2016 Panel of Experts Ready to Share and Learn (Conclusion)

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(Image credit: Alissa Ausmann)

New panelists introduce themselves, share accomplishments, discuss industry challenges

Textiles: Steve Kallenbach, ADI American Dawn, Los Angeles, Calif.

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Steve Kallenbach

Steve Kallenbach

Our industry is simply a fantastic space in which to work, isn’t it? Over the past 37 years, I’ve met so many talented, passionate, professional experts, who teach me new things every day. There’s never a dull moment, and every day something “new” comes along—whether it’s a market opportunity, a problem to solve, a new product or process, or just a fresh twist against an age-old issue. I love this industry and feel so fortunate to be able to work with all of you, every day.

That’s why, now, it is such an honor to serve on this Panel of Experts for the coming year. It’s my second time on this Panel, and I must say, I have missed it.

My business experience in our industry started at the age of 9, when I became my father’s janitor at his local garage in the Midwest. He issued me work uniforms and told me I would wear them with pride—showing up on time, buttoned up, clean and ready for important work. Given my physical size at 9, I can say without a doubt that I truly learned the importance of garment “fit” in the uniform business, and how that factor impacts one’s pride at work.

Later in my life, at 21, my father’s route service representative was terminated by his company, Todd Uniform. With some family coaxing, I interviewed for that job, and the rest is history—promoted on to stockroom manager, plant manager, sales manager, assistant plant manager and finally opening a new plant in Los Angeles.

After four years as GM, I moved to Aramark as a group GM to run its plant system in Southern California. Another five years later, I followed my passion to move to the supplier side and became a territory manager for Red Kap.

Ten years later, I asked for an early retirement from VF (with continued consulting) to start my own direct-sale product company, called Image Apparel-Brand Identity Solutions, serving the middle of the market. I sold that company to my partner at the time, and then another partner and I started a work apparel manufacturing company called Basic Apparel.

Just after that venture, I joined ADI American Dawn, as a territory manager. Two years ago, I was promoted to director of market solutions. I am honored to be a part of the ADI team.

I have also been honored to teach at TRSA’s EMI and PMI, as well as many industry conferences, associations and collegiate settings, both inside and outside our industry. These have been fantastic opportunities to learn as well as teach.

In advance, I thank you for engaging, thank the rest of the Panel for contributing, thank American Laundry News for hosting and thank my company for allowing me this opportunity. They call me “KBach,” and I’ll see you next month.       

Uniforms/Workwear Manufacturing: Carl Rocco, Uniform Advantage, Plantation, Fla.

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Carl Rocco

Carl Rocco

It is my distinct honor to serve as an American Laundry News Panel of Experts member for 2016. As the sales leader for UA Imagewear, I am tasked with attracting talent, developing team members, creating positive situations for our clients to purchase, new client relationships and creating an outstanding experience for every customer touch point.

I was introduced to the uniform industry nearly 20 years ago by my father-in-law, a 40-year veteran of the textile rental industry, and have been fortunate to serve in a variety of different customer-facing roles. Over the years, I have had the privilege of learning from some of the industry’s true thought leaders and covered a diverse range of markets, from healthcare to quick-service restaurants.

I began my career with UA Imagewear in 2014. For more than 30 years, the company has been synonymous with apparel that is stylish, functional, comfortable and durable. Today, we design, manufacture and distribute corporate image apparel and uniforms for healthcare, hospitality, gaming, culinary/food service, spa, resort and retail industries.

We provide flexible, comprehensive solutions to address complex product and service issues. By offering a vast selection of high-quality, long-lasting products, paired with a proven track record of successful uniform program implementations, we deliver tailored solution packages that meet our clients’ business needs.

Our company has built a substantial retail business by providing locations throughout the country, and a robust Internet presence. What began as a single storefront over time has grown to include a nationwide network of 30-plus retail locations.

Our industry faces numerous challenges presented by an ever-changing economy and dynamic healthcare environment, and I look forward to hearing how you are evolving your business to respond to the transforming landscape of our industry.

Thank you for the opportunity to participate on this Panel. I greatly anticipate a series of insightful and interesting discussions.

Chemicals Supply: Scott Pariser, Pariser Industries Inc., Paterson, N.J.

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Scott Pariser

Scott Pariser

I am pleased to be a part of American Laundry News’ Panel of Experts, and recognize that my selection is entirely a result of my association with the many talented people I have had the privilege to work with at Pariser Industries for the past 40 years.

Along with my late father, Al Pariser, the founder of our family business (and a former Panel of Experts member himself), and my brother, Andrew, we have worked together to build a diversified national chemical manufacturing and service-oriented company that provides, among other items, innovative product systems and technical services to laundry applications of all sizes.

In addition to laundry products, Pariser Industries also manufactures and services chemical systems for dry cleaning, wet cleaning, housekeeping and water treatment applications.

Our approach is similar in all regards, in that our mission is focused upon the need to understand our customer’s business and related concerns and work diligently to provide cost-effective product options, along with consultation on best industry practices.

The challenges that we routinely face include the need to cross-train our technical representatives on the various approaches to customer service across the various classes of trade that we serve, mindful of the fact that while the approach and mission is generally the same, the environment and vocabularies will vary greatly, not only from industry to industry, but from one size laundry application to another.

Our goal is to offer a broad line of product innovations supported by a competent and concerned group of professionals who understand our customers’ needs for quality results, operational efficiencies, worker and environmental safety, and bottom-line profitability.

As our industry’s needs and regulations are constantly changing, it is incumbent upon us to continuously evolve and remain open to new and innovative methodologies that enhance our customer’s experience with our programs, while being mindful of our history and what has worked well for us and our clients in the past.

Consulting Services: Chris Mayer, Performance Matters, Plymouth, Minn.

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Chris Mayer

Chris Mayer

It’s an honor to be selected to the Panel of Experts. I am a senior consultant for Performance Matters, which is a strategic consulting partner for textile rental services companies that offers proprietary tools guaranteed to boost revenue and profits with minimal investment. We focus on implementing processes and optimizing revenue opportunities, while integrating a team-based approach to drive results.

I represent the third generation in the commercial laundry industry. Previous generations led the sales and marketing effort for ALSCO/AmeriPride, formally known as American Linen Supply Company.

I have more than 28 years of uniform, linen and facility services rental/direct sales experience. I worked as a route service rep and also a sales rep selling mats door to door before and during college. After graduating, I started with G&K Services and transferred to Northern California and Seattle in sales, service and general management roles. I transferred back to G&K Corporate to lead the new Service Marketing Department.

I was later tasked with managing the linen division, which G&K was considering selling, due to profit erosion. The challenge was to prove that flat-linen revenue could be profitable within an industrial uniform company. Our team rallied and was able to take the division from virtually break even to an operating profit of 18%. The company decided to take the division off the market, noting that with the right product, pricing and customer target strategy, it was possible to be even more profitable than any industrial uniform business.

I later took over the corporate new business development team, running the facility services division in various markets throughout the United States. With a national linen and uniform company, I led the service marketing and product development effort in North America. One of the initiatives was to spearhead the development of a customer product penetration strategy. I was given the opportunity to launch the initiative, starting up a new North American sales force of more than 50 people, solely focused on adding high-margin products within the existing customer base.

With Performance Matters, my main responsibility has been to help develop our High Performance Team Training Program. Through our e-learning platform, this low-cost training program levels the playing field for independent and family-owned laundries. They’re now receiving superior service and sales training that was previously not available to them before. It’s a highly gratifying experience to be making a positive contribution with our independent textile rental clients and the overall industry. 

I’m excited for a fantastic 2016 with American Laundry News and providing insights that can be used in your businesses going forward.   

Miss Part 1? Click here to read it.

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