Honoree Headshot

Audrey Monell

President
Forrest Anderson Plumbing and Air Conditioning, Inc.

Location: Glendale, AZ
Founded: 1961
Industry: Plumbing and Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

Audrey Monell learned an important lesson shortly after she took over as President of Forrest Anderson Plumbing and Air Conditioning, the company founded by her grandparents.

One of her technicians quit on the spot, saying he would never work for a woman. It would have been easy to dismiss the incident and move on, but Monell used it as a learning experience.

“I wanted to ensure our company had a positive atmosphere where everyone is welcomed and valued in the company,” she said. “I knew I had to be extra aware of my interactions, so I decided to lead with compassion and run the business with an open-door policy. My office has no walls or door so employees can feel comfortable if they need to ask a question or bring up a concern. By being transparent myself, my team is too.”

Forrest Anderson Plumbing and Air Conditioning, based in Glendale, is family owned and operated since 1961. The company, founded by Monell’s grandparents Forrest and Delores Anderson, remains committed to the founders’ core beliefs: treat your customers right, treat your employees right, do your best work and always do the right thing.

Monell became involved with the family business, helping with small tasks such as filing papers and taking out the trash before riding along with the technicians as a teenager. After Monell graduated from W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science in economics, Monell’s parents turned to her to lead the next generation of the family business. She has been leading the company for over 13 years.

Monell has increased the company’s annual revenue, which now exceeds $5 million. She launched a continuing education program for employees, implemented a successful digital marketing campaign and helped the company earn an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. She also introduced paperless timekeeping and mobile payment processing to reduce company costs and increase gross profit margin by 10%.

Throughout the pandemic, it was important for Monell to make sure that not a single employee was laid off. Monell embraces change and innovation without erasing the company’s identity, and she still sometimes takes out the trash, just as she did as a young girl, her team said.

Monell has been recognized with a variety of awards within the industry and local community, including the ACHR NEWS Top 40 Under 40 and Most Influential Women in Arizona Business by AZ Business Magazine. Monell has also been named a Phoenix Chamber of Commerce Athena Young Professional Finalist and a Better Business Bureau of Greater Arizona Torch Award for Ethics Finalist.

“The pressure of being an industry leader while upholding the legacy of a family business can be intimidating, but it doesn’t scare Monell,” her team said. “Instead, it drives her to find creative and effective ways to evolve her grandfather’s vision to do what’s right for her community, customers and employees.”

Presented by:

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Honoree Fun fact

Monell is a talented rodeo champion and has a special place for rodeo in her heart. At 16 years old she became the women’s world champion of cowboy mounted shooting and during high school, she earned a rodeo scholarship to Texas Tech University.

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