For the Driscol family, running a family business in a tough industry means spending a lot of time arguing around the dinner table. It’s one of the important ways Thermal-Vac has stayed on top of its game.
Family Business Magazine has named Thermal-Vac’s Heather Falcone to its 2020 list of Family Business CEOs to Watch. She’s honored and humbled to be part of a tremendous slate of professionals from around the country.
The Family Business CEOs to Watch list recognizes leaders of small businesses from a wide variety of industries. It includes CEOs like Heather, who is a second-generation leader, as well as non-family executives who have had success in family-owned enterprises.
Heather credits the debates at meals and on family vacations with helping her become the leader she is today.
“We’re an opinionated and stubborn bunch,” Heather says. “When we don’t agree about something, it can take a fight to work out the right answer. It works for us.”
For Heather, being recognized by Family Business Magazine just reinforces her feeling that the team at Thermal-Vac is doing the right thing. “A lot of our crew has been here for a long time,” she says. “It’s not just hype when we say they’re part of the family. In a business like ours, having that level of trust is so important.
Heather has relied on that family dynamic to help Thermal-Vac navigate a tough year in 2020. “The manufacturing sector has been struggling,” she says. “Adding COVID on top of that has been a challenge for us. Being close to each other has helped our crew stay focused and positive despite everything.”
In good times and bad, Heather draws on the lessons she learned from her father, Steve Driscol, who founded Thermal-Vac in 1985. “We grew up following our father around the shop floor and listening to him talk about the business. He taught us how to think strategically and how to motivate people. Carrying on his values has been an important source of inspiration for me and everyone at Thermal-Vac.”
As she reflects on the business as it heads into a new year, Heather says goal is the same as it has always been: “Doing the best work has always been what gets us excited. Building the skills of our team, expanding what we can do in the shop, sticking to what makes this a great place to work.”