National Clothesline
Although attendance was lighter than usual, networking, knowledge sharing and social
interaction at
TCATA’s annual management conference was abundant. In fact, several attendees
said that the reduced attendance made for increased opportunities to get to know other
members in a more intimate setting.
The Wyndham Rio Mar Resort in Puerto Rico was the scene for the May 2-5 conference and
despite Puerto Rico’s struggles to recover from last year’s devastating hurricane, the conference
went off without a hitch.
Keynote speaker Herb Meyer, a former high ranking official at the CIA, provided his
perspective on global economic and political developments, noting that there is much good news
— though often unreported — around the world.
Meyer was vice chair of the CIA’s National Intelligence Council under President Reagan. It was
the second time around for Meyer with TCATA; he also spoke at the 2010 conference.
Meyer is often credited with being the first senior U.S. government official to forecast the
collapse of the Soviet Union, a forecast for which he later was awarded the U.S. National
Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, which is the intelligence community’s highest honor
He discussed a variety of worldwide trends, including demographic changes, the balance of
political and economic power, terrorism and other issues that affect everyone who runs a
A key takeaway for all businesses is that there are growing numbers of people around the
world emerging from poverty, creating an expanding market for all kinds of products and
services. He cited the emergence and exponential growth of a global middle class which means
that each year the total customer base for all products and services grows by 50 million to 100
million new customers.
Also speaking was Gene Marks of the Marks Group, a company that provides technology and
consulting services to small and medium sized businesses.
Marks updated attendees on political, economic, tech and management trends that will affect
businesses in the coming years, many because of the recent tax bill.
A third speaker, Bill Graham of Graham Communications, discussed tangible ways to increase
your personal likability, resulting in better business and personal relationships. A key to likability
and communication, he believes, is using an emotional connection through telling a good story.
Conference attendees also enjoyed a Thursday dinner party at the Siesta Alegre, a beautiful
and unique house located in the El Yunque Rain Forest. Spouses and guests got to know each
other during a luncheon in which they learned how to make some local drinks.
The conference ended with Saturday night’s closing
dinner in which Gerald Henke, Intex Distributing, was
honored as he retired as TCATA president. Leslie
Schaeffer of National Clothesline was installed as the
new president of the association.
Schaeffer, vice president of National Clothesline
based near Philadelphia, will serve a two-year term as
She has been active in TCATA for many years, having
served on annual conference committees, as chair of
both the site selection and membership committees,
and as a board member.
A strong believer in the value of trade associations,
she plans to continue the work that TCATA has been
doing for years, particularly protecting members’
interest in the legislative and regulatory area.
Schaeffer is not only the first female president of
TCATA she is also the first to serve from the “related
trades” category, meaning she is the first president who is not a manufacturer or distributor.
She has worked in various positions at National Clothesline since the 1980s, a business started
by her parents in 1959, eventually working her way up to vice president. She also manages
several regional drycleaning trade shows.
John Silverman of Tschopp Supply in Buffalo, NY, assumed the post of treasurer.  He has been
active in TCATA over the years, including serving currently on the membership committee.
Also elected as officers were Peter Limoncelli of Yankee Laundry Equipment, vice president of
the Distribution Division; Michael Leeming of Parker Boiler, vice president of the Machinery
Manufacturers Division; and Gene Williams of American Laundry Products, vice president of
Supply Manufacturers Division.
Newly elected board members are Mack Magnus of M & B Hangers, Matt Lamons of Loomis
Brothers Equipment Company, and Kelly Kelleher of Kelleher Equipment.
Reelected board members include Bill Brooks of Alliance Laundry Systems-UniMac, Bill
Schnitzer of Quality Fabricators, Orville Johnson of FabriClean Supply, and Charlie Thompson of
American Trade Magazines.
The next TCATA conference will be July 31-August 3 at Ojai Valley Inn & Spa in Ojai, CA.
For information on the association, call (813) 348-0075 or visit its website, www.tcata.org.

An intimate gathering for TCATA