TEXTILE/UNIFORM RENTAL: Roger Bourdeau is chief engineer for the Angelica Textile Services plant in Pawtucket, R.I. He's worked 22 years in the plant, having started as a production associate in 1983. He's completed many training programs and has a Rhode Island Stationary Operating Engineer license.
Being invited to participate in this forum is a pleasant surprise. How does a guy working in a small plant in a 100-year-old building get to “run with the big dogs”?
Could it be that producing a half-million pounds per week in a production space of roughly 25,000 square feet is something to be proud of? Or maybe it’s doing so with equipment that has an average age of 20 years – including an ironer built in 1938? It must be a combination of these things, all the while staying on schedule in cold, snowy New England.
From an engineering standpoint, the toughest thing is yet to come: modernization. Electronic data collection may be old hat for some but it’s a new thing to us. You see, we need to find a suitable place for all the new computer terminals necessary to bring our plant into a new “e-ra.” There’s no cookie-cutter way to do this. Plants come in every size and shape, which requires creative thinking.
Let’s see, we’ll slide this workstation over there, cut a new opening in the wall here, then…
Every move creates the space you may need in one spot while disrupting your traffic flow in another. It can be a daunting task.
How about wastewater treatment? Some municipalities haven’t been particularly stringent, but times are a-changin’. Towns are shifting the burden of pretreatment to industrial users rather than building bigger, more sophisticated treatment plants of their own.
So, if you’ve always dumped to sewer without another thought, the time is coming when healthcare and hospitality plants will be in line with our uniform and garment service counterparts who’ve watched their effluent for years.
And where are we going to put our pretreatment equipment?
Let’s see, we’ll relocate that washer over there, then…
CONSULTING: Gerard O'Neill is president and CEO of American Laundry Systems, which caters exclusively to commercial laundries in providing plant design, layout, mechanical and utility specifications, independent equipment recommendations, consulting services and project management.
My experience includes process engineering for marine and land-based industrial platforms. Before coming to this country, I achieved my mechanical engineering degree and held management positions in the shipyards of Ireland.
In founding American Laundry Systems, a division of E&O Mechanical, I recognized a need in the commercial laundries in the United States and Canada for a practical, common-sense approach to the short- and long-term planning and implementation of design upgrades.
This fulfills providing engineering services for independent owners who normally don’t staff engineers, and consulting/ installation services for corporations that seek outside assistance on project completion.
I’ve worked in all areas and facets of my company: equipment fitter/installer, foreman, project manager, project engineer and now president of the organization.
I have 20-plus years of experience in the laundry business, and I’m active in a number of industry associations and groups.
2006 has been an amazing year of growth and expansion for American Laundry Systems. We’ve added two new sales engineers to our staff, both of whom have substantial experience in the process-water and material- handling disciplines of the commercial laundry business.
Our company has undertaken a huge project in Ottawa, Canada, designing and building one of the largest and most technologically advanced laundry facilities in the world.
We’ve also completed an industrial plant in Alabama, a food-and-beverage linen plant in New York and a hotel linen plant in North Carolina, all while retrofitting three additional facilities and upgrading equipment in plants in California and our nation’s capital.
I look forward to bringing our vast in-house experience to the readers of American Laundry News in the year ahead. Both I and our “in-house Panel of Experts” are at your disposal.
EQUIPMENT DISTRIBUTION: Curtis McDowell is the general manager and head of OPL sales for Laundry City Equipment, a distributor of commercial and industrial laundry equipment. He has more than 17 years of industry experience, including service and sales.
I guess you could say that I cut my teeth in the laundry industry. My dad owned and operated an independent laundry equipment repair business for more than 50 years. I can remember going on service calls with him when I was old enough to help carry his tool box and knew the difference between a Phillips screwdriver and a crescent wrench. My oldest brother, Allen, still operates the family business.
I now have more than 17 years of experience in commercial and industrial laundry equipment distribution. My first 10 years were spent in the service department.
I attended every manufacturer’s service school available and became knowledgeable in the technical side of the industry. This experience, along with the belief in total customer satisfaction, has allowed me to excel in the sales department. I’ve also had the privilege and responsibility of being general manager the last two years.
Our company, Laundry City Equipment, is a member of Super Laundry, the equipment distribution network for Coinmach Service Corp., the largest provider of commercial laundry equipment in North America.
We started more than 35 years ago as a small company selling to and servicing small coin-operated laundries. With the addition of popular OPL equipment and the hiring of some extremely talented and productive personnel over the last 10 years, we’ve grown to become the largest full-service distribution company in the Midwest.
In addition to our fleet of service technicians, we also have our own in-house installation and rigging crew and manufacture our own steel base frames for washer installations.
Our knowledgeable sales staff has been instrumental in designing some of the largest industrial laundries in the state of Indiana.
Our most recent project was completed in French Lick, Ind. The French Lick Springs Resort & Casino, in conjunction with West Baden Springs Resort, has started production in its new laundry and will be producing approximately 200,000 pounds per week.
We also installed a full dry-cleaning valet and a conveyor system to handle the 1,200 employee uniforms. The two resorts total 850 rooms and offer two designer golf courses as well as a full health spa, three restaurants and a business conference center.
We also recently outfitted the Indianapolis Colts with a new laundry. Our company takes great pride in seeing our team run out on the field with their clean uniforms. Our installation crew was lucky enough to see star quarterback Peyton Manning, who asked how they were doing.
I guess the biggest issues with which we have dealt this year have been converting to a new computer system and moving from our old location. Being situated right next to Interstate 70 in Indianapolis, we are now truly located at the Crossroads of America.
Also returning to the Panel of Experts for 2007 are Richard Warren, Institutional Services Corp., Conway, Ark., representing Commercial Laundering; and Jim Mitchell, Ecolab, Eagan, Minn., representing Technical Support.
Warren has been general manager of a commercial laundry, primarily serving the healthcare industry, since 2000. His experience also includes OPL and industrial laundering, linen supply, and leather/fur cleaning.
Mitchell is Ecolab’s OPL lead in providing technical support to field associates. He edits Institutional Technical Digest, a monthly publication reaching 2,800 employees.