July Young Professional Spotlight

Meet Michael Kline

Occupation: Branch Manager

Organization: Southeastern Janitorial

Hometown: New Orleans, LA

Tell us a little about your Baton Rouge Story. What brought you to Baton Rouge?

I moved to Baton Rouge in the late 90’s when my dad’s job relocated him from New Orleans. I started at St. Thomas More Catholic School halfway through second grade and found a pretty good group of friends that helped me adjust to Baton Rouge quickly. I finished St. Thomas More in 2004 and moved on to Catholic High School where I attended from 2004-2008. Following my CHS graduation, I attended college and graduated from LSU with a philosophy degree in 2013. I spent a brief year abroad in South Korea teaching English before I returned to Baton Rouge to begin a professional life.  

Tell us more about how you’re involved in Baton Rouge.

As Branch Manager for Southeastern Janitorial, I am responsible for all personnel, invoicing, payroll, ordering, scheduling, and other operations related activities in Louisiana. We are currently cleaning over two million square feet of commercial office space in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Covington every day. We offer custodial services, hard and soft floor care, sweeper/scrubber operators, overhead cleaning, pressure washing, etc. I drive around Baton Rouge on a daily basis interacting with our employees, property managers, building owners, and tenants. Someone once told me that if you are too big to do a small job you are likely too small to do a big job. This could not be truer in the cleaning business. There are many days where I am required to roll up my sleeves and just get the job done.  

Outside of my job, I had the privilege of founding a local non-profit, Health Initiative Abroad, after high school. We existed for a few years organizing events and trips to send money, medical supplies, school supplies, athletic equipment, and volunteers to Mozambique, Africa. 

What is your favorite thing about Baton Rouge?

As someone who has been in Baton Rouge most of their life, my favorite thing would be the connections I have made with people in the city both personally and professionally. It feels like you know everyone. On a social night out, you are more likely than not to run into groups of people from high school, college, or your professional life.  

Events and festivals have also done a great job in the past few years bringing people in the city together. My friends and I love attending Zapp’s Beer FestLive After FiveWhite Light Nights, and other events in the city.  The city’s social atmosphere seems to be improving day after day.  

What is your dream for Baton Rouge?

My dream for Baton Rouge would be for local entrepreneurs to continue taking risks to bring unique establishments to the city. Bring on new amazing restaurants, bars, breweries, artisan stores, art shows, and local events! The young professionals in the area like to support new and creative projects. Give us reasons to leave the comfort of our homes and be supportive of the local culture we are creating.  

How are young professionals like yourself shaping Baton Rouge?

I think the biggest thing I’ve noticed of myself and my peers is we aren’t afraid to take risks with projects we believe in. We want to be a part of creating and maintaining a unique local culture that we can immerse ourselves into. That may mean helping open a new brewery in town, or that may mean supporting a new local restaurant that opened down the street from your house. We love creating and experimenting with new things, and I think that is a big reason the downtown and Mid City areas are thriving. There are so many fantastic entrepreneurs taking chances with local establishments, and we love supporting them. 

What would you say to someone considering a move to Baton Rouge?

I would ask them if they like annual crawfish fests, tailgating for football games, international beer fests, and one of the best St. Patty’s Day celebrations in the nation. Baton Rouge has so much going on – a good housing market, expanding culinary scene, and several amazing music festivals. From South Baton Rouge to Mid City to downtown to campus there is an area of town suitable for people of all walks of life. Come help the city greaux! 

What is your Baton Rouge favorite?

  • Place to eat: Elsie’s Plate & Pie  
  • Place to hang out: Zippy’s 
  • Place to capture the perfect Instagram pic: Saturday night in Death Valley 
  • Place to people watch: Perkins Road on St. Patty’s Day 
  • Place to network: Live After Five 
  • Way to give back: Become an organ donor! There are hundreds of thousands of people in need of an organ transplant, and you can literally save a life by filling out an online application.  
  • Event: Zapp’s Beer Fest 

With significant job growth, a bustling arts scene, delectable cuisine, abundant outdoor activities and more, the Capital Region attracts talent of all ages, including young professionals. Whether straight out of college or looking to establish their own business, more and more young professionals are choosing to lay their roots in Baton Rouge.

Each month, BRAC highlights one of these young Baton Rouge Area movers and shakers in the Young Professional Spotlight.

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