Press "Enter" to skip to content

Tommy Silva: A Pioneer in the Commercial Cleaning Industry

Co-written by Jules Martin

Whether you’re in your workplace, visiting a museum, or catching a sports game at a stadium, the cleanliness of everyday establishments is something we often take for granted. There is, however, one individual who knows firsthand just how much effort is required to make these spaces spotless. Meet Tommy Silva, President of Silva Building Specialists, a family-run company providing top-notch janitorial services to government entities and commercial facilities.

With a legacy spanning over three decades, Silva Building Specialists has earned its reputation as a powerhouse in the industry. Under Tommy’s guidance, the company has not only upheld its long-lasting legacy but also embarked on a journey of transformation and growth.

Tommy Silva’s journey in the commercial cleaning industry is remarkable. Born into a family deeply rooted in the business, Tommy’s exposure to the world of janitorial services began at the age of 13. His early years were shaped by his father’s pivotal role as the Senior Vice President at a Fortune 500 janitorial company.

“My earliest experiences involved riding on top of a buffer for weight while most kids were riding a big wheel,” he recalls. “This unique beginning marked the start of my journey in the business world.”

In 1993, the Silva family ventured into their own janitorial business, establishing Silva Building Specialists. Under his father’s guidance, Tommy and his siblings were led through the ranks, earning invaluable insights into managing janitorial services worth millions of dollars annually. The company rapidly garnered recognition for its outstanding services, and its credentials, including being certified by HUD, FEMA, and the City of Houston, positioned it as a leader in the industry.

“We clean over 10 million square feet in the greater Houston area,” Tommy explains. “From high-rise buildings to hospitals, libraries to museums, we leave no stone unturned.”

Tommy’s pursuit of excellence continued beyond operational expertise. He pursued rigorous training, including notable courses from luminaries like Dale Carnegie, Tom Hopkins, and Zig Ziglar. He eventually became an instructor for Dale Carnegie programs, showcasing his commitment to personal and professional growth.

Tommy’s desire for constant improvement and education at a young age prepared him for his future. The passing of his father marked a significant turning point in his life as he took ownership of the family business.

“For 35 years, my father has owned the business. He was very old school, no website, a shoebox full of receipts,” Tommy reminisces. “Now, I can build on the legacy he left behind, along with my family.”

The essence of family runs deep within Silva Building Specialists. Every employee that works at a high level in the company is a member of the Silva family. With his sisters as vice presidents, his son as a general manager, his mother as the CEO, and various other family members contributing their expertise, the company thrives on a foundation of trust and unity.

The COVID-19 pandemic posed unprecedented challenges to businesses worldwide. However, for Silva Building Specialists, it was a time to shine. Tommy recalls how the family’s specialization in government, city, and state municipality contracts meant they were in high demand, especially for essential services.

“We clean the Transtar headquarters, we provide emergency services, FEMA services, flood restoration, and fire restoration. So, we get a lot of work,” he explains. “And when COVID hit, these clients were in full operation because they were the first responders to the pandemic.”

Tommy seized the opportunity to elevate the business further as the pandemic raged on. From expanding the website to strategically placing family members in key roles, Silva Building Specialists continued to evolve. The transition to digital documents, collaboration with external companies for photography, and the incorporation of advanced equipment highlighted their commitment to staying at the forefront of the industry.

As Tommy Silva puts it, “Our average customer has worked with us for ten years. Our average retainage of an employee is 15 years. So we’re very solid.”

The path Tommy Silva has forged in the commercial cleaning industry inspires aspiring entrepreneurs and is a testament to the power of family, innovation, and dedication.