Company of the Month: IREON member, Sanico USA leads the way back to clean offices throughout NY Metro area

May 05, 2020 - Front Section
Frank Capone


Joe Covello


New York, NY Sanico USA provides janitorial and cleaning services for over 100 commercial, industrial and medical buildings throughout the NY Metropolitan and suburban areas. In the past two weeks alone, the company has disinfected over two million s/f of office space in New York with another three million s/f on backlog. The New York Real Estate Journal (NYREJ) sat down this week to “virtually” speak with fellow IREON members Frank Capone and Joe Covello, principals at Sanico USA, on the coronanvirus; the differences between disinfecting with electrostatic spraying and traditional exterminating and fogging sprays; and how companies can prepare to keep their employees safe until a COVID19 vaccine is available.

NYREJ: Frank, you are also the COO at Gotham Lighting Supply in Staten Island and Joe, you are current owner of United Hoisting and Scaffolding Corp in Long Island City. How did the two of you initially cross paths? 

Capone: “It’s hard to say…through friends and family we have always crossed paths for many years. It made sense to create this business in 2014 because we already were spending time in those spaces and there was nobody servicing them the right way. We consider ourselves family. We work together, our families spend time together, and we celebrate events together.” 

NYREJ: Why did you start this business?

Covello: “There was a need for a cleaning company that understood the clients we were working with in our other businesses, which are ground-up, large-scale construction projects. There are other reputable cleaning companies in the market for office, however there was a something missing in our field. We took the level of professionalism that is expected from our other businesses and applied it to the construction cleaning world. Since then we have evolved into office, healthcare, governmental, etc.” 

Quality in their janitorial business is viewed by Capone and Covello as a  process of continuous improvement. 

Not just an inspection program, according to Covello, “Supervision and management communicate a standard of cleanliness that the service worker understands and believes in. Quality is the result of good hiring practices, effective training, sufficient supervisory time, feedback to the crew and committed management. Bad cleaning programs are a rollercoaster of improvement and failure, improvement and failure. Good cleaning programs are characterized by an upward trend in quality and customer satisfaction.” 

What is the magic formula for maintaining quality at Sanico USA? 

Capone: “Quality starts with the janitor. This statement is the cornerstone of sound management at Sanico USA. Screening; training; proper supplies and equipment; and an attitude of concern produce the best results when it’s all said and done. Program design means taking the time to analyze the facility, location, surface types, specifications, customer budget requirements and intended results to develop a cleaning program that works for everyone. Each facility is surveyed to determine the exact labor requirements. This, along with their experience has enabled Sanico USA to both determine an accurate price and schedule the actual work; area by area, task by task, and cleaner by cleaner.” 

What do you mean when you say “inspect what you expect?”

Covello: “This principle has made successful managers for generations. It’s no less true in the janitorial industry. Driven by the specifications and modified by the each client’s unique requirements, inspections keep management in touch, supervision thinking, employees informed and recognized and quality high.”

What is Sanico USA’s philosophy on supervision and employee training? 

Capone: “Everyone agrees, supervision is critical to the success of a cleaning program. The person directly in charge of the crew is the person who ultimately delivers the goods. Sanico USA understands this and places a strong emphasis on recruiting, training and retaining outstanding supervisors. By training for advancement, the firm is able to provide their supervisors with greater opportunity. Everyone at the company knows that the way to better compensation is through improved skills and more responsibility.” 

Covello: “Trained employees are an asset to Sanico and their clients. Experience has demonstrated that effective training produces happier, more productive and confident people who deliver a higher quality product on a more consistent basis. That adds up to some very good reasons for a strong emphasis on training at all organizational levels of our company.”

NYREJ: When and why did you purchase the electrostatic disinfection systems?

Covello: “We purchased the patented ByoPlanet Electrostatic Spray System in 2015. We were in Las Vegas at a cleaning conference and the technology was compared to powder coating which is a process that is effective and I’m also very familiar with it in my other business. To have that process be used with this chemical was a no brainer for maximum disinfecting coverage.”

NYREJ: How is having these machines impacting your business now?

Capone: “When we bought the electrostatic disinfecting machines for our cleaning services in 2015 we never thought they would be this much in demand. We paid a big price in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was the right decision to make. Plenty of people are still using exterminating foggers, sprayers and hand sanitizers-—none of which are the proper way to protect against the spread of the Coronavirus and can lead to improper disinfecting. In a pandemic, speed is also critical and we are able to cover square footage that would not be achievable with other methods”

NYREJ: What is the difference between electrostatic spraying and air atomizing fogging?

?Covello: “Electrostatic spraying is a process that of spraying electrostatically charged mist into the air onto surfaces and objects. Electrostatic spray uses a specialized solution that is combined with air and atomized by an electrode inside the sprayer. The spray contains positively charged particles that are able to aggressively adhere to surfaces and objects. After the spray is applied the sanitizing agent works to disinfect the covered surfaces.”  

Capone: “The air atomizing fogging process is a hybrid of the spray nozzle and the mechanical fogger. Liquid is ?rst broken into coarse droplets with a low pressure nozzle, then further atomized by being hit with a blast of compressed air. This design therefore needs both pressurized liquid and pressurized air. After the spray is applied the sanitizing agent works to disinfect the covered surfaces, but these surfaces can be infected again if they come in contact with someone carrying the virus.

NYREJ: Why is it so important to use electrostatic spraying during the covid19 pandemic? 

Covello: “In a pandemic, speed is critical. We are able to cover large areas of square footage that would not be achievable with other methods.”

NYREJ: Thinking optimistically that many companies will begin to transition back to work in May, what are some recommendations that you would give to business owners to help relieve the anxiety that employees may have when they are asked to return to their offices?

Covello: “Put yourself in their shoes—you have to create a comfort level for not only the employee but their families as well. Provide masks gloves and disinfectant for each employee. Make sure the bathroom cleaning is increased and disinfect the office with a cleaning company more often. I am going as far as taking each employees temperature today within my businesses.”

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