Buyer and exhibitor turnout was strong at ISSA Interclean North America, held recently in Chicago, with both categories seeing increases from 2015, for a total of 16,637 visitors from 74 countries.

On the buyer side, distributors represented much of the increase, accounting for 42% of the buyers. End user turnout was strong as well; of the total buyers at the show, 36% were building service contractors and in-house service providers. Of this year’s 740 exhibitors, 132 were new and 20% hailed from outside the U.S. drawing from 28 countries.

“We had as many people visit our booth as we could physically talk to,” said Mark Sisson, partner at first-time exhibitor NanoSeptic Self-Cleaning Surfaces. “We had to split up and talk to different groups just to handle the traffic.”

According to organizers, much of this growth is due to ISSA’s efforts to attract the top executives of the leading janitorial distributors as well as to draw from a variety of new audiences. For example, ISSA has formed new relationships with organizations and buying groups in the office products arena, such as OPI, Trimega and Independent Stationers. This year, several new alliance partners in vertical markets held events in conjunction with the show, such as the Healthy Schools Campaign, which presented the Green Clean Schools Forum and the Green Sports Alliance, which hosted its Greener Cleaning Workshop.

In addition, four industry groups held their annual conventions in conjunction with ISSA/Interclean: the Association of Residential Cleaning Services International (ARCSI), Building Service Contractors Association International (BSCAI), Cleaning Trade Equipment Association (CETA) and IEHA. Many supporting associations throughout Europe, Africa and Asia-Pacific also participated in this year’s show and there was a strong showing from top janitorial buying groups and their key members.

Another big draw for attendees was the education available during the event. This year’s revised format included more than 60 education seminars and hands-on training workshops, many of which included certifications. The show also featured an ISSA featured speaker for the first time, Ryan Estis, who capped off the day with "Managing Breakthrough Performance in the New Economy."

In addition to ISSA’s efforts to attract a variety of industry influencers, the association also offered attendees events throughout the week, including a Soldier Field Facility Tour and an ISSA keynote address, Going for Great: A Moderated Q&A with The Woz, featuring Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and ISSA executive director, John Barrett.

Wozniak was also on hand to announce the ISSA Innovation Program Visitors’ Choice Award and ISSA Innovation of the Year Award winners. The 2016 ISSA Innovation Program Category Award winners were announced during the ISSA keynote address, Never Quit with Former Navy SEAL Rob O’Neill.

Rounding out the keynote address lineup was Dennis Miller, who took the stage with The Big Speech: A Unique Take on Politics, Celebrity and Society’s Most Idiotic Foibles.

ISSA Interclean North America 2017 will take place Sept. 11 through 14 in Las Vegas.

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