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Greet the 2008 American Laundry News Panel of Experts (1st in a Series)

In the first of a series, this year’s contributors to the American Laundry News Panel of Experts introduce themselves, describe their operations, identify challenges and list their accomplishments for 2007.CONSULTING: Jim Buchbinder has been Turn-Key Industrial Engineering Services’ vice president of business development since January 2007. Previously, he worked at Arrow Uniform Rental for 23 years, from plant manager to VP of product development and distribution. He’s a member of UTSA’s Plant Operations Hall of Fame.
I’ve been with Turn-Key Industrial Engineering Services, Charlottesville, Va., almost a year as its vice president of business development. Prior to that, I worked for Arrow Uniform Rental for 23 years. One highlight of my career there was working with Tom Andris, Wes Berndt and others on designing the 240,000-square-foot Detroit-area facility that opened in 1997 with many cutting-edge concepts.
 
Turn-Key designs and builds world-class facilities for resort, medical, hospitality and industrial laundry providers. We also specialize in renovating and improving existing facilities.
One challenge that we face as a consulting firm is finding more effective ways to communicate with past, present and prospective clients. Our end product – designs, studies, recommendations and implementation plans – are all a result of our knowledge, training and experience. To the extent that we can make ourselves more accessible to our clients, we can add more value to their operation. Our newly designed website was developed with this goal in mind.
We currently have 34 articles and presentations on our “Resources” page for the industry to use, as needed. Our site – www.turnkeyengineering.com – features these and other tools, including a laundry industry blog. Feel free to log on to join our discussion or just to check out our site.
Reflecting on 2007, we feel that we achieved a good balance of the following: 1) Continued support of many long-term customers who rely on us to minimize their operations costs; 2) Several exciting new plant design projects; 3) Professional growth for our staff of engineers and increased capabilities for our clients; 4) Expansion into new market segments and new geographical markets.
In 2008, we look to continue providing our client base with the information, planning and strategic advice that they need to compete and win in their individual markets.TEXTILE/UNIFORM RENTAL: Steve Kallenbach has been in the uniform apparel and industrial textile business for more than 29 years, from route sales/service to group general manager to regional sales manager. He has been regional sales manager for California-based American Dawn since 2004.
I’m a 30-year veteran in the textile rental, garment/ASI resale and textile wholesale segments of the industry.
Starting as a route driver in the 1970s, I earned promotion into service/sales/production management, general management and finally group general management with two of the industry’s largest uniform and textile rental companies (Todd Uniform, later purchased by ARAMARK Uniform Services).
After 13 years on the laundry side, I moved to vendor with the largest apparel maker in the industry, VF Imagewear. That career spanned 11 years and included selling and managing many nationally licensed image apparel programs – still serving the industry.
I then founded and operated a direct sale (Image Apparel – Brand Identity Solutions) company and a garment manufacturing company (Basic Apparel), and subsequently sold them to partners.
In 2004, I joined American Dawn Inc. as regional sales manager for California. American Dawn services this segment of the industry with toweling, linens and specialty garments.
I’ve been a featured speaker at industry conventions, and have consulted to some of the largest companies in the industry as a trainer/teacher in sales and marketing. I’m proud to be considered an expert in most areas of this segment, including sales, marketing, service, administration, production and procurement.
I’m excited to have been chosen for this opportunity and look forward to serving the industry further. This is a great business to be in!EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURING: Kim Shady is vice president of distributor sales for Alliance Laundry Systems’ UniMac brand and has more than 19 years of commercial laundry experience. He started and ran a successful restaurant business for a number of years before joining the laundry industry.
Headquartered in Ripon, Wis., Alliance Laundry Systems is a world leader in manufacturing commercial laundry equipment. Our products are marketed under the UniMac, Speed Queen, Cissell, Huebsch and IPSO brands.
Alliance manufactures its washer-extractors and drying tumblers at plants in both Ripon and Wevelgem, Belgium. Since starting out as Speed Queen in 1908, our emphasis has been on providing the most reliable products on the market.
 
Our industry continues to evolve. Time was, laundry was viewed as a basic task, requiring limited-feature equipment to accomplish it. Today, the challenges to manufacturers are far greater. On-premises laundry managers are under increasing pressure to reduce operating costs to aid profitability in the respective properties they serve: hotels, nursing homes or long-term care facilities, spas, recreational facilities or other sites.
Managerial challenges therefore become our challenges. We are charged with helping them reduce labor costs (their No. 1 expenditure), as well as water, utilities and laundry chemical usage. Raising this hurdle is the expectation that manufacturers do this without impacting throughput or the overall finished quality.
In 2007, Alliance made great strides in meeting market challenges. Chief among them was the launch of the UniLinc control. This next-generation control offers managers what we believe is unparalleled command of their operation. Reports that provide superior machine and operations data assist in efficiently allocating laundry resources. Likewise, our slim 55-pound tumbler fills a need in the industry by fitting through a standard 36-inch doorway, while also providing exceptional speed and drying efficiency.
While these developments have set the stage for our continued success in the OPL market, further challenges lie ahead. Extreme drought conditions in the Southeast, I believe, have raised awareness of the need for even greater water efficiency. Emergency situations like this can spur rapid change. No doubt, we manufacturers will be pressed to design machines that further reduce water consumption.
 

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