In a year when school custodians are more important than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic, celebrating this year’s 2020 Cintas Custodian of the Year® winner was both a major challenge and a top priority.
Each year Cintas Corporation hosts the Custodian of the Year contest, which shines a spotlight on hardworking custodians across the U.S. In April, in partnership with ISSA and Rubbermaid Commercial Products, Cintas named Howell Beasley of Albertville (AL) Kindergarten & Pre-K this year’s winner. But due to social distancing restrictions, the school had to find a creative — and safe — way to announce the news to Mr. Howell (as he’s lovingly known as around campus). Under the guise of a summer preparation and maintenance cleaning meeting, Beasley was met by the principal and superintendent at the school and informed of the news with the faculty and staff watching via video conference.
But that didn’t seem to be enough to honor the hard-working custodian, so the school district decided to celebrate Beasley’s win during Albertville High School’s homecoming pep rally and parade on October 1.
“Although the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to cancel our original celebration for Howell, we still wanted to find a way to give him the recognition he deserves,” said Christiny Betsch, marketing manager, Cintas. “We were thrilled to honor Howell in front of the Albertville community that rallied and voted to help him win.”
Howell’s unwavering dedication and pride in his work has left a positive impact on students past and present for nearly 40 years, which makes him an integral part of not only the Albertville Kindergarten & Pre-K school, but the entire Albertville community. As the first person to always lend a helping hand, the school community returned the favor by earning Howell nearly 30% of the votes to crown him the 2020 Cintas Custodian of the Year.
Howell received a $10,000 cash prize and the school received $5,000 in products and services from Cintas and Rubbermaid Commercial Products, along with a comprehensive training and development package from ISSA valued at $20,000. Each of the remaining nine finalists received a cash prize of $1,000 and free tuition to one ISSA Cleaning Management Institute (CMI) training event, valued at $1,500. Additionally, its Global Biorisk Advisory Council division will provide access to its Microbial Warrior™ Workshop for all 10 finalists. The workshop teaches cleaning professionals how to prepare for, respond to and recover from biohazards such as the novel coronavirus in the workplace.
The Cintas Custodian of The Year Contest was created to celebrate custodians who go above and beyond to support school cleanliness and student well-being. Often the heart of the school, custodians work tirelessly to keep school environments clean and safe for students and deserve to be recognized for their contributions.
“The Cintas Custodian of the Year contest shines a spotlight on hardworking custodians and gives them the recognition they deserve, which is especially important amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sean Mulcahey, Cintas marketing manager. “It’s clear that Howell is a role model for these children and goes above and beyond to ensure students and staff always have a clean and safe learning environment.”
“Custodians are the heart and soul of every school, and it’s important to recognize the hard work that goes into maintaining healthy schools,” said Michael McDermott, president, Rubbermaid Commercial Products. “We’re thrilled to recognize Howell and the finalists with this incredible achievement.”
“Custodians go the extra mile by maintaining a healthy environment for students and staff, especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said John Barrett, executive director, ISSA. “They’re on the frontlines ensuring that all schools are safe to return to, and we are honored to be a part of this contest to highlight Howell along with other custodians across the country.”