Tuesday, May 5, 2015, 10:27 p.m.
Dawn Fuchs has led her company in an industry dominated by men for more than 30 years.
The president and CEO of Carnegie-based Weavertown Environmental Group has seen the company through the peaks and troughs of the oil and gas industry by being as aggressive about new business as she is about its safety record, she said. The company just opened an office in Houston and is developing a 125-acre site in Monaca.
Weavertown, founded by Fuchs’ father, Donald Fuchs, in 1981, has 210 employees providing cleanup, towing, garage services, stone aggregate and landscape supply, and oil delivery services and storage tank management, from 11 locations in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky.
Fuchs spoke with the Tribune-Review about her approach to management and growth at Weavertown.
Trib: Have you seen more female-run businesses in oil and gas since you started?
Fuchs: I haven’t noticed a change. I just ran into somebody the other day, and he said, ‘I’ve been in oil and gas my whole career, and I can count on one hand the number of women business owners.’ I don’t think there’s a lot of women business owners, necessarily.
Trib: What is your approach to leadership?
Fuchs: I don’t look at things as a male or female perspective, and I think that’s been good for me. So I just stood at the table as somebody who has something to offer … I’m not saying there’s not a role for women in business. I think there’s a huge market for women to do anything they want to do. I think the conversation should be around what can you do and what can you offer, and forget the man or woman piece.
Trib: Has that been challenging to be the only woman at the table?
Fuchs: I haven’t seen it as a challenge at all. Weavertown has been in business 36 years. I don’t see challenges or hardships around it. We just go to work. We don’t sit around. I don’t find it any harder. I think people find it admirable that we’re a woman-owned business; I think people find it intriguing. I try not to take the conversation to women or men. I think if you run a good business, a solid business, then you should get business, and if there’s a market and if you’re good at what you do … if you’re a safe company, then you’re going to get opportunities. And that’s how I try to keep the conversation. I don’t find it challenging to be a woman in business.
Trib: What is your management approach with your staff, especially when it comes to your company’s commitment to safety?
Fuchs: We train constantly. We can always develop; we can always get better. It’s putting new supervisory staff with new additions to our team. It’s based off of not necessarily how long you’ve been in the business but how safe you work, that’s a little bit of a difference. I’m not about longevity. I’m not about if someone’s been here 25 years or 15 years, they get the big job. I strictly run a business on the more contribution, the safer you are, the more you think out of the box, they’ll go up and go up and grow up in the company. I have to have the leadership team in place and give people the opportunity to advance within the company. It’s about transfer of knowledge. You have to be willing to transfer knowledge down. We’re all about the team.
Trib: What keeps you up at night when it comes to leading your business right now?
Fuchs: Sustainability, making sure that we’re out ahead of competition and we stay true to who we are. Our people need to speak their credo, good client service basically done and no shortcuts.
Katelyn Ferral is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5627 or firstname.lastname@example.org.