me. I actually got to meet Daryl here at a Tampa Roundtable, and we are Facebook Friends. He just got married recently, if I recall. This information came from the archives of the old Delco Board BBS. It is long gone, but I wanted this not to be lost, so I stuck it on my forum, preserved for all time :) 

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