When Ms. Byong Lee started working as a custodial shift manager for a maintenance company on Fort Riley in 1982, she had dreams of one day running her own business. Now, more than 30 years later, she successfully manages multiple federal and commercial contracts in Kansas and Missouri as owner of Quality First Cleaning Contractors.
Lee is a fearless entrepreneur in a country full of opportunity. She was born in South Korea and received a Bachelor’s in Business with a minor in Art at Pusan Han Sun College. Lee’s optimism and work ethic have brought her a long way! Lee started Quality First Cleaning Contractors in 1999, and the business is still based in Junction City, Kansas.
By taking pride in her hard work, and developing her knowledge of government contracting through SBA’s 8(a) business development program, Byong Lee has expanded her business beyond Fort Riley, and now services custodial and cleaning contracts across the state.
Lee instills in her employees the pride that comes from completing a good job on-time. “I learned this philosophy over the 30+ years of work in the custodial industry. I believe that pride comes from providing the best possible service to my customers will yield a long term relationship with them,” said Lee. “The lessons I learned from the projects completed before have refined how we do our work today,” she added. Lee strives to make sure her bid proposals are priced competitively, and that she includes the labor and materials necessary to do a good job – and completed on-time.
In 2003, Lee applied and was accepted into the SBA’s 8(a) business development program. Lee credits the SBA’s 8(a) program, a nine year business development initiative for minority-owned firms, as a transformative experience that helped her take the business to the next level. The SBA 8(a) program can help a socially and economically disadvantaged business owner to refine their business operation, and also help them obtain certification to qualify for federal contracts.
Lee became HUBZone certified and was awarded a custodial/cleaning contract for the U.S. Army Reserve Center in Wichita (KS) before graduating the 8(a) program in 2012. Since then, her company has fulfilled the service contracts for custodial services for facilities in Fort Riley, like the Armed & Air Forces Exchange Service (AAFES). Quality First Cleaning Contractors also completed service contracts for the state, local governments, and some private sector companies. Not long ago, they completed a custodial service contract for the Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) building in Junction City, Kansas.
“We have been providing custodial services to the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Offices (DRMO) in Fort Riley for over 6 years,” said Lee. “Recently we performed cleaning services that involved cleaning the big windows for the Air Traffic Control Tower in Fort Riley. We have also provided custodial service to the military barrack units in Fort Riley as well as the Military Neighborhood Centers located in the same area.” Lee explained.
Quality First Cleaning Contractors is now providing cleaning services throughout Kansas, and in the Kansas City metro area. Her firm was awarded service contracts to clean federal office buildings in Hays (KS), Kansas City (MO), and the New Century Air Center facility just outside Gardner, Kansas.
In 2014, the SBA Region VII Office for Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa, selected Byong Lee as the 2014 8(a) Graduate of the Year for both Kansas and the region. On Thursday, August 28, 2014, Byong Lee will be recognized and presented with the award at the Military Affairs Council breakfast meeting in Junction City, Kansas.