How did you begin your career in the cleaning/maintenance industry?
I began my career in the cleaning industry working for Knecht’s Janitorial Services, whose owner, Wilbur Knecht, was a good friend of my father-in-law and offered me a part-time job doing floor maintenance.
I began doing mostly carpet cleaning and VCT, but would sometimes clean offices, break rooms and bathrooms in manufacturing facilities.
Mr. Knecht was also the janitorial foreman at Penn State Hazleton and told me about an opening for a night janitor on his crew.
I applied and was hired for the position in November 1993.
I worked as a janitorial worker from 1993 until 2000 cleaning campus facilities, earning a promotion to Maintenance Group Leader in 2000.
From 2000 to 2003, I worked as the second shift group leader which included shift supervision, performing light maintenance and grounds tasks along with general cleaning duties.
While working at Penn State Hazleton, I earned a bachelor’s of science in business management.
I’ve also earned a professional certificate in building maintenance technology from Luzerne County Community College and a master’s of science in organizational management from College Misericordia in Dallas, PA.
In November 2003, I accepted my current position as Assistant Director of Physical Plant, Custodial Services, at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY.
How and why has cleaning/maintaining college facilities changed over the years?
Cleaning college facilities has changed in two fundamental ways.
First is the trend toward day and team cleaning.
Countless institutions have moved to day cleaning.
Cleaning professionals have become more visible on campus and have become more a part of the campus community.
Team cleaning has been employed in order to improve efficiency and to boost productivity.
Secondly, cleaning operations have become less of an unskilled trade and more of a technical operation.
Cleaning professionals have been armed with vast amounts of knowledge in soil composition, equipment technology, infection control and cleaning chemistry.
What are the benefits of having custodians as college employees, rather than contractor employees?
There is a very real difference between in-house employees and contracted labor.
First and foremost is the ownership in-house employees take in the facility.
Outsourced labor has a tendency to become a transient labor force with extraordinary turnover.
In-house employees generally feel they have a vested interest in the performance of the operation; they feel as though the facility they are cleaning is partially theirs.
What''s the best part of your job? And the worst part?
The best part of my job is the dynamic nature of the environment
The change in operating parameters from academic operations to summer camp and conference operations is always an interesting shift.
And, likewise, the incoming students each fall bring with them a feeling of new beginnings and a fresh start.
My job seems to get renewed three times a year and I like the change.
The worst part about my job is dealing with disciplinary issues.
What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?
I would envision myself in an executive leadership role in 10 years.
I am a firm believer in the endless possibilities of goal-oriented motivation.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
As a Type A personality stuck in permanent overdrive, I am an avid runner and cyclist, spending countless hours outdoors running, hiking and bicycling.
I am hooked on adventure and the limitless possibilities of the world.