Celebrating Hispanic Heritage

Puerto Rican Hoosier builds major Indiana company: ‘I was destined to do something here’

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — For Jesse Camacho, a Puerto Rican Hoosier, the sky is the limit.

He started from nothing to owning a major Indiana company. “I was destined to do something here and I feel like we have,” Camacho said.

He owns Camacho Facilities Services, which provides janitorial services to Indianapolis International Airport, every single branch of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, and other places. The company also provides services to IndyGo bus service and Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

“When we started, we had three people: me, myself, and I. And now, we have 137-plus.”

Camacho’s dream to one day start a business in Indianapolis arose about 40 years ago in an unlikely place: Monument Circle. He was on his way to Evansville. “When I came here, standing right here, I’m thinking looking at the water, looking up and thinking someday I’m going to come back here and I’m going to make something of myself.”

“Chicago, then coming here, and I thought maybe this city is just perfect: not big, not small, just perfect.”

He quickly started the business.

At first, he was in his living room and eventually grew into something bigger.

“We were kind of not wanted here. They put a sign on our door (saying) you cannot do business out of here, and, you know, it was a misunderstanding, but still it was a challenge. You know? Here we come at the end of the day, open the door, and there’s a thing from the county saying: You can’t do business out of here.”

Camacho was only 11 years old when he opened his first business. He grew up in a dangerous neighborhood in New York, supporting his parents and 11 siblings. “I got a grocery cart that I purchased for a dollar and I used to go in the evenings and carry groceries for people to their apartments.”

“Dreams do come true. You always have to keep dreaming. Never stop dreaming and that’s the way it’s always been. That’s what I teach my kids and my grand kids. You’ve got to dream. If you’re not dreaming then it’s not going to happen.”

Camacho says he hopes to continue to expand his business in other large cities across the country.