Flagship Professional Development Program Shifts to Online Learning Environment Amid Pandemic.
Despite the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, a total of 16 employee Team Partners from various UniFirst locations throughout North America recently graduated from the company’s award-winning, flagship professional development program called the UniFirst Management Institute (UMI).
Just as the nation’s educators and students were forced to predominantly move to online remote learning, so did this year’s UMI program. The 16 participants were required to complete the remainder of the nine-month program entirely online, complete with a video conference “graduation ceremony.” UMI was created to support the career progression of high-potential field managers and general managers through a series of workshops offering forums with key leadership, business simulations, industry management education, and competency assessments. The program, led by UniFirst’s Christine Tello-Lorenz, has won several awards, including a Leadership 500 Excellence Award for outstanding achievements and innovation in leadership development and programs. Since UMI’s inception more than 30 years ago, several participants ultimately received promotions following completion of UMI, with several reaching executive leadership levels.
UMI requires rigorous training in business acumen, performance improvement tools, and, of course, leadership. Specific areas of focus include strategy, operations, finance, and adaptive leadership. This year’s graduates not only shifted from a classroom to a virtual learning environment, but they also excelled, making measurable impact to UniFirst’s current business through action learning. Several operational improvements have been made over the years as a result of the UMI input.
This year’s program was understandably different than previous iterations, as participants had to shift from the classroom to a virtual learning environment. “Congratulations to all the 2020 graduates of the UMI program on this great accomplishment,” said Steven Sintros, UniFirst President and CEO. “It took a special kind of fortitude and determination for this graduating class to succeed while working through the challenges of the pandemic. And, for that, I’m especially proud. Best wishes to all our graduates as you move forward to the next steps in your journey with our company.“
The following 16 UniFirst employees proudly graduated from the 2020 UMI program.
Pictured (L to R): Jason Brunson, GM, Dothan, AL; Jake Donohue, RSM, Syracuse, NY ; David Flanery, GM, Fort Worth, TX; Carlton Gainey, BM, Lynchburg, VA; Brian Goodman, PM, Lebanon, NH; Sarah Greer, SM, Charleston, SC; Jack Johnson, BM, Clarksville, TN; Chris Kantargis, RPM, Boston, MA; Vicki Mansell, BM, Regina, SK; Josh Moresi, BM, Oakland, CA; David Outing, GM, Richmond, VA; Bryan Parker, SM, Columbus, OH; Bob Powell, MSM, Sumter, SC; Marty Villareal, BM, Kerrville, TX; Dan Warner, BM, Charlotte, NC – Facility Service; Kurt Wolf, BM, Fresno, CA.
Take a moment to congratulate these UMI graduates in the blog comments below.