Longtime consultant john ciambrone passes away trsa

One of those clients, Jim Wasserman, president and CEO of Clean Rental Uniforms, Philadelphia, said he admired Ciambrone’s ability to explain complex topics to nonexperts. “He really understood engineering and always broke things down to the simplest level,” Wasserman said. “We shared 40 years of history together, and he had words of wisdom at the end of each day.”

Born in Long Branch, NJ, Ciambrone joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1943, immediately after graduating from high school. He served as a navigator on B-24 bombers through his discharge in December 1945. Soon after, he attended Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, and majored in Air Transportation. Around the time of his graduation in 1950, he weighed opportunities of working as a commercial pilot, or flying behind enemy lines for the CIA in Korea, setting up aeronautical drop stations.

Then word came that two friends of a Purdue dean were looking for a manager to take over the Self-Service Laundry Co. in Detroit. Ciambrone decided to give this opportunity a try. “I took the job with the idea that I would put it back on its feet in six months,” Ciambrone said in a 1999 article in Industrial Launderer ( IL). Soon after, a second Detroit laundry called, and Ciambrone was on his way to building a reputation as a skilled laundry manager. As it turned out, he spent his entire career in the laundry business. In 1961, he left Self-Service to join a laundry consulting firm. The following year, he founded Allied Management Consultants and went out on his own.

Other laundry operators contacted for this article also praised Ciambrone’s knowledge and wise counsel. “He was truly a mentor and always had great advice for me. I will miss him greatly,” said Greg Brown, president, Mickey’s Linen, Chicago. Brown added that over time he and Ciambrone became friends as well as business associates. They usually spoke on the phone more than once a week over the past 25 years, usually just checking up on each other. Despite a hectic schedule, Ciambrone “put everybody else first,” Brown said. He always found time to stay in touch with industry friends.

Donald Struminger, CEO, Mohenis Services Inc., Petersburg, VA, described Ciambrone as a “legend” in the linen, uniform and facility services industry. He noted that Ciambrone was very active on TRSA committees, especially the Plant Operations Committee. In his role as an industrial engineering consultant, Ciambrone “was well known, well liked and very good at what he did,” Struminger said.

Because of his nearly 70 years in the industry, Ciambrone was frequently interviewed for articles in laundry trade publications on technological and marketing trends. In the 1999 IL article referenced above, he noted that the rise of large commercial laundry chains – a development unpopular with many independents – had in fact helped them by boosting overall demand for linen, uniform and facility services programs. “My independent clients can curse them all they want, but the chains add to the market,” Ciambrone said. “When I travel to a major city where there’s a rapidly growing chain, my independent client is always full.”

Visitation is slated for 9-11 a.m. on Sept. 28 at Damiano’s Funeral Home, 191 Franklin Ave., Long Branch, NJ. At 11 a.m., a service will be held at the funeral home. A procession to the cemetery will follow, with military honors. Ciambrone continued his service after World War II as a U.S. Air Force reservist through the late 1960s. He retired with the rank of major.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be directed to Purdue University’s School of Aviation and Transportation Technology. Checks should be made out to Purdue Foundation and mailed to: Purdue Foundation, Dauch Alumni Center, 403 West Wood, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907-2007. Please add PROFESSIONAL FLIGHT in the memo line. The family requests that donors identify that they’re donating in the name of John Ciambrone. That way, the family can thank them for their support.