Air Force veteran Mike McNairy applies strategies and skills learned during his 21-year tenure in the military to take his Creative Colors International Inc. franchise to new heights.
“Franchising is a great transition for a military person,” McNairy said. “You learn about the specific skill, but you also get business background and help with marketing, sales and financial principles. It is basically an out-of-the-box business, and for someone who served in the military who is good with structure and organization, the model covers all the bases.”
Determination, confidence, teamwork and grace under pressure were attributes McNairy acquired while working with nuclear weapons and monitoring for inbound threats to North America during his career with the United States Air Force. McNairy joined the USAF in 1989 and retired as a lieutenant colonel from Air Force Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He held numerous operational positions at the squadron, wing and command levels. He was an instructor at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, where he commissioned more than 100 second lieutenants. McNairy served during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Freedom and was called on duty following the terrorist attacks on the morning of September 11, 2001.
After retiring from the military, McNairy ran a successful auto repair business for approximately eight years. His wife, Lynette, encouraged him to open a CCI franchise in the Denver area. Lynette McNairy serves as the Chief of Operations and lead technician. McNairy manages the back-office operations at the family-focused company, overseeing personnel, accounting and expansion efforts. “We chose CCI because of the company’s team environment and their desire to see people succeed. We immediately noticed the family environment and knew we could make this business a success,” he added.
CCI is the leader in the mobile leather, vinyl and fabric repair business. Certified technicians work quickly to restore vehicles, furniture or other items, and make them look like new. The 39-year-old company has locations in nearly every state and is adding new franchises each year. Low investment, superior training and ongoing franchise support make it an appealing business option for entrepreneurs.
The military taught McNairy how to interact, lead people and manage operations. Advance preparation and contingency plans are key to any military operation and are important tools for running a successful business. The Air Force gave McNairy the opportunity to learn how to deal with setbacks and challenges. “You expect problems, and you learn not to fold as a result of it,” he added.
The military shaped McNairy’s values of duty, honor and commitment, helping make him an integral member of the local business community. McNairy is the Chairman for the Board of Directors of the Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce and the Douglas County Veterans Monument Foundation. “In the Air Force, we lived by the code, ‘service before self,’ which I now apply to our community by helping whenever I can. We always operate with integrity and I strive for excellence in everything I do,” he said.