LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Showgirls met with crowds in Las Vegas this morning to mark the opening of Clean '07 — a fitting beginning for what looks to be the highest-stepping Clean Show in years.
The entrance and registration desks teemed with visitors to the 30th anniversary edition of the world's largest textile-care trade show well in advance of its 10:00 a.m. start time. Officials of the show's six sponsor associations joined to cut the ribbon, allowing a flood of visitors to enter.
About 200 drycleaners arrived early for the International Fabricare Institute's (IFI) morning sessions. CEO Bill Fisher appeared to welcome attendees and announce the winners of the fifth Meritorious Service Awards, which honor outstanding contributions to the industry every two years in conjunction with the show.
The Diamond Achievement Award — IFI's most prestigious — went to Jeff Miller, operator of Miller's Fine Drycleaning. Miller did "whatever it took" to help veterans visit the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., with his HonorAir program, and since its launch more than 20 spinoffs have formed nationwide.
Nate Kravetz, NEFA's consumer -affairs director, won IFI's Industry Positive Recognition Award; Antoine Badr of Beirut, Lebanon, took the Industry Positive Recognition Award/International; Gerald Stavely of One-Hour Martinizing in Irving, Texas, won the Legislative-Regulatory Award; and Kenney Slatten of Kenney Slatten Training Co. received the Allied Trades Award.
Carl Gardner of Laidlaw Corp. was honored with the Commitment to Professionalism Award posthumously. GreenEarth Cleaning took the Technology Trailblazer Award, and in an unexpected move, IFI honored two state regulatory agencies with the Green Fields Award. Fisher applauded the Oregon DEQ and North Carolina DNR as "agencies that take an objective view of the industry as a whole."
In closing, he invited all attendees to the association's 100th birthday bash, to be held later this evening at the Planet Hollywood Resort. "There will be food, free drinks and go-go girls," Fisher said. "Did I mention the free drinks?"