Featured as one of Paul Davis’ “20 Women of 2020”, Priscilla L. D’Anniballe is the Owner at Paul Davis Restoration of Western Lake Erie.
When did you start working for Paul Davis?
I started my business 35 years ago as Paul Davis Restoration of Western Lake Erie and as the franchise company’s first female office owner. From the beginning of the company to now, it has grown into a successful turn-key operation.
What were you doing before that?
I was employed as a banking officer in construction lending at a regional bank in Toledo, OH. The 80s saw the downsizing of companies during the recession and showed us all how women were not easily advancing in the corporate world like their male counterparts. I was one of only two women officers in the commercial lending department. At that time, I decided that I wanted to own my own business, as both sets of my grandparents were entrepreneurs. It is just part of my DNA. My search started in late 1984 by analyzing many different types of companies. In early 1985, there was an ad in the local paper that Paul Davis Systems was looking to sell a franchise in Northwest Ohio. It was a company that did construction – this suited me well even though women were not common in the construction industry at the time. The positions I held after college were all in male-dominated fields and I was the first woman to hold these positions when hired. Holding positions in male-dominated industries was nothing unusual for me – I just wanted to do something where I had the capabilities to succeed.
How did you get the job—or what interested you in going for it?
Being highly analytical, I planned my exit from the bank so that I could attend the June 1985, Paul Davis School (taught primarily by Mr. Paul Davis.) At the time, Paul Davis Systems had about 60 franchisees. In the class I attended, there were four franchises represented, of which, only two of us succeeded. Regardless, it was a struggle to start the business.
Since I had been in construction lending with the bank, I knew all the contractors and could establish credit with suppliers – this was critical in the beginning. The problem was convincing the insurance agents and adjusters that I could do the work. I knocked on many doors, and thanks to several agents (who were the ones who gave me my chance) I was able to get work and began to build my business. After the first year, my business began growing to the point that I couldn’t handle doing all the functions of the business and I needed to hire people. It has grown ever since, and therefore, I purchased additional territory. I now own nine counties in Ohio and three in southern Michigan. Currently, I am one of the five or six franchises still in operation that have been in business since 1985 or earlier.
Early in the 1990’s, I served on the Paul Davis National Executive Committee (NEC) and was Treasurer and chaired the franchise company’s Executive Financial Committee (EFC). At this time, Paul Davis’ Completion Services Inc. (CSI) obtained its own office with two employees who reported to me. As part of my community-minded involvement, I was elected to serve as Chairman of the Board for the Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Northwest and West Central Ohio and Southeast Michigan in 2008 through 2010, served for 2 terms (I was the only female to serve in this position.) during another time, I was named as president of the Professional Remodelers Organization (PRO) in Northwest Ohio and Southeastern Michigan. Once again, I was the only female to serve as the organization’s president since PRO was established 53 years ago. Just recently I was named as an inductee into “Who’s Who Lifetime Achievement.”
My franchise has been certified as a “female/minority business” by Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and the Northern Ohio Minority Supplier Development (NOMSDC). This “certification” is only given once all background materials have been verified and in-depth information about my professional experience, career status has been validated.
Give us 2-3 paragraphs of your duties and what a day of doing each one of those would look like.
With the years of Paul Davis office ownership and a deep understanding of the industry and related interests. My position is CEO/General Manager running the franchise office. Fortunately, I have a team of longtime professionals with whom I work closely and who are well known in the community. I have vast duties every day with internal office personnel, construction project managers, and mitigation manager. These individuals handle the daily restoration, repairs, reconstruction, project supervision, estimating and emergency mitigation. Other team duties include contents cleaning and storage, customer service activities, and charitable service to the community and those in need. Currently, myself and several team members hold numerous Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) certifications.
Family info and how it relates to your job and daily life (if you want).
I am married to J Murphy, L.H.D. of Paul Davis National, the large loss specialists and part of the Paul Davis network. J. is a legend in the company with his specialization, and he has received top honors at Paul Davis for very high millions in total sales volume attained in the franchise network. He received his Doctorate of Humane Letters from Martin University for doing what he promised by keeping the university running after a water disaster and repairing it in the time promised. I am very proud of J. and we have learned a lot from each other due to the unique business nature of our relationship and our family involvement. We are very supportive of each other professionally and of our Paul Davis family.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years, I see myself selling the company – my next adventure is leading me to serve God wherever he needs.