CITY’s New Director of Operations

Posted on: February 6th, 2020 by Emily Novotny | No Comments

Luis Portillo has joined CITY, as the Director of Operations. With his new role, Luis plans on making vast changes across many departments within the facility. Luis has substantial experience and is eager to put that to good use at CITY.




Luis was born in Mexico and moved to the United States in 2007, and since then, he has lived in a few different states. Up until his recent move to Waverly, Iowa, Luis, his wife, and their two sons lived in Indiana. With his 16 years of manufacturing experience, Luis said he is excited to utilize that expertise in Iowa now, as a part of CITY.


Luis has lived in many places, but “when they told me about the opportunity here, I said why not? It’s Iowa. Well, okay, let’s go to Iowa and take a look. But the thing I love the most is when I first talked to Colin [Wetlaufer, CITY’s President] and the team, I loved the culture, the vision for the company, and I thought it was a perfect fit,” said Luis.


By joining the CITY family, Luis hopes to implement Lean manufacturing practices with a focus on improving the “flow” or smoothness of work while systematically looking for the minimization of waste. Every company has a tremendous opportunity to improve, using lean manufacturing techniques and other manufacturing best practices. Techniques that enable you to deliver higher quality products at significantly lower costs. Now that is something to get excited about!


The first step will be to work on 5S, which is a Japanese workplace organization method which in English translates to sort, straighten, shine, standardize, and sustain. We need to train everyone and then create 5S standards. “The end goal is to make it a part of your daily life. You shouldn’t think, I’m doing 5S, 5S should just be part of your life,” said Luis. The second step is to drive Safety Culture which goes hand in hand with 5S. The goal is to make CITY the safest workplace in the region and not only make safety a priority but to have a Safety Always mentality.


The end goal is to turn CITY into a world-class operation and the “Showcase Plant” in the Laundry industry.



In his free time, Luis says, “I like coaching kids in basketball and soccer, but mainly soccer. I’ve coached for probably eight or nine years. I started coaching because it was a great way to spend time with my kids but then I found out how much I enjoyed coaching, and in some ways, that’s why I like manufacturing so much; I need to be able to be a great coach and leader for the operations side of the company.
Alongside coaching in his free time, Luis also greatly enjoys traveling with his family. One of his most memorable trips was when he visited China. “I love the culture, the way they think and loved the food! We went to the Great Wall of China, which was fun. It was quite a challenge; we climbed the Great Wall the old way, no shortcuts, just walking all the way up. I almost regretted it, it was a long walk, but it was worth it in the end. I was told: Not reach Great Wall, not good man, sometimes translated “He who doesn’t reach the Great Wall is no hero. It has come to mean that: to get to their goals, admirable people must overcome difficulties, “said Luis.




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