By Rhonda Sanderson
It may seem serendipitous, some will say more than ironic, but two veterans of our nation’s greatest tragedy of the last two decades are beginning new lives today by opening their respective home inspectors franchises.
42-year-old Thomas Lemrow Jr. will bring a keen eye and attention to detail to his new career that will be hard to match given his experiences over the last 25 years. Lemrow and his family recently moved to St. Augustine, Florida from Hope Mills, N.C., where he spent the last six years as a UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopter Maintenance Test Pilot and was a U.S. Army helicopter pilot for 13 years overall. Lemrow spent a combined 25 years in the Regular Army and Florida Army National Guard before retiring earlier this year to spend more time with his family. Lemrow will be serving clients throughout northeast Florida, including Jacksonville and Nassau County, but more specifically Flagler, Putnam and St. Johns counties.
He has an extensive background in the residential, commercial and civil construction industries. He was “born into the Navy,” and enlisted as a carpenter and mason in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at 17 and retired as an Aviation Warrant Officer. “If there is anything I have learned in life, it is how to follow instructions or a ‘system,’” Lemrow said. “Being a franchisee seems second nature to me. Pillar To Post has the system in place, the desire to grow their business and the personnel who are willing to make this a reality for our family.”
As for his family, Lemrow said it was time to retire when he realized he had been gone for more than half the time while his five-year-old son was growing up. Lemrow and his wife, Leah, had also been wanting to have another child. “I’m happy to report that on our 13th anniversary, we learned our family is going to grow. It seems like the reduction in stress is just what our family needed!” Lemrow said. When asked how he felt about starting his brand new career on 9/11/17, Lemrow said it seemed right.
Choosing to enter the Army right out of high school, Matt Robertie was stationed in Fort Hood, Texas on September 11, the day of the 2001 terrorist attacks. He was deployed to Iraq in 2003 and spent nine months there in various parts of the country as a gunner on a Bradley Fighting Vehicle. He will also open his new franchise today, 9/11, 16 years to the day when he found himself in Fort Hood preparing to fight for his country. It’s no surprise that Robertie also chose Pillar To Post to begin his new career. Robertie will be serving homebuyers and sellers throughout Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
After leaving the military he worked as a residential energy auditor and also worked in sales for five years. Robertie is looking forward to building his business with one of the most reputable names in the industry. “Pillar To Post has earned many accolades and they do an impressive job promoting the brand, which is helpful, especially when you are first starting off,” Robertie said. “I’m excited to go down this road with Pillar To Post,” Robertie said, “and their VetFran program made it possible for me. The fact that my first official day will be 9/11 is not lost on me.”
Pillar To Post has been named the No.1 veteran-friendly franchise by Entrepreneur Magazine and G.I. Jobs and has also been recognized with five-star VetFran status from the International Franchise Association, one of only 100 franchisors of the 600 who participate in the program to be awarded five stars. Pillar To Post offers a 20 percent discount on its initial franchise fee to qualified veterans and in 2016 they made up 20 percent of Pillar To Post’s new franchisees and are on track for 30% of their new franchisees to be from the military in 2017.
“We are very happy to welcome our country’s veterans to our system,” said Eric Steward, Marketing Manager for the company. “So many of them have technical and engineering knowledge and love to be out in a field, not stuck behind a desk. And their discipline and work ethic is second to none.”
A professional evaluation both inside and outside the home is at the core of Pillar To Post’s service. Inspectors input data and digital photos into a computerized report that is printed and presented on site. All information is provided to clients in a customized binder for easy reference, allowing homebuyers or sellers to make confident, informed decisions.
Founded in 1994, Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is the largest home inspection company in North America with nearly 600 franchises, located in 49 states and nine Canadian provinces. For further information, please visit www.pillartopostfranchise.com