WILMINGTON, Mass. () - Ronald Croatti, president and CEO of UniFirst Corporation, a leading provider of work uniforms and facility services to businesses throughout the U.S. and Canada, has been named the Gold winner in the Executive of the Year category for the Best in Biz Awards 2014, the highest level of distinction awarded. Best in Biz is the only independent business awards program judged by members of the press and industry analysts.
Award winners were determined based on scoring from an independent panel of 53 judges from highly recognized publications and analyst firms, including Adweek, American Banker, Inc., Boston.com, the Detroit Free Press, Entrepreneur magazine, PC Magazine, and Wired magazine. More than 550 nominations were received this year in a variety of company, executive, team, and product-focused categories. Nominations were fielded from public and private companies of all sizes, in virtually every major industry and region throughout the U.S. and Canada. Nominees were evaluated for their achievements during the 2013–2014 eligibility period as related to past performance and industry norms.
Croatti joined UniFirst in 1965 to learn the uniform rental business under the tutelage of his father and company founder, Aldo Croatti. Over the next 26 years he gained valuable, first-hand experience working in all aspects of the company, excelling in service, sales, operations, and management. Since Croatti became the company’s chief executive officer (1991), president (1995), and chairman of the Board (2002), UniFirst has more than quadrupled its annual revenues to nearly $1.4 billion (2014). Croatti is deeply involved with all aspects of the business, guiding daily decisions – from operations to purchasing, from manufacturing to marketing – and presides over all sales programs. Over the years, he has been the face of UniFirst, having been featured on the hit CBS reality TV series Undercover Boss. Croatti remains committed to meeting and exceeding the ever-changing needs of UniFirst’s diverse customer base, and his commitment shows. Recent customer surveys indicate that 97% of UniFirst customers are satisfied or very satisfied with their UniFirst service.
“I am incredibly humbled by this honor,” said Croatti upon receiving the news. “To be singularly recognized by this esteemed panel of judges means a lot to me, but more importantly to our company. The success of UniFirst can only be attributed to the support, hard work, and dedication of our 12,000 employee Team Partners. It’s on their behalf that I am accepting this award.”
Speaking to the caliber of entries in the Executive of the Year category, judge Iris Dorbian of Thomson Reuters’ peHUB said, “Although all clearly have excelled at generating untold revenue for their respective firms, what emerges from each entrant’s story is how deep and far they’ve been able to inspire their staff to innovate, take risks and reach for the stars.”
Best in Biz Awards 2014 honors were presented in multiple categories including Company of the Year, Fastest Growing Company of the Year, Most Innovative Company of the Year, Best Place to Work, Technology Department of the Year, Executive of the Year, Most Innovative Product of the Year, Best New Product of the Year, PR Campaign of the Year and Website of the Year.
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.
About Best in Biz Awards
Best in Biz Awards recognizes top companies, teams, executives and products for their business success as judged by established members of the press and industry analysts. Best in Biz Awards honors are conferred in two separate programs annually: North America, and International. Entries will begin to be accepted in the Best in Biz Awards 2015 International program in January 2015. Any organization worldwide may participate in the International program in any of the more than 60 company, department or team, executive and product categories. For more information about the entry process and categories in the International program, please visit: http://intl.bestinbizawards.com.