“People call him Mr. Franco, not because his first name, Eusebio, is difficult to pronounce. They address him as Mr. Franco out of respect,” says Russell Price, MBA, assistant vice president of facilities at Rice University, Houston.

After 35 years of working alongside Eusebio Franco as his supervisor, Price knows the man extremely well. He is described as compassionate, loyal and filled with integrity. Price adds that the employees’ respect for this seasoned director of facilities, who oversees 110 custodians and 30 or more groundskeepers, is well earned.

“Mr. Franco is a wonderful human being. He respects everybody and because of that, they respect and honor him,” says Price.

Under Franco’s tutelage, the Custodial Services and Groundskeeping Department at Rice University is as productive, efficient and self-sufficient as it is lean. Its custodians clean an average 28,500 square feet per person each and every day, without supervision. And they maintain a high level of clean as they do so.

Though Franco has been recognized with the Elizabeth Gillis Award in 2006, the Rice University Women’s Resource Impact Award in 2005, and sits on the board of the International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA), he credits his team for any recognition that comes to the department.

“All of these awards are nice, but the only reason I got them is because the people around me do such a great job,” he says.

Franco and his team stand behind the department’s slogan: “The creators of first impressions at Rice.” The mantra showcases how important their work is.

“The first thing people see when they come to Rice University is the work that my groundskeepers and my custodians do,” adds Franco. “Our job is important.”

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