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Cheyne Brokate, 29
Owner/Vice-President of Operations at Brokate Janitorial
In 2002, Brokate Janitorial was a one-person operation. That one person was Cheyne Brokate’s mother, Margie, who cleaned homes and businesses in the Branson area. In 2005 when Margie was having trouble keeping up with the workload, Cheyne and his brother Jeremy decided to help her out.
With Jeremy’s background in finance, the brothers took the reins. “This was our opportunity to seize, but also our opportunity to give back to [Mom] at the same time,” Cheyne says.
Nine years later Brokate Janitorial has 35 employees and has expanded. Contracts include a number of Branson theaters and Herschend properties, and Brokate holds the largest janitorial contract for the City of Springfield—cleaning most of the city’s public buildings. In addition, Brokate made nearly $25,000 in donations last year, including free consulting and cleaning for Salvation Army.
Margie is now the president of the company, but Cheyne is the driving force, keeping an eye on trends in the fast-growing industry, which includes automated cleaning (robots!). “A lot of people see janitorial services as a necessary evil, but we’re not just emptying trash,” Brokate says. “We’re actually a public health service.”
Occupation: Owner and Vice President of Operations, Brokate Janitorial
Education: Associate of Arts at OTC
1. How did you end up at your current job/profession?
I have worked in the family business for as long as I can remember. After finishing at Ozarks Technical Community College, I took over a route cleaning a few buildings for my mom. Eventually, my brother, Jeremy, convinced me it would be a good idea to combine our talents and see where it would lead. Thanks, Jeremy!
2. Where do you find passion to do what you do?
I’ve always been a problem solver and had a strange excitement towards efficient, high quality cleaning. Most people walk through new buildings and admire the architecture and design, where I begin mentally designing a cleaning program to maintain it.
3. Tell us about your family.
I’ve been with my beautiful wife Laura for almost nine years, married for five, and we have two dogs named Jack and Rue.
4. What are your hobbies (when you’re not working)?
I love the outdoors. I enjoy playing Frisbee with my dogs and spending time on the lake with my family and friends.
5. Are you involved in any charitable organizations? (If so, what are they, and what is your role? Why is it important to you?)
I’ve had the privilege of being involved with several different organizations through Brokate Janitorial. As a company, community outreach has always been a high priority. Each year we donate services and financial support to deserving organizations. This year we’ve stepped it up a notch and have set a goal of $25,000 in donations. I’ve always been passionate about improving the lives of the people in our community, and I’m fortunate to be in a position to be able to do so.
6. Are you a member of any professional organizations? (If so, what are they, and what is your role?)
I’m a member of the Branson and Springfield Chamber of Commerce, as well as several cleaning industry specific organizations.
7. How would you define the secret to success?
Have goals. Learn something new every day. And most importantly, enjoy what you’re doing.
8. What's your favorite thing about your career?
I love that it is always a challenge and forces me out of my comfort zone. I also enjoy the flexibility and variety each day brings.
9. What's your favorite thing about working in 417-land?
I can live, work and play without leaving town. During the summer I can leave work and be on the lake in less than an hour. Hot fudge concretes from Andy’s Frozen Custard are a close second.
10. If you could go back and give the high school version of yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Take more risks.
11. What was your “dream job” at age 5?
I wanted to be a professional soccer player. I kind of still do.
12. List three traits that define a successful career:
Keeping your vision while tackling the day-to-day tasks, impacting the community in a positive way, and helping those around you achieve their goals.
13. Why are you a 20 under 30?
Because I’ve been fortunate enough to be surrounded by people who make me look good. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of my family and the amazing people that work at Brokate Janitorial.
14. What projects do you have on the horizon at your job that you’re excited about?
I am looking forward to furthering our expansion into the Springfield market. We’ve had great success already, but we’re still relatively new to the market and I’m excited about the growth potential.
15. What completed project are you most proud of?
I’m most proud that I was able to work closely with my family, while still getting along, to build a business that my mother can retire from. A close second would be opening our second branch office in Springfield and winning the city’s largest cleaning contract. We were the only local company up against five national and international cleaning firms.
Fill in the following blanks with five words or less:
Having fun makes life worth living.
A day at work wouldn't be complete without a challenge and a solution.
Ten years from now, I hope I'm still happy and healthy.
If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would buy a farm and fill it with dogs.
The best part about being a 20 under 30 is getting the Brokate name out there.