Other Institution Laundry: Robin Kramer, St. Michael's Laundry-University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind. 

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Robin Kramer

Robin Kramer

As a long-time listener, reader and fan, I was thrilled when contacted that I was selected to serve on the Panel of Experts. I mean, really, that’s when you know your hard work has paid off!  

For many reasons, it is an honor to accept this position. I chose a career working in our industry because I am third generation of the industry. Yes, both grandmother and mother were long-term employees with the university laundry family.  

Serving in very different capacity than my family members (associate director), I have led many laundry initiatives at the University of Notre Dame, including the increase to the 3 million-pound mark for our single OPL.

The university has afforded me the opportunity to work with so many of the finest industry experts, and I have become most passionate about assisting others to become more successful in their businesses. 

Because we are all likely in similar situations, I can’t wait to find out if there is something I can help you with! I thrive when surrounded by dedicated and caring people, and I am confident that both exist in the readership of American Laundry News

Having worked at St. Michael’s Laundry at the University of Notre Dame for nearly 35 years, I vow to do my personal best to make a positive impact on this panel. 

I can’t wait to share with you some initiatives we have happening here at the university (hint: how about a discussion on the latest initiatives of a wash, dry and fold program for millennials?).

More than any other organization related to the laundry industry, I believe ALN can make a difference in our industry by helping other like-minded shop owners who all have common issues. 

I believe our sources can offer the best information, and we can truly assist readers as we offer more and more effective solutions to the current and relative issues we all experience.    

I am delighted to help inform an organization made up of so many devoted employees and supporters. With a busy few months on the horizon, I hope to be able to offer feedback soon to continue serving you in ways that are most important to you!  

Chemicals Supply: Kevin Minissian, Norchem Corp., Los Angeles, Calif.

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Kevin Minissian

Kevin Minissian

I am the president and CEO of Norchem Corp. I founded the company in 1978 after graduating with a degree in biochemistry and electrical engineering. In 1989, Norchem was incorporated in California with its headquarters established in Los Angeles, which later on expanded to include an additional manufacturing facility in Chicago. 

I serve as the product engineer and chief technologist for all Norchem product offerings. I lead the design engineering team for all new projects and continue to make myself available to all our customers as a resource for technical support and solutions ideation. 

Norchem started as a chemical manufacturing company offering chemicals and technical services to the commercial laundry industry. In 1995, Norchem developed a ceramic membrane technology for filtering and recycling wastewater for food service laundries. 

It was shortly thereafter that all laundry segments were identified and implemented with the technology. Our water filtration and reclamation systems are the only proven cross flow ceramic water treatment technology to successfully control, treat and supply water for all segments of commercial laundry. 

Norchem was one of the first to develop a liquid chemical injection system utilizing centrifugal VFD pump technology. In the year 2000, Norchem introduced the first central chemical dispensing system with water flush for conventional washers. Not long after that, the same approach was brought to the CBW washers. 

Norchem is committed to products designed for the environment that provide for safer working spaces and sustainable resource utilization. In 2013, our work was honored at the Capitol by the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable as we received the Most Valuable Pollution Prevention Award for Norchem’s environmental stewardship. 

Our most recent innovations are the introduction of a cold-water wash chemistry program for the hospitality segment, ColdClean®, and the introduction of a more reliable and safe chemical dispensing system for tunnel washers with injection flushing technology. 

As with any industry, challenges exist, of which I have noticed is the recruitment and retention of competent, dedicated individuals excited to pursue a career in the textile care and commercial laundry industries. A specific challenge we experience is the escalating cost of raw material, transportation costs and doing business in California. 

Uniforms/Workwear Manufacturing: Scott Delin, Fashion Seal Healthcare, Seminole, Fla.

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Scott Delin

Scott Delin

First and foremost, I would like to thank American Laundry News for selecting me to join the 2019 Panel of Experts. For me, to be recognized and considered a member of an elite group of laundry/linen managers and experts is a real honor.  

Working and having over 35 years’ experience in the textile and laundry industry, I have been very fortunate to meet a lot of knowledgeable people who have taught me a lot along my journey and provided me with new insight about our industry. I am extremely appreciative of the long-term friendships and business relationships that have developed and flourished throughout this remarkable journey.

Growing up in the coal region in Northeast Pennsylvania, I first cut my teeth and got involved in textiles while working with my father cutting and sewing ladies’ sportswear and apparel. Upon graduating from Philadelphia College of Textiles and Sciences, (now known as Jefferson University) with a degree in apparel management and business sciences, I packed my bags and all my worldly possessions into my bright orange Chevy Monza and moved from Philadelphia to Gaffney, S.C.  

There I joined the textile rank and file, taking employment at Oxford Industries, a leading manufacturer of ladies’ sportswear. While working for Oxford Industries, I was responsible for locating and developing cut-and-sew factories in the Southern states to manufacture Oxford’s line of women’s apparel. In addition to handling the scheduling with these contractors, I was also responsible for all price negotiations, as well as performing weekly quality audits on the product lines they were sewing for Oxford.  

After four years of cutting my teeth and honing my skills in the apparel industry in the South, I moved back to Pennsylvania to join forces with my father in running our family cut-and-sew operation, producing ladies’ sportswear. 

As imports started to increase, more and more apparel production was moved offshore, causing stateside manufacturing to fall drastically. After a long, debating family meeting, a decision was reached to close the family business, at which time a new chapter in my life was soon to begin.  

I then jumped from one frying pan (working with my father) into another one—Penn Linen, Uniform & Healthcare Services (working for my father-in-law, Max Stettner). It was here that I found my passion for the commercial industrial laundry business. 

At Penn Linen Uniform & Healthcare Services, we processed linen and uniforms used for the industrial, hospitality and, of course, healthcare markets. In fact, at one time, we processed and rented linen to all the major hospitals in the Philadelphia market, as well as parts of North Jersey. 

In February of 1998, Penn Linen sold to Unitog (which a year later sold to Cintas), and after a short six-month leave of absence, I realized my passion for this industry continued to burn inside.  

I was fortunate enough to join Superior Uniform Group (now Superior Group of Companies), a leading manufacturer for apparel for the healthcare, cleanroom and career apparel markets, as a territory sales manager. In this position, I was responsible for working with commercial laundries and healthcare systems in the Mid-Atlantic states as well as upstate New York. 

As my concentration and success in selling healthcare continued to grow, I was promoted to national market executive for Fashion Seal Healthcare, a division of Superior Uniform Group.  

Today I am proud to serve and represent Fashion Seal Healthcare, as its vice president of sales in healthcare, where I utilize my 35-plus years of experience and relationships in the laundry arena. 

I am proud to say that our team at Fashion Seal Healthcare continually works alongside laundries, hospitals and other healthcare facilities to develop successful uniform programs for their related markets that not only meet their expectations, but exceed them as well. 

Currently I serve as an active member of the TRSA Healthcare Committee, an instructor for TRSA PMI, and as an active member of ARTA and the ARTA board of directors. I also served as a past member for the HLAC advisory committee.

It is an honor being selected to join this Panel of Experts and I look forward to contributing articles as we move forward into 2019. To all of you, I send my wishes to you and your families for a Happy and Healthy 2019.     

Consulting Services: Sam Spence, TBR Associates, Saddle Brook, N.J. 

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Sam Spence

Sam Spence

In 1993 after graduating from Penn State, I had no idea that this industry where I built my career even existed. I knew that I wanted to work in production management, and when the call came from a local linen supply company, I was skeptical but decided it was worth a look. 

Now, 25 years later, I am still motivated by the challenges and opportunities that come from successfully operating a plant and improving productivity.

Beginning as a production supervisor and working my way through the ranks to plant manager, general manager and vice president, I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from some of the best operators in this industry while learning from many mistakes as well. 

My experience is primarily with independent, family-owned linen supply companies, focusing on healthcare, uniform and food and beverage. Improving productivity, profitability and customer service has been my main focus and has brought me and my teams much success.

For the past two years, I have been a consultant for TBR Associates, the consulting division of the Tingue Family of Companies. In my capacity as a consultant, I partner with my clients to improve their bottom lines by identifying and eliminating waste through Lean Six principles. It is very rewarding to guide teams through process improvement projects and share in their successes.

While traveling the country to work with my clients, the greatest challenge I find, by far, is developing reliable, qualified people for all levels, from production operators to executive management. I do not expect this situation to change any time soon. For this reason, it is critical that laundry operators adapt by developing better employee retention strategies and improving productivity.

I am grateful for the opportunity to participate on this panel and hope you find my words to be helpful. Wishing you all a successful and prosperous 2019. 

Miss Part 1, introducing the other five experts? Click here to read it.