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In our February 2022 Women In PHCP spotlight, we invite you to meet Carley Lorditch, chief administrative officer for Handyside Plumbing, HVAC & Electrical!
PHCPPros: What is your role in the PHCP industry?
Lorditch: Achieving growth while maintaining a strong reputation within a plumbing, heating, and cooling business requires many moving pieces and skillsets to keep the engine moving forward. When a single component is missing, we lose efficiency. My role within the company is to help optimize, implement and enforce processes within the office to better support our field staff. My ultimate objective is to create a smooth experience for our customers and foster a synergistic and positive work environment for our entire team.
PHCPPros: How and why did you decide to enter a career in the PHCP industry?
Lorditch: I was born into the industry. My dad, Bryan Handyside, began Handyside Plumbing and Heating when I was just three years old. For many years, he worked long hours in the field, and my mom, Jennifer Handyside, maintained the office and paperwork. The dinner table is where I learned valuable lessons in business and customer service. When selecting my career in the industry, it was an easy decision. Not only do I get to offer an essential service that the community will always need, but I also get to work alongside my family and an incredible team every day!
PHCPPros: What have been some of your career highlights?
Lorditch: When I first started my career, I was overflowing with ideas and eager to make elaborate changes to grow the business. In college, I had learned about marketing plans and how to build a successful business on paper.
Once I accepted that real-world experience is invaluable compared to a college degree alone, my career started to propel forward. A turning point was when my brother, Jake Handyside (Handyside Plumbing, HVAC & Electrical general manager), encouraged me to read "HVAC Spells Wealth" by Ron Smith. I realized that I had a lot to learn. I then began watching and listening to others who’ve already seen success within the industry. I volunteered my time on the board of a local trade organization, read more, and spent more time educating myself by watching trade-specific videos. When I began those new habits and embraced that the learning never stops, I became more empathic, and it helped me design more efficient processes. This turning point was my most successful career highlight to date.
PHCPPros: What are your thoughts on mentorship for women?
Lorditch: While primarily male-dominated, there is a growing number of incredibly successful women thriving in the industry. Women should embrace their unique skillsets and leverage them in their careers. I don’t have a specific women mentor in the industry that I know personally. However, I am always eager to see business owners and keynote speakers, such as Ellen Rohr from Zoom Drain, creating massively successful careers in our industry and helping others do the same!
Our industry is very different from what it was just 10 to 20 years ago, and I believe women both within and outside of the industry played a significant role in that. For example, the idea of welcoming a stranger into your home to make a repair can be uneasy, especially for women. Women demanded and now expect that they take added precautions to improve safety when hiring a tradesperson. Some examples include receiving a picture of the technician via text or email before the visit, having well-marked vehicles, name tags, business cards, and a clean uniform. Women inspired this transition, and with more women entering our industry, it will keep innovating and moving forward.
We have an incredible group of women on our team. While I can’t say if they consider me a mentor, I do my best to set a good example. Our entire management team stresses the importance of work and life balance. We begin every team meeting with everyone sharing something positive in their lives, either work or personal, as well as something they are trying to work on. We try teaching skills to help both their careers and to foster confidence and personal growth outside of work.
PHCPPros: What do you think the PHCP industry can do to better recruit and retain women?
Lorditch: It is difficult to change a mindset once it has been established. In school, the trades are often portrayed as dirty jobs for kids who don’t fit a standard four-year college mold. I believe developing hands-on outreach programs for girls and boys, even as early as elementary school, could help change this stereotype. If young people knew plumbers can make over $100,000 a year and are in extremely high demand, it would be a more appealing career path for both girls and boys alike.
PHCPPros: Is there anything from your personal life that you would like to highlight?
Lorditch: One of my greatest fears, along with many other women, was balancing career advancement and my growing family. I have a husband, a three-year-old, and a six-month-old. While there are challenging times, becoming a mom has given me more ambition and made me adapt better to fast-paced changes in life. It opened up another layer of skills that I believe added depth and gave me a fresh perspective. My advice to women with the same concerns is that you're strong and capable, and never let your thoughts hold you back from your greatness.
Do you know someone you would like to nominate for our Women In PHCP newsletter series? Email PHCPPros Digital Strategy Manager Nicole Meyer at firstname.lastname@example.org!