During the 1930's, Howard Overman Sr., my great grandfather, became unemployed. Due to the effects of the Great Depression, the corn broom manufacturing plant he worked at closed. It was a tough time for everyone, including my grandfather, Howard Overman Jr., who was in eighth grade at the time. There was no social security, unemployment, or other social safety nets to help the family survive. My great grandfather took what money he had saved and bought some equipment from his defunct employer. Both my grandfather and great-grandfather moved the equipment into a two car garage in East Baltimore, Maryland to start making brooms. They did the dirty work of cutting the corn, stitching, and painting the brooms at night so they could go door to door and sell them during the day. They worked hard to make a quality product. They knew that if they did not, word would spread and they would be out of business. They sought after distributors, grocery stores, and other business to sell their product.
My grandfather had to leave the business to fight in World War II. There, he was injured and lost his vision, but he returned and worked in the shop, continuing to make quality brooms. As things began to improve, they stopped working nights, except certain times where he had to go in to finish an order. As a child, I remember him working extra hours, his basement smelling like broom corn, and that everything that needed to be fixed could be with a piece of broom twine. My grandfather's hard work gave his family the opportunity to go to college and move out of the hot broom shop. Through his actions, he taught all of us the value of hard work, the satisfaction from a job well done, and the confidence that comes with persistence.
At age fourteen I started my first company. I did not know it then, but most people see mowing law as hard work. I saw it as an opportunity for me to make a living, even though I could not drive. I attended Virginia Tech, where I applied the "lunch pail" worth ethic in everything I did. Although my parents helped pay for school (which I am eternally thankful for), I worked for my spending money at a gas station, bike store, and mowing lawns. I put in the extra effort when I worked, caring for each customer as if they were my customer. I treated every lawn and bicycle as if it was my own. I had the same focus when I moved into professional services. I worked as long as necessary to complete the job, even nights and weekends. In my career I have learned that customers appreciate the extra effort and the commitment to take ownership of the project. It is important that I make their concern my problem.
I started Water Management Solutions for a couple reasons. First, I wanted to offer products and services that are second to none. We work with MWI as a Pump Partner, which gives us a vast inventory of temporary pumping equipment, water handling supplies, and expertise that is unmatched. Second, I wanted to provide custom solutions that best fit the customer's needs. Very often companies try to sell their product while excluding other ideas. My goal is to give the best solution to the problem and provide quality services. My alma mater Virginia Tech has the motto Ut Prosim, which means "that I may serve." That philosophy is found throughout WMS and is represented in "Going the extra mile starts here!" It's not a gimmick to get business, but a commitment to service and hard work from start to finish. This philosophy is part of who I am and the foundation of Water Management Solutions. I promise that if you give us a chance, you will see our commitment to developing solutions and exceeding customer expectations will greatly impact your peace of mind, your projects' success, and your bottom line.