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Industry legends honored at Legend Brands distributor meeting

May 5, 2009
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May 5, 2009. Nashville, Tenn. -- At its first annual meeting for distributors, Legend Brands recognized four industry pioneers for their contributions to the cleaning and restoration industry. The men honored were Claude Blackburn, founder of Dri-Eaz Products, Jim Roden, founder of Prochem, Cliff Zlotnik founder of Unsmoke and Microban Systems, and Lee Pemberton, founder of Pemberton Cleaning & Restoration Supplies.

The recognition was part of the first Legend Brands distributor meeting, held in Nashville, Tenn., April 28–29. The meeting brought together distributors for Dri-Eaz, ProRestore (Unsmoke and Microban) and Sapphire Scientific and BLUEline, introducing new Legend Brands products, the announcement of the Legend Rewards customer loyalty program, and discussion by industry leaders of key trends in the restoration and carpet cleaning industry.

In his opening remarks, Bill Bruders, CEO of Legend Brands, said “My agenda for every business in this room is healthier, better, stronger businesses two years from now, regardless of what’s happening to the economy.”

Claude Blackburn founded Dri-Eaz Products in 1980. The company developed the first commercial quality “snail-shell” airmover, and brought a number of other industry firsts, including the first inter-air drying system and the first industry-specific moisture detection instruments. “Claude embodies our core values of integrity, valuing behavior, teamwork, leadership, and quality.” said Brandon Burton, Technical Education Manager at Dri-Eaz. “He recognizes in other people the potential for them to learn and become more than they are at that moment.”

Legend Brands also recognized Jim Roden, who established carpet and fabric care industry giant Prochem. “Jim gave me my first important lesson in running a distribution business,” said Dennis Bruders, manager of Preferred by JonDon of Seattle. “Make sacrifices and reinvest in the company if you want to sustain growth.”

In his 25 year career, Cliff Zlotnik, founder of Unsmoke & Microban (now called ProRestore Products), has consistently demonstrated a tremendous passion for doing things right. He developed the first hands-on training center, and was among the first in the industry to actively recruit government and celebrity projects to boost the profile of the fire and water damage restoration industry. And his commitment to his work is unchanged. “Even after all he’s accomplished in the last 25 years,” said Harry Velgich, Product Manager for ProRestore, “he still believes it’s about hard work, commitment and sacrifice.”

Lee Pemberton established Pemberton Cleaning & Restoration Supplies in 1972. “He’s an innovator,” said Rodin. “He was always willing to take the chance on new ideas, but was also very much hands-on and would prove something before passing it on to someone else. Blackburn added, “Lee’s key to his success is that he invests in people – has mentored thousands of carpet cleaners across the country – including me.” Zlotnik said “Lee was the ‘go-to guy’ for learning the carpet and upholstery cleaning business.” Pemberton was founding president of the first regional carpet cleaning association.

Bruders believes that the values demonstrated by these four men are still critical to the success of the industry. “We need to help cleaning and restoration contractors sell the value of what they do – help them grow from good businesses into great businesses.”

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