WILMINGTON, MA — UniFirst Corporation was chosen as a recipient of the 2015 Leadership 500 Excellence Awards for outstanding achievements and innovation in leadership development and programs. The awards were presented at the LEAD2015 forum on March 31 in Dallas, Texas, and salute the world’s top leadership practitioners and programs, as well as highlight their roles in developing their most important asset—their people. Winners were selected based on the merits of the program and participant feedback surveys regarding the impact and quality of the program.
UniFirst was recognized for its UniFirst Management Institute (UMI) – a leadership development program that supports the career progression of the top high-potential leaders within the company. It provides targeted, individualized professional development through a blended training solution which includes a series of five week-long workshops offering forums with key leadership, business simulations, and competency assessments. Outside the workshops, participants utilize virtual meetings, action learning, job shadows, social networking, and reading assignments designed to accelerate participants to the next career level.
“We’re very proud to have been recognized for the work we’ve done that has made UMI a successful leadership development program,” said Tara Bodine, talent acquisition and development manager at UniFirst, who was on-hand to accept the award. “Our learning team spends a great deal of time adjusting and improving this program to ensure it continues to effectively cultivate, groom and prepare UniFirst employee Team Partners who show great promise as future leaders of our company.”
Overall, about one third of all UMI participants have been promoted from the positions they held during their UMI attendance, with several reaching executive leadership levels. UMI graduates are consistently the first candidates considered for new leadership positions as they become available at UniFirst.
Patrick O’Leary, a manager in UniFirst’s National Accounts, also attended the awards conference on behalf of UniFirst as a UMI success story. He started his career at UniFirst in 2003 as a national account executive, managing a portfolio of accounts that included some of UniFirst’s largest rental customers. O’Leary was selected to attend UMI in 2004 and, after graduating in 2005, was promoted to business development manager. A second promotion in 2008 named him manager of the Program Sales Division within National Accounts, where O’Leary oversees all sales and services responsibilities of UniFirst’s National Accounts Direct Sales operations. “I’m excited to be here as a testament to the value and importance of UniFirst’s UMI program,” he said. “I am certain that my career track wouldn’t have been as direct or as swift without the training and skills provided by UMI.”
For the past 30 years, Leadership Excellence, now a part of HR.com, has identified and recognized the top 500 leadership organizations for offering outstanding leadership programs and strategies, and for serving as award-winning examples, encouraging other organizations to create a program that suits the needs of their users.
Headquartered in Wilmington, Mass., UniFirst Corporation (NYSE: UNF) is a North American leader in the supply and servicing of uniform and workwear programs, as well as the delivery of facility service programs. Together with its subsidiaries, the company also provides first aid and safety products, and manages specialized garment programs for the cleanroom and nuclear industries. UniFirst manufactures its own branded workwear, protective clothing, and floorcare products, and with over 225 service locations, 275,000 customer locations, and 12,000 employee Team Partners, the company outfits more than 1.5 million workers each business day. For more information, contact UniFirst at 800.455.7654 or visit www.unifirst.com.
(Press release and photo from UniFirst Corporation.)