Originally posted – Dec issue/2012

As I write this column in late October, it seems to be more of a time of positive activity than a time of reflection.

I just recently returned from the Coin Laundry Association’s Excellence in Laundry Conference in Palm Springs. And, by all accounts, this was a successful, well-rounded meeting with professional speakers, as well as Board members and staff contributing. Ultimately, the general membership derived the greatest benefit from attending this conference, thanks to the outstanding networking opportunities it provided. In fact, everyone I spoke with touted this as the best conference ever for the CLA – and I wholeheartedly agree.

As I work to get my laundries back to normal after my absence at the conference, I am preparing to fly to Dubuque, Iowa, for Laundry Fest 2012 (held October 26-28). The CLA is in the process of helping revitalize some of its affiliate organizations across the country. It is the association’s goal to ensure that all of its affiliates are performing at their highest potential to serve their member – and Laundry Fest is a perfect example of what a dynamic group of CLA affiliates with positive-thinking volunteer leaders can achieve. I anticipate that all of the affiliates will be more productive in the coming months, as the nation recovers from the recent economic downturn.

Looking back, the CLA made a commitment to make every affiliate effective. The Board also has authorized CLA President and CEO Brian Wallace to roll out a new tiered dues structure to address the needs of its membership. These two initiatives are now being implemented. And, as a result, membership and revenue are improving, which will enable the association to implement even more programs to benefit its members.

Several years ago, the CLA contracted with a public relations firm to improve the image of our industry. It was very effective in producing positive press for the industry, as well as generating exposure via television ads for various products. Unfortunately, the Board – which takes its fiduciary responsibility to the membership very seriously – was forced to scale back this program. However, it is my intention to propose at our November board meeting that a public relations program be reinitiated and funded to benefit the self-service laundry industry.

Clearly, as you read this column, many of the things I have mentioned will have occurred. The Presidential election will be behind us – and this industry and nation will move forward in a positive manner. Regardless of the results, we live in the greatest nation on earth, and I trust the American people will make the right decision.

In closing, I would like to express my gratitude to the CLA Board and membership for allowing me to serve as chairman of this great organization. As chairman, I worked with the Board to set policy and to allow Brian and CLA Executive Vice President Michael Sokolowski to manage the CLA – and they are doing a great job.

Brian and his staff have worked tirelessly to improve the state of our industry during some very trying times. Bob Nieman, the editor of PlanetLaundry, has done a fantastic job with the magazine, as well as contributing to the success of the electronic media at the CLA. Bob has produced some of the best issues ever of PlanetLaundry this year, and I am very grateful for his dedicated service to our industry.

During my years on the CLA Board, I have made an effort to meet as many members as possible. I can honestly say that I have never met a member who I did not respect and learn something from. This is an industry comprised of truly wonderful people dedicated to improving the coin laundry business, as the membership well knows.

If you are not yet a member of the CLA, I urge you to join and become part of a great organization.

God bless America!

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