Courtney strives to help youth succeed
Paul Courtney grew up in Barstow and has watched his business, Pace Services, grow into a million dollar company. He also is very active in Rotary International and other charitable causes.
Born and raised in Barstow, Courtney graduated from high school in 1979, and at his parents’ urging, left the High Desert to attend college in Huntington Beach.
“It was the best thing that ever happened to me,” Courtney said. “I had never been out of Barstow before, except on vacation. I was able to meet people who were living their dreams every day. It was amazing to meet people of my age, race, and background who were rap stars or athletes.”
After earning an associate’s degree administration of justice, Courtney stayed in Huntington Beach, working as a Sheriff’s Officer in Orange County and teaching private security licensing classes on weekend.
But an advertised government contract bid to provide cleaning services at Fort Irwin gave Courtney the opening to pursue a different career entirely. In 1986, he founded PACE Janitorial Services, won the bid, and slowly began to build a successful company.
Today, PACE provides cleaning services for clients in Barstow, Victorville, San Bernardino and parts of Orange County. Courtney, now 41, said the company employs 27 full-time employees and more than 50 independent contractors. Courtney is the president and chief executive officer of the company, which serves major clients like Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, Southwest Gas, Time Warner Cable, and the Factory Outlet Mall.
In 1995, Courtney moved back to the High Desert to Spring Valley Lake with his family.
“The way this company works, I could have been based anywhere,” he said. “But I chose to have it in Barstow because that’s where my roots are.”
He has also chosen to give back to the community, particularly by helping area kids. As a member and past president of the Barstow chapter of Rotary International, Courtney helps high school students learn important leadership skills.
“I think he recognizes the potential in every young person,” fellow Rotarian Andy Ziemer said.
Ziemer said Courtney is heavily involved with the organization’s vocational service arm to work with youth. He oversees the board of the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards and helps arrange for 300 kids to attend a weekend leadership camp once per year.
“He’s a very professional person,” Ziemer said. “He kind of started small and has gotten extremely large, and he keeps reaching. He’s always striving to improve himself and the things around him. He has always taken a chance on employees and given them an opportunity to excel.”
Courtney said the best advice he can give to children is have self-confidence and self-assurance.
“I tell kids, ‘Never forget your heritage, but more importantly, don’t forget who you are, where you came from, and where you want to go. Don’t let people change your mind, because if you do, people will change you,'” he said.
Scott Shackford can be reached at [email protected] or 256-4121.