Frank Trevisani has been in the building service contracting industry for more than 35 years, and during that time, he has seen and done it all: “I’ve worked for] large BSCs, ran a jan/san distributor and was a national account person for a large equipment manufacturer. In short, I wrecked a lot of restroom fixtures and have run auto-scrubbers through walls!” In his current position at Spartan Chemical, which he’s been in for 15 years, Trevisani’s role is to grow the BSC market segment. “How you live your life is directly related to how you do your work and how you are perceived by your peers. I try to be honest and forthright and always do what I say I am going to do.”
How do you interact with BSCs?
I have always felt that this is a large market segment but a small fraternity. Relationships are everything. I make it a point to network with all my old and new associates, and when the time comes that they need my help, I make sure I under-promise and over-perform. This industry is based on trust, and your word is your bond. Also, I try to help those who I know and trust to find a fit with the right company if and when they need a job.
What do you enjoy most about working with BSCs?
Seeing old friends who have become successful in this ever-changing market segment and showing them ways to add value in dollars to their bottom line.
What are some trends that you’re seeing in the building service contracting industry?
I see that the industry is slowly changing from a commodity to something that is of real value and has an effect on everyone’s health and well-being. I am a true believer in the “value of clean,” and it is a part of everything I do and say to customers.
How do you drive innovation at Spartan?
I am fortunate to work for a company that is flexible. We don’t have a lot of management layers to bog down new and innovative ideas, so we can adjust to changes in the marketplace quickly.
How would you describe your management style?
I believe in having people learn by experience. Too many people are given jobs that are scripted and have never felt failure. I think everyone should be “bloodied” as they say. We learn from our failures, and it makes us more prepared to handle what is up ahead. I try to guide them with what I have experienced, so they can put it into perspective.
What do you think makes for a good corporate culture?
Openness. This industry is changing rapidly, and the way we did business a few years back does not necessarily mean it will work today. You need a culture that is willing to listen and take chances on the new ideas and be able to react quickly to a changing environment.
What has been the most challenging experience in your career?
My most challenging experience in my career was, and still is, trying to be a good family man while traveling all over the country for the past 30 years and [finding that balance]. I truly love what I do, and I am as intense about my family life as I am about my work.
How have you handled that challenge?
I set priorities. As you get older, you learn what is important and what is not. How you live your life is directly related to how you do your work and how you are perceived by your peers. I try to be honest and forthright and always do what I say I am going to do.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career?
Treat people with respect. Whether it is a CEO or a custodian, you have to respect people equally. I always make it a note to thank people for their efforts, and I take an interest in their life. How are your kids? Is your wife doing well? Everyone has their challenges, and it is nice to show a personal interest in them. I truly enjoy the interaction.