David and Carol Whitinger currently own and operate an Office Evolution franchise location in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It’s an exciting time to live in Ann Arbor with all the automotive and autonomous vehicle advancements and Dave and Carol are excited to have a location in such a unique area. We asked them to tell us a bit more about themselves and their journey with Office Evolution:
Why did you decide to open an Office Evolution franchise?
I’ve been a remote employee for 30 years and I understand the need for the Office Evolution business model. Carol and I aren’t ready to retire or stop working any time soon, so we wanted to find a business that we would both enjoy, and I always like the entrepreneurial community.
Another reason we really like Office Evolution is because they offer a built-in mentorship component to their business model, which helps you succeed from the very beginning.
Tell us a little about your background
Carol works at the University of Michigan as a Lab Manager, and she’s conducted research for the Biotech industry for 30 years. I’m a former Coast Guardsman and I’ve been in sales with an automotive specialty for almost as long. Carol has strong technical aptitude skills while I have an extensive sales and marketing background, which helps us as franchise owners.
Tell us a little about your Business Center Manager
Our Business Center Manager, Andrea Hernandez-Morales, is very friendly and a natural salesperson. Andrea has a great set of organizational skills and sees the value of the business model.
Andrea likes the stability of an 8-5 job and doesn’t want to have to travel for work. A lot of things about this job appealed to her and it worked out well because she does a fantastic job and is an important administrative asset for our members and their businesses.
Tell us a little about your members
Our members are incredibly diverse. We have structural engineers working on important construction projects, a software startup company, business consultants, an advertising agency that does everything from social media management to videos and photography, electrical and mechanical surveyors, a cloud computing support company, a high-tech automotive company, lawyers, IT support people, a LinkedIn consultant/guru, and so many more talented members.
The LinkedIn guru and advertising agent are very cohesive and extroverted people. We enjoy having them around the center because they help bring people together.
What makes your locations unique?
Ann Arbor is a tech corridor that’s focused on the automotive and biotech industries. We have the autonomous vehicle research center at the University of Michigan, where they create vehicles that drive themselves. It’s a unique time to be here, in that you’re seeing the rise of these autonomous and electric vehicle companies. We also live in a university town, so it’s a vibrant atmosphere. The whole place has a crazy dynamic.
As for the location of our office, we’re on the top floor of a three-story building with a lot of windows and natural light. We’ve received many compliments about the ‘feel’ of our space.
How were you able to see success?
My philosophy for success is to keep people walking through the center. It’s hard to give an elevator pitch for this type of business because people can’t imagine what the place looks like. So, we encourage members to have their networking events in our conference rooms to bring people in.
Additionally, we work with local charities and offer to host charity events at our location. We like to be involved in the community and two hours of donated conference room time can go a long way. I think several people are now members because they came to a charity or local networking event.
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