Eddie Lema works as the director of operations for AffinEco’s Red Team. In that role, he currently oversees around 200 employees in more than 50 properties. He works primarily in Connecticut and Westchester, New York, and is in charge of operations and customer satisfaction for multiple buildings.
Lema has been working for AffinEco for just about seven years, but has been employed in the cleaning and maintenance the industry for close to four decades.
“I started at the bottom with a bucket and some Windex,” said Lema. “I kept improving and, after a couple years, started to move up.”
Among other methods, Lema made improvements through education. He took English classes in addition to courses in operations and management to help him advance in his career. More knowledge and perspective, combined with his passion for and dedication to the job, has helped him move up the ladder to the leadership position he’s in today.
“I really like the job,” he said. “You know, with 40 years, I feel like I know what I’m doing and I’m really happy doing it.”
Jorge Jimenez is an AffinEco vice president and general manager, and Lema’s direct supervisor. Their history dates back to before either of them joined the company; they worked together years ago for another building services contractor. All of those shared experiences have led Jorge to become one of Lema’s biggest fans.
“Eddie is a funny guy and great to be around,” said Jimenez. “He knows and is serious about the job, but is also nice to work with and very helpful.”
One way Lema has demonstrated his value to the company is through his ability to solve problems. Not long ago, he took over some AffinEco accounts that had been experiencing trouble spots. He worked diligently to resolve the issues, achieving the clients’ satisfaction and ensuring they remained happy customers. With his extensive experience and willingness to listen to both staff and building occupants, he’s always able to keep things on track so everyone is content.
“From even a year ago to where we are now, things are better,” Jimenez said. “Eddie changed a lot by coaching the staff in ways that really worked for them. He has become almost perfect in what he does.”
One of the things that has impressed Jimenez the most is Lema’s willingness to use what he has learned – whether in the classroom or on the job – to change his thinking when necessary.
“There are a lot of people with a lot of years in the industry who are very reluctant to change. Eddie is always happy to work on himself to get better,” said Jimenez.
When asked if his employees like working for him, Lema was quick to say he believes they do, but didn’t want to heap praise on himself.
“You would have to ask them,” he said. “I know what I’m talking about and have good communications with everyone. You can talk to anyone, but it is better coming from them.”
Lema admits he’s not a young man anymore, but he’s not ready to retire and has no desire to stop doing the job. He says he may hang it up one day and move closer to family in Florida, but for now is very happy right where he is.
“I feel good and I love what I’m doing. I’m not ready to think about later.”
Jimenez also knows Lema won’t be with AffinEco forever and says that when the day comes that he retires, he will be very hard to replace.
“We would miss his work ethic, but we would also miss his personality and friendship.”