In Focus: John Shonfeld

About John Shonfeld: a career in laundry

John Shonfeld is the very deserving winner of the Lifetime Achievement LADAs 2020 award – The Laundry and Drycleaning Awards. John has been in the industry for over half a century. He is currently chairman of the Tibard Group and president of the NLG.

Laundry was in John’s blood from an early age. Born in York in 1945, he attended the Blue Coat School in Nottingham and then went on to Trent University obtaining a diploma in Management Studies. He always wanted to work in the laundry industry, and this came to fruition on leaving university. From trainee manager in Manchester and Sheffield to general manager in Lincoln and Portsmouth, he had the bug.

In 1979 he realised that the industry needed another player and he and his wife Sue launched Tibard from the fourth bedroom of their family home.

Today, 40 years later, Tibard still operates as a family business from Manchester providing nationwide laundry services and workwear and uniforms to organisations across the country. They employ over 150 people and produce 10,000 garments per week.

John and Sue celebrated 50 years of marriage in 2019. They have twin boys and four grandchildren. His interests are motor racing, bell ringing, shooting and flying light aircraft. He also considers himself somewhat of a historian and collector.

On his industry career

I started life as a trainee manager in Ashton under Lyne. I seem to have come full circle – I have ended up working in the same town I started out from! My career took me all over the country. It was when I was working at a hospital laundry in Lincoln where I met and married Sue.

I worked for over eight years at St John’s Hospital laundry in Lincoln which served 22 hospitals. There I implemented systems that had never been seen before, bringing cutting edge technology for production, and the first known operation to introduce a bonus system based on productivity. I then went on to work for larger plc’s such as Initial Rentokil and Sunlight Service Group.

Later I became plant manager in Havant and moved back up north as general manager before starting my own business in 1979. As a career, the laundry industry requires an educational standard and a lot of personality, enthusiasm and the ability to connect with people from many different backgrounds. With over 38,000 people employed the opportunities are boundless. Many of my friends have started with a basic experience and worked up through the system – some becoming directors of plc’s.

I am determined to continue with my educational ambition to bring a professional award to the cleaning industry. To date, working with our laundry industry we have delivered over 13,000 NVQ2s. 10 years of travelling scholarships and we are working on a professional award within our cleaning industry. As I look back on my career of the last 56 years I can honestly say it’s hard work but very rewarding, and you meet some really great friendly people who add to your knowledge and shared experiences.

On industry collaboration

I am a past chairman of the sector skills council for the laundry and drycleaning industry for Skillfast. During that time, I started the delivery of NVQs to the laundry sector including the devising, approval and delivery of their qualification as well as overseeing the awarding body. I was a commercial board member of the TSA and I am president of the National Laundry Group which I started in 1995.

The TSA continues to ensure that all our members are engaged in continuing high standards and my own organisation, the NLG, echoes continued technical collaboration for the benefit of all. I am also a Freeman of the City of London, a past Master of the Worshipful Company of Launderers, and Master of the Worshipful Company of Environmental Cleaners for the year 2020-21.

‏‏‎

‏‏‎ ‎‎

On industry developments

The industry has changed in so many ways over the years – from domestic to high volume commercial laundries, from washer/hydro to CBW, from soap and soda to complex built chemicals, from manual counting to RFID.

With Covid, and operations in most hospitality laundries working at less than 50 per cent, the future could be quite bleak if we don’t get back to normal soon. Most laundries will be short or are now running out of cash. The government needs to recognise the importance of our contribution to be part of the cleaning solution to safeguarding the nations’ health.

Laundries have continued to drive down energy use and have water saving devices, the Climate Change Levy has continued to ramp up the amount we have to reduce our usage of energy.

About John Shonfeld

John Shonfeld is the very deserving winner of the Lifetime Achievement LADAs 2020 award – The Laundry and Drycleaning Awards. John has been in the industry for over half a century. He is currently chairman of the Tibard Group and president of the NLG.

Laundry was in John’s blood from an early age. Born in York in 1945, he attended the Blue Coat School in Nottingham and then went on to Trent University obtaining a diploma in Management Studies. He always wanted to work in the laundry industry, and this came to fruition on leaving university. From trainee manager in Manchester and Sheffield to general manager in Lincoln and Portsmouth, he had the bug.

In 1979 he realised that the industry needed another player and he and his wife Sue launched Tibard from the fourth bedroom of their family home.

Today, 40 years later, Tibard still operates as a family business from Manchester providing nationwide laundry services and workwear and uniforms to organisations across the country. They employ over 150 people and produce 10,000 garments per week.

John and Sue celebrated 50 years of marriage in 2019. They have twin boys and four grandchildren. His interests are motor racing, bell ringing, shooting and flying light aircraft. He also considers himself somewhat of a historian and collector.

On his industry career

I started life as a trainee manager in Ashton under Lyne. I seem to have come full circle – I have ended up working in the same town I started out from! My career took me all over the country. It was when I was working at a hospital laundry in Lincoln where I met and married Sue.

I worked for over eight years at St John’s Hospital laundry in Lincoln which served 22 hospitals. There I implemented systems that had never been seen before, bringing cutting edge technology for production, and the first known operation to introduce a bonus system based on productivity. I then went on to work for larger plc’s such as Initial Rentokil and Sunlight Service Group.

Later I became plant manager in Havant and moved back up north as general manager before starting my own business in 1979. As a career, the laundry industry requires an educational standard and a lot of personality, enthusiasm and the ability to connect with people from many different backgrounds. With over 38,000 people employed the opportunities are boundless. Many of my friends have started with a basic experience and worked up through the system – some becoming directors of plc’s.

I am determined to continue with my educational ambition to bring a professional award to the cleaning industry. To date, working with our laundry industry we have delivered over 13,000 NVQ2s. 10 years of travelling scholarships and we are working on a professional award within our cleaning industry. As I look back on my career of the last 56 years I can honestly say it’s hard work but very rewarding, and you meet some really great friendly people who add to your knowledge and shared experiences.

On industry collaboration

I am a past chairman of the sector skills council for the laundry and drycleaning industry for Skillfast. During that time, I started the delivery of NVQs to the laundry sector including the devising, approval and delivery of their qualification as well as overseeing the awarding body. I was a commercial board member of the TSA and I am president of the National Laundry Group which I started in 1995.

The TSA continues to ensure that all our members are engaged in continuing high standards and my own organisation, the NLG, echoes continued technical collaboration for the benefit of all. I am also a Freeman of the City of London, a past Master of the Worshipful Company of Launderers, and Master of the Worshipful Company of Environmental Cleaners for the year 2020-21.

On industry developments

The industry has changed in so many ways over the years – from domestic to high volume commercial laundries, from washer/hydro to CBW, from soap and soda to complex built chemicals, from manual counting to RFID.

With Covid, and operations in most hospitality laundries working at less than 50 per cent, the future could be quite bleak if we don’t get back to normal soon. Most laundries will be short or are now running out of cash. The government needs to recognise the importance of our contribution to be part of the cleaning solution to safeguarding the nations’ health.

Laundries have continued to drive down energy use and have water saving devices, the Climate Change Levy has continued to ramp up the amount we have to reduce our usage of energy.

All news articles

Want to read more?

There are lots of ways to view articles from Laundry & Cleaning Today

Prefer to subscribe and receive a printed copy of Laundry & Cleaning Today? Click here

If you have a story to share or a general enquiry, call 0118 901 4471 or email info@laundryandcleaningtoday.co.uk

Sponsored