OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. — Bernard Milch, the founder of Laundrylux, was recognized posthumously with the Coin Laundry Association’s Founder’s Award during a ceremony at the recent Clean Show in New Orleans. It was one of a number of awards CLA presented during the event.
The Founder’s Award recognizes individuals who have been pioneers in the industry and for their lifetime contributions to vended laundry.
Milch, who died in January at the age of 93, was a Holocaust survivor who came to the United States to start a new life. He later obtained the sales and marketing rights for a Swedish manufacturer’s Wascator equipment in the North American coin laundry and institutional markets. Electrolux purchased Wascator in 1973 and has credited Milch and his team for its growth in professional laundry in North America.
Laundrylux Executive Chairman Neal Milch accepted the award on his father’s behalf, saying its significance equals the Kingdom of Sweden’s 1980 knighting of his father with the Order of the North Star for his contribution to Swedish-American business.
“This is a well-deserved award for Bernie, who helped shape and influence the industry,” says John Evans, head of the Americas, Electrolux Professional. “He was certainly proud of the future generations of Milchs, who continue to work at Laundrylux, as well as the success they certainly will drive.”
Other CLA awards presented during the course of the Clean Show were:
- The LaundryCares Community Service Award — Paul Pettefer, and Daryl and Lisa Johnson.
- The CLA Sustainability Award, in recognition of leadership in areas of “green” best practices — Michael Fanger.
- The Outstanding Director Award, presented to a CLA Board member who has contributed extraordinary effort — Ted Ristaino.
- The Member of the Year Award, presented to a CLA member who has made the most significant contribution to the benefit of the association, its members and the industry at large — Michael Finkelstein.
- The Chair’s Award, presented to retired CLA Board chairmen for their service to the industry — Jim Whitmore and Ron Kelley.
- The Distinguished Service Award, presented to CLA Board members completing their final terms of service — Jeff Gardner, Howard Herman, Tom Rhodes, Michael Finkelstein, Chris Moreno, Karl Hinrichs and Jim Whitmore.
Established in 1960, the CLA is the largest trade association dedicated to the self-service laundry industry.
RELATED STORY: In Memoriam: Bernard Milch, Founder, Laundrylux, Jan. 7, 2019