Congratulations to Diane Whittles, owner of Servpro of Annapolis/Severna Park, who was named first runner-up from more than 40 women nominated for the Recognizing Women in Restoration Award. The nominees — who are put forth by industry peers and colleagues, and who must have at least a decade of experience in the restoration industry — were adjudicated on such criteria as their experience in the industry, job growth and future reach, worthiness of recognition, and industry awards and certifications.
Whittles’ journey in the restoration industry began in 1986 when, as she puts it, she “married into it.” For many years, she acted as bookkeeper and helped her husband with administrative tasks. This allowed her to follow the calling on her life in those years — to be present in raising their three children, until the unexpected happened several years ago, and her calling shifted.
“When my husband passed away from cancer a few years ago, I had some choices to make,” Whittles explained. “While some colleagues may have been surprised that I decided to maintain and operate the business, they soon realized I intended to grow the business as well. My daughter, her husband and my son pitched in to help me and I am pleased to say that I have not looked back. I took the basic knowledge I had and built on that by getting all the training I could find.”
As a strong and fruitful leader, Whittles has carefully surrounded herself with a strong team of managers who have years of experience in their fields. She calls them one of the keys to her success.
As for advice to her fellow women in restoration, she offered, “Learn what you can about the industry; watch for new trends in restoration. Invest in equipment, infrastructure and education. Most importantly, empower your employees and support your community.”