Ron Underwood Receives 2013 Sam Tughan Achievement Award
The 2013 recipient of the Sam Tughan Achievement Award is industry veteran Ron Underwood. Underwood has enjoyed a 55-year long, successful career in the jansan industry as a contract cleaner, distributor, manufacturer and wholesaler.
The Sam Tughan Achievement Award was created by the Canadian Sanitation Supply Association (CSSA) in 1989 as the highest honor in the Canadian sanitary supply industry. It's presented every two years to a person that represents a high degree of professionalism in the industry.
Underwood started his business career in 1959 when he formed Underwood Building Maintenance at the age of 18. In 1978, he sold that company and moved to Paris, Ont., where he took on the role of president of the White Mop Wringer Co. of Canada.
Within 12 years of taking on the position, Underwood grew White’s sales seven-fold. Some of this dramatic growth success was achieved by establishing export clients throughout the world. He then negotiated the private purchase of White Canada, followed by an acquisition “spree” which included such key Canadian firms as G. Hardy Wholesale, Clancy Wholesale, Michael's Equipment, Wheels Maintenance Products, Pacific Coast Wholesale, Geo-Source Calgary and the Pullman-Holt Corporation USA. The end result was the formation of Advantage Maintenance Products, which is one of the leading master distributors in Canada today.
Aside from being an industry leader, over its history, Advantage Maintenance has been a truly family affair. Underwood and his wife, Joan, are still heavily involved in the business’s everyday operations, but have announced their retirement in April 2014. Additionally, Underwood’s 40-year-old son, John, upon his return from Carlton University in Ottawa, Ont., joined the company as a trainee and over the last 20 years, paid his dues by learning the business from the ground up and is currently the Executive Vice President and General Manager.
In addition to his outstanding business success, Underwood has been an active and supporting member of the CSSA, Sanitary Supply Wholesalers Association (SSWA), ISSA International and is the Canadian partner of Redistributors of America (RDA Advantage), along with his 15 US partners offering wholesale services to all 50 states and Canada. He has served on numerous executive boards for these associations.
Congratulations are extended to Ron Underwood for this outstanding achievement.