Ann Arbor custodian is a finalist for the 2023 Cintas Custodian of the Year

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Hard work is paying off for a custodian at an Ann Arbor school.

Abdul Akeely, 39, who works for a contracted cleaning company, has been placed at Ann Arbor School since 2017. A couple of years ago, he made his way to Burns Park Elementary School.

He learned recently that he had been selected as a Top 10 finalist in the 10th annual Cintas Custodian of the Year contest, which recognizes custodians who are “top-notch.”

When Akeely heard the news, he did not believe it; according to an interpreter who spoke to him in Arabic.

The teacher who nominated Akeely described him as having a “friendly smile on his face, [and] ready to go and willing to help out with whatever we need around here.”

Akeely is not merely keeping the building clean and maintained, but he tries to keep the students in a good mood by interacting with them and clapping.

“They like him and he like[s] them, too,” the interpreter relayed.

Akeely, an Iraq native and husband, said having three children of his own helps him connect with students. His goal is to treat them like his own, he said.

If Akeely becomes one of the Top Three finalists, he would get an all-expense trip to Las Vegas. If he reaches the top spot, he would take home $10,000. In addition, the school would receive $5,000 worth of Cinats and Rubbermaid products and $30,000 worth of consultation and training from the cleaning industry association ISSA.

What would Akeely do with the winnings?

He smiled and said he would buy his family gifts, including gold for his wife.

Public voting for the 10 finalists continues through April 14, 2023. Click here to vote.

About the Author:

Ron is a Detroiter and MSU grad who has a tremendous passion for meteorology. He joined the 4Warn Weather Team in March 2023.