AffinEco is shining its Employee Spotlight on Lauro Duarte, someone who exemplifies how well it can work when the company takes over a contract and — at the new client’s request — retains existing staff. Duarte also effectively encourages AffinEco’s safety initiatives.
Knowing Duarte had worked at Nyala Farms in Westport, CT for nearly 25 years — essentially half his life — AffinEco wisely hired him when the company took over the building services contract nearly two years ago. The prestigious and award-winning property sits on 53 acres, surrounded by conservation land and an original farmhouse that dates back to the 1900s.
As a full-time supervisor, Duarte manages a crew of 20 to 24 individuals across the five buildings of Class A office space on the Nyala Farms campus. With so many workers to manage over such an expanse, his thorough knowledge of the property is invaluable.
“Lauro is an excellent supervisor,” said Jorge Jimenez, AffinEco vice president and general manager. “He makes our job easier because he’s so well organized and on top of everything. He’s also very conscientious and makes sure his crew focuses on safety issues on a daily basis.”
In fact, Duarte is AffinEco’s most recent Safety Bingo winner. In addition to personally tracking the daily safety messages that are part of the program, he emphasizes those messages by writing them on a white board and reviewing with his crew.
Speaking of his crew, Jimenez said the individuals who work under Duarte have great respect for him and trust his authority. The relationship is mutual. Whether by offering to drive people to work when there’s a lot of snow — he has a big truck — or bringing in food around the holidays, Duarte doesn’t hesitate to show his crew that he cares. “I have good communication with them and like to help them,” he said. “We don’t have any problems. Everyone is happy.”
That extends to his relationships with the building manager and with Jimenez. “I enjoy working with the building bosses and they like the job I do,” said Duarte. “And I’m happy to work for Jorge. He always answers right away and helps when I need more cleaners because people called out or when I need supplies.”
What’s more, he gladly takes on tasks whenever the need arises, even on weekends when he isn’t scheduled to work. On a recent Sunday, a Nyala building manager called Duarte directly to see if he could get some crew members onsite to clean floors and restrooms involved in construction and remodeling before occupants returned on Monday. After running it by Jimenez, Duarte asked one staff member to join him and took care of the job within a couple of hours.
“That’s just the kind of employee he is,” Jimenez said. “He does whatever it takes to keep the client happy. He’s a big part of the reason that we get a near perfect score at every quarterly meeting with the Nyala Farms property managers.”
Duarte came to the U.S. from Guatemala in 1990 when he was 20 years old. He immediately began working so he could send money back home to support his family. Today, he lives in Norwalk, CT with his wife, Gloria and two daughters, ages 22 and 18. Duarte calls them “the lights of his life.”