For this series of blogs, we sat down with some of Charlotte’s team members to talk to them about their work and what drives their passion for creating healthier spaces. This week we had the chance to speak with Charlotte Vice President of Canadian Sales & Marketing, Jim Flieler about what he’s been up to here for the past 36 years (yes, he’s really been here that long) and what he’s most excited about for the future of the cleaning industry.
You’ve been at Charlotte for more than three decades. What has kept you here for that long?
I guess I just feel good about what we are trying to achieve in a day. So many people need our assistance and you feel good when you can help a facility with any of the challenges they have. Plus, I always learn something new every single day. I’m never seeing the same thing every day. True story, I started with Charlotte 36 years ago as a truck driver. Since then, I’ve done almost everything within the company, from marketing, to working in the warewash and laundry division, to sales, to training. It has been an unbelievable opportunity to learn the industry and grow along with it. I’m really passionate about this industry and I plan on continuing with Charlotte for as long as I can.
You always seem to be on the road. What’s a typical week like for you?
I fly more than an average person, that’s for sure. For example, a recent week had me at a concrete show in Las Vegas on Monday, then back in Toronto on Tuesday to meet with a major building service contractor. After that, I went to British Columbia to meet with a large Enviro-Solutions distributor, and was working with the custodial team and a university in Ottawa at the end of the week. I get around from coast to coast, and I love it.
Can you help explain what you’re doing out on the road meeting with so many different types of facilities and businesses within the industry?
It’s a combination of calling on customers and introducing new, innovative ideas, meeting with distributors to find new business, and then providing expertise at our accounts to help troubleshoot and overcome their higher level issues. I tend to focus on food processing, healthcare, outbreak prevention, and education facilities. I am often asked to speak at industry events and trade shows and conduct many trainings on specialized topics within the industry, too. No week, and no day, is ever the same as the one before it!
What’s your favorite thing about your job?
It’s when I can truly help somebody with a particular problem in their facility. Whether it’s employee wellness, sustainability or business retention, if I can come up with an innovation to help with that goal, I feel better about myself and the planet when I drive home that night.
You are an in-demand teacher among many different audiences. What’s your secret to successful training sessions?
I love training people and it doesn’t matter what level. I have a talent for being able to quickly understand how people learn and am able to adapt my trainings to best accommodate their learning styles. I do complete hands-on industry training on floor care, infection prevention, dilution control and almost any topic within the industry, just because I have so much experience and knowledge I’ve picked up over the years. The secret is just knowing your audience and making sure you are presenting the information in a way that’s accessible to everyone in the room.
You’re key to the innovation process because you actually experience the problems we hope to change firsthand when you meet with end users. What innovations are you most excited about?
The latest one is the Terrazzo/concrete floor care program, and this is a true game changer for the way facilities can take care of their floors and manage labour and costs. Imagine, never ever deep stripping, scrubbing, sealing or applying a polymer floor finish on these surfaces again? It also lowers the risk of slip and fall incidents and it will have immediate and lasting impact on health and the environment by eliminating the need for floor stripping chemicals and lowering the amount of waste from going to the landfill . The impact this innovation is having on the cleaning industry cannot be overstated, and I feel there are major opportunities to solve more problems by continuing to innovate with even safer, yet simple cleaning processes soon to be introduced..
This interview is part of a series of expert interviews we will be conducting with the dedicated team members here at Charlotte. If you’d like to learn more about what we are doing or to connect with one of our experts, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org