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FBG Service Corporation | The Future Looks ‘Brite’

It's been said that "a comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there." Perhaps Wayne Simmonds knew this when he began selling dust mop services for an up-and-coming franchise business known as Dust-Tex in the late 1950s. Fresh from active duty in the U.S. Navy, Wayne returned to Omaha, Nebraska with his young family and worked for the business until it was eventually acquired by American Uniform Company.

During this acquisition, the owners of Dust-Tex purchased a janitorial business called Floor Brite Maintenance Co. (a customer of Dust-Tex). Wayne was asked to handle sales and operations management. He worked hard, often putting in 100-hour weeks to successfully manage and grow the business. One thing was clear – Wayne never planned to settle into a comfort zone. He had big dreams for the future of Floor Brite and wasn’t afraid to go after them.

Taking Chances
In 1966, Wayne was given an ownership opportunity when one of the Floor Brite co-owners left the company. He was able to purchase 4% of the departing member’s stock. This small investment ignited an even stronger drive in Wayne to achieve more business growth. Just two years later, the remaining Floor Brite partners sold and relinquished their shares to Wayne so he could assume full ownership of the company. As the sole proprietor, Wayne’s first order of business was to offer shares to key employees. He knew this was critical to the future of the company, saying, “Ownership is an important motivator; when you own the company, you have a vested interest in its success.” He couldn’t have been more right – Floor Brite was in for a massive growth spurt.

FBG Corporation

Over the years, Floor Brite acquired a number of businesses and opened new locations across the country in states such as Arizona, Iowa, Texas and Colorado. As the company expanded, so did its business model. In addition to its traditional janitorial services, Floor Brite began offering window cleaning, exterior pressure washing, fire / smoke restoration and crime scene cleanup. In 1978, Floor Brite made an exciting jump with the acquisition of Coordinated Security Services and Building Maintenance, launching the company into the security services field. After four successful years in this niche, Floor Brite officially changed its name to what we know it as today – FBG Service Corporation (FBG being an acronym for Floor Brite – Guardsman).

FBG continued to take chances in new directions. By 1988, it sold the security business to focus on developing another business venture (one closer to the needs of the company), Team Financial Management Systems (now called TEAM Software). Eventually spinning off to become a company independent of FBG, TEAM Software offers an integrated business management system designed specifically for building service and security contractors. The web and mobile applications include components to assist with financials and accounting, time and attendance, scheduling, payroll, reporting, analytics and quality assurance. FBG continues to use TEAM Software, as do hundreds of other janitorial and security companies, and the two businesses still share office space in Omaha.
By 1990, FBG had come full circle and was back to doing what it did best – providing janitorial services and building maintenance.

A New Direction on a Familiar Path
While going back to its original business model might have seemed like stepping back into a “comfort zone,” nothing could have been further from the truth. FBG saw this as an opportunity to renew its focus and strengthen its identity. FBG also took this time to improve operations by developing new procedures and fine-tuning service delivery. These efforts poised FBG to continue to grow its market share, and in 1993 it became the dominant building services company in Nebraska and the surrounding region. Simmonds received many accolades for his leadership, including the Urban League Award presented by former Nebraska Governor and U.S. Senator Ben Nelson.

That same year, FBG announced its Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), which intended to provide retirement, death and disability benefits to participating employees. After decades of hard work and successfully navigating an unpredictable business climate, Wayne’s dream of establishing an employee-owned company was finally coming to fruition. By 1995, 394 ESOP certificates had been issued. Wayne conveyed the importance of thinking as owners, encouraging employees to find ways to increase efficiency, productivity and customer satisfaction, and to take pride in a job well done – all of which remains the foundation of FBG’s company culture.

Achieving New Milestones
In addition to increased employee ownership, 1995 also ushered in an important partnership between FBG and one of its competitors – Varsity Contractors. The two companies joined forces to form Net-Work Services Company (NSC) for the purpose of managing facility services for a large telecommunications company with 2,800 buildings across 14 states. This partnership inspired FBG leadership to launch into managed services. They now serve customers from coast to coast and have hundreds of vendor partners to deliver a broad range of facility services. To effectively manage thousands of facilities and services, they’ve developed monitoring systems that are data-driven and fully transparent to each customer.

In the late 90s, FBG was repeatedly recognized among the Top 10 Fastest Growing Businesses in Omaha, and also made the national list of Top 100 Small Businesses in America published by Inc. Magazine. At the close of the decade, Wayne’s daughter, Terri Gogetap, took over as President while he became Chairman of the Board.

The new millennium meant continued growth for FBG as it expanded its client base throughout the country. It was also the time that FBG became an early adopter of Healthy High Performance Cleaning – a green cleaning program that met the U.S. Green Building Council standards for sustainable facilities.

During 2006, FBG achieved the goal that Wayne had set nearly 40 years earlier – 100% employee ownership. This was a defining moment both for Wayne and FBG, and has helped create the stable and productive workforce that FBG’s customers have come to know and appreciate.

Ready for More
Today, FBG employs approximately 1,300 people and is one of the nation’s leading, full-service commercial janitorial and facility-maintenance companies. It has district offices in Colorado, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois, and remains headquartered in Omaha.

FBG continues to develop its environmentally responsible cleaning programs. It recently received the coveted Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) for Green Buildings, issued by ISSA (the worldwide cleaning industry association). FBG is dedicated to supporting the health and well-being of its clients’ facilities by providing a clean, safe and healthy environment.

Never ready to settle into a comfort zone, FBG is constantly looking toward workplaces of the future. From smart buildings to robotics, technology is changing how they provide services. Open space plans and portable office environments require them to look at physical and cyber security needs in a different way. For janitorial needs, artificial intelligence is improving cleaning efficiency by using sensors to monitor data on stocking and trash levels, which can alert cleaners to where they’re needed. Chemical levels and equipment maintenance can also be paired with similar predictive technologies. This new technology can also reduce waste and encourage a more proactive (versus reactive) service delivery.

SilverStone Group applauds FBG’s dedication to continually better itself, and we are proud to assist with its property and casualty, HR consulting and employee benefit needs. With nearly 60 years of success in the books, we are confident that an even brighter future lies ahead for this ever-evolving company.

This article originally appeared in the 2017 | ISSUE THREE of the SilverLink magazine, under the title “FBG Service Corporation | The Future Looks Brite.” To receive a complimentary subscription to the SilverLink magazine, sign up here.

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