- Paul Greenland Leads Aetna Building Maintenance Into A New Era
From Washing Floors To Aetna Company President
- 'Think Green, Think Aetna'
- Aetna Reinvents Itself As A Facility Maintenance Organization
Like many children of business owners, Greenland wasn’t sure if he wanted to follow in his family’s footsteps. Despite that sentiment, Greenland started working in the business in his early teens.
Besides washing the company trucks and filling orders for the night crew, Greenland was a bona fide crewmember, stripping and waxing floors and working on post-construction cleaning projects, among other cleaning duties. In college he worked for his father during school breaks, and later completed an internship with some contractor friends of his father’s in Kansas City.
“The internship gave me an interesting perspective,” Greenland says. “Everything was entry level.”
Following his graduation from Indiana University at Bloomington, Greenland returned to Aetna and was tasked with running a branch of his own.
“I didn’t have anything going on so I came back here to learn our company,” he says. “I just jumped right in.”
Unfortunately, the Columbus branch was in bad shape. Greenland says he worked to salvage the accounts he could, and let go of the ones he could not. Greenland also improved the quality of service by “upgrading the level of staff,” changing the way applicants were vetted for potential employment. Aetna began conducting background checks and drug tests. Six out of 10 employees were found to be ineligible for employment.
Today, the company boasts a retention rate of upward of 90 percent, largely due to the quality of candidates exuded during the hiring process, which includes professional recruitment and an employment “policy akin to that in the banking industry.”
“We had to get smaller, to get bigger,” he says. “It was trial by fire.”
It certainly wasn’t easy. When Greenland was thrown into his new role, he lived over an hour away from the branch, and was responsible for meeting customers throughout the day, and running buildings at night.
Eventually, he was able to hire someone into operations and return his focus back to sales and the business began to take off once again.
By the late 1980s, Aetna had opened its first branch in Kentucky. In the decade that followed, Greenland pursued a sophisticated strategy to expand the business by opening new branch offices across the region every two to three years.
According to a 1998 article in the Dayton Business Journal, the company also began pursuing various acquisition opportunities, purchasing cleaning companies in Charleston, W.V., Cincinnati, and Louisville, Ky. among other cities, which resulted in total revenues topping $16 million during that time.
“Through our good relationships with our customers it was all outgrowth from there,” Greenland says. “We expanded with them.”
In 2002, Greenland’s work paid off and he was named president of the company.
Despite Aetna’s success, Greenland never stops moving. He is extremely active in BSCAI, and also meets with fellow BSCs once a month to address industry issues and to bounce off new ideas. It’s a group he truly appreciates, he says.
“As a business owner, no one calls me out on my BS,” he jokes. “These guys have no problem kicking me in my teeth.”
Paul Greenland Leads Aetna Building Maintenance Into A New Era
'Think Green, Think Aetna'