Duluth Downtown Waterfront recognizes Skywalk hospitalityWhether it’s bright and early in the morning or the sun is setting, Scott Miller of the Downtown Clean and Safe Team has a smile on his face. As he makes his daily rounds through the downtown Skywalk wearing his bright yellow shirt, he can be found greeting shoppers, business owners, and tourists and opening doors for them as they pass by.
Whether it’s bright and early in the morning or the sun is setting, Scott Miller of the Downtown Clean and Safe Team has a smile on his face. As he makes his daily rounds through the downtown Skywalk wearing his bright yellow shirt, he can be found greeting shoppers, business owners, and tourists and opening doors for them as they pass by.
“Every day, I come in with a smile on my face and come out with a smile on my face knowing that I helped people out,” Miller said. “I’ll never fit a job like I fit this one. It just fits like a glove.”
For his continual hospitality toward people in the Skywalk, the Greater Downtown Council named Miller the 2011 Ambassador of the Year at a recent dinner. Miller was hired as a member of the Downtown Clean and Safe Team in 2005, and he has been working in the Skywalk and in other areas of downtown Duluth ever since.
“We always hire for personality,” said Jim Janousek, operations manager of the Downtown Clean and Safe Team. “We look for applicants who are confident and able to talk to strangers. Scott’s recognition came from the fact that he’s used his experience to improve his ability to deliver our services to the public.”
The Downtown Clean and Safe Team works under the umbrella of the Duluth Downtown Waterfront District, with the goal of keeping the local skywalks and streets clean. One of the main duties of the Clean and Safe Team is to greet those passing through the Skywalk, but they also ensure the area is clean by picking up litter and mopping the Skywalk.
“When the business improvement district is formed, it obtains funding by property owners,” Janousek said. “Those owners determine which services they want to achieve, and the Clean and Safe Team delivers the services.”
While members of the Clean and Safe Team focus mainly on making people feel welcome while they are downtown and in the Skywalk, Miller said they will call the police if the safety of those in the Skywalk is jeopardized.
The team covers the areas from Mesaba Avenue to 11th Avenue East and Second Street to Canal Park.
In the winter, Miller works in the Skywalk where he greets people and ensures that the area is clean and safe. When the summer comes and traffic in the Skywalk slows down, he works in the Canal Park area with up to 12 other Clean and Safe team members.
“Our primary goal is to revitalize the downtown core,” Miller said of the Downtown Clean and Safe Team. “We want to create more of a community and relaxing place for people. We want to get more energy downtown.”
After growing up in the Lakeside neighborhood and attending Esko High School, Miller decided to go to college at Brown Institute in Minneapolis. He studied advertising, design, and marketing, earning his degree in 1991.
Miller worked for eight years in telemarketing, and found out about the Downtown Clean and Safe Team by chance. He was walking to work one day when he saw a man in the Skywalk wearing a bright yellow shirt.
When the man told him about his job, Miller was intrigued. He set up an interview with Janousek and was hired on the spot.
“I do have the gift of gab, which really helps with the job because I’m very approachable,” Miller said. “I like interacting with people.”
Miller said he walks anywhere from six to eight miles a day throughout the Skywalk, and his typical duties are opening doors for passersby and helping them with directions.
“I have the motto that if I don’t know the way, I’ll find someone who does,” said Miller, illustrating his willingness to help people who use the Skywalk.
Business owners in the Skywalk have come to know Miller on a personal level, and they look forward to his greetings everyday. Jerry Cohen of Candy Express & Gourmet has known Miller since he started working with the Clean and Safe Team.
“He’s very friendly, courteous, helpful, and always a bundle of energy” Cohen said. “He’s the kind of guy you want next door to you.”
Miller was surprised by his recognition as the Ambassador of the Year and is appreciative that he is noticed for the work that he does every day.
“It’s great to be recognized for something you love doing,” he said. “I knew coming into this job that I’d love it. I get an award for being friendly.”
Yet, Miller remains modest and does not forget why he decided to get involved with the Downtown Clean and Safe Team to begin with.
“I told myself that if I ever got the opportunity to do this job, I’d do my best to make a difference,” he said. “Staying humble is a good base because it keeps me grounded with who I am, and it helps me connect with people.”