Teamwork leads to success in Des Moines
After a decade of laundry services in Des Moines much has changed. From a new depot to routes stretching over 10 counties, but what hasn’t changed is Des Moines Regional Manager Mark Ballo’s commitment to continue to bring top-notch service for decades to come.
“This isn’t a journey that I’ve been on by myself,” Mark said. I give most of the credit to the team of people I work with every day. At the end of the day, we’re just getting started, so the sky’s the limit for us.”
Despite emphasizing the team effort including his sales staff, service staff, and production in Oelwein, Iowa, Mark’s achievements at CITY’s newest facility in Polk City are very personal to him. To him it’s not just laundry, it has helped businesses in the community thrive and his co-workers care for their families through continued growth and success.
“I don’t think we’re ever staying the same. We’re either going forward or going backward,” Mark said. “I’ve worked for three different Wetlaufers and our current president Colin Wetlaufer wants this to be a regional company and we’re going to be that. It’s one of our missions and visions.”
Mark joined CITY 40 years ago and has never looked back. From working in the washroom to now being a member of CITY’s executive team. It’s always been about getting better every day and helping the people around him maximize their potential. At 5 AM, Mark is the first one at the Polk City depot. Scrubbing floors and making sure everything is in place, he wants to make sure his team understands that giving their best every day will secure them a prosperous future.
“I think it’s really important as a manager to be at work first and to be the last person to leave,” Mark said. “It speaks to commitment. It helps me understand what goes on here and it helps me understand where we need to be better.”
The success surrounding Mark’s team is unequivocally echoed by the people who work in Polk City. Barney Webb is the District Manager at the facility. He oversees CITY’s Route Service Representatives in the Des Moines metro region and makes sure everything goes according to plan. Barney started as a route apprentice at CITY four years ago and has worked himself into a management position because of the commitment he shares with Mark.
“Mark has really been a role model,” Barney said. “I looked at him and said that’s where I want to be. That’s what I want to compare myself to. It’s awesome to get to look at this brand-new facility and all the new things that we’re tackling. We have just stayed in stride and kept servicing our accounts and taking care of business and doing what we need to do. It’s been awesome.”
Shane McKinney was Mark’s first Route Service Representative in the Des Moines territory. He recalls the uncertainty surrounding Des Moines’ operation, including not knowing where it would eventually lead. Up until 2017, before the Polk City depot was opened, CITY operated out of much smaller rental space. Shane was driving back and forth between Oelwein and Des Moines to pick up the needed cleaned garments. Now, a full semi comes down every day to service all of the Polk City routes each day.
“We build up a system,” Shane said. “We have all the guys working together and we go and attack it every morning. You get in that groove where everyone knows what to do. It goes like clockwork. Mark really got us to a point where we can make sure our customers get the best service on time, every day.”
While the success in Des Moines matters to Mark personally, he looks to the future and the potential he sees in growing the Polk City location. Because teamwork is so important to him, he hopes beyond just being “the boss”, he sets a role model for the Des Moines team to continue to operate with the highest standards and quality.
“The laundry will take care of itself,” Mark said. “Hopefully some of my team members would tell you I’ve been a mentor for some of them. “I am very grateful for the opportunities the Wetlaufer family has given me. I just hope I make them proud.”
To learn more about the Polk City depot, check out the facility’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.