Time can be filled with "would haves" and "should haves" but it also should include accomplishments and "gee, I am so glad I did that" moments as well. As I look back three years ago when AHE Past President Brett Higgins told me to run for the board, I remember thinking he was nuts! Two years later, I was nominated for AHE board president and time has given me one of those defining "glad I did that" moments.

In an industry that is getting pounded by the media because of spiraling costs resulting in customer dissatisfaction, we go out there every day to ensure a clean, safe environment for our customers. As difficult as that is, it is still not enough. We need to continue to evolve and be at the forefront of health care. This was recognized two years ago as the AHE board toiled through the organization's name change.

Our three-to-five year strategic plan turned out to be a 10-to-12 month plan! A great problem to have, for sure; but time waits for no one, so we needed to keep up and change along with it or, better yet, look ahead to see how we could maximize it. And so we did by:

  • streamlining membership categories and bundling them with products and services, allowing our membership base to grow;
  • expanding the Certified Healthcare Environmental Services Professional eligibility requirements;
  • revising educational offerings and webinars;
  • launching the "Heart of Healthcare" campaign with Kimberly-Clark Professional; and
  • strengthening our relationship and collaborations with the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

We have a tremendous organization comprising fellow professionals and lifetime friends. I will never forget our annual conference in Orlando, and I can't thank you enough for taking the time to be there with us.

Your AHE leadership in Chicago is second to none. Patti Costello is truly amazing in all that she does for us while putting her hard-earned knowledge and, frequently, gut instinct to work. Marthe Forster and Sandra Rials are incredible not only for the amount of work they complete, but also for their creativity and professionalism.

I must thank from the bottom of my heart AHE's board of directors for their tireless work and support. Truly, they are the best!

It is now time to pass the AHE's reins to the capable Kent Miller, CHESP, and wish each of you a happy holiday season and a safe and pros­perous New Year.

This month's column was written by Gary Dolan, CHESP, AHE board president and director of environmental services at The Village at Penn State, State College, Pa.

AHE insight

Valuable resources

AHE offers a variety of educational materials. They include the following:

  • Practice Guidance for Healthcare Environmental Cleaning. This publication, prepared by AHE and edited by infection control professionals, contains requirements for environmental cleaning in health care facilities. Targeted for environmental services directors and managers, this book can be used as a resource for implementing proper cleaning techniques and procedures.

  • Contracting: Myths & Realities. This publication covers everything from outsourcing to management pitfalls. It includes sample surveys, budgets and task lists that will assist in making the best contracting decisions for a health care facility's environmental services department. AHE re-released this manual to keep environmental services professionals at the top of their game.

  • Glossary of Healthcare Terms for Environmental Services. This convenient reference tool features hundreds of terms and definitions organized alphabetically, both general and specific to environmental services, housekeeping and textile care.

For information on purchasing these and other valuable industry references, select "AHA Store," then "Environmental Services" click here.