UniFirst/UniTech Celebrates History and Names Employee of the Year

July 16, 2020


UniFirst/UniTech Finds New Ways to Celebrate Its 19th Annual Founder’s Day Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Barnwell, SC— Founder’s Day is the day each year when the 260-plus locations of UniFirst Corporation (NYSE: UNF) across North America celebrate the memory and business values of company founder Aldo Croatti. The company’s 14,000 employee Team Partners took a break from their busy schedules on July 10 to honor the man who started the $1.8 billion uniform service and supply company back in 1936 out of an old horse barn in Dorchester, Massachusetts.

Headquartered in Wilmington, Mass., UniFirst is a leading provider of customized work uniform programs, corporate attire, and facility service products to businesses throughout the U.S. and Canada. Together with its subsidiaries, UniFirst also provides first aid and safety products, and manages specialized garment programs for the cleanroom and nuclear industries.

Founder’s Day has been an annual event since Mr. Croatti’s passing in 2001, typically recognized with in-person celebrations and cookouts at UniFirst locations from coast to coast. However, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forced notable changes to this year’s event. Employee Team Partners based out of the corporate office joined in on a Founder’s Day vehicle parade in the morning and a virtual celebration via video conferencing in the afternoon. Meanwhile, Team Partners at the company’s field locations participated in their activities and celebrations adhering to social distancing guidelines. Despite these challenges, the spirit of the day remained the same—celebrating Mr. Croatti and his founding Core Values: Customer Focus, Respect for Others, and Commitment to Quality. During the celebration, each UniFirst location also names its Employee of the Year (EOY)—the person who best exemplifies the company’s founding Core Values.

During this year’s celebration, the local facility in Barnwell named Michelle Creech as the UniFirst –  Barnwell Employee of the Year. Location manager Jess Terrapin said, “We’re thrilled and honored to have Michelle represent our location as our Employee of the Year for 2020. UniFirst’s 80-plus years of business success is due, in no small part, to people like her and their continued focus on making our customers the number one priority. Customer focus is the hallmark of our company.” Ms. Creech was presented with an award and a special recognition gift, as well as a bonus paid day off. The EOY also now has her name engraved on a commemorative plaque that is on permanent display at the UniFirst site. Creech, who currently works as a Respirator lead, lives in Williston and has worked at UniFirst since 2018. 

UniFirst, which had been deemed an essential business at the outset of the pandemic, has remained open and fully functional over the past few months with Team Partners from every facet of the company abiding by a set of new health and safety protocols. Accordingly, this year’s Founder’s Day paid homage to UniFirst’s “Everyday Heroes”— employee Team Partners who have worked tirelessly and unselfishly, going above and beyond throughout the pandemic helping UniFirst facilities stay sanitized, healthy, and safe, as well as essential business customers stay open so they, in turn, can help their communities. These heroes have also been helping throughout their own communities by holding food drives, producing protective face coverings for healthcare workers, donating to local charities in need, and much more. Many of these heroes have been featured on UniFirst’s social media channels and in several heartwarming news stories, both on television and in the print media, and also in a Founder’s Day video viewed by the entire company.

“Although these unprecedented times have been challenging for all of us, I’m amazed, but not surprised, how our Team Partners have stepped up as true everyday heroes working together to help our customers, our communities, and our UniFirst family stay safe,” said Mr. Croatti’s daughter and UniFirst executive vice president Cynthia Croatti. “I’m proud to say UniFirst is a company dedicated to service, mobilizing precisely when people need it most. And, as we honored my father’s legacy, it seemed fitting to recognize our Team Partners—our heroes—who have epitomized these values and represented our company so well. And for that, they have my unending gratitude.”


About UniFirst:
Headquartered in Wilmington, Mass., UniFirst Corporation (NYSE: UNF) is a North American leader in the supply and servicing of uniform and workwear programs, as well as the delivery of facility service programs. Together with its subsidiaries, the company also provides first aid and safety products, and manages specialized garment programs for the cleanroom and nuclear industries. UniFirst manufactures its own branded workwear, protective clothing, and floorcare products; and with 260 service locations, over 300,000 customer locations, and 14,000-plus employee Team Partners, the company outfits nearly 2 million workers each business day. For more information, contact UniFirst at 800.455.7654 or visit UniFirst.com.