Thanking our troops and creating stellar business owners in the process: examining success stories of veteran franchisees, including Steve Rotay of the Paul Davis brand, Window Genie's Mike Angle and Cliff Cornell of CertaPro.

Author:Sanderson, Rhonda

Steve Rotay is what one might call a military star of Paul Davis. The restoration giant has been operating with a stellar reputation for around 50 years. Franchisees like Steve Rotay are the "why." He is one of 375 independent franchisees in the Paul Davis system operating around the country. He signed his franchise agreement in 2000 for Lancaster and Lebanon, Pa., and has since added several more territories stretching through New Jersey and Philadelphia, employing 70 people.

Rotay served in the U.S. Marine Corps and said the organization taught him discipline and strength, pure and simple. But it was his next step in life, working in sales for a Swiss company that really helped him learn how to set up his hugely successful Paul Davis franchise.

"In a global company," said Rotay, "there is little room for excuses and the pace is fast. This company operated in 26 countries and was managed from Switzerland. Results and statistics were gathered and shared with everyone. We were constantly accountable for our actions and performance, and had to project to a tee our planned objectives and performance for the following quarter and year. Transferring that work experience to my Paul Davis life was invaluable. I had the skill of developing a plan with short-term measuring points. I was able to set weekly goals and not be distracted by 'noise' that would prevent me from achieving my objective. That along with the discipline and mental toughness learned in the Marine Corps, brought my Paul Davis franchise to where it is today."

Rotay had his mind set on "doing the right thing" and giving back to his community. In fact, Rotay ended his career with the Swiss company due to the fact that they wanted him to take his family and move to California to become the president of its U.S. office. Even with that huge opportunity offered, Rotay and his family had permanent roots in New Jersey/Philadelphia with extended family and many friends. His exit from the global job brought him to purchase a Paul Davis franchise, which continues to give back to the community.

"I took advantage of Paul Davis' many perks for veterans including a $5,000 veterans' discount, the technical training and certifications delivered through its International Training Center and the company's financing program, which allows vets to preserve capital for operations," said Rotay.

"Our No. 1 focus is on delivering outstanding customer service and constantly giving back to the community we...

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