DucTales recently spoke with Michael J. Palazzolo, ASCS, YSMR, CYI, C-DET, the President and CEO of Safety King Inc. to learn mote about this charter member of NADCA. Safety King has seen a lot through the years, including the growth in public awareness of professional duct cleaning services.
Safety King is the only remaining charter member of NADCA. My father, Mike Sr., was a past President, and I am on several committees. What was originally intended to be a “truck buyers” group turned into so much more. We recognize the value of shared knowledge and the potential power in numbers for members. We have remained very active with NADCA for more than 24 years. What are some of the most noticeable changes you’ve seen in the industry since joining NADCA? Of course the tools have all advanced significantly. They have gone from ingenious yet amateur homemade inventions to sleek, reliable and high-performing specialty tools. But the basic principles of most of the industry standard tools were born of the needs and creativity of many of us as duct cleaning pioneers. It’s also inspiring to see in that time how the public has become much more aware of the importance and availability of our industry’s services. This is in large part due to the efforts of NADCA and all its members working individually, and collectively, to educate the public.
The best advice I could give anyone starting any business is, as with anything, to do what it takes to do it right. It’s about having integrity in what you do, and that includes getting the right training, the right equipment, proper licensing and insurance and seeking out models and mentors to learn from. NADCA is a great place to find industry mentors. The association is loaded with people who have a lot of combined experience in many facets and specialties of duct system cleaning and maintenance.
In the early 1980s, we began to receive requests to provide training in duct cleaning. People were seeking us our because of our experience and notoriety in the industry. Because we have always believed that sharing knowledge is the best way to improve our chosen profession we were more than happy to help. Since then, we have had hundreds of students from all around the world, including Australia, Singapore and the Virgin Islands.
More recently we have seen the industry heading away from housekeeping/janitorial themes and toward indoor air quality and energy optimization efforts. As the public and regulatory bodies continue to become educated abour the importance of air duct system maintenance, we see our role growing. Eventually, NADCA and our entire industry should seek legislation that would require all buildings be cleaned at regularly prescribed periods, as they already do in several European nations.
Having been such an integral part of NADCA since its inception and seeing how it, and our industry, have evolved has been a special source of joy for us. And, of course, providing a healthy, proud and vibrant place where all our employees can earn a good living doing something worthwhile in the service of others.
People are always the best and most unusual part of the job. We go into their homes, their private spaces, and we get some unique and strange insights into their lives. Is there anything more uncomfortable than encountering an eight-foot painting of the homeowners engaged in a private moment that should best be kept private? That one made both our technicians blush and provided a few laughs later. And certainly we have seen some strange things in ductwork. From money, drugs, guns and animals to jewelry and even civil war-era stock certificates. Recently, our cleaning specialists found a whole giant lobster left behind in the ducts by a foreclosed past owner. And they wondered why there was a bar! Odor in their system! “Hey lady, I think we found the problem!”
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