Mine cleaning company sets employees off on right path
- EFN Staff
Nine hundred fifty-six days and counting. That’s how long 4 Souls Cleaning Inc. has been providing cleaning services for K + S Potash since it’s inception in July of 2014. The company provides 24/7 cleaning services to the mining giant 365 days a year. In doing so, they have created strong relationships and have had the chance to showcase their competencies in delivering high quality services.
William Lavallee is the owner and operator of 4 Souls Cleaning Inc., which he created to realize his dream of employing First Nations people, and giving them a chance.
“There is a stigma attached to First Nations people in the workforce, that they are inferior, they are going to steal, sleep on the job. I know that’s not true,” said Lavallee. “There are good, reliable First Nations people with a strong work ethic out there who should be given a chance. In this industry, as a First Nations person, you need to work harder, faster and do a better job and it’s still not good enough.”
With a professional background in heavy equipment operation, William recognized a void that needed to be filled and looked outside the box to create a company that didn’t require investing large sums of money to get started.
“I knew that a key factor in the success of a company was building a strong foundation.” Taking from his own career experiences, he set out to build an organization that strongly incorporated safety and processes. He prepared a business plan by determining the rates, schedules, shifts and mileage that would be required to operate. “You have to have some good people to rely on to help you and to provide direction.”
The core values of 4 Souls Cleaning are a safe work environment for people to come to. When he started out, he purchased two vehicles out of his pocket and transported the bulk of his workers to and from work, he offered them a good salary and did what he could to create a positive team spirit and high morale for his staff.
“You have to be the change you want to see. I didn’t build this to be a millionaire.”
Even when purchasing safety gear William sees an opportunity to invest in things that can lift a person’s self esteem like shirts, ball caps, back packs. He believes that when people feel their best, they have the chance to do their best. “I want people to be proud of who they are. For me, working and giving people the opportunity to work is more important than being rich. I knew I had the competency to deliver high quality services. What I needed was a chance to showcase this. I approached industry saying, “I’ll do a better job,” said Lavallee.
Looking at an opportunity that came about through K + S Potash, Lavallee threw his name in the hat and began taking meetings. William faced barriers entering the industry, but didn’t let it stop him. His ability to adapt to his new work environment, overcome challenges and persevere was critical to making his company a trusted service provider. “I don’t think just anyone could have done it.”
Lavallee has a sense of pride for the people who learn new skills and then move on to new opportunities.
“This work teaches structure. You learn to have the drive to get to work.” Past employees stay in touch and let him know of the successes they are having in their careers. “Some even come back and work in a new field at the same site, and they are so proud to tell people about how they started out here cleaning.”
When asked what others can do to be the change, Lavallee says, “Give somebody a chance that isn’t in the circle you are used to dealing with. Maybe it’s good to create some new competition. K + S Potash took a chance. Now I have thirty-seven people working that are providing for themselves and showing their children this is what it takes, this is what you get when you go to work.”
“We are very self sufficient people. It’s in our genes. When you give an opportunity, it gives people a chance to take that and excel, exceed and make it their own. In any field. We have the capacity, we now need the chance to showcase our competency.”