As the saying goes, if you’re going to get wet, you might as well swim.
Dakota Soucie competed in swimming at Hastings High School, the University of South Dakota in Vermillion and Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Ariz., where he earned his bachelor’s degree in exercise science.
But he’d been dipping his toe in the water, so to speak, with Christenson Cleaning and Restoration almost as long. Eventually, the time came to dive in head first.
Dakota has known Charlie Christenson, who runs the business with his father, Eric, for “close to a decade.” They were high school friends, and Dakota began working for Christenson Cleaning and Restoration during the summers while he was in college.
“I was actually on the carpet truck,” he said. “It was great!”
The Christensons built their business on personal relationships with customers and employees, so it was natural that they would welcome someone they already knew onto the team.
“Working with them made our relationship even stronger,” Dakota said. “We really developed some camaraderie.”
After earning his degree, he wanted to return to the Good Life of Nebraska — and the bonds he’d formed at Christenson Cleaning and Restoration — so Dakota began managing the company’s Merry Maids franchise in 2016.
“It’s really a good family atmosphere,” he said. “We really developed a good core team.”
Dakota left the company for another job in August 2017 but couldn’t stay away. He rejoined Christenson Cleaning and Restoration a year later as operations manager, working with the Merry Maids, carpet cleaning and water damage restoration services.
“I found myself missing the atmosphere and decided to come back and join the team again.”
As a swimmer, Dakota’s best event was the 100-meter breaststroke, but his typical day at Christenson Cleaning and Restoration might best be described as freestyle.
He begins by helping the Merry Maids organize their day, handing out house assignments and any special instructions. After that, Dakota will go through email, call customers and check on schedules for carpet cleaning and water damage jobs.
“I deal with a lot of the logistics of the everyday operation,” he said. But that doesn’t mean he’s chained to a desk. He also responds to emergency calls, such as water damage, and goes out to meet with customers.
As a guy with a degree in exercise science, Dakota enjoys a job that keeps him moving.
“I like being out and about,” he said.
“Dakota is a great asset to our team. We thoroughly enjoy the positive attitude he brings every day and his willingness to always help,” Charlie Christenson said. “He recently became certified in water restoration through the IICRC, and we’re excited to see him continue to excel with customers and team members in the future.”
Dakota said “finding quality people who fit with the team we have here” is the toughest part of his job.
Team members may be called upon to work nights or weekends or to respond to emergencies. They go into people’s homes and occasionally see them during times of crisis, such as a water damage incident. Through it all, Christenson employees deliver a high level of professionalism and customer service.
“It’s a very personal service,” Dakota said. “It takes a special person.”
His favorite part of the job is “when employees do something that goes above and beyond.” He loves hearing a customer say, “Wow, you really helped me out there!”
“It’s that wow factor I like when I interact with customers,” he said. “It’s a satisfying feeling.”
Listening to customer expectations, delivering on promises and sticking with a job until the job is done have helped Christenson Cleaning and Restoration develop trust and longevity with their clients.
“We’ve got a relationship with every one of our customers,” Dakota said. “They love our services, so they stick with us.”
As for Dakota, he’s swimming along happily, glad to be immersed again in the family atmosphere at Christenson Cleaning and Restoration.
“It makes it fun to come to work every day.”