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From the moment we launched this project a year ago, there was always a question hanging in the air: who would be our last story?
The answer eventually became clear to all of us. Except him.
Milton Dubon grew up in Guatemala and came to the U.S. as a teenager. The whole family now lives north of Boston; when he’s craving food that reminds him of home, he walks up the street to his mother’s house. He’s a loving husband to Karen, a dedicated father to his son and twin daughters. He’s a man so devoted to his faith that he reads his Bible at lunch. He’s an avid soccer fan, a 4 a.m. gymgoer who talks trash with his friends, and personal chauffeur for the girls’ swim lessons at the end of the workday.
And for the last 20 years, every new employee at Suffolk has inevitably heard the same words: “You need to talk to Milton.”
"I think when Milton first started at Suffolk, his thinking was: 'I’ve got to keep the property clean.' But as he's grown, I think he realized how important the relationships are. He really strives to make sure everybody feels that they're taken care of. I don't think a lot of people realize how much he takes that to heart."
Milton came to Suffolk as a member of our third-party cleaning crew. He didn’t speak as much English then, but he impressed the entire office with his work ethic and relentless positivity. Suffolk offered him a position as the building superintendent — his first day was his birthday. The company then promoted him to senior building superintendent in 2015. Translation: since 2004, he has averaged almost 30,000 steps a day to cover every aspect of our Boston headquarters. Office moves. Desk setups for new hires. Snow removal. Trash pickup. And every other request that arises in an office for roughly 600 people.
He is a foundational piece of this place.
"I say thank you to Milton legit every day for something. That's how helpful he is to me on stupid random things. He’s just that guy. He is a foundational piece of this place."
No one can remember Milton not showing up when they needed him. Stories about his reliability are legion. People recount walking out the office door in blizzards to find their cars cleared of snow, warmed for the drive home. He injured himself on the first play of a Suffolk pickup soccer game; he still showed up at work the next day. During an elevator shaft emergency in the middle of the night, he had the presence of mind to shut off the power in the machine room and check on the others who were in the lobby with him. When COVID-19 kept workers at home, Milton was in the building every day, working overtime to make sure the space was safe and ready when his colleagues returned.
"I truly don't think Suffolk would be what it is today without Milton's presence. He is here every single day, and when he is not here, his absence is sorely missed. He's irreplaceable."
What drives him, though, is deeply personal. After Suffolk events, Milton often collects the leftover food and donates it to his church. Colleagues have fond memories of watching soccer games at Gillette Stadium with him and his son, especially cheering on Lionel Messi and Argentina in the Copa America quarterfinal. He lights up when he talks about his daughters, who at 8 years old he still calls his babies — double the trouble, triple the fun, as he and a fellow Suffolk twin dad like to joke.
He may take pride in his work, but the real pride shines in the life he’s created for himself and his family.
"Milton is the American dream. He is the individual who has taken the step forward, to take risks, to shelter other people from issues day in and day out. All for the betterment of this company as a whole and his family."
The last story? It was always going to be the person who would last expect it.
We quickly realized there’s no way Milton Dubon would have ever agreed to be in the spotlight, so we ask not only for his forgiveness but also thank Lyonel Depestre, Katie Donahue, Katy Dyer, Nora Kennedy, Vivian Lobo, Casey Nuttall, Jay Tangney, Doug Ware and John Fish for lending us their voices.
It has been a true privilege to bring you the stories of forty Suffolk builders over the last year. Thank you for joining the journey.
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