janitor built

*Former janitor Stephen L. Hightower recently appeared on the CNBC “Blue Collar Millionaires” to share his success story about how he sold off the family janitorial service in the early 1980s to build multi-million dollar energy company.

“I started as a janitor. This year we’ll do a half a billion dollars,” says Hightower in CNBC’s promotional video. “Blue Collar Millionaires” features “ordinary people overcoming difficulties to transform their dirty jobs into ‘filthy riches.’

The network says that “from humble beginnings, Stephen transformed a cornerstone family-owned janitorial business into one of the world’s premiere energy solutions enterprises, Hightowers Petroleum Co. and HP Energy.”

“When people ask me would I ever have imagined I would be where I am today? Absolutely,” Hightower tells CNBC. “Because if you don’t think that you can be great, you’ll never be great. And I knew that I was gonna be great a long, long time ago.”

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janitor built

Hightower says his “mud, sweat and tears” success story started with his first job working nights and weekends as a janitor. Hungry for growth and frustrated with the career barriers he was encountering, Hightower switched his focus and developed an oil and transport business in 1981.

At first, growth was slow.  “I remember when our first one hundred-dollar bill came in. I just remember our excitement,” Steve said.

Today, his wholesale diesel and gasoline company, Hightowers Petroleum, has 85 employees and sells 140 million gallons of oil per year. There are offices in Cape Town, South Africa; Nigeria; New York; Baltimore and Miami. The company did $350 million in 2015 and hopes to hit half a billion in 2017.

Despite his success, Hightower says he still has ambitious growth goals, which includes profiting off the professional soccer club that he owns a stake in, FC Cincinnati. He says he didn’t grow up watching soccer, but because he sees the potential to make money by being an investor, “now, I am a soccer fan,” he says.

Check out more about Hightower via the clip below: