In this episode of Tidbits with Tracie, a Trax Analytics production, Tracie Davis, CEO of Trax Analytics, hangs out with Don Toole, SVP of Sales and Marketing at Flagship. They discuss how COVID-19 has changed the perception of clean and some of the innovations that have occurred in the janitorial world because of it. They also discuss the importance of recognizing and appreciating the essential frontline heroes that have continued to work hard throughout the pandemic to keep customers, employees and travelers safe.
T. Davis: So hi everybody, my name is Tracy Davis. I’m President CEO of Trax Analytics and again this is another segment of Tidbits with Tracy. and I have today a really really exciting guest on, Mr. Don Toole. So Don why don’t you tell us who the heck you are?
D. Toole: Well thanks, Tracy. Hello everyone, my name is Don Toole and I am the Senior Vice President for Flagship Facility Services. I lead our sales and marketing teams but I’m really about passionate about helping make solutions for the customers out there and making a difference each day.
T. Davis: Wonderful, so thank you so much for being a part of this. We’re really excited to have you. One thing I want to talk a little bit about is the fact that, we’ve had a wild year and now we’re looking into another wild year, but the era of COVID has really impacted the janitorial services world, the world that you are primarily focused in. I can only imagine it heightened sensitivity, heightened awareness but what impacts of COVID have you seen on the janitorial services world that you combat daily?
D. Toole: I think the biggest thing I’ve seen is that it’s really taken a job that a lot of people may have looked at in various ways in the past, and it’s really made people realize the importance of what happens and how buildings are cleaned and how this truly is an essential and a critical profession that touches the lives of everyone, every day. I think that that people took that for granted prior to COVID and I really think it’s given a lot of light on people who do a great job and are really professionals at what they do. Because it’s not just running through and you know whatever your perception of cleaning was before, I’m quite certain that has changed in the last year. So when I look at it, I look at it from that perspective that, yeah we face challenges but really it’s brought a great positive light on really great people.
T. Davis: No that’s wonderful, and I actually have to applaud you guys because one thing that I’ve really admired about your firm and then the work that you guys are doing is, how the level of importance that you put on the work that your team is doing and the janitorial teams out in the field and how, I think you call them frontline heroes?
D. Toole: That’s one of ours, yeah, that’s one of our things we do as a spotlight on our website. We always highlight our frontline heroes, we do a lot of segments around frontline heroes within social media. We really want them to get the recognition and just really, there’s a lot of pride that’s taken in that work and I just have the luxury and the privilege to get to represent them and it makes my job a lot easier really.
T Davis: It’s so wonderful and I mean when you actually can acknowledge the hard work that your team’s doing out in the field, I feel like that actually pays back tenfold, because it’s sometimes a thankless job unfortunately and when it really is as you said it’s essential and then even more so essential to the world that we live in right now. So I’ve gotten the privilege to know Flagship quite a bit over the past couple of years and yourself, and one thing that I’ve started to notice even more so just to my eyes, is how Flagship truly is an industry leader in what you guys are doing. Not just even janitorial services but facility management aviation, which is my background, but also outside of it. So how does Flagship continue to stay as an industry leader? What are you guys doing, what is the secret? I guess don’t give away all your secrets.
D. Toole: We can’t go too far here Tracy, but I really think it starts with leadership and I’m blessed to be a part of a leadership team. I do represent our leadership team and in functions throughout the company, but it starts the top and with David Pasek, who is our Founder and CEO, and it permeates throughout the organization. A lot of companies put a face on that type of thing but to really be innovators and be leaders, you have to have it start from the top, and it has to be your culture. It has to be what you think about each day. It does go back, I mean it sounds simple I guess, but it really does go back to the people, it’s the people on the front lines that when you listen to them and you’re thinking about what their needs are. We really are passionate about thinking about: how can we differentiate ourselves, how can you look at the situations different? Because we’re a privately held company, we’re not too big, we’re not too small, we’re able to make impacts without having a lot of other limitations because of whatever different groups need to approve or whatever. We’re able to really make decisions quickly and move along, and I really think that’s what helps us to be innovative. I think what we do more anything else, and I’ll do this because I am sitting here talking with you but I do want to commend you, is that we really look to partner and find people like yourself and with your organization to be able to bring the latest things to the forefront because we feel like if we’re doing that, we’re being the best partner to our client partners as well as to our employees and our staff. Because they benefit when we bring in innovation and we keep being cutting edge on how we approach things.
T Davis: Well thank you, that means a lot. It’s been wonderful to get to know you guys too and to have the incredible partnership that we do is really unique but powerful, especially to the industries that we serve. You know one difference that, I’ve talked about this with you and your team, and just from my experience working in the janitorial world with technology, but there really has been a shift in my eyes of the way that pre-COVID cleaning was often hidden. It was often done, you know, you didn’t want to impact journeys and I’ve seen in a lot of our locations where it’s great now that the janitorial staff is in the front, people want to see the cleaning taking place. They want to see that as almost a boost of confidence to get back in the building when really cleaning is taking place right in front of their eyes. So again, that’s just my limited experience; what are you seeing in the industry? Is that a similar perspective?
D. Toole: Yeah I think that really, you hear a lot of things about touch point cleaning and stuff like that and I do think that that’s really been one of the biggest impacts is visualization. People want to see, and there’s a sense of confidence that’s created whenever there’s visuals of people seeing the activities taking place. I think that it really does vary also by where you’re at, like within an airport setting that’s one perspective but when you’re in like an industrial plant or a corporate facility, there’s another perspective. So I do think that there’s been a little bit of shift in timing, it’s more about the touch point cleanings; there’s confidence from that visualization that comes out of that. So I do think, yes, that’s been a major change in where we’re at and what’s happening in the industry.
T. Davis: Yeah I’m sure it’s going to be a long ending, we’re going to see this for years to come and hopefully there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. If you don’t believe so, just lie to me because I’m going to tell myself there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Well thank you so much, Don, it’s been a pleasure. Just one quick fun fact about yourself, tell us something that is so unique that nobody would ever know about Don Toole. No pressure.
D. Toole: Oh man I can’t let those things out, either.
T. Davis: What is your favorite bourbon?
D. Toole: Well you do know I do have a little bit of a soft spot that’s become a nice venture for me, but my regular is eagle rare. So I’ll give y’all that, is my eagle rare. I’ll also give you, because I’m actually sitting in a college town; my son is graduating in just a few weeks, so a fun fact for me if I wanted to share something is, I’ll share my pride is that my son’s about to graduate with a biomedical engineering degree and my daughter’s working on her PHD. So I just want whoever’s kids I stole from the hospital, I just want to tell them thank you. So that’s really what I want to get.
T. Davis: Those are your kids? Man, that’s impressive. Well, congratulations to you and to the kids and to the family.
D. Toole: All right, well, thanks so much Tracy, let me know anything I can do for you. And if there’s anybody out there that we can lend a hand to, we’re here to help, just let me know.
T. Davis: Thank you, Don. Thanks for the time and thanks for the partnership.
D. Toole: All right, take care.