Meet ServiceMaster Restore® everyday heroes: Mike Rouel and Sonyia Rouel. After venturing to the United States in the late 1970s, Mike sought work that would help him learn the language and culture; 20 years later, he became a prominent business owner of three ServiceMaster Restore® locations. Today, Mike owns his operations with his daughter, Sonyia, and together the two have worked to build a business founded on love- a love for the brand, its customers, and its team members.
In honor of Father’s Day, Mike shares what it’s like to own a business with his daughter, and the legacy of love the two will strive to continue to pass along to future generations.
Mike Rouel – Father & Owner of ServiceMaster Professional Restoration
It’s a normal relationship between a father and daughter with the added bonus of getting to see her every morning when I go into work and look into her eyes. It makes my days that much sweeter. I’m constantly reminded of holding her when she was six months old and having those same lovely eyes looking back at me.
Why did you decide to build a company alongside your daughter?
I decided to open this business alongside my daughter so that I’m able to stand behind her. I have a lot of experience and who better than to share it with than my daughter. As long as I am alive, I will always be there to help her and share my experience.
What does it mean to you to be a multi-generational business owner?
It means showing the future generations in my family all that I have accomplished. It means passing onto the next generation all the skills I have developed, the patience I have acquired, and to show them the love I have for the business so that they can share in it.
What legacy are you hoping to leave behind for your daughter/future generation?
I am hoping to leave behind a legacy of love. I have always strived to help others. I try to maintain an open heart. It’s ok when my people make mistakes; I continue to stand behind them. Through my example, I hope they can continue to help others less fortunate and help them get back on their feet.
What about ServiceMaster Restore® made it the right company for you and your career?
I am glad I chose ServiceMaster Restore®. It was the right career move. Whether I’m at work or not, the name of ServiceMaster Restore® shines like a star; this brand is number one.
Sonyia, describe what it is like to be in business with your dad.
Simply put, he is the best boss I have worked for in all my many jobs. And, I have held many jobs in my lifetime. In 2005, I considered leaving a career in the US Secret Service as a special agent to work at my family’s ServiceMaster Restore® franchise. This was not an easy decision. I sought my father’s wise counsel and he really left it up to me to weigh the pro’s and con’s, but, with the caveat that this career path has been a blessing for him and his whole family. Plus, I would start as an entry level employee.
My dad has been doing this line of work since the 1990s, and has been with ServiceMaster Restore® since 1998. He knows his stuff. He loves people, God, his family, and his employees. If you know my dad you know he is an extremely hard worker. Even after he entered the age of retirement, he still continues to work harder than many people half his age. He comes to work daily and works long hours most days, which he says continues to keep him young and sharp!
He brings with him a work ethic that is rarely seen. He graduated from Baghdad University as an accountant. When he arrived in the US in 1979, he had to find a new line of work that allowed him to learn the language and culture of the United States. He went from learning and perfecting painting to operating his own painting company. This led to becoming a general contractor, which led to water restoration, which then led to owning three ServiceMaster franchises in the Los Angeles area.
He has employed so many people over the past 30 years who have truly benefitted from his friendship. To date, he has had more than 13 former employees open their own restoration franchises. There are people he has trained and mentored who are now living better lives as business owners. And, my dad is happy about this!
I am truly grateful to work with my father. I realize he is a rare breed of a good-hearted and good-natured person. He still “tries” to greet me with a kiss on the cheek. I am forever indebted for his generosity, graciousness, and leadership. And, I won’t be letting him retire anytime soon!