By Patricia Kelly
Twin Cities Business
July 1, 2011
At 51, Guy Mingo may seem rather young to be inducted into the Minnesota Business Hall of Fame. But he’s always lived ahead of schedule.
“I was eager to get going,” he says, “and I’ve never looked back.”
Mingo quit high school at 16 to work full time. Three years later, he became Marsden Building Maintenance’s youngest-ever district manager, responsible for almost 25 percent of the company’s revenue. At 23, he was a husband, father, and homeowner; at 24, promoted to vice president of operations; at 42, made CEO of St. Paul–based Marsden Holding, LLC, now one of the largest privately owned facility service providers in the U.S. With services including office cleaning, building security, and HVAC system maintenance, Marsden currently owns 12 companies operating in 32 states; last year, it posted revenues of $110 million. For the past three years, Marsden Holding has had record growth in income.
Since becoming CEO in 2002, Mingo has led the company through a whirlwind of acquisitions, with the goal of doubling in size every five years. The recent economic downturn has left him champing at the bit. “I wanted to reach $250 million in revenue by the end of 2010, and had the market not changed, we would have been well past it,” he says. “We weren’t ready to slow down.”
Mingo was raised in north Minneapolis, one of six kids. “I came from a broken, alcoholic home, and grew up on welfare,” he recalls. He got his first job at a convenience store in the neighborhood, and happily quit school to work 16-hour days, six days a week.