Mr. Rooter names first female president

WACO, TEXAS Franchised plumbing and drain-cleaning service company Mr. Rooter announced Oct. 30 that it now has a Mrs. Rooter in charge. Mary Kennedy Thompson has become president. Thompson, a former multiunit franchisee and president of national franchisor Cookies by Design, said she embraces the challenge of leading a company in a male-dominated industry. "This is a unique opportunity, and I'm looking

WACO, TEXAS — Franchised plumbing and drain-cleaning service company Mr. Rooter announced Oct. 30 that it now has a Mrs. Rooter in charge. Mary Kennedy Thompson has become president.

Thompson, a former multiunit franchisee and president of national franchisor Cookies by Design, said she embraces the challenge of leading a company in a male-dominated industry.

"This is a unique opportunity, and I'm looking forward to applying everything I've learned in my career to being president of Mr. Rooter," she said. "I've already rolled up my sleeves and I plan to immediately build on the company's stellar reputation and proven record of success."

Thompson succeeds Mike Bidwell, who will serve full time as chief operating officer of The Dwyer Group, the parent company of Mr. Rooter and five other franchise companies dedicated to the service trades.

"Mary joins Mr. Rooter at a fantastic time and is uniquely qualified to lead the company," Bidwell said. "With double-digit growth in same-store sales, strong marketing, exemplary field support programs and huge opportunities for further market penetration, the company is well-positioned for a talented executive like Mary to take it to the next level."

In 1994, Thompson became a franchisee for Cookies by Design. Before the corporate team recruited her to its home office in 2000, Thompson earned awards for "Top Performer," "Outstanding Customer Service" and "Masters Award."

During her tenure at the corporate office, she created the first field-support program, developed and taught the first marketing training program and led the largest team in the home office for supply-chain management, training and development, field coaching, customer service and product development, the company said. Cookies by Design promoted Thompson to president in 2004, and her initiatives resulted in national alliances with Universal Studios, a new Website and renewed franchisee/franchisor relations.

"Success sparks success," Thompson said. "I look forward to working with the corporate team to encourage new and trailblazing approaches, continually develop tools and services to ensure the growth and expansion of existing franchisees and nurture new franchisees on their path to entrepreneurial success. Together we will take Mr. Rooter to the top!"

Thompson, a wife and mother of two, is a veteran of the military and a graduate of the University of Texas.

"This is not only a milestone for Mr. Rooter but for the entire plumbing industry," said Dina Dwyer-Owens, president and CEO of The Dwyer Group. "Mary is the ideal president for Mr. Rooter because she embodies our target customer, which is a hardworking woman taking care of business, and we are confident about the future of Mr. Rooter with a Mrs. Rooter leading the way."

Established in 1970, Mr. Rooter has 317 franchises. Recognized by Entrepreneur magazine among its " Franchise 500," Mr. Rooter franchisees provide services to both residential and commercial customers. Mr. Rooter began franchising in 1974.

Additional information is available at www.mrrooter.com