Roscoe Blog

The Chicago Uniform Company Pays Tribute to an Industry Icon: Donald W. Buik

Jim Buik - Friday, June 26, 2015

The Chicago Uniform Company Pays Tribute to an Icon

Don Buik surrounded by three of his four children (Nancy, Jim & Chris)

Donald W. Buik had a remarkable career in the work uniforms & textile rental industry – just as his father, George C. Buik, he had a disproportional degree of influence because he rolled up his sleeves, got involved and shared what he learned with the industry.

My dad is 88 years old and has good days and bad days, but when my sister Christine brought him down to the uniform rental company plant and met my sister Nancy and I to tour the ever changing operation – he was beaming with pride!



A Tribute to an Industry Icon... My Dad!

Don Buik Views New Press Area

Jim and Israel Cartagena showing Don Roscoe's new press area

My dad was an operations guy and he really knew his stuff. In fact, through his involvement in our industry trade association, he pioneered the transition from 100% Cotton products that required labor intensive pressing to the new 65/35 Polyester Cotton fabric that was finished in a device then referred to as a "steam tunnel."

His crowning industry achievement came with another technically innovative project in concert with the newly formed Environmental Protections Agency, Chicago Sanitary District and two industry trade associations – installing and operating the first wastewater pre-treatment system in the textile rental industry. While that system was replaced with a modern equivalent about 25 years after its installation – the uniform services can boast the longest record of environmental sustainability of any company in the nation; if not the world!

In 1974, my dad made a presentation on wastewater pre-treatment in Venice, Italy to the 6th World Linen Congress. Dad received the Gus Eggerling Award in 1985 and was inducted into the Plant Operations Hall of Fame in 2003 as a result of his contributions to the association and the industry. As one of many association presidents from the Chicago uniform company, my dad served in 1973 to 1974 and was named an Honorary Lifetime Member in 2001.

Don Buik with Johnny Sturdivant

Jim, Don and Johnny Sturdivant who has worked at Roscoe for 49 years.

My dad was a demanding leader who expected the best from the people who worked for him. When he was upset with someone – he would tell them they were on "thin ice," which could not have been very comforting.

When he finished his bachelor's degree at Northwestern University after a two year stint in the Navy V-5 program just as World War II was ending, he convinced his dad to start the 20 Year Club at Roscoe. The club recognized tenured members of the laundry services company after 20 years of service and welcomed active and retired team members back each year for dinner, recognition and fond remembrances of Roscoe. Don was pleased to see the Chicago uniform's longest tenured team member, Johnny Sturdivant, on his tour.

My dad's community involvement was incredible from; President of Bethel Church, Trustee of Elmhurst College, Board Chairman of the Sears Roebuck YMCA, Founder of Lawndale Business and Local Development Corporation, Board Member of Rotary One, Board of Governors Illinois Saint Andrew Society, and Scoutmaster and District Chair. Two awards from the Lawndale Community are named after him for his community spirit and the opportunities he provided to the neighborhood.

How he ever had time to run the business and make it home for dinner, I will never know, but he did. I am sure he emulated his father who was also very involved in improving his community and I have done the same. My dad has touched a lot of lives in a positive way and I would like him to know how much I appreciate the opportunities he provided me and so many other people – and most importantly, how much I love him. I would like to take this opportunity to salute my dad, Donald W. Buik, an industry icon!

Contact us to learn more about Roscoe: The Chicago Work Uniform Company

Don and Jim Buik Tour the Plant

Don & Jim Enjoying a Plant Tour at Roscoe


Recent Posts


Tags

local and independent shop towel rule roll towels customer satisfaction survey automatic hand sanitizers outerwear national fire protection association (NFPA) ISO 9001:2008 image mats illinois patriot education fund (IPEF) soaker mats executive management institute (EMI) leasing laundryESP Innovation award custom floor mats anti-static uniforms clean show clean green certified A21 WalkForFreedom high visibility restroom hygiene products OSHA success story ISO 9001:2015 Independent Textile Rental Association (ITRA) shortages flu prevention flame resistant nonylphenol ethoxylate (NPE) family business microfiber history wastewater treatment g&k garden city business center SHARP certification Earth Day toilet seat sanitizer succession planning soil scanning Angel Tree hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) Sustainability shop towels restroom cleaning supplies National Safety Month community service food processing facility tour testimonials anti-fatigue mats teamwork lawndale business renaissance association (LBRA) branded merchandise UHF chips floor mat rental sludge filter 95th anniversary customer communication toilet seat cleaners manufacturing kannegiesser food safety modernization act (FSMA) continuous improvement arrow uniform super bristle mats family picnic barcode scraper mats net promoter score facilities management services linen laundry bags wet mops restroom mats work uniform rental image apparel hand sanitizer logo apparel feeding america 20-year-club FreshSeat case study cintas microbial contamination work uniforms cleaning process keynelink restroom supplies chicago tribune governor's sustainability award RFID fleece automatic paper towel dispensers pathogen elimination logo mats automatic foam soap executive uniform garments wipers blackhawks sorting system laundry services coat angels hygienically clean midwest textile services association (MTSA) air sanitizer textile rental services association (TRSA) unifirst blood drive dust mops activewear invoicing ANSI

Archive