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April 14, 2023

Great Leadership and Dedicated Team Members Bring Accolades to Houston Community College Team

TOTY EducationVice President Clifton Smith oversees a facilities management team that serves 19 separate campuses of Houston Community College (HCC) which encompasses right at 5 million square feet of cleanable space. It is a big operation, to say the least. 

“We take care of everything; the classrooms, the restrooms, the meeting spaces. I have 15 buildings alone on the main campus and the majority of [campuses] have four to five buildings. It takes some dedication and a really strong desire to do great things from [our team],” Clifton shared. 

Clifton began his career with HHS in the healthcare division five years ago and worked in several accounts throughout Texas. He took a five-month break to get his life insurance license and start a business with his son before returning to HHS in 2022 as a vice president in the education division vice president. 

Clifton has a humility about him as a leader, and that seems to go a long way with his team. “I am right out there with them and they see me. You never want to ask somebody to do something [that] you wouldn’t do yourself. I like spending time with the team, and it’s genuine. They respect me but they know I’m right there with them. I want to instill that [same] work ethic. I reward them [and celebrate them] in front of my staff. I can’t do it by myself. My managers can’t do it by themselves. So I want to make sure everybody is empowered, educated, and confident about what they’re doing,” he shared about his management style.  

It is clear that Clifton is successful in achieving this with his team. They were named the HHS Education Division Team of the Year for 2023. His team boasts a 97.84% team member satisfaction rate and consistently receives recognition from HCC leadership. 

Clifton bragged, “The frontline [team] is probably the best team I’ve had. Everybody takes ownership. I’ve got some individuals who have been working the campus probably five, ten years so those individuals know their building. I like to say of my campuses: I have little owners of [every] building.”

One consistent compliment given to this team is their excellent communication, both with each other and with HCC leadership. They have fostered a remarkable relationship and trust with the campus managers and maintenance team. Because of this smooth communication, they are hyper-aware of the customer’s needs and are able to complete projects proactively.

“My managers have a can-do attitude and we’re in the relationship-building business. Everybody has partnered up with the campus leadership, managers, and maintenance staff to really get out there, be visible, communicate any opportunities, and respond accordingly. We fully understand the customer’s needs by developing those relationships. We seek out opportunities before we get called on them. That keeps ahead of the demand of the customer,” Clifton explained.

Clifton’s leadership and the dedication of the managers and team members landed them the well-deserved title of 2023 Education Team of the Year. They have embodied the values of HHS and are a great example of success. 

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