Learn more about FSG’s recently promoted Vice President, Kal Rihawi!

Before we dive in, tell us about yourself. How old are you? What’s your background and education? When you graduated high school, what was your overall plan or goal for your career? Do you have a degree? If so, in what field and from where?
I’m 29, I graduated from Penn State with a degree in Logistics and Information Systems. When I graduated high school I knew I wanted to work in small business and follow a more “entrepreneurial” path where I could impact and grow a company. After college I found myself working for an international chemical shipper in Houston Texas. It wasn’t for me, I needed something more hands-on where I could make a bigger impact for my colleagues and clients. I’ve found that, and more, with FSG.

How did you end up in your current position? Have you worked previously in the floor care industry? If so, for what organizations? What was/were your job title(s)? How long have you been with your company? How long have you been in current position? What are some of you daily duties/responsibilities?
I actually interned with this company for two years while in college. At that time I focused on programming and developing our previous information system. I learned a lot about how technology can tie into the floorcare and installation industry with regards to pricing, planning, and implementation and really enjoyed my position. After college I had the travel bug and wanted to experience living elsewhere in the US so I moved to Texas. However I could not stay away from flooring too long as I found my self back with FSG in 2017. I’ve now been here for over three years and recently promoted from Operations Manager to Vice President. I manage all operations for the company (purchasing, scheduling, project planning, etc.) and execute sales when opportunities present themselves with a focus on long-term company growth.

Why floor care? What about the industry attracted you? What other industries/careers did you consider? What are some benefits and disadvantages of working in floor care? What previous experience or knowledge did you have of the floor care industry? How did you gain that experience or insight?
Two attributes of floorcare attracted me – sustainability and growth. In today’s world, sustainability is key. There is no reason anyone should be changing their floor covering unless they are tired of the look and ready to re-brand. With proper floorcare and restoration practices, we, along with our Starnet partners, have proven that coverings such as carpet can far surpass their traditional “shelf-life” and don’t need to be re-installed unless you’re ready for a new look. If it can last 1000 years in a landfill, there’s no reason it shouldn’t last that long in our clients space. I also believe there’s lots of room for growth and development in the floorcare industry, lots of our current clients hadn’t even heard of “Floorcare Programs” until we pitched it to them and quickly understood the value of securing their investments. Lastly, none of this is possible without education and training. I owe all of my knowledge to our company’s President, Chip Grimes, and our partners at Starnet FloorCare. We are still innovating and up for the challenge to change the industry.

What growth potential or opportunities do you see for yourself with your current company? What growth potential or opportunities do you see within the floor care industry for your company?
Within my own company I see myself further improving our processes and our employees’ livelihood by obtaining more work and field practices that continue to focus on safety and production. Growth for myself and the company will come naturally as we continue to grow our brand while staying true to our SOPs and results. I see us being very involved in implementing process improvements to help streamline other companies in our industry while maintaining standards and customer satisfaction.

What would you tell other people your age about the floor care industry? What are some misconceptions about floor care that you find amongst millennials? What can the floor care industry do to encourage others in your generation to come aboard?
Lots of people in my age group would look at the floorcare industry as “boring” or “mundane” when compared to other growing industries, especially with regards to technology. To those people, I would say the opportunities are endless and really come down to how far you’re willing to push yourself and your peers. When I joined FSG I knew that I wanted to incorporate some tech advancements I’ve seen Fortune 500 companies incorporating to streamline efficiencies and performance. We are incomparable in size to these companies, but the processes and ideologies remain the same. You need to be willing to challenge standards and (not re-invent) but “innovate” the “wheel” in this industry in order to make lasting change. You will face many people set in their ways that think you’re “crazy”, but the success is worth the challenge. When thinking about the future of your company, don’t hold yourself back to where you currently stand. Think globally, act locally.

What advice do you have for floor care companies wanting to hire millennials? How can they capture the attention of your generation? What qualities should they be looking for in candidates?
I would say you REALLY need to find people with an entrepreneurial/small business mindset. This is definitely not a 9-5 corporate job. Everyday you will face new questions and challenges which will require research and experimentation. There’s a very special feeling that comes from knowing you worked hard to solve an issue, and now a client or co-worker is ecstatic due to your results. People who are results driven would do well in this industry.

Cleanliness is now top of mind for everyone. How do you know your work space is safe for staff and customers?

Coronavirus has significantly changed the way staff and customers think about common daily interactions within building and office environments. More than ever, they have an acute awareness of a facility’s overall cleanliness and hygienic safety, and the assurance of a clean, healthy space is now a driving force in the market.

Before Coronavirus most businesses and organizations, outside of the healthcare industry, didn’t give janitorial services high priority in terms of budgeting and planning. While a clean appearance has always been important, the need for services to prevent infection wasn’t critical. Because of the pandemic it now is and in at least one state, Pennsylvania, regular cleaning and disinfection is mandated by law for buildings over 50,000 square feet.

Customers and employees returning to reopened offices want to feel safe, but what does it take to create a secure work environment? Three things: frequent cleaning, proper knowledge of cleaning and disinfecting procedures, and adequate testing and validation.

While no one can 100% eliminate viral and bacterial threats, FSG can minimize them. Here’s how.

Frequent Cleaning

Cleaning and disinfection go hand in hand. Because viruses and bacteria grow in dirty environments, touch points can’t be effectively disinfected or sanitized without proper cleaning first. FSG cleans floors and surfaces first to ensure, once applied, the disinfectant chemistry will work properly.

Proper Knowledge of Cleaning and Disinfecting Procedures

Disinfection is a science, and with so much emphasis being placed on following proper safety and cleanliness guidelines, the need for professional service providers is more important than ever. Certified custodial technicians are growing increasingly valuable, and even for companies that don’t outsource cleaning, subject matter experts will be needed to field and troubleshoot any questions or issues that arise around disinfection procedures and regulatory compliance.

Established, experienced disinfection and cleaning service providers:

  • Offer ongoing training for technicians
  • Place emphasis on continuing education
  • Understand recommended best practices
  • Adhere to mandated guidelines
  • Utilize the most effective products and equipment

Adequate Testing and Validation

With many cleaning and disinfection services being performed during off peak hours, how can facility managers be certain their spaces were cleaned and disinfected adequately? FSG offers all of our maintenance, disinfection, and sanitization program customers validation on the services that we perform at their facilities.We can provide documentation showing what equipment and cleaning procedures were used. Additionally, using spot swab technology, we’re able to show that our disinfectant chemistry has enveloped objects and coated all surfaces. The validation received from FSG supports an organization’s efforts to safeguard employees and customers in their workplace and to maintain a clean, hygienic space.

2020 showed us that it’s no longer “business as usual” by shining a spotlight on the importance of proper disinfection and sanitization procedures. Health and safety are top priorities as offices throughout the country begin to reopen in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. For some, these new guidelines can be difficult to understand and implement if unfamiliar with the chemistry, equipment, and processes necessary to safeguard staff and customers from harmful viruses, bacteria, mold, and allergens. At FSG, several clients have requested our disinfection and sanitization services to help ready their facilities for reopen. 

This video is from a recent disinfection and sanitization project for one of our customers in Wilmington, DE as they prepared their space for welcoming back staff and customers. While making the customer’s work environment as safe and healthy as possible, we also take every precaution to protect our team while they’re on the job. If you’ve recently resumed daily operations, or are planning to reopen soon, here’s how we can help.

  • Some disinfection programs focus only on communal touch points in the workplace, such as switches, knobs, handles, etc., but FSG combines wipe down procedures with electrostatic and atomizing technology, wrapping around and covering all surfaces in a space. 
  • Along with being an EPA Registered Hospital Grade disinfectant, our chemistry is also on the EPA’s List N for Approved Use Against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
  • We also offer sanitization services for soft surfaces, such as fabrics, carpet, and upholstery, using chemistry that has received the Seal of Approval from the Carpet & Rug Institute.
  • To properly sanitize carpets and disinfectant hard floors they must first be clean, and FSG offers cleaning services for all types of commercial flooring and surfaces.
  • We offer ongoing disinfection/sanitization maintenance programs that can be performed as often as needed to safeguard your staff and customers.

Contact us today at 302-691-3970 or via email at fsgservices@fsgmaintenance.com to learn more about how we can help you meet the newly implemented safety guidelines and successfully reopen your facility with a clean, healthy space for everyone!

As always, consider these guidelines from state governments in our region.