Mike Bidwell, President and CEO of Neighborly, Dies Unexpectedly

Mike Bidwell, President and CEO of Neighborly, Has Died

The Franchise Veteran Led Expansion of Texas-Based Home Services Umbrella

Mike Bidwell, president and CEO of the Neighborly home services franchise, has died. The company announced the unexpected passing of Bidwell, who was 65, on Friday. Survivors include his wife, children and grandchildren.

“We will all miss Mike more than words can express,” leaders of the company stated in a news release. “We are fortunate to have worked for such an amazing leader who was smart, compassionate and insightful. He put a strong team together – and in times like this, we stand together to honor him by carrying his vision for Neighborly forward.”

Social Media Accolades

A LinkedIn post from Neighborly noted that “Mike was more than a leader; he was the heart and soul of Neighborly. … With almost 40 years of dedication to our organization, he leaves an incredible mark on our hearts and in our mission.”

Jerry R. Cooper, who works in franchise development for the franchise, said the following on LinkedIn: “We are all heartbroken here at Neighborly. Besides [being] a caring and enigmatic leader and visionary [he was] a wonderful human being who treated everyone like family. Mike, we will miss you.”

Raygen Smith-Davis, an executive assistant with Neighborly brand The Grounds Guys, called Bidwell “a great man, an amazing leader.” She added that she is “thankful I had the opportunity to serve at Neighborly under Mike’s leadership. Prayers for Joy [Mike’s wife], the kids, grandkids, and our Neighborly family.”

Bidwell’s History at Neighborly

Bidwell’s various roles with Neighborly began in April 1984, when he opened his Rainbow International Carpet Cleaning & Restoration franchise in Tucson. He became the first multi-concept franchisee and area developer in 1987 when he started Worldwide Refinishing Systems, which is now called DreamMaker Bath and Kitchen. In 1992

Bidwell added a Mr. Rooter Plumbing franchise to his portfolio. He was recognized as a Franchisee of the Year for Rainbow International and as a top Top Gun for each of the three franchise brands he owned. Those successes prompted Neighborly, then called the Dwyer Group, to lure him to work at its headquarters in Waco, Texas, in 1995. He served as chief operating officer and president for three franchise brands; he took on the role of Neighborly’s president and CEO in January 2014. (The Dwyer Group changed its name to Neighborly in 2018.)

Values and Culture at Neighborly Franchise

Instilling a family-like culture across the franchisor’s diverse service brands was a key mission for Bidwell. “We work with great intention to preserve the uniqueness of each individual brand and uphold our company’s values,” he said. “Our culture has been the driving force behind Neighborly’s incredible growth.” The umbrella franchisor’s recent growth includes the addition of Junk King and Lawn Pride to its portfolio last year.

Friday’s news release noted that Bidwell personified the franchise’s values: respect, integrity, customer focus and “having fun in the process.” Management will continue to operate Neighborly in honor of his lasting presence and legacy by maintaining those values and striving daily toward the company’s vision “to be so remarkable we become a beloved household name,” the news release continued.

Leadership Pivots at Franchise

As the company regroups after Bidwell’s passing, Chief Financial Officer Jon Shell will step into the role of interim president and CEO of Neighborly. Chief Operating Officer Mary Thompson will continue to lead Neighborly franchise owner relationships. Board of directors member David Brandon, a former Domino’s Pizza CEO and currently chairman of its board, has been appointed executive chairman of Neighborly’s board of directors. Neighborly encompasses 30-plus brands and 5,000 franchises that provide services to more than 12 million customers in six countries. Its focus is on repairs, maintenance and improvement of homes, businesses and landscapes.

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Mary Vinnedge is an award-winning writer who has served as editor in chief, managing editor and senior editor at national and regional publications, including SUCCESS and Design NJ magazines. A seasoned journalist, Mary covers the latest franchising news in her role as staff writer for FranchiseWire.
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