2008 10 Under 40 Awards
Vice president of store operations | Portland Glass | Maine
One-word description of self: Reasonable
One-word description of the auto glass industry: Challenging
Favorite Web site: PortlandGlass.com
Lesson learned the hard way: Clear communication is important.
When Steve Butler graduated from college, he responded to a Portland Glass advertisement for an assistant manager.
"Honestly, my initial thought was that if I was offered the job, I would take the position until something else better came along," he says. "The thought of being in the glass business didn't really excite me much." After 15 years with the company, Butler, now 38, says the challenges have kept him interested and the years have gone by quickly.
After just five months with Portland Glass, Butler became manager of the company's Dover, N.H., store. From there, he moved to a larger shop, became an area manager, then district manager, and is now vice president of operations, a position in which he manages 21 retail stores in Maine and New Hampshire with 105 employees.
"We operate in small markets and small states," says Nick Greville, vice president at parent company The Dwyer Group, Waco, Texas. "It's amazing how much business he generates in small markets."
"Through Steve's leadership in challenging market conditions, sales have increased more than 10 percent and profits by 15 percent over the previous year," Greville says. "He has seen it all, through good years and bad years, for the industry. He's been through two major acquisitions and re-organizations and adjusted with the changes."
Among Butler's achievements is the re-introduction of vinyl windows to Portland Glass' product line. They've become an important part of the company's sales mix. "It's been a successful product because we have taken ownership of it at the store level and don't rely on commissioned sales people who over-promise and under-deliver," Butler says. "We look at each individual job, explain the process thoroughly to the customer so they know exactly how the job will go and then we follow through with an expert installation done by our own technicians, never subcontractors."
An energetic and focused leader, Butler has the ability to make timely decisions that are right, says Dana Mather, vice president and general manager at Portland Glass. "He has the willingness to put on his personal protection equipment, roll up his sleeves and get jobs completed. This has raised his team's level of trust and respect to all-time highs. Steve is committed to his team's success and our customers' expectations being exceeded."