As the Association Tagline States, We Need to Stress “Better World’’

As the Association Tagline States, We Need to Stress “Better World’’
Karleen Kos is executive director of the Portable Sanitation Association International. She may be reached at or 952/854-8300.

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Peter Drucker is known as one of the most respected management gurus of the last 100 years. He was a teacher, the author of dozens of books and an adviser to companies and nonprofits including General Motors, General Electric, IBM and the Red Cross.

What does Drucker have to do with portable sanitation? At least two important things.

One of Drucker’s radical ideas was that a company’s primary responsibility is to serve its customers. Profit is not the primary goal, but rather an essential condition for the company’s continued existence and sustainability. Focus on the customer, manage the business skillfully, and profit will follow.

Over his long career, Drucker said many wise things (and like everyone else, probably some dumb ones too). I particularly like his remark: “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

Readers who follow us know the Portable Sanitation Association International adopted a new tagline in 2015: “Better worksites. Better weekends. Better world.” We did this because the PSAI wanted a simple way to explain the value of our industry to the public.

Since that time, we’ve heard a lot of positive feedback about this line, and a few questions as well. “What do you mean by ‘better world’?” comes up a lot.

Sure, the PSAI is a relatively small organization representing a relatively small industry — .029 percent of the U.S. economy last time I checked. Our impact, though, does not have to be proportional, and it does not have to be measured only in dollars. Remember Drucker’s point that we are here to serve our customers — as well as the PSAI’s purpose to preserve lives and improve experiences by providing clean, safe portable sanitation through our member companies.

Portable sanitation companies are already creating a better world when they ensure a great event or dispose of waste in ways that protect the environment. They are doing it when they get involved in their communities — like Lou Paulsen, the 2016 PSAI Andy Gump Award winner and his wife Sharon, who volunteer and donate extensively in their local community while running a portable sanitation company that is second to none.

More importantly, the future does not have to be defined by the past. The PSAI and its member companies can do more, even with limited resources. That’s why our board of directors and staff are focusing on areas of public policy and image redefinition. We expect to be more engaged in creating and impacting standards relevant to our industry. We are planning a multiyear strategy aimed at educating the public and pressuring decision-makers to ensure adequate units and services are obtained so user experiences are optimized. We are providing our members with more resources to help them serve customers. In short, the PSAI is not serving its members in the same old way, and in turn, members will be empowered to serve customers in even better ways.

As Drucker said, we can create our own future. In short, the PSAI is planning a better world. Join us.


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