Normally, the “Get to Know Us” column introduces you to new faces at Prestige Maintenance USA, but this quarter, we wanted to celebrate our 40th anniversary by showcasing some long-time employees who have helped make the company what it is today. Regional Managers Victor Castaneda and Gabino Lezama have each been with PMUSA for more than two decades. Get to know a little more about these valued managers.
A normal day for me is to get up at 6 o’clock in the morning, start looking at emails, visiting stores — I usually go to two or three stores in the morning then go to my computer and start responding to emails and working there. You name it, I do it. That’s my day. I take phone calls 24/7, basically stay on call all the time. It’s part of the job. It can be stressful but that’s what we choose to do.
They’ve changed a lot. When I started, the company was very small. We had just a few retail stores but we have grown up and changed a lot. It’s been tremendous how it has changed in every way. We have a lot of people working in offices, a lot of people in general. When I started [CEO/owner] Rachel [Sanchez] was still in high school and was about to graduate. Jason was working in Operations. They were both so young, working here and there. I have seen them grow up and get to where they are now.
I remember it like it was yesterday, the first time Mr. Alex [Alex Dinverno, PMUSA founder] asked me if I wanted to come work for him. He told me how responsible I looked when I was doing my job back then. He invited me to work for the company. Ms. Marie [also one of the company’s founders], his wife, was with him. That was the day they changed my whole life around. I’m never going to forget that. That’s one of the things I always keep with me, and it keeps me going.
Another one was when Jason [Dinverno, COO] and I opened up Target stores in North and South Carolina. I remember after a few days, we decided to go do something fun and ended up going to a place where they do go-karts, racecars. We each got in one. He beat me in the end but I was pushing him all the time, until the end. [Laughs] That’s a good memory I have with him. Those are the things that, when you look back, keep you going, you know?
I like to be with my family. That’s the best and what I always want to do when I’m not at work. I have three kids — well, they’re not kids anymore. My oldest daughter is 28 years old and is the mother of four kids. I’m a grandpa! My son is 23, and my youngest daughter is 16. We go to dinner together or do something else. They’re my top priority. The other thing is that I play my favorite sport, soccer, if I have a chance. Those are the two things that take my mind off of work. If I’m playing soccer, my mind is there and that’s relaxing for me.
In my role, I do many things. I hire new employees and managers and also train them. I visit customers, decide when stores need to be stripped and waxed, assist in maintenance routines at the stores when needed, receive calls from employees and check emails for work orders. I work hard with my team members to make sure the work orders are closed in time. Sometimes I transfer equipment from store to store, do mechanical work that needs to be done, such as fixing vacuums or working on the scrubbers and buffers. Every day, I review the payroll hours with the supervisors, answer alerts for different locations.
Since I started, I have seen many, many changes. I have cleaned Venture stores, Kmarts, Targets, Jewel Osco, Mariano’s, Walgreens, Sears, BNSF and many others. I got to see how the company has progressed from something small to a large organization.
I remember moving from Texas to Chicago. I had started with five Target stores and went to Chicago temporarily to help. In no time, we had more stores there and in Wisconsin and Minnesota, so I moved there. I also fondly remember working with Jason in maintenance to start the Wisconsin, Minnesota, Washington DC, Georgia, North and South Carolina and Michigan markets.
I like to spend time with my family. I enjoy riding my bike in the forest preserves and playing basketball with my brothers.