Innovations by Joe DeSousa

One C&W Services employee channeled MacGyver to solve a problem.

Bicycle parts, Dremel tools, mud flaps and gate hinges don’t typically go together, but for one C&W Services employee, they were integral to removing grout at a Toronto corporate headquarters.

More specifically, our client decided to consolidate its staff into a three-building complex so that they could sublease their surplus space. As part of this consolidation, restrooms needed to be remodeled with a modern, white-on-white design. However, the ceramic tiles were grouted with an epoxy that attracted dirt and maintaining this grout so that it kept the fresh-looking restroom design would be a challenge.

Finding a way despite the odds.

That’s where Director of Operations Joe DeSousa’s MacGyver-like innovation came in.

Abrasive cleaners were effective but took hours to apply carefully so that staff and adjacent stainless steel finishes were protected. Needing a way to safely, quickly and comfortably scrub grout lines for building maintenance, Joe created an agitation tool using materials in his garage: a Dremel tool, the handle and cord assembly from an old upright vacuum cleaner, a bicycle handle, a backyard gate hinge, a plastic kitchen cutting board, mud flaps and miscellaneous hardware.

The tool he designed helps employees maintain a safe posture while working, does a superb cleaning job and does not splash chemicals onto sensitive surfaces. The innovation also reduced labor time for cleaning the grout from three hours per washroom to one.

But wait—there’s more!

This agitation cleaner isn’t Joe’s first invention. He also introduced grabbers to help staff safely retrieve and empty trash cans without bending and a doorstop that can be placed and retrieved easily while pushing a cleaning cart through a door. Both make the day safer and easier for our staff, who keep clients’ facilities clean and productive every day.

Necessity was the mother of this MacGyver-like invention, but safety, productivity and client satisfaction played a role, too.