November 8, 2017
“Empathy is the starting point for creating a community and taking action. It's the impetus for creating change.”- Max Carver
More than 20 years ago, a man set out to solve the number one building maintenance problem: dirty restrooms. Janitors spent time on their hands and knees cleaning toilets which often resulted in low morale and a high turnover rate, so Bob Robinson, Sr. made it his mission to create a better way to clean and Kaivac Cleaning Systems was born. His goal was to help the cleaning industry develop methods that would raise the dignity of the worker.
His invention combines pressure washing, chemical injection, wet vacuuming, and other tools to create one single object- No Touch Cleaning System or the KaiVac. The KaiVac works not only restrooms but any space in a building. Bob shared, “I invented a pressure washer for no-touch cleaning restrooms. People thought I was crazy, but that’s because they had never tried cleaning a boy’s restroom. It was about dignity.”
His sons suggested the word “Kai” when tasked with finding a unique and roll-off-the-tongue name for the company because it had a personal meaning to them. The sons were in a fraternity (Beta Theta Pi) and the word “Kai” is a word used in the fraternal oath and therefore, it has a secret meaning that they could not share. As a result, Bob created his own meaning behind the word Kai. To him, it stands for, "Keep At It. Keep Always Improving. Keep Attempting the Impossible," and it symbolizes a one-of-a-kind company that Easterseals has been proud to partner with for more 16 years.
When asked about working with people with disabilities, Bob shared, “It’s never been a problem. It's easy and natural. The workers always have a smile on their face. They’re happy, and they appreciate doing the work. It adds to our environment. When we tell others about the help we get from Easterseals, they’re fascinated. We always get positive feedback from that."
Bob is a devout Christian and leads Kaivac with this strong belief: the first shall be last and the last shall be first. He takes care of his employees and values their impact. To Bob, everyone is a child of God and everyone has unique capabilities to offer.
Easterseals is thankful for Bob Robinson and Kaivac Cleaning Systems who work diligently to break down barriers to employment and include people of all abilities in the workplace. This year, we recognize Kaivac with the Easterseals Outstanding Community Partner Award.