"On the Job with...." is a weekly Sunday Inc. series, spotlighting area business owners and executives. Today's interview is with Rhonda Dunlap Evans, president of Dougherty Blueprint & Supply Co. Inc.
Q. If you were a young adult fresh out of college, what would you do first in searching for a job?
A. I would post my resume with some of the better job search engines, network with individuals in the area, attend job fairs and utilize educational and professional career advisers.
Q. What was the first thing you spent money on when you received your first ever paycheck?
A. The first thing I remember purchasing was a Fleetwood Mac album in 1977. Still love them today. I was 16 and when the bank cashed my check it was off to the record store.
Q. What's the single most effective technique you found during the past two years for keeping employees motivated?
A. I think enthusiasm and recognition of their contributions works best to keep employees motivated as well as the freedom to be creative and make decisions on their own.
Q. What was your first job?
A. I worked at Dougherty Blueprint throughout high school. My mother, Tina Dunlap, joined the company in 1981. I was a mere six weeks old. My earliest memories are of us "working" on Saturday mornings. She would buy us chocolate milk and those Hostess chocolate cupcakes for breakfast.
Q. What led you to your current position? Why did you want to operate your own business?
A. In 2000 we were stationed in Virginia Beach, Va., when my husband retired from the Navy and my parents asked us to consider moving home to take over the family business. Keep in mind that I was away from home for 22 years and moving back to Albany meant I could see my family a lot. Right? My parents usually went to the mountains for their vacation. Not quite a year after moving back home Dad told me they had found a home and would I mind if they moved. The saying that God may close a door but open a window comes to mind. It's been a wonderful blessing.
Q. Do you have a role model or mentor in your career?
A. My parents. They showed me through the years what hard work and determination can accomplish. They loved this business and their customers. When I was a teen, my father caught me running five minutes behind one morning and said, "Young lady, if you can't be on time don't bother to come." That lesson stuck with me, and now it's my pet peeve.
Q. What is the biggest lesson you as a business leader learned from the recent recession?
A. Keep a close eye on expenses and communicate with our customers on what they need to help them better their business. Their success translates to our success.
Q. If you could turn the clock back on one aspect of technology - examples e-mail, automated phone systems, cell phones, PDAs, etc. - what would you most like to see go away?
A. I would do away with automatic phone systems. Dislike them immensely.
Q. What is your favorite work-related gadget?
A. My iPhone. Love it.
Q. What was the last book you read? Do you have things you read daily or regularly?
A. A Nora Roberts book. Each morning starts with a daily devotion.
Q. I'm up and going by?
A. Try to rise at 5:45 a.m., meditation and devotion, then the radio gets me moving while listening to some '70s rock. I'm at my desk by 7:30 most days.
Q. Favorite hobbies or activity outside work?
A. I love to paint. This past year or so I've been painting birdhouses. I'm a big fan of Donna Dewberry. I also make cards, rubber stamping, scrapbooking. Avid reader. I am usually reading two or three different books at one time.
Q. Best thing about your job?
A. Customers. There's always a new challenge and opportunities to share with them our latest creations.
Q. Worst thing about your job?
A. Paperwork. It just never ends.
Q. The most beneficial course I took in school was?
A. Typing. Thank you, Mrs. Tharpe.
Q. What would be your dream job if you were able to pick a position outside your current career path?
A. Testing roller coasters at Disney World. Love to ride roller coasters.
Q. Finish this thought: "On the first anniversary of my retirement, I see myself ..."
A. Traveling to Ireland and Scotland.
Q. What is the one trait a strong business leader cannot afford to be without?
A. The ability to communicate effectively with employees, customers and business leaders.
Q. Crystal ball time: What's your call on when the economic recovery for our area will be in full swing?
A. That's a really hard one. I am hopeful we will see new construction projects developing soon. Construction printing is still our bread and butter, and with this downturn we have certainly felt it.
Q. What kind of music might I find on your list of most played on your iPod?
A. Everything '70s rock and Celtic. Love music.
Q. .What do you think is the biggest change Albany will see in the next 10 years?
A. I hope we will see new companies moving into the area to take advantage of the experienced work force we have in our communities. The loss of Merck and Cooper Tire has hit our area hard.
Q. What was the best vacation you've ever taken? Why?
A. In 2008 Tony and I went to South Dakota. We drove across the state and saw our beautiful country in a different light. Mount Rushmore was breathtaking. My favorite part was driving away from Rushmore. We went through a winding road and three tunnels. Each time we exited out of the tunnel you could see Mount Rushmore framed perfectly. Amazing engineering.