Fall 2019 Janitor’s Dream Closet Contest Winner: Fenton Area School District

Feb 27, 2020


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As a cleaning equipment manufacturer, it’s not often that we hear about our products inspiring people to dance. But that’s exactly what Mary Radtke, the secretary of operations at Fenton Area Public Schools, did when she heard that she won a new ride-on scrubber for her school district in our second Janitor’s Dream Closet Contest. “When I found out that I won the Janitor’s Dream Closet Contest, it was like winning the lottery,” Radtke said. 

Fenton Area Public Schools, or FAPS, is a small but bustling school district in Michigan whose motto is “Excellence, Outstanding Students, Lifelong Learners.” Since Fenton is a small town, the high school serves as both an academic institution and a community hub. As a result, it’s always busy. “We have always said this building never sleeps. It is constantly going,” said Casaundra Thompson, the district’s head custodian.

That makes keeping it clean a challenge. It requires three different shifts to keep the high school in top shape, a goal that becomes even more difficult to achieve when the custodial team is understaffed. “We are so fortunate for our regular custodians because they pick up a lot of extra work…when we are short subs, which is unfortunately pretty often,” Radtke wrote in her application for the contest. 

The team has also struggled with equipment that wasn’t designed for the space they need to clean, which has forced them to use manual methods instead. “Our biggest challenge would be our equipment is not made to go through [the] doorways,” Thompson notes. “So, we’re hand-mopping, we’re pushing a walk-behind as best and as fast as we can.”

That’s why Radtke danced when she heard the news. “I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was,” she said. “I know how hard these custodians work and how badly they needed that piece of equipment.”

With the new ride-on scrubber, the FAPS custodial team will be able to clean faster and more effectively. “This is very helpful for our district,” said Joe Humpert, the director of operations. “We are short of equipment, and it will be very beneficial for us to help with keeping the facilities clean and providing a better learning environment for the students.”

Not only that, but the new ride-on scrubber will free up some money in FAPS’ budget that they can put toward other priorities. This will benefit the entire Fenton community. “We can be effective stewards of our tax dollars that come into the district by making sure we’re very efficient when it comes right down to things like keeping our hallways in our buildings clean. Nilfisk makes that possible,” said Fenton High School principal Mark Suchowski.

Helping schools solve these kinds of challenges is exactly why we launched the Janitor’s Dream Closet Contest last year. By helping custodians clean more efficiently and effectively, we can support schools in their efforts to provide safe, healthy, and productive learning environments. That’s good for students, for their communities, and for our society as a whole. 

We haven’t yet announced our next Janitor’s Dream Closet Contest yet, so stay tuned!

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