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. Bob Robinson, Sr. made it his mission to create a better way to clean. That is how Kaivac Cleaning Systems came to be. His goal was to help the cleaning industry develop methods that would raise the dignity of the worker.
Kaivac has been employing individuals served by Easterseals for more than ten years. In recognition of their emphasis on dignity, and the way in which Kaivac values every single employee, we are proud to recognize them as not just our November Easterseals Hero, but as the 2017 Outstanding Community Partner.
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 for restrooms, but any space in a building.
Bob reflects, “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 boys' 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. The word had a personal meaning to them, as it was used in the fraternal oath of their fraternity, Beta Theta Pi. The meaning, of course, is a secret that they cannot share without breaking the bond of brotherhood, so Bob created his own meaning. To him, it stands for, "Keep At It. Keep Always Improving. Keep Attempting the Impossible.” To him, it symbolizes a one-of-a-kind company--the kind of company that Easterseals has been proud to partner with for more than 12 years.
For more than ten years, Kaivac has been employing individuals with disabilities served by Easterseals. 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."
Lu Smith, Manager of Organizational Employment in Butler County, has been profoundly impressed by the work experience that Easterseals individuals gain at Kaivac. Some are involved with the chemical plant, and some are involved in making the parts that go into the machines. Lu explains, "Kaivac and Bob Robinson...they have gone above and beyond for our individuals to make sure they are included."
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. He shrugs off any notion that what he does is in any way heroic, saying, "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."
Easterseals is thankful for Bob Robinson, Sr. and Kaivac Cleaning Systems and the way in which they work diligently to break down barriers to employment and include people of all abilities in the workplace. They are truly an Outstanding Community Partner.