November 24th, 2021

Steve Tinker (center) presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by TRSA Chair Noël Hammer Richardson (left) and TRSA President and CEO Joseph Ricci (right).

Steve Tinker, Gurtler’s Sr. Vice President of Research & Development and Marketing was recognized at the Textile Rental Services Association (TRSA) annual conference held in Carlsbad, CA last month. The TRSA Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest honor bestowed upon a Supplier Partner. It recognizes those who have served TRSA over their careers in ways that have improved the association and industry.

At the Awards Dinner, TRSA Chair Noël Hammer Richardson reviewed Steve’s contributions to TRSA and the industry over his career: “Steve Tinker is receiving the TRSA Maglin-Biggie Lifetime Achievement Award on the strength of 50 years’ experience in our industry as a product development scientist and marketing executive. One of those years—1998—stands out as pivotal to his industry leadership. That’s when his magazine article, “Do We Need Standards,” was awarded the 1998 Best Article of the Year by TRSA. This article laid out the rationale for the development of laundry standards that have become so important today to our industry for serving hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

“This placed Steve at the forefront of uniting laundry professionals, healthcare administrators, end-users and government officials to collaborate on best practices for processing healthcare textiles. These practices would become the foundation of TRSA’s creation of the HLAC and Hygienically Clean certifications. Steve worked to ensure standards would be developed by a panel of industry experts with input from these other stakeholders. The standards would provide for an inspection and accreditation process for laundries to be recognized for compliance on a voluntary basis.

“Steve was a founding member of TRSA’s Healthcare Committee and continues to serve on this committee, supporting the annual TRSA Healthcare Conference. In 2012-2014, he chaired the TRSA Education Committee. Over the years Steve has been a key presenter at industry seminars such as the TRSA Healthcare Conference. He has published numerous articles on a wide variety of laundering technology in industry publications over the years, such as Textile Services, Industrial Launderer, Laundry Today and American Laundry News. Another of his Textile Services articles, “Primer: Healthcare Laundering Considerations,” was an important guide to key practices that healthcare launderers need to follow.

“Steve launched his career in 1970 as a product development scientist at Ecolab in St. Paul, rising to marketing director of the Textile Care division. In 2002, he joined Gurtler Industries of South Holland, Illinois as vice president of research and development and is currently senior VP for R&D and marketing.

“His management and development of marketing and sales support platforms has created Gurtler’s website, sales support literature, advertising campaigns, trade show presentations and publicity. Gurtler’s advertising program, under Steve’s direction, earned recognition in 2013 from Textile Services as the most effective and memorable.

“In R&D, Steve and his team were responsible for Gurtler’s ISO 9001 certification for quality management. They introduced products for the healthcare and industrial markets, respectively, as well as an environmentally responsible chemistry line that helps laundry operations become more energy efficient, conserve resources and have a lower environmental impact. The team also developed patented technology to address stains from the skin sanitizer Hibiclens or CHG, chlorhexidine gluconate. Use of this prewash eliminates the development of permanently brown-stained textiles, allowing laundries to safely use chlorine bleach as an anti-microbial agent.

“Steve’s industry credits also include his service to HLAC and ARTA. Whether he works on behalf of all of us, develops or improves products, assures quality, or supports field technical service, Steve’s can-do attitude is infectious.”