PuroClean’s President and COO on Serving the Greater Good
Reliability, accountability and serving the greater good are ideals that PuroClean President and COO Steve White lives by. He leads the property restoration and disaster cleanup franchise with these principles and expects the same from his team. In fact, he makes sure of it. White always meets with prospective team members personally. “No one gets a job offer to work at PuroClean without speaking to me first,” he says.
To White, leadership isn’t about status or ego. He defines leadership as being able to work hand in hand with others to operate as one team. “Our culture is built around the values of servant leadership, extreme ownership and active collaboration. These three pillars are what makes our entire support team such great leaders,” he says.
After serving the country as an officer in the U.S. Army, White started his career in franchising with Domino’s Pizza in the late 1980s. He then spent 18 years at a graphic art franchise (formerly American Speedy Printing Centers), where he launched the Allegra brand from scratch.
In 2000, White teamed up with colleagues to do a management buyout of Allegra. “My old boss encouraged me to finance with him, so we went in as the operating partners, and bought in together. I served as chief operating officer and president of the company’s Signs Now brand.”
By the time White joined PuroClean in 2013, he had already made his mark on franchising and was settling into retirement. But when he was offered the position, he couldn’t resist the challenge of revitalizing PuroClean, which was facing significant challenges at the time. “I’ve done it faster than I could have hoped,” he says.
Throughout his career, White has always led with a servant’s attitude — which is why he fell in love with franchising. His greatest thrill is seeing franchisees grow and flourish. “It’s powerful to know we are making a positive impact on the local community and providing entrepreneurial opportunities to aspiring individuals,” he says.
I will drag franchisees kicking and screaming to a more prosperous future.
Steve White: A Cultivator of Franchisee Success
Here, White discusses his motto, accomplishments and inspirations.
What is Your Mantra or Motto?
I often say, ‘I will drag franchisees kicking and screaming to a more prosperous future.’ As the industry continues to change, we have tried-and-true processes that are proven to be successful. Change can be daunting, but luckily, we help franchisees deal with the constant state of flux. And whether they like it or not, we’ll give them the technology and guidance they need to be successful.
What is Your Greatest Career Achievement?
This September will be my 10-year anniversary with PuroClean. In this time, I have doubled the number of units, tripled the average unit sales, and quadrupled profitability and system-wide sales. Most importantly, though, my franchise owners are happy. For the fifth year in a row, we are in the top 50 franchises for franchisee satisfaction with the annual Franchise Satisfaction Survey of Franchise Business Review. I am a franchisee-centered franchisor, so it’s rewarding to see that year in and year out, we are turning a profit and keeping people fulfilled.
Who Do You Admire in Franchising and Why?
I admire the founder of Domino’s, Thomas Monaghan. I had the opportunity to work under Tom, and he molded a lot of who I am today. He taught me the importance of being a franchisee-driven franchisor. He was always worried about the franchise owners and always really cared. The genuine care and concern Tom showed towards franchisees influenced my own values, the culture I try to foster at PuroClean, how I served as chair of the International Franchise Association’s (IFA) VetFran Committee, and how I now serve as vice chair for the IFA Foundation and on the IFA Board’s executive committee. Frankly, every person on the PuroClean leadership team is a person who inspires me to do more, be more, live more and do it all in a joyful, purpose-driven way.