We spoke to Laura Mustee Hendricks, regional sales manager and sales/marketing coordinator of E.L. Mustee & Sons, Inc. about her background in the business, advice on those just joining the industry, and her thoughts on next generation of business owners.
Danielle Galian: What is your background?
Laura Mustee Hendricks: I attended the University of Dayton and received a Bachelors in Marketing & Sales. I was in a sorority, Theta Phi Alpha, as well as an academic environment group, The Rivers Institute. I worked throughout high school in retail and sales and had two internships in college. Worked for two unrelated corporations doing sales and marketing before coming into this industry.
DG: Have you always had an interest in the business?
LMH: Yes and No. I’ve always had an interest in business. I have always had a job, for as long as I can remember. Babysitting before I was old enough to get a job at the mall in high school. I was fortunate enough to have parents who made me work for what I wanted — spending money, gas money, etc., teaching me the value of everything I owned and earned. In college, it set me apart from most of my peers, earning my ideal positions and responsibility.
Since working in this industry, I have been learning so much about plumbing, building, construction., etc. Things that school doesn’t necessarily teach you. It makes me feel like a more well-rounded, knowledgeable person. Especially in my personal life, owning a home.
DG: What’s your favorite part about working with people/companies in the PVF industry?
LMH: People are happy to help. They are excited that young people are interested and to see the longevity of a family company. I am quickly discovering there is always more to learn and my days are never boring. I get a great satisfaction from helping a customer with a technical question.
DG: What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?
LMH: Reading, kayaking, and running.
DG: What’s your top tip for companies marketing themselves?
LMH: Take time to evaluate your current efforts and make realistic plans. The way you are doing things now might be fine, but there are always opportunities for improvement and growth. Looking at how other companies are marketing themselves can be helpful. Take ideas from a good campaign, make them original, and own it.
Take advantage of partnerships, with other companies (industry and non-industry related) and within your community.
DG: Conferences and meetings consistently discuss innovation as a make it or break it move for companies. Can you give our readers some insight into the latest marketing innovation/trends that boost online presence?
LMH: Technology is not going away. It is not an enemy. I am still shocked that some companies don’t even have websites. More and more, people are turning to the Internet, websites, blogs, etc. for information to make their purchasing decisions. If you are not building a presence for your business, you are hurting yourself.
DG: Do you have a favorite motivational motto or phrase?
LMH: Listen more than you talk. Nobody learned anything by hearing themselves speak. There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from mistakes.
DG: How do you keep creativity alive and flowing for you and your team?
LMH: Communication is important. Verbalizing ideas helps move the process forward. Taking breaks from a project, sometimes the best ideas come when you’re not trying.
DG: What can millennials bring to this industry that they can't to others?
LMH: Fresh perspective, knowledge of technology, dedication, new hunger for success. There are so many of the older generation that it is crucial we bring more people into this industry.
We need to recognize that and actively prepare for the future. Investing the knowledge and experience of the older generation, into the vitality and ambition of the younger generation will create a healthy future for the industry.
DG: Top tip for ultimate success in the industry?
LMH: Networking, in the old ways and the new, industry events and social networking sites. I am fairly new to this industry. I have not enjoyed the 30-40+ years of success most of the people involved have had. Yet. My long-term goal for getting to that point is networking. I want to utilize the information and experiences of the successful older generation before they retire.
This industry is unique in that it is stable with plenty of opportunity. People will always be buying and building.
For more information on Laura, visit www.mustee.com