Denise Dahler knows a thing or two about the power of word of mouth.
When Wilburn Manager Tom Foster mentioned to Denise’s husband that they needed more commercial cleaning help, she quickly volunteered. “I just joined in and started working, and I’ve been here ever since,” she says. For Denise, that’s not a light statement – she’s been with Wilburn for over 20 years.
She worked her way up from part-time to full-time and is now a supervisor of two buildings. In her time at Wilburn, she’s seen a lot of changes – but one thing remains the same: her commitment to her work and the Wilburn standard.
Before coming to commercial cleaning, Denise spent a decade cleaning for a residential service, and did even more home cleaning on the side.
Denise said she enjoyed that job but that it tired her out. That’s why she was happy to transition to Wilburn and apply all the skills she had learned to commercial cleaning.
She felt prepared for a new setting.
At Wilburn, Denise has always kept a strong can-do attitude.
She starts most days by cleaning the bathrooms in her first building and then moves on to the supervisory aspects of her job. She inspects and makes sure all the other elements of her two buildings are up to the Wilburn standard. “[I look] at floors, windows, blinds, corners, cobwebs,” she says. “Really, anything that has been Windex-ed.”
Denise manages and meets several Wilburn employees’ needs, which means she has to stay flexible.
She typically comes in at 1 PM and leaves at 9 PM but will cover other shifts that go from 9 at night to 1 AM.
“I’ve even worked from 1 in the afternoon till 5 in the morning,” she says. Denise’s willing responsiveness makes these shift changes easy, and she is ready to work when they need her.
She says the communication between herself and her own managers and supervisors at Wilburn is the key to the commercial cleaner’s success. She explains that sharing problems and solutions is always a constant back and forth.
“They’re there for you”, she says, “If I ever have a problem, I went go to them, and if I can’t fix it, they’ll fix it for me.”
Even though Denise was being interviewed for an article highlighting her exceptional work, she couldn’t help but sing the praises of her supervisor Tom Foster who initially led her to Wilburn.
“He is the best manager I’ve ever had,” she gushes.
She’s been working with Tom for many years and has enjoyed all of them. “I always told him that if he ever retires, I’m leaving right behind him,” she adds.
Denise’s passion for her job and the people she works with is apparent, as is her passion for solving specific challenges.
Highs and Lows
After 20 years in the commercial cleaning business, Denise feels like she’s seen it all.
She recalls an incident that gave her a real challenge. A leak had sprung in one of the first-floor bathrooms in a building she was assigned to clean.
She spent most of her day mopping up the gallons of excess water that had spilled everywhere. “It was a lot of work,” she says. “Most people think you just go in and mop, but you’ve got to sanitize it, too.”
Thankfully, Denise handled the leak calmly and dried out the bathroom to a safe and normal state.
Denise appreciates the challenge and variety to her job, but some of her biggest highlights are the clients she serves.
“Everybody in these buildings are wonderful people,” she says. “They’re good to me, and I’m good to them.”
During the holidays, her clients have a habit of praising Denise’s and her workers’ cleaning efforts by giving her holiday cards and gift certificates.
“They would show their appreciation to us for the work we’ve done. It’s a happy thing,” she says.
Another high for Denise is working with her daughter, a Wilburn employee, regularly. She supervises Brittany as she cleans in another building. Denise says she loves having her daughter at work.
“I’m there for her,” she says. She’ll ask me questions like ‘Mom, what should I use on this or on that?’ Or ‘I have to get this up. It won’t come up.’”
Her eldest daughter also worked at Wilburn for a time as well.
“A lot of my family and my friends are working for the Wilburn company,” she laughs, “[Wilburn] will ask me, ‘Denise! You know anybody? We’ve got to hire some people.’”
Work and Family
It’s clear—Denise loves her job, her family, and when they cross over.
In addition to two daughters, she has a son. She’s been married 34 years to a local electrician. She’s very close with all three of her children. Denise is also the proud grandmother to 10 grandkids. Some of her favorite activities are going boating and camping with her whole, large family.
When asked why Wilburn’s leadership chose her for this month’s employee spotlight, she says, “They [know] I’m up front and honest.”
Denise likes to tell it like it is. “I’m very outspoken, and I don’t sugarcoat anything.” Laughing, she adds, “Or maybe because they really like me!”
That honest and open spirit has served Denise well over the years, and it’s one of the reasons she’s such an integral part of the Wilburn team. Thanks, Denise, for all that you do!
Here’s to telling it like it is, and many more years at Wilburn!