SAN JOSE − When Ernie Andrade started cleaning homes and offices to support himself through college, he didn’t expect it would lead to a lifelong career. “During college, I needed a job with flexible hours to accommodate my class schedule, so I started cleaning office buildings and later got into residential cleaning,” he recounts. “After graduating with a business degree, I decided to combine my education with my work experience and purchased a small cleaning company.”
Even though he started out small, Ernie says the landscape was just right for growing his business. “In those days, the tech industry had just started to take off in Silicon Valley, so there were a lot of opportunities in the commercial sector. As the company grew, we expanded our capabilities to offer services like carpet and window cleaning.”
Today, nearly 40 years since founding All Bright Maintenance Services, Ernie says his favorite part of his job is his daily interactions with customers. “I enjoy connecting with people and maintaining long-term customer relationships. That’s probably the biggest reason I’ve continued in this business for so many years. I enjoy what I do, but the best part is definitely meeting different people and making new friends.”
Born in Mexico, Ernie moved to the United States when he was 17 and today resides in San Jose, where he expresses his appreciation for life in the Bay Area. “I’ve been all over, and there isn’t a place like the Bay Area,” he says. “The weather is beautiful, there’s a lot of diversity and there are many opportunities for businesses to succeed.”
Outside of work, Ernie says his hobbies have shifted in recent years from active pursuits to more relaxing pastimes. “I love soccer, and I played and coached for many years, but these days, my favorite things to do are fish, read and visit with friends.” Ernie says he also enjoys spending time with his family, including his wife, Griselda, and their six grown children and three grandchildren.
Ernie says one of the keys to success in life and business is finding your own sense of purpose. “There’s a Mark Twain quote I’ve always liked that says, ‘The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.’ Personally, I feel that I was born to serve, just because I get a real sense of fulfillment from the work I do. I think once you figure out your purpose in life, everything starts to make a little more sense and you’re able to see things from a new angle.”
When asked what his future retirement might look like, Ernie says he’ll remain involved with the local business community. “About a decade ago, I founded Hispanic Small Business Network, Inc., which empowers entrepreneurs and provides them with resources for growing and sustaining their businesses. If I retired, I would use the extra time to concentrate more on developing the network.”