Dottie Ramsey, president/COO of Modern Supply, is the first woman to serve as president of the American Supply Association.Pace Robinson, chairman/CEO, and Dottie Ramsey, president/ COO, work together as a team.She
doesn't look tough, but don't let that fool you.Despite her
feminine appearance, this woman has been a pioneer in the male-dominated PHCP industry for most of her
39 years in the business.Dottie Ramsey, president and chief operating officer of seven-branch plumbing and HVAC wholesaler Modern Supply, based in Knoxville, Tenn., and incoming president of the American Supply Association, continuously has broken ground for her gender as the first female in various industry positions.She was the first woman to serve on a committee for the Southern Wholesalers Association; first woman to serve on the SWA board; first female SWA president; and now she will be the first woman president of ASA. Ramsey
has never let her
gender hold her
back."We don't care what color or gender people are.If you can do the job, we will let you do it," she
says, describing Modern Supply's
employment philosophy. She
doesn't like to stress the woman angle and avoids the term, feminist.Even when she
was interviewed by former SUPPLY HOUSE TIMES Editor John O'Reilly for a March 1992 cover story as incoming president of SWA
focused on her
experience and skills, not gender.The story credited her
personal charm and practical intelligence for her
success in the industry.O'Reilly's words about Ramsey
in the 1992 article, "she
may well be the most prominent and influential female manager in PHCP distribution today," still ring true.
Movin' On Up
Key management: (seated, left to right) Debbie Steele, Dottie Ramsey
, Kim Miller; (back row, left to right) Tim Powers, Greg Stephens, Pace Robinson, Jack Brantley.
...Ramsey joined Modern Supply as a teenager in 1965.She advanced from pricing clerk to computer operator to office manager and by 1972 had been promoted to manager of the builder department.
In 1992 she
was wearing multiple hats as vice president/administration for Modern Supply; incoming SWA president; a board member of ASA and president of ASA's Education Foundation
"When we are interviewing a potential hire, we tell them how many years I have been here, how I started and where it ended," Ramsey
tells the story of one of Modern Supply's
employees, Bella Budick, who came to the United States from Russia with her family.
"That is exactly what Pace Robinson's father did with me years ago," Ramsey
also points out Chad Bradley, who was hired to work in the warehouse.
After observing his
positive attitude, Ramsey
offered him a position as showroom consultant when there was an opening.
has been there almost a year," she
says."Within one month after he
was working in the showroom we were getting thank-you notes from customers."
Other examples cited by Ramsey
include Cindy Hill and Debbie Steele.
"The company is very flexible," Ramsey
says."We let our employees bring their children to the office; we work with families.That is the reason we have such longevity on our staff.
"My proudest achievement is recognizing talent, nurturing and saying, ‘you can do this,'" Ramsey
continues."It's just recognizing talent within the organization, giving people a chance.
: Education and technology.
: I've spent 39 years in the industry.I have been involved with the Southern Wholesalers Association 30
years.I'm a past president of SWA and have served on the board of directors for ASA and SWA.
: I'm going to be watched big time.
: We know we have got some problems.
: When I sent five people to one of Southern Wholesalers Association's
regional educational seminars, four of the five came back pumped up.
: This is where you will meet the key people from your vendors and get to know them one-on-one.
: We belong to a buying group, but with ASA I get to see vendors that do not belong to our buying group.
: The biggest challenge is staffing, personnel - finding people with the right attitude.
: Years ago we were worried about big boxes.
: Three years ago our business and the economy were way off.