Industry ‘Green Movement’ Leader Passes Away

Posted September 24, 2016 at 10:17 pm

New Hampshire’s Alan Cobb, a leader of the industry’s cooperation with federal EPA at the millennium that laid the groundwork for subsequent promotion of textile services sustainability, died peacefully on Sept. 19 after a brief illness.

Cobb, 84, was Uniform and Textile Service Association (UTSA, blended with TRSA in 2008) chairman from 1999-2000 and vice chairman in 1997-’98. UTSA was dedicated to the industrial laundry segment of the industry, which EPA had considered subjecting to additional wastewater regulation, especially because of its processing of textile products soiled with petroleum and solvents. TRSA, with substantial representation of industrial product launderers in its membership, was involved in the EPA advocacy as well.

The owner and CEO of Alltex Uniform Rental Service, Manchester, NH, Cobb collaborated with then TRSA chairs Bob Spence (Faultless Laundry Co., Kansas City, MO) and Tim Williams (Crown Linen Service, Mexico, MO) to oversee the founding of the Laundry Environmental Stewardship Program (LaundryESP) under EPA’s auspices.

LaundryESP set TRSA- and UTSA-membershipwide goals for reducing water and energy consumption per pound in laundering by 10% from 1997 to 2002. Both goals were achieved, with water use declining 12%. These metrics have since been widely accepted as improvement measures in laundry efficiency and are key prerequisites for certification of a laundry company in TRSA’s Clean Green program.

Cobb’s involvement in UTSA spanned six decades, dating back to his employment in his family’s business, Tri-State Industrial Laundries, Utica, NY, which he joined in the 1950s. Involved first in teaching seminars and serving on committees, he became the association’s treasurer in 1988. In 1994, he won the Gus Eggerling Award, the association’s highest honor for operator member launderer service. He sold Alltex to G&K Services (now part of Cintas Corp.) in 2008.

Survivors include his wife of 63 years, Patricia; four children; and five grandchildren. Memorial donations may be made to Families in Transition, 122 Market St., Manchester, NH 03101;