Written by The Business Journal Staff
Kit Seals, Owner
Environmental Control in Fresno
What we do:
Environment Control provides commercial janitorial building services in Fresno, Clovis and Madera and San Joaquin Valley region since 1969. The services extend to commercial offices, either private, state or federal government, medical offices and manufacturing. You name it we clean it!
Executive management and leadership/development classes and course work that equal an MBA per my mentor!
Husband Winston, three sons, Keith 32, Scott 29 and Treavor 22. We have lived on a few acres most of our lives and raised 4-H goats, horses, rabbits, ducks, chickens and the usual dogs and cats.
How did you come to your position as owner of Environment Control in Fresno, Kit?
Hard work and perseverance.
What are your primary responsibilities as owner?
Keep the company in balance through customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, growth and profit as the managing partner.
When did you decide to make your career in this business, Kit?
I began my career at Environment Control 33 years ago with a retail management background and a very competitive spirit. Environment Control employees have endless opportunities for growth and advancement, just as I have experienced. I transitioned from the mindset of an employee when I realized that I could control my own income by managing, selling new accounts and performing cleaning duties consecutively. One of the partners gave me opportunities that I hope to pass onto others.
How is your industry doing at the present time? Has it suffered from the recession, Kit?
Environment Control has been hit hard by the recession. We have experienced many small office situations also at a loss for business and therefore having to end janitorial services and their cleaning transfers to “in-house” staff. For smaller businesses, janitorial services are a luxury and we understand this, although many of our customers are returning with modified specifications to meet their new budgets. Our business now views all new customers with a budget allowance approach, and tailors their cleaning needs for their industry to achieve the best cleaning results.
What is the most rewarding part of your job, Kit? The most difficult?
The most rewarding part of my job is giving others a job. The flip side is doing a good job for a customer and receiving praise for the teamwork it takes to accomplish this. It is rewarding to see and hear a client’s reaction when the staff turns an unkempt work environment into a sparkling work area; and this increases everybody’s morale.
The most difficult part of my job currently is the realization for risk management as its own viable department. California employment laws have made some very difficult parameters for businesses to grow and stay healthy. I am a very expressive positive person, and it is constraining at times when I cannot be me! By this I mean I can’t just say or do what comes naturally. I have to precede my thoughts before I say a word so it is not misconstrued. There are other new laws that protect employees for different classifications or family needs, and those laws are very beneficial to the staff members that need to leave employment and protected to return to a job. This is a win-win situation for both. Keeping up with the continually changing employment laws is a challenge!
What do you ultimately hope to accomplish with Environment Control?
We are fortunate to be in an industry that businesses need at one time or another. The company motto is “It’s About Lives.” I know that it is not the job of cleaning that is attractive, but if you are attracted to a company that cares about you as an individual, that speaks volumes. Environment Control gives back to the employees that are struggling with hardships by helping with family meals or seasonal dinners at Thanksgiving or Christmas. We gather as a team for donations to help those on our staff that are stricken with illnesses. I would like to see the care and concern tradition continue when I am long gone for the employees who themselves have a self-serving attitude to take care of cleaning needs. They are the heroes in our industry.
What is the best business advice that you have ever received, Kit?
From my Dad. He taught me never be afraid to get my hands dirty. He would say if you learn from doing the job, no matter what it might be, you could then advance to teaching others to perform the job, enabling you to learn more and succeed up the ladder.
Do you have a favorite quotation, Kit?
I heard this by Dr. Welty at a Fresno State graduation speech. I do not recall the author.
“Without wealth nothing is lost. Without health everything is lost. Without integrity, you are lost. “
What was your first job growing up, and what did you learn from it, Kit?
Mowing yards and pulling weeds for the older ladies at my church when I was about 14 or 15 years old. I would ride up on my bicycle, eager to help them and get to work. However, as the day wore on, their list would grow longer! I could not wait to get on my bike with a few bucks in my pocket and head home!
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy being with my family camping/RVing and exploring. I enjoy the quiet outback spots of the Western U.S.that are rich with history such as the missions, Native American archeology and artifacts. Geology and wildlife keep me grounded and appreciate what God has created for us to enjoy.