Q3 2022

District Director Elections

Meet the New Directors 

DLI Districts Two & Six Election Results

The following drycleaning professionals were elected to the DLI Director post in their Districts. Both new Directors have extensive backgrounds in the industry. Ballots were mailed to members in each district.

District 2 Director: Norman Way, Puritan Cleaners, Richmond, Virginia
Represents DLI members in Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia

Why did you volunteer to serve on DLI’s Board of Directors? 

DLI has been such a good resource for our company that I thought it would great to give back however I could. And, by serving, I’ve been blessed to form new relations personally and professionally that I may not have been able to do if I were on the sidelines.

How has DLI membership impacted your business?

DLI has made an impact on our business through garment analysis, support during the pandemic, webinars and simply being a resource to call upon when making decisions. The training provided by Brian has impacted all of our plants as we try to have multiple team members learn from him each year. The training helps us have a better product but it also helps my team know they are valued as we invest in them.

What complications or supportive developments do you foresee for the next year or so?

While there has been a big shake-up during the past two years, I believe we will see even more as leases expire and owners retire. Now is the time for operators to invest in their team and company to ensure their new clients are just as wowed as their best existing clients.

What is your favorite part of being in this business?

I truly love our industry. Dry cleaning isn’t sexy to most people but our main focus is people and amazing customer service. We simply use dry cleaning to deliver our main product. Everyday has new opportunity with our 166 plus team members and all the clients we get to serve. And having the opportunity to help our team be their best brings me joy.

Please share something about you most people in the industry might not know.

I’m a pretty open book but some may not know I married my 5th grade sweetheart. We have four beautiful daughters, two awesome son-in-laws and four grandsons that I love more than life. I have the honor of serving at church, love hunting and four wheeling and enjoy playing guitar any chance I get. I self describe myself as ‘duct tape’, not the best at much but pretty versatile to be used in many applications.

 

District 6 Director: Danny Bahlman, Bahlman Cleaners, San Angelo, Texas
Represents DLI members in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas

Why did you volunteer to serve on DLI’s Board of Directors? 

Peer selection being one of the highest honors in any facet of life, I was initially encouraged to consider the opportunity by many of my professional peers, close friends, and family. Having recently completed my two-year term as SDA President during the industry’s worst two years in recent history, I recognized the opportunity to continue helping the industry and colleagues through a continued servant leadership role. Operating in a rural area of West Texas, I identified the need to bring representation of an underrepresented segment within the industry to help improve DLI and the industry alike.

How has DLI membership impacted your business?

Education, education, and education. DLI is the University of Professional Garment Care. The course offerings and certifications offered by DLI enable me as an owner/operator to enhance my ability to effectively operate the business and bring merit to our professional services. Employees also professionally mature through the utilization of the newly established video library, which benefits customers through better engagement and garment education. The education of customers empowers them with stronger purchasing power through awareness of fabrics and garment care, and supports stronger brand loyalty through improved service of garments and care for customers.

What complications or supportive developments do you foresee for the next year or so?

Like the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, Covid-19 was the catalyst of change within the Dry Cleaning and Laundry Industry; a catalyst which expedited an inevitable shift in consumer behaviors and expectations. As a result, the industry must find creative ways to evolve to meet these new, revolutionized requirements, and those owners who don’t evolve will likely face similar outcomes of Blockbuster, Nokia, and Kodak. As part of that evolution, the industry needs to implement support and developmental change in actionable outcomes to help drive both the known and unforeseen changes to maintain relevancy with today’s consumers.

What is your favorite part of being in this business?

As professionals, we provide a service on garments but also care for others (customers, employees, and colleagues). As a service provider, it is often easy to assume each customer is in need of garment maintenance, but through almost 60 years of experience I have realized that each individual customer’s needs are much more prevalent. By identifying and meeting (through the best of my abilities) each person’s needs, I find strength and gratification in helping to improve their daily life.

Please share something about you most people in the industry might not know.

Within the industry, very few know that Bahlman Cleaners was once a pre-wash facility for the domestic production of 10,000 pairs of Levi Strauss jeans per day. Through that role, I helped Levi Strauss develop their stone washed style jeans; the gritty feel in the pockets of those jeans is actually remnants of the tiny stones utilized in the wash cycle. Outside the industry, I have had the unique opportunities to sing the National Anthem at a professional baseball game, on national television (recorded in a newscast), and at a Joint Session of Texas Legislature; unfortunately, I can no longer cary a tune in a bucket. Age has its limitations.