Leaders of top workplaces say clear vision, good communication build strong teams

Emily Thomas Kendrick (from left), Michael Rogers and Pat Flood

Emily Thomas Kendrick (from left), Michael Rogers and Pat Flood

Leaders of the top large, midsize and small workplaces in metro Atlanta have backgrounds in pest control, real estate and mortgage banking. The three — Emily Thomas Kendrick, president and CEO of Arrow Exterminators; Michael M. Rogers, president and owner of Dorsey Alston, Realtors; and Pat Flood, regional operating partner for Supreme Lending Southeast Region — share their thoughts on the Atlanta market, what it takes to be a successful business, and the challenges their industries face in 2020 and beyond. (Some answers have been edited slightly for brevity and clarity.)

» See all the AJC Top Workplace winners for 2020 here

Q: What do you believe is key to building not only a successful business but also one where employees are motivated, encouraged and feel appreciated?

Kendrick: "To build a successful business where employees are motivated, encouraged and feel appreciated, you have got to make it more than just a job for most of your team members. How does that happen? You must have a strong culture, clear communication, transparency and ongoing investments in your team. Always be sincere in your interactions with your team, thanking them often.

Rogers: "Listening to team members goes a long way toward making people feel appreciated. I believe that focusing on employees' individual needs and circumstances and addressing those needs creates an environment and fosters loyalty that retains talent long-term. Focusing on addressing those needs rather than on the bottom-line makes individuals feel valued. I am very focused on creating a familial atmosphere rooted in trust, caring and authenticity, and I believe that professionals today place significant value on that versus a corporate, bureaucratic environment."

Flood: "What's needed is a clear vision that is understood by everyone in the organization; a mission, which is the embodiment of our values that all are responsible for reflecting; and an environment where all associates are loved and respected and put in a position to reflect their God-given talents."

How does the metro Atlanta area rate in terms of providing a good pool of potential employees for your company? Are there shortcomings the region needs to work on or improve?

Kendrick: "With our growth, we are always looking for good people who want to be a part of our family. Our second leading source for new applicants is through our employee referral program. This makes us feel good. If an existing team member shares their passion for the company with one of their friends or family members, it speaks volumes about our culture. With us having 30 offices in the metro Atlanta area and the suburbs, we do have to get creative with our recruiting initiatives. Our HR team does an excellent job of making our career fairs an event where applicants leave with a very positive perception of the company, whether they are hired or not."

Rogers: "My experience in other markets is limited, but I can say that metro Atlanta continues to attract sharp college graduates, and the quality of life in Atlanta retains a qualified pool of candidates. In my opinion, public education and traffic management continue to be the two areas of most-pressing need for our dynamic city."

Flood: "No city is perfect, but Atlanta offers a deep and diverse supply of people that have great values and are extraordinarily competent in almost every discipline."

What do you see as the challenges and opportunities for your industry in 2020 and beyond?

Kendrick: "The future of the pest and termite industry is extremely bright. The industry continues to grow year after year, and we believe it will continue to grow in the future. Insect pressure here in the Southeast and our role in protecting the health and properties of the people we serve will always be a need. This is a fantastic industry that is very resilient, and we provide a great service that is needed by all. Arrow Exterminators plans to continue to play a major role in this industry's growth for decades to come."

Rogers: "With interest rates holding steady at historically low levels and supply remaining scarce, the strong market should continue in 2020. New players and evolving technologies keep our industry on its toes, but, given that the purchase of a home is the single largest investment that most people will ever make, I believe that the need for knowledgeable, professional ethical residential real estate guidance will always exist."

Flood: "Being a relationship company, we are similar to the conversation around brick-and-mortar companies. The challenge is the advent of digital in our space and every other space. The opportunity is to stay focused on our core-competence, and continue to find ways to create values for our real estate community and customer community."

Answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.


» Employee training, family culture set Arrow apart

» Meet the remaining top five large companies

» Dorsey Alston 'seems more like a home than an office' 

» Meet the remaining top five midsize companies

» Unconventional management style puts Supreme Lending back on top

» Meet the remaining top five small companies