Downtime Fleet Management Services is a 24/7/365, over-the-road call center that assists the transportation industry in securing trained professionals to handle equipment maintenance and repair throughout the U.S. and Canada. In business since 2006, it is the only woman-owned small business of its kind in North America. The company employs 38 full-time people.
What are your responsibilities as a leader?
That’s a tough one; I have to wear so many hats.
We’ve been in business long enough that now I don’t have to be woken up during the night for a call. But when we first started out, that was my responsibility.
Today, I oversee account receivables and payables, customer relations and all of the banking for the company. Luckily, I have a lot of energy and the drive to make sure it all gets done.
What made you want to be the leader
of this company?
My husband founded the company and asked me to come in and help him get all the administrative items set up. It was supposed to be for a few months, but then he asked me to stay on for another year or so.
Everyone told me I would not be able to succeed because I didn’t have experience in the industry. I took that as a challenge. After two years, I was hooked. We had such great customer relationships that I felt like I had to stay on and see it grow.
How would you describe
your leadership style?
I don’t like to be considered the boss. I want my employees to feel like I’m a co-worker with them on what we do here every day. I want them to feel like we’re part of a big family.
I also try to motivate my employees. I feel like I am here to mentor them and show them that you can start from anywhere and work your way up in life.
Have you seen a difference in the demographics of the people that you hire?
We haven’t seen much of a change other than issues with finding employees to work right now. The ones we do find have greater demands and expectations than what we’re used to as far as compensation and benefits, time off, work
I guess it’s the younger generation, and people who got to work from home for so long. They enjoy that, but I am more of a hands-on person. I want to see my team in action in the building every day. I feel it creates a better team environment if you’re with each other working.
How do you approach strategic planning?
Most of my strategic planning is done in the morning drinking coffee with my husband. We discuss everything from new customers and new sectors of the business to rate increases and pricing structures.
Then I have my key management in the office. We get together every other week and we talk about issues. I get their opinion on things and where they feel we need to direct most of our time and focus in improving our company.
Where do you want to lead your company in the next five years?
I would like to diversify our customer base to include more common carriers and some rail business, which we really don’t have much of at this moment.
I want to finish getting all our office and reporting systems technology up to date, to where it needs to be to keep up with the rest of the country. I feel like if we get all of that in place, it will be key to our success.
What keeps you up at night?
Making sure that we collect all our money and pay our vendors in a timely manner, because they are the heart of our business. If I don’t pay them, they suffer. We probably have 1,500 vendors throughout the country that we use consistently; if they have 10 employees each, there are thousands of people relying on Downtime’s success for them to be successful as well.
What’s the last leadership book you read?
Traction, by Gino Wickman. It’s a book geared to small business and entrepreneurs, an operating system to show you methods for achieving your success throughout every aspect of your business.
What keeps you on top of your game?
Being the only woman-owned business of our kind makes me strive to be better every day, and to be a good example to other women who are trying to get into the industry. I want people to hear our name and say that we’re a successful, honest, hard-working company and we add value to their daily business.
I have this quote hanging in my office: “Success is not final; failure is not fatal; It is the courage to continue that counts.”
Monica Dorsey: “Everyone told me I would not be able to succeed because I didn’t have experience in the industry. I took that as a challenge.”