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Michelle Shearer-Rodriguez on branches, family business, and millennial employees

Episode: 24

I never thought that I would be here 36 years later having worked in this industry as a woman, but I love it. I feel totally blessed. I love everybody I work with. Not every day is a great day or an easy day, but it’s worked… it’s been so good for my family. ~Michelle Shearer-Rodriguez

If you’ve listened to this show for a while (and, I know you have!)you’ve no doubt heard many guests reminisce on their formative years in the family business. My guest Michelle Shearer-Rodriguez, president of Shearer Supply, can relate; she’s held every job at the company her father started in the mid-80s. That insight has proven valuable as she preps the next generation for success with her servant-style leadership — whether they’re blood relatives or not.

Michelle’s enthusiasm for the multi-generation company she heads extends well beyond the 13 family members currently working at Shearer. She’s passionate about getting people into roles where they can succeed — for their own good as well as that of the business.

She’s fervently commitment to staff education and takes advantage of support from HARDI, among others, to expand on the company’s own in-house training.


Distribution Talk is produced by The Distribution Team, a consulting services firm dedicated to helping wholesale distribution clients remove barriers to profitability, generate wealth and achieve personal goals.

This episode was edited & mixed by The Creative Impostor Studios.

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Michelle genuinely enjoys encouraging her team and creating space for them to grow. Half of having your own business is putting the right person on the right seat on the right bus.

She’s noticed a lot of companies focusing all of their right person/right place spotlight on outside sales. She’d like to see more attention paid to branch managers and the job (or, rather, jobs) they do to support success.

You know, we hear a lot from our outside sales people…every single one of them would tell you that they can work for years on a customer, get a customer, and they can lose that customer overnight if that branch loads the wrong piece of equipment or you know, delivers short, something like that, she says. My philosophy is: there’s inside [sales], there’s outside sales and no one trumps the other.

There’s also a dozen blood relatives working alongside the hundreds of employees who want to be a part of the Shearer Supply family because of the company’s commitment to its people.

As for the future, Michelle’s thrilled that her three children have taken on roles in the family business. They’ve brought with them fresh knowledge and experiences as well as an enthusiasm for the business which is rubbing off on their friends. The people that we’ve been hiring, they’re people they went to college with. They never heard of heating and air conditioning and their coming into our industry. So I’m excited about that part. I think that is so cool!

Listen in to find out what else Millennials are bringing to the business, learn which character traits Michelle has dubbed the 3Es, and get a bonus book recommendation Ego Is The Enemy.

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