ITU AbsorbTech Inc.

#1 Business of the year

Top row: Dan Wankowski, Tom Westrom, Bill Jahns, Mike Subotich

ITU AbsorbTech Inc.


2700 S. 160th St., New Berlin
www.ituabsorbtech.com
Founded: 1930
Industry: Industrial laundry
Employees: 361
2015 annual revenue: Approximately $50 million

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New Berlin-based ITU AbsorbTech, one of the largest family-owned and -operated laundry service companies in the country, is the #1 Business of the Year in the 2016 Top 10 Businesses of the Year awards program, presented by the Waukesha County Business Alliance in partnership with BizTimes Media.

Throughout 85 years in the business, ITU has not only consistently provided high-quality services for its customers, but it also has evolved to provide more sustainable and waste-reducing products and services.

Top row: Dan Wankowski, Tom Westrom, Bill Jahns, Mike Subotich Bottom row:  Daniela Silva, Malinda Molkentin, David Leef, LeeAnne Fritsch, Mark Jahns 
Top row: Dan Wankowski, Tom Westrom, Bill Jahns, Mike Subotich
Bottom row: Daniela Silva, Malinda Molkentin, David Leef, LeeAnne Fritsch, Mark Jahns

“Our focus has always been on the customer,” said Jim Leef, president and chief executive officer of ITU AbsorbTech. “Since the foundation of our company, that has been the focus.”

Today’s laundry service industry is focused on cost cutting, waste prevention and sustainability.

ITU has always had an eye on innovation, and the continuous goal has been to use less energy, heat, water and product to accomplish the same outstanding level of service, Leef said.

The company has developed proprietary in-house wastewater treatment processes and new product lines to assist its customers with sustainability goals.

“We do things in our facilities that aren’t done by anybody else in the world,” Leef said. “We can help major customers of ours eliminate thousands of pounds of waste per year.”

In the early 1990s, ITU AbsorbTech created the SorbIts brand in response to a growing need for customer waste reduction.

The SorbIts family of textiles is a line of reusable absorbent products that help soak up industrial process fluids and oils. The product line includes floor mats, spill socks, inserts, towels and liners, among other things.

The products are used to soak up industrial liquids at a manufacturing facility and then ITU AbsorbTech picks up, launders and delivers clean SorbIts back to the company, Leef said.

“Customers have greater assurance,” he added. “Number one, they aren’t paying for the cost of disposable products and number two, they can trust that we’re going to recycle, not landfill, the fluids and oils we collect.”

Additionally, the product line emphasizes ITU’s commitment to safety and employee wellness, Leef said.

ITU AbsorbTech regularly issues waste reduction reports for clients so they can see the value of their commitment and calculate their cost savings.

In 2015, ITU AbsorbTech marked its sixth consecutive year of solid growth, and recorded the highest earnings it has ever had in its 85-year history.

The SorbIts product line continues to be a major factor in that growth, Leef said, but the commitment to customers and innovation is important, too.

The company currently operates 12 facilities across the country, in Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas.

“Our financial outlook is very rosy,” Leef said. “We continue to expand with our existing customers thanks to our focus on customer service, and the message of helping companies eliminate and reduce their waste streams has been received well on a broad scale.”

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