The Leaders of Our Ship

Lead·er·ship /ˈlēdərˌSHip/

Leadership is the ability of an individual or a group of individuals to influence and guide followers or other members of an organization. This month, we wanted to have an open conversation with our top three leaders of the DPM Surface Care organization. We hope you enjoy this transcript of questions and answers!


Pam Butler, CEO/Owner – DPM Surface Care of Nashville


What is your background, and how did you make it to where you are today?

(Pam) In 2004, I was living in Nashville and working in the music industry. My family had a background with extensive knowledge in the flooring industry and had a commercial carpet cleaning company in East Tennessee. I wanted to own my own business and launched DPM Surface Care of Nashville. I have spent the past 18 years developing relationships in the commercial real estate and facility management industry that have enabled my company to grow from a carpet cleaning company to complete facility surface care servicing all of our client’s surface care needs.


How do you foster a positive work environment? Would you say you’re proud of the work culture that’s been created at DPM?

(Pam) Company culture has always been a focus of mine, and I am very proud of our culture that we have built and maintained. You spend one third your time at work, so we want to make sure we are enjoying it and developing relationships with coworkers. As a business owner, I care about employees’ personal well being, personal growth and professional growth. It has always been my philosophy that if I take care of my team and put them first, the rest will come and they will take pride in their work, our company and taking care of clients. We live by our core values of: Integrity Matters, Relationships First, Innovate Always, Foster Growth and Excellence in All We Do.


What advice would you give to women looking either to grow their business or within their current organization? 

(Pam) Be strong, work hard and never give up. Develop a robust network. Seek out mentors. Have confidence in yourself and your business. Be clear on your vision. Find the right partners and teammates. You are always a student to life, personally and professionally. Lead with passion and integrity, and listen.


Neal Peters, President/Owner – DPM Surface Care of Knoxville


What is your background, and how did you make it to where you are today?

(Neal) I made it here today by striving to learn and grow every day. I love to help customers figure out problems, provide services that help save money and provide healthy work spaces, and constantly look for ways to innovate.


What have been some of your greatest joys as a leader? What are some of the challenges you’ve faced and solutions you’ve found for them?

(Neal) As a leader, I love to serve our team and see them grow personally and professionally to reach their goals. We strive to create a positive work environment that is family-centric, flexible, and safe. We want a high-performance team that lives out our core values every day to serve our customers, our team, and the community. Rising costs in materials and labor has certainly presented challenges to overcome, but we have been able to manage through innovation in technology, focused training, and providing new incentives for our team that reward management of areas that help to reduce cost.


What skills would you say are most important to being a successful leader? How do you employ those on a day-to-day basis?

(Neal) I feel leaders need to always focus on the positive and what is needed to provide excellent work and a great experience for customers and their team. Leaders need to develop a scorecard for each team member, including themselves, and hold each accountable. Leaders need to empower their teams to manage their scorecard goals and provide the support needed to help the team members excel. A leader should always look to surround themselves with team members that bring skill sets that will help the team and fill a need. Everyone must do their part for a team to perform at a high level. Leaders need to look at problems as opportunities to improve, and leaders should always own the problem, whether it is their fault or not. In the end, it is the leader that is responsible.


Allison Peters, CEO/Owner – DPM Surface Care of Knoxville


What is your background, and how did you make it to where you are today?

(Allison) I attended the University of Tennessee and obtained a BS in Nursing. I worked for a number of years in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit as well as the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. When I started having children, the 12-hour shifts were not ideal for me as I wanted to spend as much time with my children as I could. I stepped away from nursing to come alongside my husband, Neal, and help with DPM. As time has passed, I have taken on more and more responsibility. My role is primarily with the accounting aspects, banking relationships and obtaining any certifications that will benefit our company.


What is something you wish you would’ve been told early on in your career journey?

(Allison) To be open to new opportunities, even if they are not what you envisioned or trained for. Culture is just as important as the job you are doing. Take the time to build a strong culture that people want to be a part of.


What unique opportunities or challenges do you encounter as a leader of a woman-owned small business?

(Allison) People in general assume Neal (my husband) is the boss and makes all the decisions. People tend to defer to him. As happy as I would be for that to be the case and fly under the radar, I have to make decisions daily for our company and have to represent us on many occasions. However, being a Woman-Owned Small Business, we have opportunities that we would not have otherwise, and for that I am very thankful.