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Next question — Edwin Eaton

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Edwin Eaton, 33, district sales manager, York Building Services

A rising star in the janitorial-maintenance industry, Eaton has successfully expanded Seattle-based York Building Services into North Central Washington and beyond.

After attending school at Wenatchee Valley College and the University of Washington, Edwin started his career in Seattle but quickly realized that the Wenatchee Valley is — and always will be — home. So he moved here and started the business with one employee. He now employs more than 35 workers and has expanded into Oregon and Idaho, taking on as clients many well-known businesses in the region. He also owns three rental homes in the area.

Q. You work for a janitorial and maintenance company that supplies all kinds of services — from carpet cleaning to landscaping. What first attracted you to this industry? What motivates you on a daily basis?

A. I like fast paced, on-the-go kind of work, and in the cleaning industry there’s never a dull moment. It’s 24/7. Plus, the cleaning business is one of the fastest growing service industries in the United States. Business continues to grow every month, and it gives my family peace of mind, especially since my wife gets to stay at home and raise our daughter. Being able to have my wife raise our daughter is all the motivation I need!

Q. You have 35 employees and — looking at your Facebook page — are now hiring more staff. What’s making your company grow so fast? Why do business managers and commercial building owners want you to be their maintenance company?

A. In the service business, you can greatly outshine your competition just by showing up when you say you will, getting the job done on time, doing good work and going the extra mile if necessary to keep your promises. Pretty basic isn’t it? It seems like something customers should always be able to expect but, sadly, it’s becoming rare these days. I don’t think that enough businesses today realize how valuable repeat customers are, along with their word-of-mouth advertising.

Q. OK, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: At the end of the day, what’s the toughest cleaning job in a commercial office building? You know, the job everyone on the crew just dreads doing.

A. I’m not sure there’s enough space to list what my crew and I have witnessed in this industry. But to keep it rated PG and family-friendly, the second dirtiest item in a restroom would be the light switch, which has 20 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. Or how about your office desk? It has 400 times more bacteria than a toilet.

Q. Fantasy time: Ten years from now (2024), how have you contributed to the Wenatchee Valley’s social, educational or business communities?

A. Three years ago, when I started this company here in Wenatchee, I had one employee and one client. Today I now have 38 employees and numerous clients on a local and regional platform. I have created numerous jobs not just in our local community but throughout the whole region. I hope to be continuing to add more jobs locally and to help educate other local entrepreneurs by sharing my experiences, both failures and successes. Economist Peter Drucker said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”


Reach Mike Irwin at 509-665-1179 or . Read his blog Everyday Business. follow him on Twitter at @MikeIrwinWW.