January 22, 2019, marks the first anniversary of RBG Janitorial. It’s been a breathtakingly exciting year and you have been a part of it!
We thought you’d like to see what we’ve done with our first 12 months.
RBG Janitorial started servicing clients on March 1.
We had 8 employees and 6 clients.
As 2018 closed, we are honored to have 42 employees servicing companies from Chicago to Davenport and from Springfield to Milwaukee.
(Want to read how we started out? Click here.)
A chain of events leading to the area's finest organizations
Possibly the most significant milestone at RBG Janitorial was certification at Federal, State, and multiple local levels as a woman-owned small business (Woman Business Enterprise or WBE). I knew this would be useful in helping our clients meet their diversity requirements, but I did not expect how it would trigger a chain of events that led me to some of the finest organizations in our area!
Giving structure and focus to a small business in a big world
WBE certification connected us with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), a joint effort between the State of Illinois, the Chamber of Commerce, and NIU, focused on providing guidance and resources to small businesses. SBDC gurus Bo Boger and Edward Caceres have had a direct influence on our fledgling company.
You already may have met Edward; he’s the one following us around with a camera, helping create RBG videos for training and marketing. Bo works in the background, helping give structure and focus to a small business in a big world. Their mentoring has connected us with other organizations throughout Boone and Winnebago Counties, creating a ripple effect of mutual assistance.
Servicing contracts for the State of Illinois and the US military
One of the connections I made through the SBDC was with Daniel Cugler III, owner of Titan Business Consulting, another SBA here in Rockford. Titan Business Consulting provides total contracting solutions and have been instrumental in coaching me on bidding government contracts. As a former Contract Specialist for the US Air Force, Daniel has profound knowledge of government and military procurement processes. RBG Janitorial now services contracts for the State of Illinois and the US military as a WBE.
Connecting with the community
The SBDC also recommended several relevant business networking groups in the area. One worthy venue is the Salsa Business Network, a group helping to connect within the Latino business community.
At one of Salsa’s monthly business luncheons, I met a charming and capable woman named Cira Bennett. Cira is the Business Services Representative at The Workforce Connection.
Information, support, and access to quality personnel
Cira provides us with excellent assistance, information, support, and access to quality personnel and services in association with the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).
Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve
The services provided to employers by The Workforce Connection are so staggering that Cira recommended I attend a seminar detailing the programs. There I met Scott Haugh, Veterans Business Specialist (LVER) with the Veterans Services division of IDES.
Scott trained me to access veterans looking for employment and awarded me with the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) certificate. Scott also connected me with Bob Hutchins at the Chicago TSL Veterans and other similar organizations across Illinois. At RBG, we love working with veterans, and these connections have been vital in finding people to join our team.
Enriching our company with cultural diversity
The first IDES job fair we attended in Rockford was held at St. Elizabeth’s Community Center. The Center is an amazing resource to Rockford, providing assistance ranging from adolescent outreach, daycare, immigration services, and employment services to food and clothing for our neighbors in need. As part of their innovative and tireless efforts for their diocese, St. Elizabeth’s Terri Hill, Employment Specialist, and Emily Schwartz, Cultural Orientation and Volunteer Coordinator, provide RBG Janitorial space for hiring events, connect us with people looking for work, and let us use their facility for training new employees. This cooperation has had a huge impact on the quality of our job applicants and new hire training, and continued the chain of connections between RBG Janitorial and our community.
The job fairs between The Workforce Connection and St. Elizabeth’s also brought us into contact with the Rock Valley College Refugee and Immigrant Services. Sierra Hartman and Iris Hale, Business Services Coordinators of the program, work with The Workforce Connection to assist RBG Janitorial with hard-working residents, translators, outreach, and support. Through them, we have been able to grow our team with outstanding employees, enriching our company with cultural diversity.
We began to collaborate with local women’s shelters to offer safe, steady work to their residents. Scott Haugh brought us to a job event at the Rockford Rescue Mission, where we met Kristine Meyer, Vocational Trainer at the Mission’s Works! Center. Kristine and I shared our stories and found a lot of common ground in our respective organizations’ goals. The Rockford Rescue Mission helps our city with life-changing assistance, and there is real opportunity for us to work together in moving forward.
Through all of these connections, one thing slowly became very clear: RBG Janitorial is in a perfect position to help people within our community. Because we provide entry-level jobs, we can reach out to the people of Rockford and provide them with a starting point in the workforce. We saw a common thread in the connections falling in place around us.
RBG Janitorial was starting to have a Higher Purpose.
The perfect position to help our community
We defined our company culture. Because cleaning is the smallest part of running RBG Janitorial, we implemented mobility within the company so that employees can take on other roles when they are not cleaning a building.
We have begun working with various organizations offering education to help employees further their career. We have connected with companies in construction and manufacturing to find opportunities for our most promising employees. We continue to reach out to those struggling within our community to join us as part of their path to self-sufficiency.
We continue to reach out to those struggling within our community to join us as part of their path to self-sufficiency.
Creating a company culture of growth, respect, support, and goal setting has helped us show our employees that they are the core of RBG. Our employees, in turn, care for our clients as their own, creating a sense of family among our customers. This brings a personal, committed level of service that is helping create RBG Janitorial’s reputation for excellence. Our fine reputation brings more jobs, and more jobs means more people we can help to empower.
I love situations where everybody wins.
2018 was an explosion of opportunity for RBG Janitorial. We found our feet, and now we will work on finding our voice. Our heart and soul remain centered on a single goal: to leave the world better than we found it.
As an employee, a customer, a vendor, or just someone interested enough to read through this far, you are a part of our story. Thank you for sharing our first year. We look forward to shining for you in 2019!