The Coin Laundry Association has announced the recipients of its 2019 Industry Awards. The winners were recognized at Clean 2019, at a special cocktail reception on Saturday, June 22, at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.

This year’s honorees are:

The Chair’s Award

Jim Whitmore and Ron Kelley

Both recently retired CLA Board chairmen were honored for their years of selfless dedication and incredible service to the association and the industry in general.

The Distinguished Service Award

  • Jeff Gardner
  • Howard Herman
  • Tom Rhodes
  • Michael Finkelstein
  • Chris Moreno
  • Karl Hinrichs
  • Jim Whitmore

This award is presented to CLA Board members completing their final terms of service on the Board during the past two years.

The Founder’s Award

Bernard Milch

One of the most prestigious awards presented by the CLA, the Founder’s Award is meant to recognize an individual’s lifetime contributions to the vended laundry industry. This award is reserved for individuals who are true pioneers in the business and are directly responsible for the ongoing growth of the industry. Mr. Milch was an industry icon who passed away this past January. There aren’t many people who rightly can be referred to as industry legends, but Bernard Milch definitely was one of them. His innovative thinking and entrepreneurial drive pushed the vended laundry concept into the modern era. Bernie was the founder of Laundrylux and is credited with bringing the frontload washer to the vended laundry industry in the U.S. Over the course of his career, he helped thousands of laundry owners reach their entrepreneurial goals and mentored hundreds of industry professionals to a successful career path in the laundry business. Laundrylux Executive Chairman Neal Milch accepted the award on his father’s behalf.

Earlier in the week during Clean 2019, the CLA also honored additional industry leaders:

The CLA Sustainability Award

Michael Fanger of Eastern Funding

This honor is awarded in recognition of leadership in the areas of green best practices; forward-thinking, innovative and creative approaches to sustainability; and demonstrated commitment to the sustainability of our industry. Mr. Fanger has channeled his passion for sustainable practices in vended laundry into directly supporting key initiatives on behalf of the CLA’s Green Committee. Michael understands that the vended laundry industry has a great story to tell when it comes to conserving our natural resources and washing more laundry using less utilities than ever before.

The Outstanding Director Award

Ted Ristaino

This award is presented to a member of the CLA Board of Directors who has contributed an extraordinary effort and “gone the extra mile” in his or her service on the CLA Board. Mr. Ristaino has exemplified the spirit of service for which CLA volunteers are well known From more than 30 years of service to his local CLA chapter in New England to a full slate of committee assignments on the current CLA Board, Ted is always quick to volunteer – and deliver – with high-quality work that keeps the focus on what’s best for the vended laundry industry.

The Member of the Year Award

Michael Finkelstein

This award is presented to the single CLA member who has made the most significant contribution during the current year to the benefit of CLA, its members and the industry at-large. Mr. Finkelstein – who got started in this industry by purchasing the largest laundromat chain in the U.S. – just wrapped up six years of service on the CLA Board. During those years, Michael provided fuel to such diverse projects as providing stakeholder input to the U.S. Mint on critical currency issues and serving on the task force focused on creating the CLA’s Connect LIVE meetings program. In addition, he has provided critical committee leadership for the LaundryCares Foundation, as well as many other association initiatives. Simply put, he has put his heart and soul into the CLA and the vended laundry business.

The Community Service Award

Paul Pettefer and Daryl & Lisa Johnson

These awards were presented to three individuals who have made it their mission to give back to the communities and neighborhoods in which they serve.

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