Mr. Rooter Elite recognized at franchise’s annual meeting

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS — Mr. Rooter Corp. recently recognized a select group of franchisees and team members during its recent international convention here. This year’s award recipients are:

Pioneer (Lifetime Achievement): Vinnie Sposari, Seattle, Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Seattle franchise. Sposari’s story began in 1988, when he started with a single van that had a spray-painted logo on the side. He purchased a Mr. Rooter franchise 10 years later, and today he operates a 20-truck operation with 30 team members. Over the years he’s received Rookie of the Year and Franchisee of the Year. He also sits on the company’s advisory council.

“Vinnie has played an important role in propelling Mr. Rooter Plumbing to where we are today,” said Mr. Rooter Corp. President Mary Kennedy Thompson.

Franchisee of the Year: Steve Kaldis, Patrick O’Connor and David Abrams, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, Mr. Rooter of Burnaby franchise. In 1997, O’Connor and Kaldis were working as technicians when the franchise owner closed the shop. O’Connor and Kaldis approached the corporate office, looking for guidance on how to get their jobs back. After the meeting, Patrick and Steve decided to purchase the business themselves. Abrams joined the team nine years ago as a technician, was promoted to manager, and became part-owner in 2010.

Sales Leader of the Year (over 500,000): Steve Kaldis, Patrick O’Connor and David Abrams, Burnaby, B.C., Canada, Mr. Rooter of Burnaby franchise.

Sales Leader of the Year (under 500,000): Paul and Saunda Kitchen, Santa Rosa, Calif., Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Sonoma County franchise.

Excellence in Mentoring: Andrew and Sheryl August, Freehold, N.J., and Pompano Beach, Fla., Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Central New Jersey franchise and Mr. Rooter Plumbing of the Broward County franchise. Andrew and Sheryl willing give their time to help other Mr. Rooter franchisees succeed. “The knowledge shared within our Mr. Rooter Plumbing system is priceless,” said Thompson.

Excellence in Leadership: Boo White, Bozeman, Mont., Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Bozeman. Inspirational, kind and strong businessman were some of the words used to describe White, who opened his plumbing shop nine years ago, and has been a leader in the system ever since.

“Boo is a successful businessman and leader,” said Thompson. “He’s also a dedicated and loving husband and father. He always has an encouraging word and smile.”

Woman of the Year: Michelle Aliotti, Santa Cruz, Calif., Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Santa Cruz franchise.

“When the economy got tough, so did Michelle — taking customers’ calls at night to ensure no call was ever missed,” said Thompson, who nominated her for this award. “In addition to being a wife and mom, taking care of our Mr. Rooter customers, working with her office staff, and being a true friend to many, Michelle still finds time to give back to the community and look for ways to enrich the lives of those around her.”

Aliotti sits on the RMHC Franchisee Committee for The Dwyer Group Inc., the holding company for Mr. Rooter and its five affiliate companies, as well as chaired the Zees for Zees Fund, which raises money for struggling franchises to get to conferences —this year $43,000.

Rookie of the Year: Heath and Heather Vickers, Macon, Ga., Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Middle Georgia franchise. This duo hit a benchmark in sales within their first 18 months, while finding time to give advice to newer franchise owners across the United States.

“Heath and Heather have done a great job of getting involved and establishing their business,” said Thompson.

Service Leader of the Year: Dan Burleson, Colorado Springs, Colo., Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Southern Colorado franchise. Burleson stepped up to the plate and took on the leadership role of the shop when owner Charlie Hall’s wife Dee was diagnosed with cancer. Hall credits the shop’s 10% revenue increase in 2009 to Burleson’s giving spirit and knack for relating to customers on all levels.

“Thanks to Dan, I was able to spend my time and energy fighting Dee’s disease,” Hall said. “With all of the added responsibility and long hours, Dan never asked ‘what’s in it for me?’”

Technician of the Year: Dan Rushford, Santa Rosa, Calif., Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Sonoma County franchise. He keeps an immaculate van, is a team player and covers extra shifts on his days off.

“Dan is loved by his customers and respected by his fellow team members,” said Saunda Kitchen, co-owner of the shop. “He has a target to one day own his own Mr. Rooter franchise. With Dan’s devotion to his internal and external customers, we have no doubt he will certainly accomplish his goal.”

Office Professional of the Year: Debbie Pezoldt, Bozeman, Mont., Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Bozeman shop. As office manager, customer service representative and dispatcher, Pezoldt has excellent leadership skills, understanding of team work and constant dedication to customers.

“Debbie has played a large role in taking our shop to the next level,” said Boo White, co-owner of the shop. “She shows our customers excellent customer service and always pushes our Mr. Rooter Plumbing technicians to be their best.”

“Mr. Rooter Plumbing is a stronger company because of these award recipients,” said Thompson. “They share their time, ideas and support within our network while providing their communities with professional and customer-focused services.”

Established in 1970, Mr. Rooter is an all-franchised, full-service plumbing and drain cleaning company with approximately 300 franchises worldwide. Mr. Rooter franchisees provide services to both residential and commercial customers. Mr. Rooter began franchising in 1974 and is a subsidiary of The Dwyer Group Inc. Additional information is available at www.mrrooter.com.