DALLAS – In 1984, Melanie moved to Dallas, leaving behind all she had known to join the ranks of the corporate world. Little did she know then that Dallas had an unforeseen destiny for her away from corporate America.
What is your background in the construction industry?
I grew up in a construction family in Cincinnati, OH, so I was familiar with the cyclical nature of the business and also developed an appreciation for doing it right the first time.
What advice would you have for women who want to start their own businesses?
Have a solid business plan and review it with a diverse group of people – banker/industry expert/family member/business coach.
What resources are available to women who would like to start their own businesses?
Southwest Women’s Business Council, Chamber of Commerce, business banks that focus on small businesses, and City of Dallas Economic Development Women’s Foundation are all great resources for women who want to start their own businesses.
Have you found associations to be helpful for women?
I have found the Association of Professional Women in Construction (APWC), American Subcontractors Association (ASA), and Dream Team Women’s Network to be extremely helpful for women working in this industry.
How would you encourage women to broaden their knowledge of owning a business or working in the industry?
Get as many opportunities to understand the many stakeholders in the business and understand what their greatest need is and how you can meet and/or exceed that need.
What lessons have you learned along the way?
I learned to remain relevant, be flexible, know your people, keep in touch with all the stakeholders in your industry, strive for continuous improvement and have a passion for quality. Finally, you only have one chance to build your reputation, safeguard it!
What do you hope the future holds for your business?
I’m fortunate to be in the Dallas/ Fort Worth area with as much growth as we’ve had and continued to forecast. We continue to meet and build relationships with new GCs and industry partners. I hope to see more national and international companies looking for alliances with local providers.
From your perspective, has the construction industry changed over the years?
Change is the one constant, and yet the appreciation for craftsmanship and quality has not changed. During the downturn there was price compression and an onslaught of the “low bidder” mentality. That tide turned once there was a cycle of seeing how the product endured the test of time. The cost of the “re-do” is more than doing it right the first time.
Signature Millwork is a certified WBE, HUB and FSC architectural millwork provider based in Dallas. -cmw