Highest Industry Accolade to Honor UniFirst’s Croatti at September Conference
August 30, 2017—TRSA will bestow the linen, uniform and facility services industry’s highest honor posthumously on Ronald D. Croatti of UniFirst Corp., presenting company representatives with the association’s 2017 TRSA Operator Lifetime Achievement Award Sept. 13 at the Annual Conference in Miami.
Under Croatti, who became the company’s CEO in 1991, UniFirst more than quintupled its annual revenues to $1.5 billion. He joined the Wilmington, Mass.-based company in 1965 under the tutelage of his father and UniFirst founder, Aldo Croatti, and worked in virtually all areas of the company, excelling in service, sales, operations and management before being named senior executive in 1986.
The Croatti recognition leads the conference’s agenda of accolades also highlighted by the presentation of association’s highest award for an Associate (industry supplier) member: the TRSA Maglin/Biggie Lifetime Achievement Award, to James W. Pellerin, president of Pellerin Milnor Corp., Kenner, La. In addition, these TRSA awards for companies will be presented:
Above and Beyond Service: Up to Date Laundry Inc., Baltimore. In January 2016, Baltimore was hit with a 29-inch blizzard that lasted nearly three days and effectively shut down the entire region. Up to Date’s snow-emergency plan ensured continued service to healthcare customers. The company housed more than 70 employees in a nearby hotel as several managers with four-wheel drive vehicles transported them back and forth to the laundry.
Clean Green Innovation Award: Huebsch Services, Eau Claire, Wis. In November 2016, Huebsch Services installed a 100kw solar energy system to provide more than a third of the energy needs for the company’s facility. This allows Huebsch to co-generate energy and contribute to overall sustainability. To date, more than 40,000 kWh has been produced.
Company Community Service
- AmeriPride Services Inc., Minnetonka, Minn. For the past three years, AmeriPride has organized and executed an annual “Day of Service” involving employees at all branches and other company locations. More than 3,100 employees have donated nearly 15,000 volunteer hours and AmeriPride has made more than $1.7 million in monetary and product donations. Employees’ efforts have included harvesting vegetables at a community garden, building a home for Habitat for Humanity and feeding the hungry at homeless shelters and food banks.
- Ecolab Inc., St. Paul, Minn. Through the company’s community relations department, Ecolab employees focus on education and community partnerships, including mentoring students, participating in collection drives, planting gardens and trees, building homes and facilitating science education. In 2016, Ecolab contributed more than $11 million to U.S. communities through grants, corporate giving, in-kind donations and volunteerism.
- Wildman Business Group, Warsaw, Ind. The launderer empowers employees to serve as court-appointed special advocates and provide meals and supplies to women’s and homeless shelters and shut-ins. The company also supports missions worldwide, having sent employees and their family members to Honduras, Spain, Papua New Guinea and the Dominican Republic.
Croatti’s belief in networking and information-sharing with the industry was reflected in UniFirst executives’ involvement in TRSA leadership and hosting of plant tours for TRSA professional development events such as the Production Summit and Production Management Institute (PMI). His association positions included Board of Directors member and Marketing Committee chairman.
Under Croatti’s leadership, UniFirst received much national recognition, such as Forbes magazine’s “Platinum 400-Best Companies in America,” Apparel magazine’s “America’s Top 50 Apparel Companies” and Selling Power magazine’s “Top 50 Best Companies to Sell For.” Croatti was named Executive of the Year by the Best in Biz Awards and was featured in 2011 on CBS-TV’s hit reality show “Undercover Boss.”
Pellerin’s TRSA leadership activities have included two terms on the Board of Directors and serving as Associate Member Executive Committee chairman. He has participated in the Young President’s Organization and American Society of Engineers. In 1990, he received a Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Arthritis Foundation. He also serves on several outside boards, including Hiberia Bank (New Orleans) and the National Museum of Naval Air, Pensacola, Fla.
He joined Pellerin Milnor 1974 as a project engineer, rising to president and CEO in 1983. The company has been recognized as a leading equipment exporter through the U.S. Commerce Department’s “E” and “E Star” awards. Among Pellerin Milnor’s patents are designs for its CBW batch washer design, a centrifugal extractor with a balancing system and machinery for treating textiles.