The following is from Business Watch Magazine by Angela Mihm Nigro:
As Wisconsin’s largest family-owned commercial cleaning business, KleenMark has seen many changes in its 50-plus years. Building employee loyalty, incorporating family strength, and adjusting to marketplace demands have been important along the way, and KleenMark president and CEO Scott Stevenson expects them to remain critical to the company’s success.
The Stevenson family initially entered the commercial cleaning industry in 1956 when John “Jack” Stevenson and a partner purchased Hoffman Chemical, a distributor of cleaning supplies. A few years later, the partners launched DnS Janitorial to establish cleaning contracts throughout the Madison area. It was a good pairing, and the two divisions naturally encouraged one another’s growth.
As a child, Scott Stevenson was always aware of his dad’s business and outings to the office were the special trips that made childhood memories, while the occasional task of filing paperwork filled his piggybank. It wasn’t until 1986, however, that 16-year-old Scott officially joined the payroll by working on the janitorial side.
While working, Scott kept a low profile and didn’t want a reputation as the boss’s son, saying, “I didn’t want to be treated differently.” The work gave Scott an appreciation for the employees and their importance in providing client satisfaction. After completing his undergraduate degree, Scott returned and became an operational manager, which reinforced his viewpoint on the importance of employees.
By 1994, Jack was CEO of both divisions; Scott’s brother, Bill, was president of Hoffman Chemical, and Scott became president of DnS Janitorial. For 10 years, the trio worked together to expand the business and explore new markets, until Bill decided to exit the business.
Bill’s departure in 2003, combined with Scott’s experience, allowed an opportunity to refocus. Scott became president and CEO, while Jack became chairman of the board. In his dual roles at both Hoffman Chemical and DnS Janitorial, Scott saw the chance to combine marketing and branding efforts of the two divisions and decided to rename the company KleenMark.
The new name also signaled a change in cleaning practices as the company launched its KleenMark Greenway initiative. KleenMark Greenway, Scott explains, is a strategic decision that means every KleenMark product and method is environmentally sound.
Green cleaning is important, Scott says, not only for the health of KleenMark employees, but also clients and visitors. By implementing green cleaning, KleenMark works to improve the indoor air quality (IAQ) and that’s good news; the EPA cites IAQ as the nation’s No. 1 environmental health problem.
Through another new initiative, KleenMark University (KU), management delivers important training and education to employees and customers. Additionally, KU provides a mechanism to retain, develop and promote KleenMark’s most valuable asset: its people. Scott says KU gives him employee input and perspective that he wouldn’t otherwise get and the information is critical to improving the business.
Over 50 years later, KleenMark remains family-focused as Jack, 80, and Scott have daily contact discussing business challenges and opportunities. Now the next generation, Scott’s two daughters, are frequent visitors, and Scott hopes to pass on the same blend of encouragement and autonomy that have proved successful thus far.
To view full story, click on title of article or visit http://businesswatchmagazine.com/BW%20Oct08.pdf.
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[author title=”About the Author”]
Keep the snow and sleet outside where they belong with these KleenMark services. KleenMark was born in Madison, WI, and has spent 60 years