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Press Release: AWGS 2018 Annual Meeting

Posted March 27, 2018




Members of the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists (AWGS) met March 1–March 4 in San Antonio, Texas, to discuss marketing strategies with wedding industry experts, tour the plant of Five Star Cleaners and Wedding Gown Specialists owned by AWGS members Richard and Sharlene Thum, and elect officers.  

Becky Zolton, Pratt Abbott's production manager,  and Angela Emery, our garment care coordinator, both attended the annual meeting.  Our president, David Machesney, retired from the Board of Directors this year.             

Other retiring members of the Board are Brian Harrell of Shores Fine Dry Cleaners in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and Kathy Kimmel of The Kimmel Corporation in upper Sandusky, Ohio.

Incoming members of the Board of Directors are Sunny Jung of Gold Label Cleaners and Restoration Labs in Denver, Colorado, Jeanne Meden of Calhoun Street Cleaners in Charleston, South Carolina, and Ed Longanecker of Iris City Cleaners and Laundering Company in Mount Pleasant, Iowa.

A highlight of the meeting was the presentation of the eighth annual Jack Barth Memorial Award of Excellence.  Initiated by Linda Stokes-Barth in remembrance of her late husband and his achievements in the dry cleaning industry, the award recognizes a member of the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists for advancement, promotion, and development of industry standards for wedding gown care and for outstanding contributions and service to the Association and its members.

This year’s honoree, Christa Fawcett Hagearty, President and CEO of Dependable Cleaners in Boston, Massachusetts, heads a three-generation, family-owned company with fifteen locations supported by five plants.  Hagearty’s impressive academic credentials include a BA from the University of Vermont, an MBA from the Simmons School of Management at Simmons College, and completion of the Executive Course in Business at Harvard Business School.  Among the many awards she has received, she is perhaps proudest of recognition by the Boston Business Journal as one of 40 outstanding Boston executives under 40 and as an Outstanding Woman of Family Business.  Her most challenging achievement was rebuilding after a massive fire destroyed the company’s headquarters in Quincy, Massachusetts. The new facility features state-of-the-art energy efficient lighting and machinery.  Dependable’s commitments to the community include sponsoring the Boston Breakers of the National Women’s Soccer League and its “Read to Ride” program now in its eighteen year which encourages children to read books by offering chances to win bikes and other prizes.

AWGS is a not-for-profit trade association with members in five countries.  Members are certified to ensure that wedding gowns and heirloom textiles of all kinds are cleaned according to established museum standards and preserved in archival-quality materials.  Brides benefit from the personal, interactive service offered by wedding gown specialists in local communities, but the guarantee is truly an international warranty because each member honors the guarantee of every other member no matter where in the world they may be.

The Association's MuseumCareTM ZeroCarbonTM preservations are Endorsed by the Association of Bridal Consultants, the professional organization dedicated to wedding professionals worldwide. 

For more information about training and membership, call the Association office at 800-501-5005 or go to

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