Blog Downtown Greater Council

Get to Know your Clean & Safe Ambassadors

July 9, 2019

Get to Know your Clean & Safe Ambassadors


The Duluth Downtown Waterfront District has a Clean & Safe Team designed to promote greater hospitality and safety our central business district. From Mesaba Avenue to 10th Avenue East and Canal Park to Second Street, you’ll find team members making your world:

The GDC would like to "introduce" you to one of the many Clean & Safe Team Members.  This week, meet Gary Houdek- our Superior Street Reconstruction Navigator


1. How long have you worked for the Clean & Safe Team?

Gary has worked for the Clean and Safe Team for about 3 years now, before he owned and managed Jitter’s Coffee Company for about 17 years.


2. Are you from Duluth/how long have you lived here?

Gary has lived in Duluth for about 21 years, he is originally from Virginia, MN.


3. What is your favorite part about this job?

Gary’s favorite part is working with and for the people. He states that he is such a people person and “needs a daily dose of conversation and to be around people and the downtown area otherwise he feels a sense of withdrawal.”


4. What was the first job you have ever had?

Gary’s first job was at Tonkadale Greenhouse.


5. Who is someone that has inspired you most in your career?

Gary says that he has always been self-motivated throughout his career, but as an entrepreneur he says that Dennis Lamkin was an inspiration and taught him that confidence is key in order to be successful.


6. What is your favorite hobby when you are not working?

Gary’s hobbies differ within the seasons, however for the summer time he finds himself enjoying gardening the best!



7.  If you didn’t work for the clean and safe team, what would your ultimate dream job be?

Gary’s dream job would to be a barista in a coffee shop somewhere.


8. We asked Scott Jenkins, Head of Operations for Clean & Safe, to describe Gary. He said:

Gary is an anchor to our downtown business community, being a former business owner himself.  He knows so many people in the downtown and has a finger on the pulse of the downtown vibe. Gary is always upbeat, has smile and greeting for everyone and lends his knowledge and a helping hand to anyone needing assistance.  Gary literally epitomizes the phrase “this is MY downtown”.


Clean & Safe service is scheduled daily throughout the District with a goal of providing an overall package of service spread uniformly throughout the District. The Clean & Safe Team maximizes its visibility with easily recognizable bright neon and royal blue uniforms. You’ll find them making rounds on foot, bicycle or Segway through all public rights of way, including the Skywalk.


Contact the Clean & Safe Team at 218-727-8317 or 218-390-8899