Behind-the-scenes role in inaugural Firm fixes toilet for parade dignitaries

January 24, 1993|By Frank Lynch | Frank Lynch,Staff Writer

President Clinton, his wife, Hillary, and daughter, Chelsea, along with numerous other dignitaries owe one Harford County businessman a debt of gratitude.

Every time a member of the first family or its guests left the reviewing stand during the inaugural parade to heed a call of nature, David Mitchell was flushed with pride. For it was he who provided a clean way station just a few brisk steps from the marching bands along Pennsylvania Avenue.

According to Mr. Mitchell, his company, Mitch Pro Cleaning Services Inc. of Forest Hill, was sent to Washington last Tuesday to prepare and service the "Crowd Pleaser" -- a 10-toilet portable bathroom to be used by the president and vice president, their families, friends and other dignitaries assigned to seats on the reviewing stand.

Mr. Mitchell said the "Crowd Pleaser" is owned by another company, Waste Management of Maryland, and it is not the average portable toilet. It comes serviced with flush, soap, towels and an assortment of toiletries -- sort of a mobile executive washroom.

Mr. Mitchell and Larry Brown, his assistant, arrived on the scene hours before the inauguration and hurriedly prepared the unit. He said they worked quickly and never "fell behind" in their assignment. They even had time to take photographs before leaving and having their work inspected by the Secret Service.

The circumstances that allowed Mr. Mitchell, 37, to take part in this historical event were unexpected.

Until he was injured in a hit-and-run accident two days before Christmas 1984, Mr. Mitchell had worked nine years for a bottling company in Havre de Grace. He said the job was steady but not challenging. After the accident, he tried to return to work but found he no longer could stand for a long time. He was granted disability and left the company.

Today the robust 6-foot-3, 225-pounder has contracts to clean two restaurants, two banks, a couple of doctors' offices, an attorney's office and another professional building.

He also cleans offices and toilet facilities for several mobile unit companies. And, it was a contract with one of these companies -- Waste Management of Maryland -- that led to his being a behind-the-scenes player in the presidential inauguration.

When Mr. Mitchell started his company he had one vacuum cleaner and a few buckets and mops. Today, the company inventory includes a dozen vacuum cleaners, two buffers, and Mr. Brown, a former county employee who Mr. Mitchell says is one of the hardest working people he has ever met.

Some jobs require the company to hire part-time help, such as the Preakness, where the company prepared six "Crowd Pleasers" for infield dignitaries.

Mr. Mitchell, of Forest Hill, describes himself as someone always thinking of new ways to make money. He opened a second business -- Dave's Dogs of Bel Air -- a hot dog stand open from April to October on Bond Street near the Risteau Building.

Mr. Mitchell and his wife, Theresa have two children, Jacqueline, 5, and David, 3.

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