This is the time of year that I select my Manager of the Year.  It was very easy this year.  In years past, I have struggled when numerous finalists were deserving and I couldn’t make a clear choice.  At times, this resulted in a tie and co-managers of the year.  At other times, this resulted in a winner and one or more runners-up.  This year, my choice came months ago.

I have been associated with Ziker Cleaners in South Bend, IN for a dozen years.  In 2005, current General Manager John Mertes was named the Tailwind Systems Manager of the Year.  This year, his protégé, Shayne Golden is the obvious choice for the Tailwind Systems 2017 Manager of the Year.

Shayne Golden started at Ziker Cleaners in 1998 when he was 17 years old.  His first job at Ziker’s was attaching brand stickers to skirt hangers. Through a succession of jobs, including store shuttle driver, residential route sales and janitorial duties, Shayne finally ended up working in the Uniform Stockroom.  Throughout his time at Ziker’s, Shayne continued to pursue higher education studying at Indiana University at South Bend seeking a degree in Communication. After 5 years, Shayne left Ziker’s to pursue other interests.

After a two-year absence, Shayne returned to Ziker Cleaners as a home pickup and delivery driver.  Shayne exemplified himself and continues to set the standard for every position at which he has worked.  In addition, he continued to pursue his degree while working full time.  Shayne graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2010.  Shayne was promoted in 2010 to position of Residential Route Manager.  In 2011 when the manager of our central plant left unexpectedly, Shayne was the natural choice to assume the responsibilities.  By then, Dry Cleaning was in his blood.  Throughout his career Shayne’s passion for learning has been evident.  He attended the 2 week DLI Advanced Dry Cleaning course in Laurel MD in March of 2013 and completed the Certified Master Drycleaner certification.

Shayne personifies the resume for the picture perfect manager, but also happens to be very good at it.  I always preach that the best manager will be the one that has done all of the lesser jobs.  It is a rare occurrence however.  Shayne has done those jobs, but he also possesses the desire to excel.  When I first worked with him last year, it was great to hear him say that he was “super-excited” that I was there to help him get better at his job.  He was energized, but his excitement energized me as well!

Shayne’s job changed significantly over the past year.  Ziker Cleaners built a brand new plant in Mishawaka, IN.  They converted a former grocery store into a mega-facility.  It is undoubtedly the slickest drycleaning plant in the world, complete with 3 production cells, Metal Progetti’s latest assembly conveyor, automatic bagging, along with dispatch and storage conveyors.  I am honored that David Ziker and John Mertes made me a part of making this plant a reality, but more importantly, I am thrilled that I had such a great student in Shayne Golden.  David Ziker explained to me that Shayne’s basic goal has been to “get the work out.”  Now, in this new mega-facility, the goal is greatly enhanced.  Now, the goal is to get the work out and do it at a whole new level of profitability!  Shayne rose to the occasion.  Here’s what John Mertes has to say about Shayne:

Shayne Golden is a hard working results driven manager, who usually accomplishes what he sets his mind to.  He was instrumental in the success of moving our dry cleaning plant this year, with no down time and no sacrifice to customer service.  He is one of the most talented young managers I have worked with in my career.  He is a credit to Ziker Cleaners and the Dry Cleaning industry.

John is spot on, and he made my selection of my Manager of the Year so easy.  Shayne has been presented a custom-made desk clock, an official, framed certificate of accomplishment and recognition and my eternal admiration for a job well done.

Please join me in congratulating Shayne Golden as the Tailwind Systems Manager of the Year 2017.  He can be reached at