Denise Ransom’s father, Leon Ransom, was a famous Columbus architect and was responsible for landmark buildings like the Christopher Inn, Ohio State University East Hospital and the Martin Luther King Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.
Until his demise at the age of 42, Ransom, who then was 15 years old, recalled always following her father through the buildings he designed which allowed her to learn a thing or two about building designs.
Years down the line, these lessons have come in handy for the Columbus CEO, who is the founder of Elite National Building Services, a commercial cleaning firm. The company does the final cleaning after construction or renovation at offices, clinics, libraries, apartments and townhomes, according to bizjournals.com. She started the company after returning from California in 2015.
“One of his things and I remember this distinctly from walking Martin Luther King library with him, he said the building was designed to make it easy to clean. That stuck with me, as I see some of the buildings now,” Ransom told ColumbusCEO.
She returned to Columbus at the time of the construction boom in Central Ohio. “When I came back here, the level of the building was off the charts. I saw new construction everywhere,” Ransom said.
In the 1980s, Ransom owned a janitor company that was bringing in $11 million in annual revenue. However, she had to close down the business after military base closures in California took away her largest customers.
She later co-started a building services company that primarily did contracts for the federal government for 14 years.
“I did that for 14 years, and it provided me the skill set to bid on service trades—everything from landscaping to facility management,” she told the ColumbusCEO in May 2021. “And in some cases, you had to do construction cleaning.”
Ransom, in the 1970s, attended Ohio University, where she studied journalism. She moved to the Bay Area and worked in the media for several years and returned home after 35 years in northern California.
“I was coming home, but I was a stranger,” she said. “I didn’t know people, and I didn’t know my customer base, which was general contractors.”
Despite her experience in managing sizable projects, Ramson said re-starting in Columbus was not easy. Getting financial support from banks was a major hurdle but a common experience in the African-American community.
She started Elite National Building Services from her savings.