The Monterey County Herald, Monday, May 2, 2005
Monterey County Business
Keeping Things Together
Busy Woman Balances Family, Work
Theresa Ream is a busy woman.
A wife, and mother of two, the Seaside resident is active in her church as well as several organizations, including the Parent Teachers Association for the Monterey Bay Christian School, and the Seaside/Sand City and Monterey Peninsula chambers of commerce. She has received accolades from her colleagues in the Professional Women’s Network (PWN) of the Monterey Peninsula, which named her 2004 Woman of the Year.
She does all this while managing five businesses and more than 70 employees with her business partner and husband of 27 years, Terry: Ream Construction; Disaster Kleenup Specialist; Cypress Cabinets; Excel Carpet & Upholstery; and FloorUSA.
The Herald’s Victoria Manley sat down with Ream recently in Ream’s Sand City office to discuss balancing work, family and everything in between.
Q: I’m curious about how you balance not only five businesses but all that you do outside of that.
A: We’re nut cases, is what we are. But actually the businesses piggy-back on each other. The main thing in all of this is to keep the customer satisfied and do a good job. We don’t think about money. It’s always been about the name of the company and doing a good job for people, and the relationships we have with our clients.
Q: Ream Construction was the first business, started in 1981, correct?
A: Yes. And then we started doing reconstruction work,… and then we started the cleaning division (Disaster Kleenup) in 1993. When we got our first fire, our warehouse was our garage. I had all these people’s burned up stuff in our garage. We immediately got a warehouse, and then off we went.
Q: As your business has grown, your family has grown. Your first child was 4 months old when you started the business. How did you balance that?
A: It was kind of nice because since I worked for myself, I could take my bookkeeping at home. While my babies were sleeping, I could work.
Q: What is your typical work day?
A: When I get up, I usually have a list for Terry to go over, which we do over coffee. I always exercise, usually with my tapes.
I come to work about 9 a.m. and go to my calendar, where I have everything mapped out, even the things I’ve delegated to other people.
If my kids need me to do things with them, I’ll go on my lunch break or arrange time. Depending on their needs, I’ll go home anywhere between 4:30 and 8 p.m. I sort of arrange things around so that when I’m with them, I’m with them.
If I’ve got my obligations for PWN or for church, I schedule it out so that I’m there, and I’m focused.
If I have to block out a time during work, I’ll do it and then I’ll go back. Sometimes I work on payroll until 11 p.m. Maybe we watch TV together as a family, and when the kids are off doing their thing and Terry’s in bed watching the news, I’ll go ahead and do more work.
Q: What’s the typical weeknight like at home?
A: I usually try to pay my daughter to do some chores. I just got a housekeeper – it’s wonderful – and that feels real good. I do my laundry, like, every day. One load a day. I just keep up on everything as it needs to be done.
And I was blessed with a lot of energy.
Q: Who does most of your household work?
A: I do everything.
Q: How do you keep up your energy?
A: I exercise almost every day. I don’t eat a lot of sugary stuff – except every once in awhile, if I crave a chocolate cream pie or something, I’ll have it.
I enjoy being with my family and keeping house. It’s kind of like I’m two different people: I enjoy that really homey feeling, but then I have this other part, this business person who really loves the hunt, closing the deal. I’m like two different people, but they work well together.
Q: Does one Theresa ever win out over the other?
A: My family always wins out. My kids are my precious jewels.
Q: How do you do it all?
A: You make allies with the people around you by doing what you’re good at. My strength is hospitality. I can have you over at my house, cook for you and make you feel real comfortable, and then we can plan our whole year together.
Q: What are your other strengths?
A: I’m consistent, and try daily to improve different aspects of my life. I put them in big blocks – work, family, body and spirit – and then I consciously try to improve on those blocks in little steps. It’s one foot in front of the other. Improving a little bit on myself in those four areas daily.
It’s also keeping my relationships clean. If I upset somebody, I say I’m sorry, and we move on. I keep things clean across the board. That way you don’t have to step over the garbage as you go along.
Questioner, Victory Manley can be reached at 646-4478 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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