PrisonAbout a year ago, I received a book order for 30 books from Corrections Corporation of America. Hmm. I wondered about that. Then, I got busy and forgot about it.

Recently, I received another order from Corrections Corporation of America…for another 30 books. This time, I followed my curiosity and called the phone number on the order form.

I found out the order was placed by Randy Mackenzie.

Dan Holohan once told me, “You can’t make up anything as good as real life. That’s where the great stories come from.”

Settle in and I’ll tell you a great story. It’s about Randy and the students of his Commercial Cleaning class.

Once upon a time, Randy was a restaurant owner. He and his partner owned a chicken sandwich business, a Chik-Fil-A competitor. As often happens with partners, they had a difference of opinion when it came to the vision of the business. They parted ways – amicably – and closed the restaurant.

About that time, about 10 years ago, Randy noticed an advertisement in a cleaning magazine for a pressure washer. Randy and his wife Shirley started a new business, specializing in cleaning restaurants and drive-through banking facilities. The company is called Multi Cleaning Service Company. It’s based in Holdenville, Oklahoma. Randy and Shirley enjoy working together and she is particularly good at job site preparation. Randy does the accounting and the administrative work. Like most of us, he learned these skills at the school of hard knocks. Owning a couple of businesses will teach you a few things, if you are paying attention.

Randy is 64 years young and he is building a pretty cool business. He and Shirley work all over the state. Their intention is to grow to serve 100 banking establishments on a monthly service plan. He knows he is going to need some good people to help him do it. And he thinks he’s found some of them.

There is a medium-to-maximum security prison near Holdenville, owned by Corrections Corporation of American. The prison offers educational opportunities to the inmates. When they decided to add a Commercial Cleaning class, they found Randy and asked if he would teach it.

Randy agreed and started teaching technical cleaning skills to his students. He found out right away that most of these guys KNOW how to clean.

Randy said, “I was supposed to teach them how to buff a floor. There were a few guys in my class who could work a floor with a buffer in each hand. The problem was that once they got out, they might find a job cleaning floors. But, a minimum wage job is not going to cut it. They can’t survive or provide for their families with that kind of job. So, I started teaching them what I knew about business.”

Randy teaches technical cleaning skills. He also teaches business basics. He found my website in a trade magazine and that’s how he found my books. He uses them to teach the guys how to read financial reports, how to come up with a selling price and how to put a business plan together.

“I ask the guys to do a mental inventory of the skills they have and we look at ways that they could make a