Since 1963, Service- Master has been Chattanooga's leading force in professional cleaning, yet it all started from humble beginnings. As a young man, Richard "Dick" S. West Sr. was afforded an opportunity in Bobbie's Family banking business after both had graduated from Carson Newman, yet he was not satisfied. He dreamed of owning a business and being a driving force in his own destiny.
His opportunity was realized upon seeing a ServiceMaster advertisement in the National Observer to "be your own boss." He kept the ad in his wallet as a constant reminder of his goal, and finally, in a leap of faith, started afresh in Chattanooga as the founder and owner of his own ServiceMaster franchise.
He and his wife Bobbie rented a house in Brainerd with a full basement. One bedroom was their office, and their basement was storage for the equipment necessary for the business. It may not have been much, but looking at the shelves of chemicals and rows of equipment gave them confidence in their dreams.
ServiceMaster of Chattanooga began as a one-man show. Dick West would sell the cleaning services, schedule the work and then go home and change from his suit and tie to work clothes and do the work himself. Persistence coupled with his vision of building something he could call his own drove him forward.
It wasn't long before he needed help to service his increasing client base. He hired Ralph "Pee Wee" Pritchett, a fireman who worked for Dick West on his days off from the fire hall. Pritchett stayed with the company for 47 years until his passing in 2011.
Dick West finally convinced his wife to become secretary and operations manager. The two of them operated as a team to continue growing the business.
An opportunity to be a guest speaker to a group of insurance adjusters blossomed into an venue for growth. Dick West carried all of the state-of-the-art Service- Master equipment down a set of stairs and set it up onstage for his talk. The insurance adjusters were impressed with his dedication and told him that anyone who went to that amount of effort deserved a chance. This was the beginning of a successful disaster restoration business.
Soon after, Service- Master of Chattanooga was responsible for the specialty cleaning services that two major department stores offered here in Chattanooga. Inquiries for work rang directly into the ServiceMaster office on special service lines dedicated for those department stores. The business was experiencing unprecedented growth and the Wests' vision was becoming a reality.
Rick and Tony West, their two sons, worked in the production side of the business from a young age. Rick West later joined the business full time in sales and disaster restoration, before starting his own construction business. Rick has a daughter McKenzie West.
Tony West graduated from McCallie, attended The University of Tennessee and became ServiceMaster of Chattanooga's present executive vice president and COO of residential and disaster restoration. His wife Trish joined him in the residential/disaster restoration business in executive sales. Their son Terry, also a graduate of McCallie, joined in and is a third generation in the West family business. Tony and Trish West also have two daughters: Rachel and Alexis.
Dick and Bobbie West's daughter Julie West Hammond joined the commercial and janitorial business in executive sales and management after graduating GPS, Carson Newman College and obtaining a master's degree from The University of South Carolina. She is now the executive vice president and COO of commercial/ contract services and a proud mother of two, Weston and Bella. Her husband Robby, also a graduate from Carson Newman College, purchased a ServiceMaster franchise in 1991 and has since joined the commercial division, heading up production on all commercial projects.
This kind of increased growth allowed the Wests to become a distributor for ServiceMaster corporate in 1965. They were instrumental for more than 32 years, selling and training 38 franchises in Tennessee and Georgia. All of the franchises became a part of the ever-growing West family business.
The vital force driving ServiceMaster forward is always people; people that are supportive, dedicated and vital to the heartbeat of the business's life. It is people who have looked at the vision shown to them, believed and then acted.
This vitality led to great achievements and the full realization of a vision that began in 1963. With a nationally recognized company, the best technology and a vitality created from a family-owned business that cares, ServiceMaster of Chattanooga is fully poised to grasp the future.
More Information: ServiceMaster of Chattanooga is now a thriving, multifaceted family business, offering residential services, fire, smoke and water disaster restoration and contract janitorial/commercial services. The combined business has more than 140 dedicated employees serving Chattanooga and 26 surrounding counties in Tennessee and Georgia.