Carol's Success Story

Carol's Success Story

I read about your web site in today's Houston Chronicle. Sounds like the place I belong. You might find my story interesting and inspirational to other women. Turning 50 this month, I look back over the past two decades and realize that these past 20 years of single parenting and business accomplishments are beyond anyone's expectations of me, including mine. With just a semester of college and the typical male-dominated culture impediment from my upbringing, I am about to sell my multi-million dollar 15-year-old company.

The nature of the company is the "Trades" which is certainly dominated by our other gender, men. Sweet as they are, I received a great deal of cooperation from many "blue collar" companies who not only cheered me on, but who did a great deal of business with me utilizing the services of my air conditioning company.

We supply emergency air conditioning equipment, computer room air conditioning and industrial personnel cooling systems to a vast array of businesses and government agencies. Air conditioning contractors use our a/c units as emergency units when they cannot repair a system on the spot. So we make them look good.

The company was started in 1984 when I saw the opportunity to do something in a field that I knew. I did not know it at the time, but I was a pioneer in a new kind of business specialization. At present, I have a crew of men, trucks, warehouses, fork lifts and excellent upper management in the company, which includes my daughter, 28 year old Kimberly, a civil engineer. She got her degree in engineering a few years ago, worked three years at an engineering firm, and returned to the family business after it had a very large growth spurt in 1998. She's my right-hand woman and one of the V.P.'s.

I started the business on a few dollars. Since I did not know that a business wasn't supposed to be profitable in the beginning, I began making money immediately. In the early days the company was me, and eventually, the fork lift and a small warehouse. Later, Kim worked for the company during summers, when we both operated the company including all the work that is typically performed by a crew of men. For the first several years, we had no other employees. Eventually I added folks, trucks, tools, etc. Today, the company is one of the foremost leaders in the field of our specialization.

About five years ago I started another company which is about to launch a line of innovative pet care products. So there's plenty to do after my "retirement" from the a/c company. Just about everyone who hears my story tells me that it is interestng. I would enjoy inspiring other women to "get in there" - to get a license in the trades, and eventually start a business in the plumbing, heat & air conditioning or electricial trade. The opportunities are totally open for good workers who just want to do a good job. And the pay usually exceeds one's expectations. These days, women can make the same wages as men. Imagine what plumbers make and how relatively simple it is to start a plumbing company. Service is what makes service companies. And it clearly does not require one to be a lesbian to be licensed in the trades - I am straight. It just takes a willingness to work hard, fair and SMART.

I really believe that more women can find tremendous success in the trades. There are a few women I know who own a/c companies, but it is very, very limited. The majority of small millionaires in this country are couples who own and operate a service company. He usually handles the crew and jobs, she the inside area such as the books, customers contact and dispatch.

There's no reason a woman cannot get a license to be an electrician, a/c tech or plumber. Can you imagine a plumbing company owned and operated by women? I believe the service would be more reliable and more fairly priced. In my early career I sold and designed a/c systems for home owners and small businesses. I air conditioned blocks of homes and became the top sales engineer in the company because of my attention to detail, compassion for the customer, demand for excellence and a sense of fairness. Those traits seem to come from my "feminine side" --- traits which seemed to elude my 25 male counterparts within the company. Those traits to this day are what fuel my present company.

Carol Baylor has expressed an interest in answering any questions readers may have about her success and success in untraditional








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