Making a difference: A 50-year industry veteran now finds time for his passions

Mary Best
November 20, 2017

I recently spoke with Fernando Real, Founder and General Manager of Empire Building Maintenance, about using his career experience in building maintenance to grow a successful business in ever-changing times.

Fernando began working in janitorial services as a teenager. Now, nearly 50 years later, he’s passing his business along to his two sons, who will guide Empire Building Maintenance as it continues to grow. As Fernando reflects on his life’s work, he’s proud of what he’s accomplished, but he’s also glad he can now focus on what he loves, like working on his ranch and team rodeo events.

We’re honored to work with so many great partner companies across the United States, and we love getting to hear the amazing stories of the people behind those businesses. This is why we reached out to Fernando to learn more about his family business, and his passions outside of work.

Can you tell me about Empire Building Maintenance?

I’ve been working in this industry for 49 years now. We're a family-owned operation, and most of the supervisors have been with me for many years. You're looking at anywhere between 15 to 20 years of experience for each supervisor. It’s like a big family.  

We’re a complete maintenance company. We do everything from bathrooms to janitorial services to complete construction. So, we can cover pretty much any maintenance request.

How is your family part of Empire?

My sons work with me in the business now. I'm really proud of them. They are both go-getters. They’re the strength and support of the company, both in terms marketing and in operations.

I’m proud of how Empire has grown. We are a well-respected company, I’d like to think, and now it all depends on what my two sons want to make out of the company at this point in time. I’m very proud of them and what they’ll be doing. And the partnership with Eden has been very positive thus far. At one point, we added three or four new accounts through Eden in just one week. We’ve been with them for a little over six months now, and we continue to add accounts thanks to our partnership with them.

What’s your priority now that your sons run the day-to-day?

I'm just trying to enjoy life with my wife and my family. We’ve been married 39 years.

That’s amazing. So has the partnership with Eden allowed you to pursue other passions too? Is there anything you’re particularly interested in outside of work?

We live in a rural part of Los Angeles called Agua Dulce. I have a great passion for rodeos.

I'm a team roper and enjoy it, enjoy it tremendously. We have 10 acres with horse facilities and I also have produced roping events in the past. With Eden, and with my sons taking over, I’ve been able to spend more time on that passion, and, you know, kind of get away from just doing janitorial work all the time, away from this maintenance work that I've been at since age 15. It just makes it enjoyable to venture out into something else. Especially something that you totally enjoy.

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