2011 BSCAI President Sally Schopmeyer believes BSCAI is headed in the right direction for its members and sponsors. Schopmeyer, who is the second female president in BSCAI’s 46-year history, says, “Despite the many obstacles in running a small business, the future for our association and our industry looks bright.”
Schopmeyer’s Involvement with the BSC Industry
In the late 1980s, Schopmeyer worked for an oil and gas company, but the Texas economy was struggling. The company seemed unstable and she needed to find secure employment. After interviewing with six companies, she was offered six positions. Maintenance, Inc. was the lowest paying, least prestigious offer, but she says there was something about the company that felt right.
“Everyone I met seemed genuinely happy to work for the company, and I wanted to be a part of it,” she says. She accepted the offer and started working in the corporate office. The founder of the company, Bill Travis, mentored Schopmeyer and made sure she understood the entire operation and worked in all areas of the company. After working in operations, accounting, business development and marketing, Schopmeyer was promoted to president, a position she has held for the last 11 years.
Maintenance, Inc. was founded in 1973 and provides janitorial services for commercial offices, medical facilities, owner-occupied facilities, shopping centers, educational facilities, museums/performance halls and places of worship across the country.
“We strive to provide excellent cleaning at competitive prices,” Schopmeyer says. “We are also very proud of our retention rate, which is outstanding for our industry.”
Facing Challenges in the Business
Business is never easy, but Schopmeyer enjoys the challenge.
“In my first years with the company, we faced numerous challenges,” she explains. “Our lines of credit evaporated due to problems in the Texas banking industry. Texas had a ‘runaway’ workers’ compensation system, so we were forced to sell our divisions outside of Texas and drop workers’ compensation, which was interesting.”
“Illegal subcontracting exploded in Dallas during these years,” she continues. “It was a difficult time, but I learned that business is the art of correcting errors and that the challenges presented opportunities to make our company stronger.”
Since selling or closing the operations outside of Texas in 1992, Maintenance, Inc. and Subsidiaries now operate from California to Florida.
“Our growth is primarily organic, with a few acquisitions throughout the years,” she says. “I want to ensure that our growth is controlled so we can continue to provide excellent service to our customers. Cleaning is what we are obligated to do, and we have not sacrificed service quality. Our executive management team is experienced and we have been able to grow at a sustainable rate year after year.”
In addition to being an industry veteran, Schopmeyer is also a long-term member of BSCAI. She attended her first BSCAI event in 1991 and was impressed with the professionalism and the many personalities that were involved with the association.
“At the first annual convention, it amazed me to see the many different personalities created successful companies in the industry,” she says. “There were different approaches and styles presented to the marketplace and many had built strong, enduring companies. I was also surprised by the membership. It was so open and supportive. I felt like I could ask any question and get a new perspective; it was refreshing.
“I have yet to attend a BSCAI event and not take something substantial back to our firm,” she says. “The educational sessions are excellent, but the networking is what has proved invaluable to our organization and to me personally in guiding our business.”
During Schopmeyer’s tenure on the BSCAI board of directors, BSCAI has faced serious issues that it was required to deal with.
“It reminded me of my early years with Maintenance, Inc.,” she says. “Today, BSCAI has worked through significant issues. We are energized and growing with numerous innovative programs to offer real value to our membership. The recent co-location of our annual convention with ISSA was a significant step forward. Our educational offerings are presented from our peers, not our suppliers and manufacturers, which is where BSCs should receive their education and training.
“The Purchase Advantage Program, offered through National Service Alliance and BSCAI, is an extraordinary opportunity for BSCs of all sizes to realize significant savings for all consumables used in operations. Capturing the volume spend of our association for each member’s benefit is a valuable program, and the savings realized should pay for a member’s annual dues within a few months. We have also unveiled the BSCAI SmartBrief e-newsletter, which provides specific industry information via e-mail that is of interest to all BSCs.”
Maintenance, Inc. and Its Community
Schopmeyer says that Maintenance Inc. takes its responsibility to the community seriously. “We are in a servant’s business, and we serve our employees, our clients and our community,” she says.
Schopmeyer served on the board of directors and now serves on the advisory board of the Dallas Children’s Theater. “The original intent of supporting the theater was to expose children to situational theater, which would help teach young people, in partic- ular ‘at-risk’ youths, to learn to emote. They are offered a safe outlet for exploring and discussing fears and concerns with everyday life situations. Tens of thousands of children, many of them bilingual, have a place where they learn the creative freedom of writing a play, interacting with others and developing social content through their own actions.”
Schopmeyer continues, “The business reason for supporting the arts is that our firm holds a strong opinion that it is our obligation to return rewards we might gain from our business to the community for the benefit of others. Our management staff understands the importance of belonging to civic organizations and volunteering personal time. This creates a connection with the community and offers a more promising future for the people that we may help.”
Schopmeyer also participates in a Christian women’s outreach for women who have experienced serious setbacks in their lives.
“I take the time I have with the women to teach them what employers are looking for, how to interview and to make sure they don’t give up on their dreams of bettering their lives,” she says. She also serves as treasurer of St. John’s Episcopal School where her children attend school.
On a Personal Note
Schopmeyer has been married to her husband, Doug, for 13 years and they have three beautiful children ages 10, 8 and 6.
“Like everyone, our lives are incredibly busy, but we greatly enjoy spending time at our lake house, watching our children play competitive league soccer, skiing and fishing. I find great relaxation in running. I find time to read for pleasure on airplanes, and cooking has always been a creative outlet for me.”