Meet Niles Breithaupt, Senior Director of Cleaning and Janitorial Services Line at C&W Services
Niles Breithaupt has made one thing incredibly clear – it doesn’t matter who you are, sometimes in your life you have to scrub a toilet. Niles has worked in various roles in maintenance and facilities management, the latest of which is at C&W Services.
Throughout his career he has realized that, “Facilities and maintenance management are unique fields because you touch every part of every industry and every building that stands. As a janitor, often times you’re invisible to people passing by. But, the reality is, there are janitors working in top secret areas where they’re doing cutting-edge cancer research or developing prototypes for release in five years. In facilities, you’re everywhere.”
Niles Breithaupt, thank you for everything you do. Your personality shines through your leadership style and you’re an amazing advocate for everyone around you.
How did you get started in maintenance?
I’ve been in the maintenance field since I was young. I didn’t have the best time growing up, but I found my solice at my dad’s maintenance company. I joined the Navy and got married at 20 with a kiddo on the way. When I got out of the Navy, I had to have a career. Maintenance was all I knew, so I went back to work for my dad’s company. I was working under my brother, as the toilet boy actually, but eventually I worked my way up.
It was an incredible and humbling experience coming up through the ranks and learning from everyone. I never wanted to be the type of leader that tries to be the hero, when really the people pulling the weight are the heroes in my opinion. I’ve worked hard to avoid that type of leadership because I think some people in leadership tend to forget about their journey. As a leader, you have to take care of the people who are making you successful. As a leader, your whole job is a study of how to interact with and influence people, and get them to buy into your cause. Being authentic and caring about your team is in my opinion one of the most important attributes of being in leadership.
My last team was amazing. When I started working with them, we had a lot of ground to make up. When I decided to move on, we were performing like a well oiled clock thanks to all of their hard work and effort. During that journey, we had a myriad of challenges but the team did what teams do. Everyone came together and collectively overcame each and every challenge becoming one of the best performing regions in our category.
Now, I’m part of the Innovations and Change Team and they seem to be just as amazing. My job is finding and vetting new technology, processes and approaches to better service our customers, employees and company alike. In this role I have an opportunity to elevate the people I work with and I’m so grateful for that.
What is one thing you wish people knew about your job?
I think this is more for people outside of the field, but I wish people knew how hard people in facilities and maintenance work. People are people and everyone has innate value. What does it matter if you’re a CEO or a toilet scrubber? Everyone wants to be valued and accepted in one way, shape, or form. If people could come together and have more respect for human worth, I think a lot of the negative annotations would go away. Especially once people reach leadership positions and get to the top of their mountain, leaders should never forget about their journey and the people who were helping them reach their success.
What is one of your proudest accomplishments?
I’ve raised a 16 year old young man that has just awesome character. He cares about people so much and isn’t your typical 16 year old. I bet you hear that from parents a lot, but he’s seriously so special. He’s big into social justice and taking care of the underdog, and he’s just wise beyond his years. I’m so proud to have him!
For work, I’m proud that the people I’ve worked with in my career are so involved in their communities. With any company, you’re a part of the local community where you work. I had a customer (a business) once that would put on a holiday Thanksgiving dinner the local community members to enjoy food, free gifts and festivities. The company I was with allowed me to donate on their behalf. I feel we have a responsibility to interact with local communities and to be stewards of good will to those around us. That’s where we come in – we have an opportunity to support a lot of people. Throwing a little bash with food doesn’t cost much for a company, but it makes a long lasting impact.