Mario Gutierrez and David Tucker, the Clean and Safe Teams Employees of the Quarter, are being recognized for their diligence and dedication maintaining the cleanliness of Downtown throughout the challenging times created by COVID-19.
“Mario and David are part of a squad that stepped up daily to do a great job, even when we were short-staffed,” said Sergio Andrades, Downtown Operations Manager for Block by Block, the company DLBA contracts to staff Clean and Safe Teams.
Gutierrez, born in San Pedro and raised in Wilmington, is an alumnus of Banning High School, where he played offensive and defensive tackle for the school’s storied football program. He still lives in Wilmington, making the short commute to Downtown five days a week.
His primary duty as a Clean Team member is trash collecting. “I drive the same route every day,” he explained. “I travel in a little Gem car with a flatbed on the back. I collect bags of trash and take them to the central dumpster. It’s a basic job that goes a long way in helping with the beautification of Downtown.
“I enjoy it. It’s fun,” Gutierrez continued. “I like being out there alone, just doing my job. I also like meeting people. There are definitely a lot more people out in Downtown than there were last May when I started.”
Off the job, Gutierrez enjoys watching baseball and football. He is an avid reader of mystery books. “I love all kinds of music too — anything with good lyrics and a solid beat,” he added.
Tucker comes to Long Beach by way of San Diego. He made the move in April of 2020, when the pandemic was ramping up rapidly. His Clean Team specialty is street sweeping. “I like walking around, cleaning the streets, meeting the people, and giving them information,” he said.
Clean Team porters are assigned to one of several maintenance routes in Downtown on a daily basis, and Tucker likes working all of them so he can learn the city. He aspires to lead by example and be a good role model. People on the street want to tip him often, but he always turns them down. “Just telling me ‘thank you’ is enough,” he said.
Tucker stays active on his off days with fishing, hiking, and bike riding. He’s also a student of theology and is keenly interested in the history of the Bible.
Next time you’re Downtown, keep an eye out for the Clean and Safe Teams. They will be there, committed to helping folks feel safe, welcome, and informed, and working tirelessly to keep Downtown looking sharp. “A lot of times people ask me why I’m doing this,” said Tucker. “I tell them it’s because I want a beautiful city, and I take pride in cleaning it up myself.”