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Colliers Facility Solutions Featured Partnership Spotlight

Environmental Service Systems is Championing Diversity and Inclusion

As we celebrate Black History Month this year, Colliers Facility Solutions reached out to Ciara Lilly, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion with Environmental Service Systems (ESS), a Black-owned and Black-led facilities maintenance services provider and partner of Colliers Facility Solutions (CFS). We sat down with Ciara - virtually, of course - to learn more about ESS and their partnership with CFS, their ability to overcome the immense challenges of 2020 and how they're championing diversity and inclusion within the industry and beyond.

ESS was founded in 1998 by Edgar Ruth when he set out to achieve one big idea: "Preparing a Cleaner Workplace for Tomorrow." Like Colliers Facility Solutions, ESS's success not only hinges on the quality of work that they promise but also on their personalized approach and commitment to providing exceptional experiences every day. In 2014, Colliers Facility Solutions partnered with ESS with a shared commitment to exceeding their clients' and customers' expectations. 


"Over the years, we have developed a business relationship [with Colliers Facility Solutions] rooted in trust, partnership and a shared desire to deliver meaningful results to the customers we support together." Stated Ciara Lilly when asked about the partnership her firm has cultivated with Colliers Facility Solutions. 

This commitment to providing exceptional experiences has been the pillar to ESS's success and ability to overcome the unprecedented challenges that many have faced over the past year.

"This past year has been an unprecedented, challenging year for many," commented Lilly. "Despite the challenges, our essential team of 10,000+ employees across the country has supported our customers by providing quality, facilities maintenance services."

ESS's commitment to their customers didn't stop with their essential team, however. Their project management and field teams also rose to the occasion, becoming certified with GBAC to ensure their facility maintenance services met and exceeded all of the requirements during the pandemic.

In addition to ESS's commitment to going above and beyond the call of duty for their customers, they have continued to adopt the latest technologies for quality assurance, performance management, financial analytics, work order management and HR functions to ensure smooth business operations. In all, despite the challenges of the past year, ESS has implemented new business and maintained a customer retention rate of 97% by delivering measurable value to their customers and clients. 

In an effort to safeguard ESS's position as industry leaders, their leadership team has prioritized the following four goals for 2021 and beyond:

  • To enhance the quality of services and measure success through real-time quality assurance tools
  • To invest in new technology for payroll, recruitment, employee onboarding and timekeeping
  • To develop employee engagement and recognition programs for corporate and field teams
  • To establish a world-class diversity and inclusion and supplier diversity program

"One of the ways we are championing diversity and equality in our industry and community is through our corporate diversity and inclusion initiative," said Lilly. "This initiative is centered around five key pillars, organizational commitment, workforce diversity and inclusion, supplier diversity, corporate social responsibility and performance optimization."

As an extension of the latter goal, as a minority-owned business entity (MBE), ESS is championing diversity and equality in their industry and community.

ESS's overarching vision is to create a world-class diversity and inclusion program anchored in integrity, fairness and respect that prioritizes people development, relationship value and sustainable business performance. 

To better ensure all employees have a stake in the ownership of ESS's diversity and inclusion initiative, ESS launched a Diversity Advisory Council. The council invites employees from all levels of the organization to give 360-degree feedback on the company's strategy, progress and impact.

Furthermore, ESS is committed to aligning themselves with organizations and diversity thought partners to help them achieve their goal of embodying best-in-class hiring and professional development practices.

Additionally, ESS is has committed to participating in supplier diversity events that amplify the work and value of diverse businesses where they work and live. As a result of their involvement, ESS endeavors to strengthen their network of diverse suppliers while learning best practices that will further enhance their supplier diversity efforts. 

About Environmental Service Systems

Environmental Service Systems is a minority-owned facilities maintenance company, offering a wide range of facility services to a diverse customer base across the United States. ESS's success not only comes from the quality of work they promise, but also from their personalized approach and commitment to providing exceptional experiences to every customer, every day.

By continuously empowering their employees and nurturing their partnerships with clients, ESS has become a reliable source of facility services that ensures a clean, safe and well-managed environment.

For additional information about ESS, please visit their website: