Mike Palazzolo has trained a lot of prospective air duct cleaners, but never one quite like Owen Mutetwa. As the founder of Shelby Township's Safety King, Palazzolo has taught people from countries as far as Singapore, Australia, the Virgin Islands how to become a licensed affiliate branch of the air duct company.
Mutetwa was different from the start—spending his time away from the two-week professional course to train for an annual ultra-marathon in South Africa.
"Owen had a remarkable application," Palazzolo said, "He said he ran to blew off steam, but I never would have expected he ran as much as this."
Mutetwa successfully completed the Comrades Marathon, a 56-mile course, with a time of 10 hours, 47 minutes, in June. Only 10,188 out of 19,907 entrants ended up completing the race.
"Owen sent us an email message on June 5, telling us he had completed the Comrades Marathon and was now home in Johannesburg 'and walking.' We took his being able to walk as a good sign," joked Palazzolo.
Meanwhile, Mutetwa planned to open his own business separate from the affiliation program that Palazzolo had experience coordinating. Originally from Zimbabwe, Mutetwa had a carpet cleaning business in Southern Africa and decided last year to move into air duct cleaning.
Mutetwa said he found the training extremely helpful, giving him the opportunity to put theory into practice and paving the way for the launch of his new air duct cleaning business in December 2012.
"We came out of there more informed and able to proudly proclaim that Safety King Southern Africa is ready and open for business. Although we are small, the opportunities are as boundless as the sea and they are for us to harvest," Mutetwa said.
The new affiliate is expected to join the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) as an international member sometime during 2013.
Safety King is located at 50000 Ryan Rd., Shelby Township. For more information, call (586) 731-4720 or visit safetyking.com.