Told “You’re Just a Cleaner” by Ex-GF, Guy Now CEO of Companies with 3,000+ Employees

Cleaners, janitors, streetsweepers, garbage collectors, and similar jobs are often seen by society as the lowest of jobs because they have to deal with trash. No kid would wish to become a cleaner, perhaps, because the menial job is dirty and difficult to do.

One guy was even dumped by his girlfriend who slammed him for being “just a cleaner” and going out with a university student who had a “better future”. But this cleaner guy took those hurtful words and used them as inspiration to try harder in life – and has now become CEO of several companies handling 3,000+ employees!

Photo credit: Straits Times

Vernon Kwek was just 13 years old when he helped his father find a job as cleaner after losing his job as salesman in Singapore. On weekends, the young boy would help his father out to earn some extra cash for school.

He liked earning money that he quit school at 14 when he learned that the owners of the business his dad works for actually earns more than engineers. His quitting school was frowned upon by his father who wanted him to have a better life by completing his studies but the young man was sure about his future path.

Photo credit: Straits Times

As cleaner, Vernon was such an industrious worker that he would actually be promoted as supervisor even at age 14!

I asked the manager if he was sure. My dad became a supervisor only when he was 40. I was only 14. But he said: ‘Don’t worry. You have your dad’s genes. He has leadership qualities, you should have the same too,’” Vernon shared.

As he grew a bit older, he began dating a girl who later dump him for a university student.

She said: ‘You’re a cleaner. I don’t have a future with you.’ I actually have to thank her. If not for what she said, I would not be here today,” Vernon admitted.

At 25 years old, Vernon had managed to become a senior supervisor, driving a BMW, and had plenty of money to throw around – and throw around he did! By age 26, he became bankrupt when the company terminated him from the job for his squandering lifestyle.

Realizing his mistakes after spending the next 5 days crying, Vernon found a job at WIS Holdings. Starting over again but wiser, the young man worked much harder than before. He was transferred to Primech (still a cleaning company) about 10 years later; at the time, the company only had 200 employees.

Photo credit: Straits Times

His hard work and loyalty gained him 10% shares in the company – and as the company grew, so did Vernon. He would later become the CEO, not just of Primech but of two other cleaning companies: A&P Maintenance Services and Maint-Kleen!

Today, Vernon handles over 3,000 employees and they have contracts with some of the largest companies in Singapore, including UOB, Changi Airport Group, and many luxury hotels.

Of course, he’s still a ‘cleaner’ but he’s now a very rich cleaner! He is also happily married, with four kids ranging in age from 9 to 16. He’s happy with his life, but could never forget the words of that ex-GF who told him he had no future because he’s “just a cleaner” because it actually led him to a better future!

Sources: Straits Times, World of Buzz