Consulting Services: Ron Evans, RJ Evans and Associates

I am president of RJ Evans and Associates, a consulting firm for the industrial laundry industry. My firm primarily focuses on strengthening customer management programs within textile rental service departments, but has expanded into working with and strengthening full-time sales programs.

My career started more than 35 years ago with a national uniform company in its management-training program. The next 12 years were spent on the operator side of the business in sales, service and general management positions.

An opportunity arose to join an international supplier to the global textile industry as its director of training. This enabled me to visit hundreds of industrial laundries around the world for 15 years and train personnel in product knowledge, sales skills, and service growth. I learned hundreds of techniques and practices that expanded my own knowledge and learning base.

As a result of this exposure to so many companies and their diverse methods in achieving success, I was often asked to participate in textile industry meetings, conventions and workshops as a committee member and speaker.

I became an instructor at the prestigious Executive Management Institute (EMI) for nine years, the executive director of the Independent Textile Rental Association (ITRA), and a training instructor with the Central States Network (CSC) and Universal/UniLink Purchasing Association (UPA). I can say, without doubt, that I have worked with and trained more people in our industry than any other consultant over the past 20 years.

The biggest challenge my team and I have to address is how to successfully assist clients and the textile industry to establish customer management programs that consistently maintain and grow their customer bases. Changing needs require changing customer-service programs that reignite customer satisfaction and loyalty.

2011 was a year of accomplishments. We expanded our training workshop schedule, developed a webinar program to reach a greater number of our clients’ employees, expanded our client list, and improved our database of training information. We also added several new programs to our list of training seminars.

I am looking forward to contributing to this excellent Panel.

Commercial Laundry: Tom Gildred, Emerald Textiles

It is an honor to join the Panel of Experts. I am an entrepreneur and the CEO of Emerald Textiles, headquartered in San Diego County, Calif. Prior to Emerald, I founded FMT Consultants, a business management firm and Microsoft Partner where I am chairman of the board. Prior to founding FMT, I worked for Ernst & Young in its audit and consulting practices for five years. I am also chairman of the board of Gildred Companies and president of the board of the San Diego Museum of Art.

Operational just over a year, Emerald Textiles has quickly become a leading provider of healthcare linen to Southern California and now serves many of the major healthcare systems in the area, including Sharp HealthCare, Scripps Health, UC San Diego Medical System, Eisenhower Medical Center and Kaiser San Diego.

Emerald operates a technologically advanced and environmentally responsible commercial healthcare laundry facility, and saves San Diego County more than 700,000 therms of natural gas and approximately 40 million gallons of water annually.

Its goals include delivering innovative, higher-quality products; increased infection control and energy efficiency; and delivering substantial savings to our customers through new, lighter products and superior linen management.

One of our primary challenges this past year was acquiring sufficient linen supplies to keep pace with our growth. Some of Emerald’s accomplishments in 2011 include extreme energy savings and establishing our position as provider to the major healthcare systems in our area.

I look forward to the opportunity to collaborate with this panel.

Uniforms/Workwear Manufacturing: Steve Kallenbach, American Dawn

I’m a three-decade veteran in the textile rental, garment resale and wholesale textile segments of our industry. Starting as a route driver in the 1970s, I earned promotion into service/sales/production management, general management and finally group general management with two of the industry’s largest uniform and textile rental companies (Todd Uniform, later purchased by ARAMARK Uniform Services).

After 13 years on the laundry side, I moved to vendor with the largest apparel maker in the industry, VF Imagewear. That career spanned 11 years and included selling and managing many nationally licensed image apparel programs – still serving the industry.

I then founded and operated a direct sale company (Image Apparel – Brand Identity Solutions) and a garment manufacturing company (Basic Apparel), and subsequently sold them to my partners.

In 2004, I joined American Dawn Inc. as regional sales manager for California. American Dawn services this segment of the industry with toweling, linens, aprons and specialty garments.

I have been a featured speaker at many industry conventions and national sales meetings, and have consulted to some of the largest companies in the industry as a trainer/teacher in sales and marketing. I now regularly instruct at EMI (TRSA’s Executive Management Institute) and PMI (Production Management Institute), plus make regular appearances at Pepperdine University as a guest lecturer in strategic marketing.

I’m proud to be considered an expert in this segment, including sales, marketing, service, administration, production and procurement; and I’m excited to have been chosen to serve this well-read and important publication in our industry. I love this business!