As the CEO of Watts Facility Solutions, Yvette Watts strives to ensure the company’s reputation for high standards continues to be upheld.
The West Philadelphia-based minority business enterprise specializes in providing commercial janitorial services, window cleaning, carpet and upholstery cleaning and post construction cleaning. The companies serve corporations, educational institutions, government agencies and medical facilities.
Watts offers a personal touch by visiting work sites to interact with her clientele and ensure they are receiving quality service.
“I enjoy what I do,” Watts said, as she reflected on her work as a business leader.
“I like to see for myself the services that I promise my customers, they are actually getting. I really think that they appreciate that.”
Her father, Theartis Watts, started the business in 1956 by offering window cleaning services.
As Watts Window Cleaning garnered larger janitorial contractors, Theartis turned to his daughter for short-term assistance.
Watts joined the company in 1989 as a part-time supervisor while she was in college and subsequently took on advanced managerial duties. Under her leadership, Watts Facility Solutions expanded into offering carpet cleaning, post construction cleanup and groundskeeping services.
Watts and her father worked together for 10 years and when he passed in 1999 she assumed the responsibility of running the business.
Today the company’s portfolio boasts clients such as the Delaware River Port Authority, Philadelphia Housing Authority and SEPTA.
Watts said networking through entities such as The Enterprise Center, the African American Chamber of Commerce of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware and the Women’s Business Enterprise Council has been a key aspect of helping expand her client base.
Watts understands the importance of changing with the times. The janitorial commercial industry has become more competitive as more companies have joined Philadelphia’s burgeoning marketplace.
“The industry has changed quite a bit and we’re trying to change with it,” said Watts, who is an alumnus of West Philadelphia High School.
Watts is a past recipient of the City of Philadelphia Minority Enterprise Development Committee Pioneer Award.
She is a 2014 graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business program which prepares entrepreneurs to pursue promising growth opportunities for their businesses.
The 10,000 Small Businesses program is a $500 million national initiative launched by Goldman Sachs and the Goldman Sachs Foundation in 2009 to unlock the job-creation potential of small business owners across the United States by providing entrepreneurs with an integrated program of practical business and management education, access to capital and business support services.
Watts said participating in the initiative provided her with a different perspective on how to develop and execute a growth plan for her business. She set a goal to grow Watts Facility Solutions to a $10 million firm by the time she retires. She knows that it will take a lot of work to accomplish her goal, however she aspires to make it happen.
The mother of three is in the process of grooming her children to continue the company’s legacy.
Watts received some business contracts based on some of the information that she learned in the 10,000 Small Businesses program. She said it’s important that entrepreneurs are willing to learn something new.
“There is constant change and we have to be in place where we are constantly open to learn,” Watts stated.
— Entrepreneurs selected by the African American Chamber of Commerce