Leef, owner and president of ITU AbsorbTech
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff
BERLIN - While ITU AbsorbTech Inc. may foster an
old-fashioned feeling when it comes to its personal
customer service, it has a much more modern feel when it
comes to its sustainable practices; however, those energy-
and water-saving aspects were part of the original
business started in about 1908 by President James Leef’s
So much of what creates ITU AbsorbTech’s identity is
just an inherent part of the business, and is not
explicitly written out like its approach to creating a
Leef said the company continues to focus on old-fashioned
customer service that results in human contact, as well as
a culture of teaching and learning.
“People are screaming out to see someone,” Leef said
of clients. Clients want to feel like they are being
heard, he said, so when someone calls the customer
response center, a person answers the phone without the
call going to a directory.
ITU AbsorbTech offers certification in customer service.
In order to get Genuine Service Excellence certified
through the company’s corporate training development
center called “AbsorbU,” employees must complete 30
hours of training. Leef said they started the program
approximately three years ago with the employees who have
the most in-person interaction with customers, but have
now extended it to production personnel.
“We believe in teaching people. If you are going to teach,
you need to know they have learned it,” he said.
Since George Leef started his own laundering service in
1908, the operations have grown considerably. What would
become ITU AbsorbTech was started in about 1930 and has
grown to include headquarters in New Berlin and plants in
Neenah; Piedmont, S.C.; South Bend, Ind.; and Titusville,
Pa., as well as service centers in Wisconsin, Illinois,
Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania and soon Texas.
“In addition to growth and needs of our current
customers, we are seeing a very good increase in new
customers we are beginning to service,” Leef said.
During the past few years, he said, he has seen an
increase in companies eager to stay in Wisconsin and expand.
To help foster a strong economic environment in Wisconsin,
Leef was elected to the Wisconsin Manufacturers Commerce
Board of Directors in January.
With about 365 employees, ITU AbsorbTech hopes to continue
its tradition of creating a positive corporate culture,
offering excellent customer service and helping to reduce
waste and save money for clients.