“I wanted to make a difference in my community.”
Ms. Cheryl Gill
Ms. Cheryl Gill
These are the words of OUR PRESIDENT, Cheryl Gill. Since its inception in 1996, Ms. Gill has passionately committed herself to providing high quality services and job creation for the unemployed and under-employed residents in Woodlawn, Chicago and the Chicagoland area. As a dedicated employee of Chicago Public Schools for nearly twenty (20) years, alongside employment with the Chicago Police Department Ms. Gill gained invaluable experience and exposure to the culture and administrative needs of large scale organizations, systems and businesses.
Coupled with knowledge gained through CPS and CPD, an impeccable work ethic and her innate passion for helping people, she courageously decided to become an entrepreneur. As a long-term resident of the Woodlawn community, it only seemed appropriate and most fitting to headquarter and anchor her vision for small business there. As a parent, raising her two children in Woodlawn, she long fought for a safer and culturally richer communities. When driving to work each day, through said blighted communities, filled with not just vacant lots but also an obvious emptiness amidst its people, Ms. Gill often pondered, what more she could do to make a difference. It’s the very question that drives her passion today in helping to unravel the hopelessness and helplessness seen all too often in Chicago’s underserved communities.
Beloved for the opportunities she yet provides to those needing a fresh chance at life in developing not only job skills but also life skills, Ms. Gill is amongst just a few – longstanding African-American women, janitorial contractors in the city of Chicago. She’s regarded and lovingly seen by many as a “Pioneer of Hope.”
Her lasting commitment to service, continues to penetrate the hearts of many throughout the city. When asked how she’s managed for over two decades, she insists, “Hard work, determination, perseverance and lots of support from your community, family and friends.” When asked what she hopes to be remembered as, she says, “If someone asked me today what my legacy is, I would simply say, I only tried to help someone one person at a time.”
At its beginning stages, DEC serviced only the private-residential sector. From cleaning homes, buildings, attics and basements, Ms. Gill literally and truly built a company from the ground up. Word soon spread about her company and its emphasis on excellence in cleanliness. This lead to greater opportunity with more esteemed and recognized clientele. As DEC began to grow, she began to search for more opportunity outside of the residential sector that would yield additional opportunities for more employment and company expansion. Ms. Gill reached out to the respective City, State and Federal departments, thereby signing up for every workshop and class she could attend. She wrote letters, scheduled meetings, made calls, chaired block club committees, attended local school and church events, met with local officials and joined community, civic and small business organizations. It was this tenacity, community centeredness and fortitude whereby the company’s certification: MBE/WBE/DBE was born.
DEC received their first commercial contract as a certified DBE firm in 2000. Now able to fulfill more of her passion in hiring community residents, she personally applied her skill set in management to facilitate on-the-job training skills for her newly employed individuals. Teaching them everything from life skills and professionalism to industry related standards, central to the utilization of various cleaning supplies and paper products, DEC’s impact was taking shape. Customary to start-ups, Ms. Gill yet wore many hats at the helm of very long days and nights. Personally instituting much of the company’s needs to ensure customer satisfaction, Ms. Gill yet never lost sight of her optimal vision in providing employment opportunities as adjoined to empowering people and communities. Her intent then, parallels her heart’s desire now in seeking to be a part of the solution for the painstaking problems before us all, via the violence and crime ridden issues in our beloved city and communities nationally.
In its twenty-two-year history, Dust ‘Em Clean has continued to grow and maintain a positive reputation as a provider of high quality janitorial services and as a recommended employer for distressed communities. Providing employment opportunities, whereby able, to those seeking re-entry into society for a second chance at life is an added layer to the company’s ethic and vision. Furthering this philosophy is a “village” approach to job creation and economic empowerment. For DEC, collaboration is essential and is proven through inherent partnerships with community developers, including but not limited to, POAH, NHS and Sunshine Gospel in Woodlawn.
Dust ‘Em Clean seeks to evolve all the more as a leader in the sector of environmentally efficient janitorial services and a leading provider of employment opportunities in the communities of Chicago, the Chicagoland area and beyond. Setting its sights on additional, permanent space to house its ideals of job creation, training, education development and economic empowerment, the company is prime for continued growth. Coupled with hiring ambitious individuals and equipping them with the skills they need to live beyond their circumstances, as upstanding, invested and hard-working citizens, Dust ‘Em Clean will also continue to provide its customers with high quality janitorial services as it further expands and diversifies its portfolio of offerings and services for an ever changing planet.
Best known as the D.E.C. (Dust ‘Em Clean) Way, said standards are integral to the company’s esteemed services and success: