CEO of Emerald Textiles, Tom Gildred, Nominated for 2014 Entreprenuer of The Year

Tom Gildred, CEO of Emerald Textiles, Nominated in 2014 Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards

We are very excited to announce and share that our very own CEO, Tom Gildred, was nominated by Ernst & Young as a top contender for the award for 2014 Entreprenuer of the Year.  The follow article has appeared on multiple sources on the web on behalf of PRweb.

Here is the full story as distributed as a press release.

“Textiles is pleased to announced that its CEO, Tom Gildred, has been nominated in the 2014 Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur Of The Year® awards. Ernst & Youngs Entrepreneur Of The Year award is the countrys most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The award encourages entrepreneurial activity and recognizes leaders and visionaries who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 140 cities in 50 countries. Judging is conducted by an independent panel of judges.

Tom Gildred

In 2012, Gildred won Entrepreneur Of The Year at the regional level and went on to become one of the national finalists that year. He has again been nominated at the national level in 2014. The Entrepreneur Of The Year awards gala is the culminating event of the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum® and is held in Palm Springs, California. The awards gala and announcement of the winners will take place in November and will be hosted by Seth Myers of Saturday Night Live fame…. “

Read the full story, “Tom Gildred Nominated for Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014 here.”

Tom Gildred Named Entrepreneur of the Year

From beginning in an empty warehouse to operational within six months, Emerald Textiles is Southern California’s healthcare laundry service of choice.  Emerald has served the area’s hospitals and clinics with healthcare linen services for nearly four years and serves more than 80% of hospital beds in San Diego alone.  Here’s more about how how the company’s CEO, Tom Gildred, was honored by Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.

Tom Gildred

The award recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and success in areas of innovation and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. The winners in this stage are entered into a national awards program.

Launched two years ago, Emerald operates a highly efficient and environmentally responsible laundry service aimed at commercial customers that now serves about 70 percent of the hospital beds in San Diego, and delivers about 1 million pieces of laundry each week, the company said.

Emerald Textiles also received the SDG&E Showcase Award and the Savings by Design Award for its water and energy saving systems.

Read the story on the San Diego Business Journal online.

Tom Gildred, Ernst &Young’s ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ is Passionate about Making a Difference

Kathy Day, for The Rancho Santa Fe Review, wrote this article about Tom Gildred being named one of Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneurs of the Year. Following this news story, Tom was named a finalist in the National Entrepreneur of the Year awards and is currently up for consideration for the nationwide award. In addition to running successful business, Tom has a passion for making a difference in his community.

Titled: Tom Gildred, Entrepreneur of the Year

For the last five years or so, RSF’s Tom Gildred has been focusing on making a difference in San Diego. It’s something that runs in his family. With a successful business in FMT Consultants and his latest project – Emerald Textiles – whirring along, he has put his time into serving as president of the San Diego Museum of Art, working with Irwin Jacobs on the Plaza de Panama proposal for Balboa Park and serving on the board for Sharp Healthcare.
It was in the latter role that he learned a lot about the business of running a hospital and became particularly interested in the impact that hospital linens have on patients and the staff who risk exposure to infectious diseases.
With a background as an entrepreneur, his interest was piqued, and two years ago he began looking into the healthcare linen business and didn’t like what he saw – heavy use of water, energy and chemicals; old, inefficient equipment, and disregard for health regulations designed to guard against infection. That was enough to inspire him to see what he could do.

 

“When you are in a weakened state, you want to know the linens come from a place that’s clean and compliant,” Gildred said. “You wouldn’t serve food out of a dirty kitchen.”
They started “with a blank piece of paper in March 2010 – no customers, no facility,” he recalled. “It’s been quite a ride.”
That ride led Emerald Textiles to the recent honor of being named one of Ernst & Young’s “2012 Entrepreneurs of the Year.” (Coincidentally, Gildred started his business career at Ernst & Young, although his first job was a summer of picking up trash at SeaWorld.)
Along the way to opening the laundry in San Diego, with a total project cost of $20 million, Gildred identified partners like another well-known San Diegan, Bob Payne and his family.
Then they had to find the people to run the day-to-day operations and hire a staff that now tops 275 and runs two shifts a day. He and his team (who he emphasized really deserve the award) also had to purchase, design, get permits for and equip a 77,000-square-foot facility in Otay Mesa – an Enterprise Zone designed to spur the city’s economy — and buy all the linens and trucks to transport them. Oh yeah, and find customers.
Somehow, they managed to open six months later. Despite the rough economic times, he said, with the right people, “We were fortunate to have the pieces come together at the right time.”
And they did it with an eye to saving energy and water by spending on their equipment, Gildred added, noting that their cleaning process takes one gallon less per pound of linens than others in the business in San Diego. That’s a significant savings since they clean about 40 million pounds of linen a year.
They also invested in an energy reclamation-heat transfer process that saves about 750,000 therms of natural gas annually – and turns out cleaner linens. SDG&E and the California Public Utilities Commission have both honored the company for its efforts.
Today, Gildred and his team, which includes people who knew the industry from the inside as well as a controller who came from the biotech industry, are looking at expansion into the Los Angeles and Orange County markets. When they go north, they’ll invest in new facilities, too.
Emerald Textiles already serves Sharp Healthcare, Scripps Health, UCSD Medical System, Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, and Kaiser in San Diego and Orange Counties.
But while Gildred acknowledges he’s turned into a bit of a workaholic in recent years, he is all about making San Diego a better place as his family has done over three generations. His parents Philip and Lyn Gildred, like him, are Rancho Santa Fe residents, and he’s close to his two sisters and their families.
His father grew up in Mission Hills; his mom in the Chula Vista-Bonita area before moving to Point Loma. Now their son is president of The Gildred Companies, a real estate company managing over a million square feet of industrial and business parks that’s been in business for 85 years.
FMT Consultants, an Enterprise Resource Planning software company he founded in 1995, has done well, Gildred said, “providing me the opportunity to be more engaged in the community, which I see as my responsibility.” He believes strongly that people should take time to do what they can.

Emerald Textiles Expands into Los Angeles

Emerald Textiles, Southern California’s healthcare laundry service, recently announced its expansion into Los Angeles. The addition of an Emerald Service Center in the region provides even greater coverage and a larger physical presence for existing and prospective customers.

“As we continue to expand in the Los Angeles market, this Service Center will increase our coverage in the greater Los Angeles area” said Tom Gildred, chief executive officer of Emerald Textiles. “Our existing customers will benefit from this additional location and so will any new customers in the region.”

Emerald Textiles operates the most technologically-advanced and environmentally responsible commercial laundry facilities in the United States and saves over 40,000,000 gallons of water and more than 750,000 therms of natural gas annually.

Emerald received both the SDG&E Savings by Design Award and the Energy Showcase award in recognition for its advanced design and extreme energy efficiency. Savings by Design and Energy Showcase are awards from San Diego Gas & Electric and the California Public Utilities Commission.

About Emerald Textiles

Emerald Textiles provides the most environmentally responsible, high quality, linen rental and management solution for the Southern California healthcare industry. Emerald’s two facilities are located in the greater Los Angeles and San Diego areas. Customers include Scripps Health, Sharp HealthCare, UC San Diego Health System, Eisenhower Medical Center, Kaiser San Diego, Kaiser Orange County and St. John’s Health Center – Santa Monica. Emerald Textiles utilizes the most advanced technology and provides a higher standard of cleanliness, industry compliance and customer satisfaction.

For more information about Emerald Textiles’ healthcare laundry systems and its services, please visit emeraldsd.com.

Contact: Lisa Kendall, (858) 414-5855.

5th Annual Most Admired CEO Awards Honors Local Business Leaders

Tom Gildred, Emerald Textiles CEO was honored in the 5th Annual Most Admired CEO Awards, presented by the San Diego Business Journal and Bank of America Corporation. The awards program, one of the largest of its kind in San Diego, was held December 8th at the Paradise Point Resort and Spa, attracting more than 600 attendees.

“San Diego is fortunate to have so many high-caliber CEOs,” said Randy Frisch, president and publisher of the San Diego Business Journal. “As keynote speaker Garry Ridge, president and CEO of WD 40 said, we have lots of talented professionals, and the way to maintain that is to challenge ourselves to improve every day.  We can do that.” Tom Gildred
Organizations from all areas of San Diego’s thriving business community were represented from defense contracting to social services. These industry leaders were acknowledged for their successful foresight and guidance in steering their companies through our changing economic environment.

Highlighting the awards reception were three special presentations. The Lifetime Achievement Award was bestowed on Father Joe Carroll, president and CEO Emeritus of Father Joe’s Villages; The Exemplary Award went to Reid Carr, president and CEO of Red Door Interactive; and Ronne Froman, RADM (Retired), CEO and co-founder of National Veterans Services, Inc. and Monarch School received the Community Service Award.

From a field of 75 finalists, 18 CEOs were chosen by an independent panel of  judges that included Sheryl Bilbrey, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of San Diego; Chris Bryant, president of the San Diego Employers Association; William Earley, partner at Luce Forward; and Ed Sternagle, principal of Creative Professional Services. The judges ranked nominations based on CEOs contributions to their companies and the community, with emphasis on innovation, leadership and results-based focus.

The 2011 Most Admired CEOs, listed by company category, are:

  • Business Nonprofit /Large – Teresa Halleck, San Diego County Credit Union
  • Business Nonprofit/Small – Ted Owen, Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce
  • Family Owned/Large – Bill Howe, Bill Howe Family of Companies
  • Family Owned/Medium – William Grande, Quality Controlled Manufacturing
  • Family Owned/Small – Trevor Callan, Callan Capital
  • Nonprofit Organization/Large – Ed Martinez, San Ysidro Health Center; Walter Philips, San Diego Youth Services
  • Nonprofit Organization/Medium – Debbie Case, Meals-On-Wheels Greater San Diego; Mark Cafferty, San Diego Workforce Partnership
  • Nonprofit Organization/Small – Chris Sichel, Make-A-Wish Foundation; William Pollakov, Bikes for Kids Foundation
  • Private Company/Large – Tom Gildred, Emerald Textiles; John Morrell, Higgs Fletcher & Mack
  • Private Company/Medium – Russ Mann, Covario; John Klinedinst, Klinedinst PC
  • Private Company/Small – Jimmy Hendricks, Deal Current; Steven Sullivan, Sullivan International Group
  • Public Company/Small – Nathan Rogge, Bank of Southern California
  • Partnering with the San Diego Business Journal for this annual event were Bank of America Corporation, the title sponsor; ESET, the gold sponsor; and silver sponsors Cassidy Turley/BRE Commercial, McGladrey and Paradise Point.

The award-winning weekly San Diego Business Journal examines the many ways that the San Diego economy operates. First-rate editorial and research teams provide in-depth analysis of the community’s ever-changing business and economic scene. One of the San Diego Business Journal’s most widely read features is The List, which ranks the top businesses in any given industry. Those surveys are then compiled into an invaluable resource – the annual Book of Lists.

Energy Champions Recognized by SDG&E

Emerald Textiles, a leading Southern California provider of hospital laundry services, has been recognized by San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) as an Energy Champion in the Industrial category for energy efficiency and conservation at the 6th Annual Energy Showcase. View the two minute video here. More than 55 million kilowatt hours were saved by all the Energy Champions recognized this year, which provides an energy and environmental impact equal to removing 3,187 cars from our roadways.

The following article originated on the SDGE.com.

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) announced eleven local businesses that were recognized as Energy Champions at the 6th Annual SDG&E Energy Showcase for their outstanding efforts in energy efficiency and conservation.

Healthcare Laundry Services - Emerald Textiles
“This is the sixth year we’ve been thanking our customers who go the extra mile to achieve energy savings at the Energy Showcase,” said Hal Snyder, vice president of customer solutions for SDG&E. “We’re proud to partner with these remarkable customers who take advantage of all the rebates and incentives that make it financially feasible to take on capital improvements. Because of that they have saved more than 55 million kilowatt hours, the equivalent of taking 3,187 cars off the road.”
In addition to the awards program announcing the honorees, the Energy Showcase featured seminars by customers who have taken advantage of SDG&E’s energy rebates, demand response programs, free onsite energy-efficiency assessments and zero-interest financing programs. There were also 75 exhibitors and vendors showcasing the latest energy-saving technologies for those in attendance at this free event.
The County of San Diego was one of the eleven honored as a standout Energy Champion, and has implemented energy and water efficiency measures for the first phase of the County Operations Center Redevelopment Project. This project will save the County $265,000 annually in utility costs, 2 million kilowatt hours in electricity and 571 kilowatts in peak power demand. This was achieved through high-performance window glazing, air-conditioning, lighting, highly reflective roof surfaces and plumbing fixtures that use 40 percent less water than conventional versions.
“In these tough economic times the County needs to be a leader in showing that using energy and water efficiently can save money today and in the long run,” said Bill Horn, chairman of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.
The Escondido Union School District, another award recipient, retrofitted more than 22,000 light fixtures throughout the district and launched Save Amps, Voltage and Electricity Patrol — or SAVE Patrol — a program where students are tasked with ensuring lights are turned off, doors are closed, both at school and at home.
“The district was able to save (thru cost avoidance) $230,000 off its electricity bill and reallocate those resources back into the general fund to support the educational goals of the school district,” said Francis Spoonemore, director of maintenance and operations for the Escondido Union School District.
Along with the County of San Diego and Escondido Union School District, other award winners were Albertsons, Emerald Textiles, GNF Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation, Harrah’s Rincon Resort & Casino, Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego, United States Navy, University of San Diego, Portland Energy Conservation, Inc. (PECI) and Energy Logic Inc.
For more information on energy and money-saving programs available to SDG&E customers, business owners and representatives call (800) 411-7343, or visit www.sdge.com.
SDG&E’s energy-efficiency programs are subject to change without notice and will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis as long as funding is available. These programs are funded by California utility customers and administered by SDG&E under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.
SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.5 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 850,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties. The utility’s area spans 4,100 square miles. SDG&E is committed to creating ways to help our customers save energy and money every day.

New Healthcare Laundry Service Opens its Doors

Tom Gildred opened Emerald Textiles in September of 2010, and since its beginning Emerald the hospital linen services provider, has been winning.

Emerald Textiles

The following article was written by the San Diego Business Journal.

“Gildred, the company’s chief executive, said the business obtained several contracts from three of the area’s biggest hospital systems: Scripps Mercy Medical Group, Sharp HealthCare, and the UC San Diego Health System.

“We’ve done well in the RFPs (requests for proposals or bid packages) that were sent to us,” Gildred said. “We haven’t gotten all of them, but we’ve done well.”

The compelling factor helping to win contracts for supplying the hospitals with clean linens and scrubs is Emerald Textiles’ high-tech, automated system that Gildred said cost about $20 million.

“This is based on our state-of-the-art equipment, and nobody’s made this type of investment in this industry in all of California,” said Gildred.

In terms of water use, Emerald’s high-tech washing machines will save an estimated 40 million gallons annually compared to using traditional processes. For natural gas, annual estimated savings by its advanced driers are more than 700,000 therms, the company said.

Linens Processed Systematically

What may be even more impressive is Emerald’s logistics system for receiving, sorting, washing and delivering the laundry. The bed linens, blankets, and scrubs are moved along through the various stages of cleaning using huge duffel bags hung from an overhead monorail made by E-Tech of Minnesota. The hanging bags that move along the rail system eliminate workers’ having to pick the bags up and reduces the number of back injuries commonly experienced at industrial laundries, Gildred said.

“We use about a half gallon of water per pound of laundry where a typical industrial laundry would use about 1.8 gallons per pound, and a typical home washer would use 15 gallons per pound,” said Dan Leavy, Emerald’s director of customer service.

The seven-cycle washers can handle 4,000 pounds of laundry per hour. At full capacity, operating with two eight-hour shifts, Emerald Textiles can clean and press about 60 million pounds of laundry a year, Gildred said.

Victor Heredia, operations manager for Emerald, said at previous laundries he’s worked at the equipment was replaced as it wore out; here, everything is brand new, he said.
Heredia and other Emerald managers were involved in designing the laundry’s layout of machinery. The design was done by Western State Design of Hayward.

Gildred’s partner in Emerald Textiles is Bob Payne, the former owner of the Hanalei Hotel and Old Ox Restaurant (both of which were sold), and a major donor to San Diego State University. Gildred’s father is a cousin of Theodore Gildred, chairman of The Lomas Santa Fe Group and a former U.S. ambassador to Argentina.
Both men decided to get into the laundry business after seeing a need and realizing that modern, energy-saving equipment would greatly reduce expenses and gain market share.

Landing a Big Customer

John Cihomsky, spokesman for Sharp HealthCare, said Emerald beat out four other vendors to provide the laundry service to the organization that encompasses seven hospitals and 19 Sharp Rees-Stealy medical clinics. While he didn’t disclose the dollar value of the three-year contract, Cihomsky said it will save the company an estimated $1 million in the first year.
The energy savings derived from the modern equipment was a factor in awarding the contract, Cihomsky said. “We’re working with a company that has efficient technology that’s reducing water and power usage. That coincides with our green initiative to reduce our power usage and reduce our waste stream, and do whatever we can do to have a positive impact on the environment.”

Sharp’s former laundry provider was Angelica Corp., a Georgia-based company that was acquired by a private equity firm, Trilantic Capital Partners, in 2008. Patricia Strauss, an Angelica director in San Diego, said Emerald’s entrance into the local market has had an impact. “It has taken some business away from us,” Strauss said, without providing details. Local employment, which the company said last year was 400, has dropped, but Strauss declined to provide the number.

Gildred said Emerald began operations at the plant in the fall with a skeleton crew of 80, which has since expanded to about 170 workers. “We’ll be adding between 50 to 60 more people over the next six months,” he said. Eventually, as business picks up, staffing should get to about 250.He said annual revenue in the first full calendar year will run about $20 million to $25 million.”

– San Diego Business Journal

New Healthcare Laundry Service – The Emerald in a Hay Stack

When Emerald Textiles, opened their doors to customers in September of 2010, it was clear the company was unlike any commercial healthcare laundry facility in the U.S. today.  San Diego entrepreneurs Tom Gildred and Bob Payne decided to create their own hospital laundry in Emerald Textiles, employing the most advanced technology available and the highest standards in cleanliness.

Laundry Today wrote:

“My partner and I wanted to have a technologically advanced facility that was environmentally friendly,” says Gildred, founder and chief executive officer of Emerald Textiles. “We are proud to have met that goal by opening a commercial laundry that utilizes today’s advanced technology, boasts energy and water efficiencies and produces the highest quality goods.

Gildred and his partner raise the bar for cleanliness by maintaining a 100 percent separation between the TODAY’S NEWS FOR CHANGING TIMES soil and clean side of the laundry. Gildred stresses, “There are only five opportunities for goods to go from the soiled to clean side – the only way to access the clean side from the soil side is through one of our five washers.”

 

Separation is ensured by a wall separating the two areas and an advanced positive air flow system. Adding to the assured cleanliness of the laundry, the Emerald Textile continuous batch washers supplied by Pellerin Milnor run a full 24 minutes at 160 degrees. Chemicals are supplied by Norchem Chemical Company. “Our continuous batch washers have the highest pressure press available in the industry that extracts water from the laundry at the end of the wash process. Because of this press and the efficiency of our dryers, we will save tremendous amounts of natural gas when the goods are transferred to the Milnor 250 lb dryers,” says Gildred. The Milnor CBW’s have a 250 lb. capacity and use state of the art Pulse Flow Technology. Milnor 50 bar single stage presses are also used.Emerald Textiles
Emerald Textiles has even developed a proprietary “linen shield” that protects linens from coming in contact with the floor during the ironing and feeding process, adds Gildred.
At full capacity the new $20 million facility is expected to save an estimated 30 to 40 million gallons of water annually. “Our new pulsed-flow technology is going to drastically reduce our water consumption from 1.5 gallons per pound of laundry to less than .5 gallons per pound,” says Gildred. Those numbers have caught the attention of the area’s Mayor.

 
“Right out of the gate, Emerald Textiles has shown its commitment to being a good corporate citizen through investing in water-saving technology at its new facility,” said Mayor Jerry Sanders. “I’m excited to welcome Emerald Textiles – and the hundreds of jobs they’ll provide to San Diegans – to our local business community.”

 
Housed in an 111,000 square-foot industrial laundry facility, the San Diego facility exceeds Title 22 compliance standards, which helps hospitals attain accreditation from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).

 
Approximately 150 team members are handling the current workload and it is expected that there will be an additional 100 team members added to help handle the load when the laundry’s capacity of 800,000 pounds a week is reached. Looking ahead, Gildred and his partner built the laundry with the ability to increase capacity by 50 percent within their existing footprint.

 
One way Gildred and his partner Payne maintain a laundry that is efficient and ergonomically safe for their team members is to use gravity efficiently via the latest E-Tech rail system. “We have 30 foot ceilings that allow for a full overhead rail system to transport linen throughout the facility,” says Gildred. “The laundry is lifted up between processes. The benefit of that is that we’re using gravity and the weight of the actual laundry to drive it through our processes. It is one of the areas by which we create energy efficiency. Not only is it a great energy and space saver, but it improves employee safety and morale.”

The specific gravity-enabled design and limitation on manual processes through automation prevents unnecessary strain and risks incurred for team members who process the goods.
Emerald Textiles added the best of today’s technology to the mix with a fully computerized touch screen system. The computerized system controls the movement of laundry through the plant, all the way through to the finishing department that boasts Chicago Dryer Century steam heated 3-roll ironers, Chicago Dryer Edge Max Feeders Chicago Dryer Skyline large piece folders with autostackers, Chicago Dryer Air X-press small piece folders and Chicago Dryer Blanket Blasters.

 
Energy savings are captured in numerous areas throughout the facility. Emerald Textiles has a Thermal Engineering Plate and Frame Heat Exchanger which draws heat from the waste water and transfers it to incoming water for pre-heating, saving natural gas. Another energy saving device in the facility are stack economizers installed on all three of their new high efficiency Parker boilers. These stack economizers draw water from the hot and tempered water tanks and circulate it above each boiler to use the hot flu gas that is being discharged out of the stacks continuing to heat and maintain temperature in the water storage tanks.

 
Energy savings extend throughout the plant explains Gildred, “We have the most energy efficient lighting available, and all offices and restrooms include motion sensor lighting resulting in further energy savings.” Of all the considerations that the new facility boasts, Gildred points out one – that could be considered most important to the younger generation. “We have 34 sorting stations. That will help us find items that are lost from patients. The larger the soil sort, the better the chance to return those items to their owners.” “Now it doesn’t sound like much,” he adds. “But to be able to return a teddy bear to a child in the hospital is really important for that child, the hospital – and us. That’s what we’re aiming for, a higher level of customer service and satisfaction.”

 

 

 

New Laundry Alternative for Southern California’s Healthcare and Hospitality Industries – Tom Gildred Introduces Emerald Textiles

Tom Gildred, a San Diego-based entrepreneur announced the launch of Emerald Textiles, a healthcare linen services provider offering textile rentals and management solutions for tom gildredSouthern California healthcare providers.

“Outfitted with the most technologically advanced and water-efficient equipment available, the laundry, at full capacity, will save an estimated 30 to 40 million gallons of water annually as compared to traditional processes in San Diego. In addition, Emerald Textiles will provide a higher level of cleanliness and industry compliance with the ultimate goal of greater customer satisfaction and safety.” Please read the original post as seen on Business Wire.

Tom Gildred, Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year’ is Passionate About Making a Difference

Kathy Day, for The Rancho Santa Fe Review, wrote this article about Tom Gildred being named one of Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the year award.  Following this news story, Tom was named a finalist in the National Entrepreneur of the Year awards and is currently up for consideration for the nationwide award.  In addition to running successful business, Tom has a passion for making a difference in his community. 

Titled: Tom Gildred, Entrepreneur of the Year’ passionate about making a difference

For the last five years or so, RSF’s Tom Gildred has been focusing on making a difference in San Diego. It’s something that runs in his family.Tom Gildred

With a successful business in FMT Consultants and his latest project – Emerald Textiles – whirring along, he has put his time into serving as president of the San Diego Museum of Art, working with Irwin Jacobs on the Plaza de Panama proposal for Balboa Park and serving on the board for Sharp Healthcare.

It was in the latter role that he learned a lot about the business of running a hospital and became particularly interested in the impact that hospital linens have on patients and the staff who risk exposure to infectious diseases.

With a background as an entrepreneur, his interest was piqued, and two years ago he began looking into the healthcare linen business and didn’t like what he saw – heavy use of water, energy and chemicals; old, inefficient equipment, and disregard for health regulations designed to guard against infection.

That was enough to inspire him to see what he could do.

“When you are in a weakened state, you want to know the linens come from a place that’s clean and compliant,” Gildred said. “You wouldn’t serve food out of a dirty kitchen.”

They started “with a blank piece of paper in March 2010 – no customers, no facility,” he recalled. “It’s been quite a ride.”

That ride led Emerald Textiles to the recent honor of being named one of Ernst & Young’s “2012 Entrepreneurs of the Year.” (Coincidentally, Gildred started his business career at Ernst & Young, although his first job was a summer of picking up trash at SeaWorld.)

Along the way to opening the laundry in San Diego, with a total project cost of $20 million, Gildred identified partners like another well-known San Diegan, Bob Payne and his family.

Then they had to find the people to run the day-to-day operations and hire a staff that now tops 275 and runs two shifts a day. He and his team (who he emphasized really deserve the award) also had to purchase, design, get permits for and equip a 77,000-square-foot facility in Otay Mesa – an Enterprise Zone designed to spur the city’s economy — and buy all the linens and trucks to transport them. Oh yeah, and find customers.

Somehow, they managed to open six months later.

Despite the rough economic times, he said, with the right people, “We were fortunate to have the pieces come together at the right time.”

And they did it with an eye to saving energy and water by spending on their equipment, Gildred added, noting that their cleaning process takes one gallon less per pound of linens than others in the business in San Diego. That’s a significant savings since they clean about 40 million pounds of linen a year.

They also invested in an energy reclamation-heat transfer process that saves about 750,000 therms of natural gas annually – and turns out cleaner linens.

SDG&E and the California Public Utilities Commission have both honored the company for its efforts.

Tom Gildred Eyes Expansion

Today, Gildred and his team, which includes people who knew the industry from the inside as well as a controller who came from the biotech industry, are looking at expansion into the Los Angeles and Orange County markets. When they go north, they’ll invest in new facilities, too.

Emerald Textiles already serves Sharp Healthcare, Scripps Health, UCSD Medical System, Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, and Kaiser in San Diego and Orange Counties.

But while Gildred acknowledges he’s turned into a bit of a workaholic in recent years, he is all about making San Diego a better place as his family has done over three generations. His parents Philip and Lyn Gildred, like him, are Rancho Santa Fe residents, and he’s close to his two sisters and their families.

His father grew up in Mission Hills; his mom in the Chula Vista-Bonita area before moving to Point Loma. Now their son is president of The Gildred Companies, a real estate company managing over a million square feet of industrial and business parks that’s been in business for 85 years.

FMT Consultants, an Enterprise Resource Planning software company he founded in 1995, has done well, Gildred said, “providing me the opportunity to be more engaged in the community, which I see as my responsibility.”

He believes strongly that people should take time to do what they can.

For more information, please visit Tom’s personal site

Source: Rancho Santa Fe Review of, “Entrepreneur of the Year”, Tom Gildred