“Our clientele rely on dependability, quality, timeliness and experience.”
This has remained true in the architectural refinishing business, as with any service industry, says Dodi Whitmire, VP Southwest for Mid America Specialty Services (MASS) and the first female refinisher in our industry.
Forty years after launching her career, Whitmire talks about what she’s learned, as well as current opportunities and challenges driving the industry forward. As one of the six Donat siblings, Whitmire joined MASS in 1985, soon after the company was founded by her brothers Dale, Dean and Don.
Evolving with Changing Customer Needs
MASS has continually expanded in response to our clients’ requests, ever since launching as a metal refinishing company 35 years ago. Over time, our expertise has grown to include stone, wood, glass, grout and facade restoration.
As Whitmire points out, MASS continues to grow alongside the needs of today’s commercial buildings. “Over time, our industry needs have been centered around price and maintenance-free surfaces,” a trend she says will continue in the coming years.
With faux finishes and non-refinishable surfaces becoming more popular, Whitmire sees an opportunity to serve new market segments. She also highlights the company’s investment in ongoing “research and development for products and services to better serve our clients.”
Lessons Learned & the Next Generation of Refinishers
Whitmire says refinishing offers women a unique career choice that encourages thinking outside the box and working with a diverse group of professionals. She believes it’s a great option for those looking for a physical as well as a mental challenge.
“Our industry gives us more options than the traditional roles we were forced into when I first started my career,” she observes.
Anyone wanting to pursue a career in refinishing, Whitmire says, must “be up for a challenge, be open to hard work, manage constant change, and take pride in what [you] accomplish, or this might not be for you.”
Reflecting on the lessons she’s learned, Whitmire notes that “most overlap [with] what I was simply taught growing up from my parents.”
- Honesty is always the best policy when it comes to customers, employees and company, as in life. Dealing with issues head on, with this at the forefront, makes big and little problems much more manageable.
- Always look for a win-win solution. If it’s not a win-win, then it’s probably not a great solution.
- Always do the right thing and be sure to follow your core values. While it may cost you a heap in the short term, over the long term it’s invaluable.
- Don’t just take in business. Give it back somehow.
- If you aren’t helping someone else be successful, then you never will be. Whitmire says she had many mentors along the way who helped her succeed.
Above all, Whitmire has learned that people are genuinely good. “Use that as your first instinct to live by,” she says. “It will help you to succeed in business.”
Do you need architectural refinishing for your organization? Reach out to Mid America Specialty Services today!