TRSA, the North America linen rental trade association, hosted a star-studded 109th Annual Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, 13-15 September. Featuring keynote addresses from a well-known country singer, songwriter and actor and a former Major League pitcher, in addition to industry-specific education sessions for both operator members and supplier partners, the event was in tune with members and the current climate.
The three-day confab kicked off with a Supplier Partner Council meeting. Supplier partner members were given two opportunities to hear the latest prognosis for the PFAS regulatory burden that linen, uniform and facility services are likely to face.
Following a networking reception to close out the opening day of the conference, the action continued the next day with a morning keynote session titled “The Stories Behind the Songs: Chronicling the Journey through Music and Narrative” by Charles Esten, a singer, songwriter and actor best known for his role as the country singer Deacon Claybourne on the ABC/CMT hit drama ‘Nashville’ from 2012-2018.
• Industry-specific breakout sessions included:
• Bulletproof Selling: Building Sales Systems in the Textile Rental Industry, Shawn Rhodes
• The Elements of Value, John Brandt, The MPI Group
• Three Things You Can Do to Enhance Trust and Teamwork in Your Organization, Dan Gonder, Strategic In/Sight Partners
• The Value Proposition of an Effective Training System, Ian Bigelow and Keith Ware
During lunch, Kevin Schwalb, TRSA’s vice president of government relations, gave attendees an update on legislative and regulatory issues. Joining him was John Schaffer, EEC Environmental, who talked about PFAS regulations and their expected impact on the linen, uniform and facility services industry.
The conference closed with the annual membership meeting where new board members for the upcoming year were announced. Jim Kearns, executive vice president and chief financial officer, Alsco Uniforms, was elected chair of TRSA’s Board of Directors. (See separate news story, ‘Jim Kearns elected Chair of TRSA Board of Directors‘.)
A closing keynote address was given by R.A. Dickey, a former Major League pitcher and Cy Young Award Winner with the New York Mets. Dickey also is a New York Times best-selling author of Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball. The final day also included an Economic and Industry Update from Andrew Wittmann of Robert W. Baird & Co. and an Industry Legends Panel Discussion The latter session featured Robert Fesmire Sr., Ellis Corp.; Bill Mann, TRSA; Steve Larson, Alsco Uniforms; and Michael Potack, Unitex. CEO Joseph Ricci moderated the discussion.
The conference concluded with the TRSA Lifetime Achievement and Board Recognition Dinner. During the event Brian O’Neil, president of California Linen Services, received the TRSA Operator Lifetime Achievement Award; and Kevin Minissian, former president and CEO of Norchem Corp., was posthumously awarded with the TRSA Maglin/Biggie Lifetime Achievement Award.
TRSA acknowledged Noel Hammer Richardson as she completed her 2-year term as Board Chair. The selection of a preferred charity by an outgoing TRSA chair is a tradition at the association. TRSA members are encouraged to show their appreciation by donating to Richardson’s charity of choice, Women’s Empowerment, whose mission is to enable women who are experiencing homelessness to gain the skills they need to get jobs, maintain healthy lifestyles and regain homes for themselves and their children. As TRSA’s first female chair, Richardson’s choice was particularly appropriate. Shasta Linen Supply has pledged to match up to $10,000 for any money donated to the organization in honor of Richardson between now and 30 September. Donors can go online to give in any amount they choose to Women’s Empowerment.
In addition to the education and awards, the 109th Annual Conference also featured several networking events, including tours of Studio B Recording Studio and the Country Music Hall of Fame, an interactive Goo Goo Cluster Candy Challenge and a tour of the world-famous Grand Ole Opry.
Next year’s 110th Annual Conference will be held in Naples, Florida at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort 10-12 October 2023.