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UMD alumnus Craig Simonson

Pure Drive: Craig Simonson '14

After starting a carpet cleaning business in his junior year, Craig Simonson used the classes he took at the Labovitz School of Business and Economics to clarify his business goals and shape his future.

In Assistant Professor Raymond Jones’ entrepreneurship class, Simonson wrote his first business plan. In Associate Professor Geoffrey Bell’s sustainable management class, he crafted his mission.

“Professor Bell asked us to develop a system for a business to reduce its carbon footprint. I started researching nontoxic cleaning products,” Simonson recalled. Those types of products have become the cornerstone of his Duluth-based business, Pure Clean, a cleaning firm whose corporate clients include Bent Paddle, Just Take Action, and Tavern on the Hill.

Bell’s class also inspired a unique aspect of Pure Clean. “We plant a tree for every service we do,” Simonson said. Now with an ever-growing client list, Pure Clean’s goal is to plant 10,000 trees in the spring of 2015.  “I want it to be an annual event. We’ll be planting native trees along Amity Creek and Miller Creek in Duluth.” Both creeks were decimated by the 2012 flood.

In addition to making an impact in the community, Simonson is firmly committed to giving back to UMD. “I’ve spoken at the Entrepreneur Club, Women in Business, and the Management Club,” he said. He strives to hire students at Pure Clean. “Helping people is the most rewarding thing; it’s what I love most.”

The Labovitz School of Business and Economics (LSBE) is accredited by the AACSB International(Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business); LSBE recently earned continuation of accreditation. Less than 5% of business schools worldwide have earned this prestigious distinction. In Northeastern Minnesota, LSBE is the only school to have attained AACSB accreditation. For more information, visit

Written by Kathleen McQuillan-Hofmann May 2015.

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