Today, we’re chatting with Karen Crnkovich, owner, president and “chief hand-shaker”. We’re excited to chat with her and let you get to know her a little better!
DMC: Many are curious as to how you became the owner of DMC Service, Inc. What’s your story?
Karen Crnkovich: This is a question I get asked often. Many assume I “grew up” in this industry, as in my father or brother were in the HVAC or plumbing industry, but that is not the case. I began my professional career in sales, representing a variety of industries – hotels, web development, digital printing, and real estate. In 2006, I married the founder of my company, Don, who had started DMC Service in 2004 with one truck and a big dream.
As time went on and the company grew, Don needed assistance running it, especially in the office. In 2009, I took an online QuickBooks class, and soon after that I took over all accounting functions, including payroll (tracked by a complex excel spreadsheet!), taxes, payables, and invoices. It was very overwhelming as I was still working a full-time job outside of DMC Service, so essentially I had two full-time jobs.
In 2010, we made the decision to bring me on in a full-time capacity. We added human resources and sales & marketing to my plate, in addition to apprenticing out in the field, tagging along on jobs, especially the after-hours emergency ones. Even then I did not take a paycheck! It wasn’t until 2012, when I bought in as the majority owner, that I took a very modest check.
In 2014, Don parted ways with DMC Service. I bought his remaining shares, re-branded the company as “Diamond Mechanical Contractors”, and the rest, so to speak, is history.
DMC: What is it like as a woman working in the HVAC and plumbing industry?
KC: I really enjoy it! I relish the challenge of being a trailblazer and an ambassador for the trades. All industries benefit from having women present. Occasionally, I experience prejudice, mostly in large networking and/or training event situations.
Men, especially lifelong mechanical or plumbing contractors, are just not used to seeing women in their spaces. However, once they realize I am not the secretary, it sparks a conversation. They learn about what I have been able to build, and I earn their respect. I am a firm believer that individuals who are in the minority, in my case, a woman in a male-dominated industry, must show patience to those who are in the majority while they get comfortable with the fact we are there.
It is happening, women are choosing to make a career in all areas of the trades, especially as HVAC specialists and plumbers. More and more I see women training to be technicians and succeeding. I am so grateful I am here at the beginning to see it grow.
DMC: Can you share with us what a typical day looks like?
KC: Our company has a very decentralized business model. This means our technicians take a company van or truck home and go to their first dispatch or job of the day from there. This saves them travel time back and forth to an office.
Because of this, we have a very quick conference call at 7:00 am sharp Monday-Friday. I take a roll and then run through the day’s schedule as we know it at that moment in time. In our business, the day is constantly changing…one moment you believe you have everything scheduled perfectly and then an emergency or several emergencies pop up and we are reshuffling everything.
I am lucky to have an excellent support team, including Maria, our office manager, and Ali, our admin assistant. Between the three of us we handle all the dispatches and scheduling, and then I handle other admin duties like speaking with customers, vendors, marketing and growth initiatives, mentoring the team, and general business building activities.
DMC: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
KC: I’m originally from Michigan, where all my family still lives. The Kansas City area is the ninth metro I have lived in during my life, but the one I have lived in the longest, now 17 years. I received my bachelor’s degree from Mizzou (go Tigers!). My stepdaughter, Grace, and I live out in western Olathe with our two Yorkie terriers, Rosie and Reggie.
DMC: And finally, what do you like to do when you aren’t working?
KC: When I’m not working or snuggling puppies, I enjoy volunteering. I most recently served as the Board President of the Junior League of Kansas City, MO, a women’s volunteer and training organization. I also founded Strong Homes-Strong Families, a non-profit focused on helping at-risk homeowners with mission-critical repairs on their homes. Besides all that, I enjoy going to the Royals games, traveling, and hanging out with friends.
If you’re in the Kansas City metro area and need a commercial plumber or HVAC contractor, contact us today for your customized quote.