The linen and uniform rental laundries association for North America, TRSA, held its 110th Annual Conference 10-12 October at The Ritz-Carlton Tiburon Golf Resort Hotel in Naples, Florida. Nestled between the beach and the golf course, the conference connected key linen, uniform and facility services industry leaders, allowing an opportunity to mix professional development and industry updates with several networking opportunities including an interactive charcuterie building challenge, the TRSA Open Nine-Hole Golf Tournament and an optional brewery tour.
The 110th Annual Conference’s agenda offered a wide range of general and breakout sessions, including a pair of keynote speakers. Walter Bond, a former NBA player who is now a motivational speaker, best-selling author, business coach and co-founder of a leading professional training and development organisation, talked about using motivation to overcome obstacles that stand in your way, allowing your business to generate momentum toward winning.
The second keynoter, Andrew Davis, CEO, Monumental, has been recognised as one of the industry’s ‘Jaw-Dropping Marketing Speakers’, and is a mainstay on global marketing influencer lists. Davis has crafted documentary films and award-winning content. During his keynote session, titled ‘The Cube of Creativity: Why adding constraints sparks innovation, action and delivers out-sized results,’ Davis discussed how some threats help spark creativity and innovation.
Four breakout sessions at the conference included the following topics:
· Hiring and retention
· A panel of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) experts
· Economic and Industry Update from the Robert W. Baird Facility & Industrial Services Research Team and Andrew Wittmann CFA, director, senior research analysis
· Intelligent business growth
UniFirst’s executive vice president, Michael Croatti, who has attended four Annual Conferences, enjoys attending the TRSA Annual Conferences for the chance to network and learn from others. He was impressed by the 2023 Naples location and said: “It was a great destination, with good networking opportunities, fun team building events and valuable insights. I took three pages of notes.”
Attendee Jim Buik, president and owner of Roscoe Co, was impressed with the AI general session, Artificial Intelligence (AI): From Sci-Fi to Production and Profitability that Charles Irizarry led. Buik stated, “I picked up some great ideas from Andrew’s session.” A global panel included Hartmut Engler, managing director, CWS Workwear International, Duisburg, Germany; Ray Hayes, executive director – innovation & capability, Specialised Linen Services, Victoria, Australia; Jim Kearns, executive vice president, Alsco Inc, Salt Lake City; and Xavier Martire´, CEO, Elis Group, Saint Cloud, France. The panel focused on industry growth from a global and local perspective. Buik added, “Ray (Hayes) provided the best insights that a local independent could use.”
During the State of the Association and Annual Membership Meeting, TRSA leaders provided an annual update on the association’s finances and member-driven initiatives. At the meeting, attendees saw the re-election of three board members – Brian Herington, PureStar Group, Las Vegas; Liz Remillong, Crothall Laundry Services, Huntersville, NC; and Steve Sintros, UniFirst Corp., Wilmington, MA – as well as the election of new board members Theresa Garcia, Division Laundry and Cleaners, San Antonio; and Josh Wildman, Wildman Uniform and Linen, Warsaw, Indiana.
During the meeting, attendees also gained insight into the development of TRSA certification programs, in-person and virtual events, information-sharing opportunities and industry-specific training.
The 110th Annual Conference also offered Industry Awards recognition, including the Operator and Supplier Partner Lifetime Achievement Awards. Jim Vaudreuil, president, Huebsch Services, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, accepted the Operator Award, while Jeff Belcher, the former president and owner of Alliant Systems, Irving, Texas, was selected as the Maglin-Biggie Lifetime Achievement Award honoree for supplier-partner executives. For more information, visit www.trsa.org/awards.
The event kicked off with a Supplier Partner Council meeting and welcome reception for all attendees. Activities for spouses and/or significant others included a welcome meet and greet, morning yoga class on the beach and a chef-led cooking class.
Sponsors of the event included Royal Basket Trucks, Jesen USA Inc, Kannegiesser ETECH, Ellis Corp, Pellerin Milnor Corp, Unitex International Inc, G.A. Braun Inc, Brim Laundry Machinery Co Inc, Lavatec Laundry Technology Inc, Monarch Brands, Alliant Systems, ARCO/Murray and The Clean Show presented by Texcare.
Kasey Wahl, sales and marketing director, Amtex Innovations, summed up the conference saying: “The conference was great, the keynote speakers were awesome, breakout sessions fantastic and the networking is unbeatable. I highly recommend coming to the Annual Conference.” Next year, the 111th Annual Conference will take place 24-26 September at The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs.