BEACON FALLS, Conn. — As a new immigrant to the United States, Vinny Samuel entered the country not knowing where his master’s degree in electrical engineering, coupled with a degree in business, would take him.
As fate would have it, it took him to a commercial laundry operation in Worcester, Mass. A complete neophyte to the industry at the time, Samuel had no idea that commercial laundry would become his career.
But now, some 30 years later, Samuel is co-owner of JVK Laundry Operations, and a respected industry expert, says the company. JVK has two facilities on Long Island and another in New Jersey.
Because of Samuel’s understanding of physics and chemistry, he says he’s a tough sell, a demanding buyer. So when he needs new equipment, he gets different bids like any smart businessman.
But unlike other laundry owners who might not have an engineering background, he can scientifically determine what machine for what price will give him the best return on his investment.
Samuel has garnered lots of knowledge from his vast career, he says. He has risen in the commercial laundry industry, from chief engineer to manufacturer installer, plant designer, distributor, to vice president of engineering for a 42-plant commercial laundry operation.
Throughout those stints, Samuel says he sold, worked on and installed virtually every brand of laundry equipment.
“Lavatec machines impressed me the most because they’re so simple,” says Samuel. “I can even explain how their systems work to non-technical people.
“In fact, in my 30-plus years in the industry, I must have taken five or six people with no mechanical experience and turned them into chief engineers for laundries around the country, all because Lavatec machines are so simple to understand and maintain.”
Two other things that Samuel especially likes about Lavatec are the equipment’s longevity and his ability to get original equipment parts, even for machines made more than 20 years ago.
JVK’s oldest Lavatec tunnel was built in 1996, and Samuel says Lavatec still carries all the replacement parts, from the operating computer to the software and all components to keep it running.
As proof of his preference for Lavatec, JVK’s three facilities depend on four Lavatec tunnel washers. One is a 200-pound, 16-compartment unit. The other three are 110-pound machines: one of them configured with 15 compartments, the other two with 12.
In addition, JVK employs 23 Lavatec dryers, five extraction presses, conveyors and a wide assortment of finishing equipment.
The output of JVK’s Lavatec systems is 700,000 pounds of laundry a week for some 22 hospitals the company serves in an area stretching from Philadelphia through New Jersey into New York and Connecticut.