Field Trip Report – ISSA Chicago

Tom Fournier at ISSA

I feel like a school kid writing a report on a recent field trip!

I did travel to Chicago in October, 2022 for the annual ISSA Show.

For those not in the industry, ISSA is the International Sanitary Supplies Association also known as the Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association.  This is where I have spent my working life.  It may not be glamorous but it has been a mighty fine living!

I last attended in 2019 in Las Vegas and it was great to be back!

I offer some observations.


I experienced the chaos in the travel industry this past summer and while I am sure that it has likely improved, I still did not want to take the chance or incur the higher expense of flying.

Traveling with two people from one of my clients, we opted to drive to Chicago.  Door to door was around 7 hours and by timing our travel to avoid rush hour peaks, it was a remarkably easy drive.  In terms of a time investment, our estimates were that it took about the same amount of time as flying would have and was considerably less expensive.

We had booked our hotel through the ISSA site.  What we thought was expensive was actually a considerable savings over their room rates at the time.  An added benefit to booking through ISSA was access to their shuttle buses which at least for getting us to the show were remarkably efficient.

The Show

Prior to the show I had heard a number of negative opinions around how good the show was going to be and the number of people attending.

Perhaps that set a low benchmark, but I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the show and the floor traffic.  I also felt a palpable buzz and air of excitement at the show.

I had personal objectives for the show and working with my client, we also had our own show objectives.  All objectives were easily met or exceeded.

In our opinion, it was well worth attending.

Canada Night

Canada Night is always my show highlight!  It is amazing how many people you see and talk to at the reception that you missed on the show floor.

This is one show tradition that I hope continues forever!


This might be more a reflection on myself and what I was looking for, but I did not notice much in the way of innovation (especially since the 2019 show) that excited me and that could be taken back to wow customers in the field.

Perhaps the industry is in the midst of getting its cadence back or maybe I will just have to look a little harder next time.

Up Next:  Las Vegas!

The dates and location are in the calendar.  The 2023 show will be in Las Vegas.

It is funny, I am not likely to travel to Las Vegas on my own but for an event like a major trade show it is a fantastic setting.

Viva ISSA!

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