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First Veterans Affairs (VA) West Coast Steamless Laundry Opens

By Ken Tyler, Laundry Industry Consultant

On January 16, 2020, the recently renovated textile care processing facility considered as one of the most automated in the VA system at VA Medical Center West Los Angeles, CA held dedication ceremonies. The ceremonies were attended by an estimated 100 attendees. VA West LA Laundry built in 1999 was recently modernized by government selected contractors, Western State Design, Inc. (Hayward, CA) teaming with R.W. Martin Company (Kent, OH).

Presentations regarding the systems design and operational improvements were made by numerous members of the laundry industry and VA Senior Management, including Deputy National Director of VA Headquarters; Environmental Programs Service, Vonda Broom;  Tammy Czarnecki, VA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Washington DC; and VA Medical Center Director, Steven E. Braverman, MD.

Shawn Martin, CEO/Project Manager of RW Martin, gave a detailed explanation regarding the project management challenges of such a unique VA initiative. The modernization effort has already received numerous national VA awards for energy and water conservation; as well as, passing locally required rigorous emission reviews of Chicago Dryer gas-fired flatwork finishing systems, . In concert with continuous batch washing and drying, the new laundry design also includes a staph barrier Anti-Room for washer extractor operations -“first ever”. The VA facility currently provides federal government healthcare laundry services for VA West LA and VA Long Beach Healthcare Systems.

The modernization and full automation of this laundry (45,000 NSF) were completed in phases over the past several years, total cost of this effort was an estimated $14 million dollars. Key equipment partners supporting this modernization-automation objectives were Pellerin Milnor Corporation, Chicago Dryer Company, E-TECH, Parker Boiler, Thermal Engineering of Arizona, Softrol, Inc., and Colmac Industries. Project design was provided through David Pelligra Architects Inc. (Cuyahoga Falls, OH). R.W. Martin’s Timothy Campbell acted as project superintendent.

The VA Laundry System Inspection Team, VA Central Office, Washington DC recently certified that the new laundry fully met the Government’s rigorous expectations and requirements for both systems productivity, automation, systems management and reporting, quality assurance, design, installation, ergonomics and safety.

Existing new steamless-semi-automated VA laundry facilities are located at VA Healthcare Systems Biloxi MS; Battle Creek, MI and Little Rock, AK. New steamless/automated laundries are currently being planned for VA Brooklyn (St. Albans) NY; VA Bay Pines, FL and VA Brockton, MA.


About the Author:

Ken Tyler retired as VP Government Operations in December from Encompass LLC after 15 hears.  He also managed the entire textile and laundry operations for the U.S. Department of  Veterans Affairs (VA) for 23 years. Prior to that, he was the director of textile and uniform operations for the Department of the Navy, where he was responsible for all fleet and base laundry operations. He retired from the VA in 2000, ending 35 years of government service.  Tyler planned and managed the design and construction of 57 VA laundries and he established quality standards for laundry system and textile inspections.