TRSA, the leading association for the textile services industry in North America, recently concluded its second Regional Production Summit and Plant Tour event. Held in collaboration with WATS (Wisconsin Association of Textile Services), the summit aimed to enhance quality programmes and accessibility for all members by bringing them together at a central location within their region. The event took place on 1-2 May in Milwaukee.

Keynote sessions and presentations
The Midwest Summit commenced with an engaging keynote session by Nancy Roberts, CEO and founder of The DISC Wizard. Roberts delved into the concept of emotional intelligence (EQ), highlighting the five traits of emotionally intelligent individuals. Attendees gained valuable insights on how to apply EQ knowledge to become more effective leaders. Roberts also incorporated audience EQ evaluations into her presentation, ensuring a tailored experience.

Jessica Leigh, customer success manager at Spindle, a popular laundry management software provider, followed with a focus on production managers’ roles in preventive maintenance. Attendees learned strategies to optimise labour and energy costs by scheduling preventive maintenance during regular working hours. Real-world examples underscored the importance of proactive maintenance practices. Leigh emphasised the significance of scheduled meetings between production and maintenance staff for organizational efficiency and safety.

Don Bock, an industry consultant, delivered a comprehensive presentation on “Fire Safety – Strategies for Prevention.” Bock covered common sources of fire in laundries and provided best practices to prevent such incidents. He also discussed various fire suppression systems applicable to laundry facilities.

Leadership skills and process improvement
Christopher Stammer, CEO of Volu Interactive, which develops immersive, interactive 360° and 3D 180° experiences that enable safe, virtual learning in dangerous or difficult situations, challenged attendees to reflect on their leadership styles. Drawing from his experience as a United States Coast Guard licensed Master Captain, Stammer shared real-world scenarios where captains’ decisions impacted outcomes. An interactive exercise highlighted collaboration and decision-making as essential leadership skills.

Keith Ware, another industry consultant, explored process improvement and root-cause analysis. Ware emphasised thinking outside the box and fostering collaborative teams. Attendees participated in a creative challenge, building structures from marshmallows, dry spaghetti, and pipe cleaners. Facilitated roundtables further encouraged discussions on EQ, leadership development, and safety.

Panel discussion and plant tours
The summit’s first day concluded with a dynamic panel discussion featuring Doug Roskopf (ITU AbsorbTech Inc.), Chris Gibson (UniFirst Corp), and Andrew Leonard (Gunderson Group). Ken Koepper, TRSA’s director of membership and industry relations, moderated the panel.

On 2 May, Alsco Uniforms and Superior Health Linens opened its local facilities for guided tours, providing attendees with a tour of their facilities.

First-time attendee Chris Milum, plant manager at Spotless Uniform in British Columbia, found the information and technology shared very useful. He added: “I look forward to taking much back to implement in my plant.”

The third program in this series will be held on Oct. 15-16, in Newark, NJ, for members in the Northeast region. Click here to learn more about the Northeast Summit