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EMI Marks Golden Anniversary in August

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A half century of dedication to developing textile services company leaders will be continued and celebrated Aug. 9-13 when TRSA convenes this year’s Executive Management Institute (EMI), 50 years to the month after the annual event began in Washington, DC.

EMI returns to the main campus of the University of Maryland (College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, Hyattsville, MD, in the DC suburbs), where it’s been held most often. The program provides participants with practical insight specific to the industry and its operations that can be immediately applied to motivate and inspire co-workers and employees to streamline production, improve productivity and increase profitability, including:

  • Developing effective leadership and communications skills
  • Managing innovation and change
  • Reducing conflict

The program’s founders were textile services association executive Bernard Ehrlich and industry owner/operator Gerald Stempler, both based in the Washington, DC, area. The first week-long session (begun Aug. 27, 1965) covered human relations, delegation of work, decision-making, motivation/morale and leadership quality. These topics are still covered at EMI, to which attendees return for a week in three subsequent years to complete the program.

Another parallel with the past: the first EMI took place at American University in Washington, DC, and was taught by the AU School of Business Administration faculty. AU finance department veteran H. Kent Baker, part of the EMI teaching corps since 1976, remains their recognized leader, instructing first-time participants.

Prior EMI attendees are welcome to join the celebration by attending the 50th Anniversary Celebration on Tuesday, Aug. 11, at Lucky Strike in downtown Washington. In addition to dazzling bowling lanes, the facility features 10 projection screens, tournament-quality billiard tables and a 50-foot bar. It’s a unique entertainment bar and restaurant with bowling wrapped in a stimulating atmosphere of art, music and an energetic crowd.

Organized social activity and informal after-hours contact between attendees is a hallmark of EMI’s value. In addition to praising the quality of instruction, participating companies hail the campus setting for facilitating lifelong professional networks. EMI is viewed as an investment in corporate stability, as sending managers to the program proves their supervisors’ interest in retaining them. Attendees reward their employers by pursuing relationships and establishing personal contacts that strengthen individual, company and industry performance.

At the same time, participants become more effective communicators with the teams they supervise. First-time 2014 attendee Edward Zelasko, GM of Morgan Services’ Chicago laundry, describes the program as “a good mix of videos, lectures, group projects and case studies. I am better prepared to analyze the responses of my direct reports, understand them and help them solve problems.”

EMI attracts attendees from all segments of the textile services industry, from independent companies’ owners, executives and next-generation leaders to chains’ headquarters (including HR/administration) and plant- and depot-based management (GMs, branch and department heads). TRSA member associates attend as well. Individuals who have achieved TRSA’s Certified Professional Laundry Manager (CPLM) certification receive 31 credit hours toward recertification by attending EMI.