Wash, rinse, repeat!

By Stephanie Millian 09/22/2021
Wash, rinse, repeat!

Shane Woodson knows his laundry. And he knows how to help SourceAmerica’s network of nonprofit agencies figure out what they need to succeed in this critical line of business. 

Woodson also has a disability. You may not recognize it when you first talk with him, but eventually, his speech impediment becomes apparent. “My stutter is a part of me and is a big reason why I have spent my career helping to support the employment of people with disabilities. I know what it’s like to live and work with a disability, and it can be difficult.” 

As a SourceAmerica® subject matter expert, Woodson spends his days meeting with nonprofits, federal customers and other stakeholders who have an interest in laundry services. His 40 years of experience brings an industry-wide “seal of approval” wherever he goes. According to Woodson, the laundry service business model is unique. “It isn’t a ‘money maker’ - it’s a ‘sustainer.’ Think of laundry as the world’s largest recycling program!” 

Woodson’s expertise is crucial to SourceAmerica’s more than 30 nonprofits who currently provide laundry services to commercial customers, the U.S. Navy, U.S. Amy, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Homeland Security. By sharing best practices and upcoming trends with decision-makers across the government, his insight is valuable to federal customers. “It may seem like a simple concept to many, but it’s truly a complex area to be working in,” he said.  

Woodson believes laundry has a certain feel to it. “It’s important to do whatever you can as a provider to make sure the laundry feels good to the touch. It has to be soft yet firm.” 

In addition to his knowledge of the physical aspects of laundry, Woodson is also a contracting and pricing expert. “I help nonprofits and customers alike understand federal guidelines and pricing on AbilityOne® contracts. This is important because the bottom line is to help create and maintain job opportunities for people with disabilities. And because of my own disability, that is something that is very dear to my heart.” 

Woodson also provides support to NPAs for non-federal opportunities. “I helped them understand that they had to find and win commercial work. Our nonprofits were doing all of their laundry work in 2005 on AbilityOne contracts. Today, the majority of this work is commercial in nature.” This was an important shift for nonprofits because hotel and other commercial lodging-based business are the largest customer in the industry. However, “Business has grown on all sides, so it’s good to see AbilityOne opportunities thriving in this space alongside the commercial work.” 

SourceAmerica nonprofits are producing 42 million pounds of laundry each year on AbilityOne contracts. That number grows to 200 million pounds when commercial work is factored in. 

“That’s a lot of rinse cycles! But it’s a service that supports so many people in so many different ways and I couldn’t be prouder of how far I’ve come in my career,” said Woodson.  

Laundry service, of course, is more than rinse cycles. “It’s not easy…so much goes into it from delivery to chemicals to physical work. It’s a science of knowing how to manage all of those things and having a successful operation,” Woodson said. “You have to understand what the customer really wants and what their levels of expectations are from the onset. If you grasp those, everyone will be happy.” 

Learn more about SourceAmerica’s capabilities to support laundry services