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Senior technician Dan Rushford earns the Mr. Rooter Technician of the Year award after just over one year at the franchise in Sonoma County, Calif.
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After little more than a year on the job, Dan Rushford had established himself as a key member of the team at Mr. Rooter of Sonoma County, Calif., owned and operated by the husband-wife team of Saunda and Paul Kitchen.

“He came into our organization ready and willing to be part of the team,” Saunda Kitchen observes. “He has really high customer satisfaction results, and in working with our team, Dan is just one of those guys who doesn’t say no.”

A case in point: One day a newer technician called the office to ask for help on a job. Paul Kitchen couldn’t get away from the job he was on, so he called Rushford and asked him to go out and lend a hand. Rushford did, no questions asked. It wasn’t until the next day that Kitchen found out it had been Rushford’s day off.

Key contributor

The Kitchens believed that kind of dedication, along with attention to detail and customer service skills, made Rushford, a senior technician, an ideal candidate for the 2010 Mr. Rooter Corporation Technician of the Year award.

The judges agreed, and Rushford won the award at the Mr. Rooter international convention in June. It was the fourth year in a row that the top Mr. Rooter technician was an employee of Mr. Rooter of Sonoma County.

Saunda Kitchen says Rushford, who had worked for several other Mr. Rooter franchises, quickly established himself as a key member of the team at the business, based in Santa Rosa, impressing co-workers and customers alike.

The company’s award nomination letter said, “Dan is a shining example of the ideal technician. He keeps an immaculate van and is constantly maintaining his equipment. He is also helpful to the office staff by making himself available on days off to cover extra shifts.”

The letter also praised Rushford’s attention to business details: “Dan follows up on all recommendations and estimates daily, not only to increase his job average but to build a stronger relationship with his customers.”

Living the values

Saunda Kitchen says Rushford’s willingness to help colleagues get the job done right exemplifies the values she and Paul instill at their weekly training sessions for the staff.

In turn, Rushford says his willingness to help is just part of the norm for the franchise. “Everybody’s willing to help the other members of the team,” he says. “I accepted the award on behalf of the entire team at Sonoma County.”

His high customer satisfaction rating is rooted in customer care. “You need a sense of emergency with all customers, large or small,” he says. “I take their issue and I put it in a point of view of how I would handle it if it was my problem.”

As a senior technician, Rushford knows he has responsibilities beyond the calls he is dispatched to. Coming up through the business, he learned from experienced colleagues, and now he is called upon to share his insights with newer employees.

“I took bits and pieces from the people I rode with, and I just keep adding to my pile,” he says. “I’ve turned out one new technician already, and he’s a great technician. But even today, I’m still learning from my field manager.”

Rushford praises the Kitchens for creating a family atmosphere at work and for their constant focus on training. He is learning valuable lessons about plumbing and about business. “This is where I’m going to stay,” he says, “until I get my own franchise.”


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