Model Cleaners CEO praises student-consulting work

When a team of Albert Gallatin School District students suggested that Model Cleaners hire a social media manager, company President John LaCarte called the idea “spot on.” He also praised a customer video they’d created for having an authentic feel, more like ones he’s seen on Facebook than expensive studio shoots from ad agencies.

Similarly, the CEO nodded approval when a Charleroi Area School District team recommended replacing the company’s smart phone app. In fact, LaCarte even asked if he could test one they’d created.

Model Cleaners President John LaCarte responds to student suggestions

Model Cleaners President John LaCarte responds to student suggestions

Both teams presented ideas to Model Cleaners last week to conclude projects they undertook as part of Student Powered Solutions (SPS), a Consortium program that pairs classrooms with companies willing to pose real business problems for them to solve. The projects give students a chance to apply learning and develop workplace skills. For companies, the projects offer a chance to help develop the region’s workforce and sometimes even yield usable solutions to business challenges.

As part of our partnership, Model Cleaners tasked students with developing ideas to market to younger customers who don’t use dry cleaning services as frequently as older ones. The company also asked if the students could think of any ways to make residential pick-ups more efficient than having van drivers stop at every regular customer’s house, only to sometimes find they had no laundry that day.

Taking on the first challenge, Albert Gallatin’s team laid out the benefits of using social media versus mainstream advertising channels. Charleroi’s team worked on improving pick-up and delivery efficiencies, showing LaCarte a smart phone app they thought would improve on the one his company offers, but finds few customers using. Additionally, they recommended a bar-codes that would enable drivers to create routes only for customers who needed pick-ups on any given day.

Classroom teachers who oversaw the students work attended the presentations along with a handful of school administrators. Following the presentations, Charleroi Superintendent Ed Zelich came away impressed. In his entire career, he said, “This is one day I won’t ever forget.”