As anybody who has lived in or visited the state of Indiana can tell you, basketball is more than a game; it’s a way of life. From Fort Wayne to Evansville, few things are held more sacred than the navy blue and gold of the state’s Indiana Pacers of the NBA.
Nobody knows this better than Josh Conder, head equipment manager of the Pacers. Whether it is the team’s practice jerseys or game day uniforms, the expectation is the same deep navy blue and a gold like the rising sun upon the Wabash.
“I need to make sure every wash is done right or it’s my butt,” Conder joked of the importance of his position. “I’m always representing the Indiana Pacers and the NBA. I want to make sure everything looks perfect when the whole world sees it.”
That’s something, however, that was getting increasingly difficult with the tired old equipment he had been using.
Shot clock violations
When the season is in full swing, Conder’s work becomes as fast paced as the on court action. The need for expertly cleaned gear never goes away and failure is not an option. The laundry equipment, however, was handicapping his operation with frequent breakdowns, leading to expensive repair bills, and significantly more costly downtime. But even when the laundry’s washers were operational, long cycle times and a lack of programmability wasted valuable time.
“The old ones had one program and one program only, and it would take forever,” Conder said of the long cycle time.
In these days of technical fibers and higher quality linens, general cycles are not conducive to great wash results, and subsequently, can reduce the lifespan of these linens and wearables.
One wash cycle program might have been fine in the old CBA days, but not with today’s prime time NBA franchises. One need only look to the range of items he’s processing for evidence, including: socks, tights, tanks, practice shorts and jerseys, game jerseys and shorts, towels, hydrocollator pads, ace bandages, sometimes players or staff personal laundry, massage table sheets and blankets.
Conder was ready to upgrade his operation to make sure those navy and gold uniforms came out perfect every time.
A New Starting Lineup
Conder needed to add an MVP to his laundry operation and he was diligent in identifying all the traits this game changer would have.
“I needed a washer that would not break down or get worn out from doing too much laundry. I wanted something that was going to take wear” said Conder, who enters his ninth season with the Pacers this fall.
And this player had to be versatile. Conder wanted better control of the laundry process to not only ensure tailored wash cycles to the specific load, but also reduce cycle times. Water and laundry chemical efficiency also were mandatory.
A Three-point Play
Conder worked with Josh Neiger, CEO at Fort Wayne Laundry Solutions, who installed three Electrolux Professional Model Number W4250S 62pound capacity washers, and he is quick to point out what he noticed first when the hardmount machines were brought online.
“They cut down so much time,” Conder said. “The other ones would take forever to wash everything.”
Most noteworthy, however, was the flexibility the units’ Compass microprocessor control gave him when it came to tailored wash cycles. He’s quick to credit Neiger taking care to design precisely the cycles Conder would need.
“Josh made programs up to make sure I get the right amount of washes, rinses and extracts. All I have to do is turn the knob to which program I want and hit the start button,” Conder said.
His operation derived time savings and greater chemical efficiency from the washers’ automatic laundry chemical dispensing. With a simple turn of a dial, he can start the laundry and move on to other projects that need his attention.
“The detergent is all controlled by the program and it is automatically put in the washer when it is programed to. In the past I would have to put detergent in one compartment and fabric softener in another compartment and hope you didn’t get the compartments mixed up,” he joked.
A slam dunk
Conder has spent a few years now using the equipment and said he couldn’t be happier with it, insisting Electrolux has lived up to its game changer reputation with excellent efficiency and reliability. So reliable in fact, that they are set to install Electrolux washers and dryers in their new 130,000-square-foot training facility expected to be ready in 2017.
Most importantly, in this basketball state, is how the on-court uniforms look to their loyal fans.
“You can tell the uniforms are staying brighter much longer,” he said. “The results are top notch and consistent.”
In a league where every team is seeking a competitive advantage, Conder jokes that he loves to share his laundry experience with his peers.
“I tell all my counterparts in the League about these washers. I would not have anything else,” he said.
The sacred navy blue and gold of the Pacers is in good hands.