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Get to know... Jamie Van Vuren

September 19, 2010
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How did you get your start in the cleaning and maintenance industry, and where are you now?
I guess you could say I was born into it. My father started the original Bee Line Maintenance back in the ’50s. I remember going to his shop in Glenview, IL, as a little girl.

At that time, my dad did a fair amount of appliance repair business in the store fixing vacuum cleaners and other appliances. My grandmother did the books in the early days.

It is unique that some of my current janitorial accounts have been serviced by Bee Line since before I was born. I remember hearing the business names at the dinner table as far as my memory takes me back. The clients often don’t know this, as the contact persons have changed over the years.

I became directly involved in Bee Line only after earning an MBA and having a professional career in sales with UPS for a number of years.

Now, I am president of Bee Line Building Service and Supply, Schaumburg, IL.

What responsibilities are the most challenging?
The biggest responsibility I have is making sure there is work for our 200 employees. I feel the pressure to consistently bring on new accounts and keep the wheels turning for our growing office staff and crews.

It is rewarding to employ so many people and to know that their work with us is providing for their families.

Of course, as any business owner will tell you, the biggest challenge is keeping the books profitable. As we experience exponential growth our expenses also increase.

It is the natural cycle of sales, start-up costs, payroll, more sales, more expenses, and so on.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of your job?
The favorite part of my job is closing a sale. Yes, absolutely there is nothing better than getting a signed contract.

I also enjoy the camaraderie of my office team and watching them grow in their positions with the company.

The least favorite part…hmmm. If I have to choose, it would be getting voice mail time after time for a potential prospect and the dreaded surly person on the other end of the line that “isn’t interested” and promptly slams the phone down in my ear.

Luckily that does not happen too often.

Tell us a bit about your personal life.
I have a son — A.J. — who is almost 2 years old, and a daughter, Savannah, who is 4 1/2. Without a doubt they make me smile and laugh more than anyone in the world.

My husband Andre and I love to travel, do business, and talk shop constantly.

Of course, living in Chicago, we all dream of a warmer place. But for now this is where home is.
The entire family is currently packing for a trip to Curacao this week for the BSCAI CEO Executive seminar.

My hobbies include working out five or six days per week, and I plan to start a triathlon training program this winter.

I earned a bachelor’s in Spanish from Flagler College. This has proved to be an excellent asset. I am fluent in Spanish and communicate daily in my second language.

I earned a master’s in international business from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL .
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