Operator member textile services launderers and associate member suppliers offered rave reviews of TRSA’s Annual Conference and gave especially high marks to the new Executive Exchange, sessions of scheduled one-on-one meetings between operators and associates to discuss future collaboration.
The event drew 225 textile services professionals, including more than 65 operators from nearly 50 companies. Participating companies in the Exchange numbered about 30 each from the operator and associate memberships.
Both were unaccustomed to the Exchange format, in which meetings took place simultaneously at tables in a large conference room that otherwise would be devoted to associates’ tabletop exhibits. Operators rotated between associates’ Exchange tables for two 2-hour sessions; in total, they could meet with 12 suppliers for 15 to 20 minutes each. “It exceeded my expectations. There were takeaways from every meeting,” observed Liz Remillong, strategic alliance VP. Such a short period of time for each meeting ensured highly focused and productive discussion, she noted.
From the associate side, Scott Delin, healthcare sales VP, viewed operators recognizing the importance of supply chain matters to increasing their competitiveness. “Everyone’s looking for that one edge. We’re here to provide that edge,” he said, adding that associates benefited from receiving new insights into operators’ emerging business needs.
The conference was also a milestone for TRSA leadership as its top volunteer office (chairman) changed hands as planned, with the completion of the term of Douglas Waldman. Elected to fill this post through 2018 was David Potack.
Keynote presentations highlighted the agenda. Each year the conference program covers industry developments and economy-wide business and human resources trends to fuel these organizations’ results-driven strategic planning. Keynoters this year included:
Capt. Mark Kelly, the combat pilot who became a Space Shuttle commander, shared his experiences as an aviator and family member that influenced his leadership style and philosophies of defining and achieving success.
Scott Stratten: author, UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging. He discussed online and offline methods to stay in front of target audiences, emphasizing listening to customers and validating their concerns as key selling activities.
Jason Young: author, Culturetopia: Ultimate High Performance Workplace. This Southwest Airlines veteran provided practical, easy-to-implement guidelines for a healthier and more productive and profitable organization culture.
Social events during the Sept. 19th-21st conference fostered and renewed professional relationships and took advantage of the conference’s picturesque setting near Phoenix; the Gila River Indian Community, owners of the host hotel, the Sheraton Grand Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa. Attendees were treated to hoop dancing and fire juggling displays at outdoor receptions and golfed on the hotel course.