Women in Laundry: Interview with Atlas OPL Sales Manager Dee Parmer

Dee Parmer’s brilliant rise to OPL sales manager for Atlas International Laundry and Dry Cleaning located in Dallas, Texas, was truly a labor of love. In fact, her adventure into the laundry equipment industry began when she was a stay-at-home mom to her then six-month-old baby girl.

“I was 28-years old and I really missed the hubbub of going to work every day,” shares Dee. “Of course, I loved being with my daughter, yet I also craved that interaction with other people. I think quite a number of moms can relate to this.”

Dee Parmer, Atlas International

Before her daughter was born, Dee worked in inventory control for a lingerie manufacturer and in the sales department for an industrial chrome plating company. “I was in these positions 10 years in total, learning all the ins and outs of inventory as well as consultative sales,” Dee explains.

“These experiences turned out to be a solid background for Wascomat and Electrolux.”

Dee was offered a part-time position for a local Wascomat commercial laundry equipment distributor. It was an ideal fit.

“I worked four hours a day, but the really great part was that my responsibilities were varied,” says Dee. “The distributorship was new so I found myself scheduling service, helping in the parts department, billing, and working with a CPA for the bookkeeping.”

Eventually, Dee made the opportune move into a full-time OPL sales position. It was a fun and exciting time for her. “The laundry industry is service-oriented and I enjoyed interacting with customers and knew I could help them with their equipment needs,” shares Dee.

“I had found my niche.”

During this time, Dee was encouraged to attend numerous sales and marketing seminars, which expanded her knowledge. Her new sales venture also required her to travel. Dee took the opportunity to read every useful book she could find to benefit her professionally.

“I read books about women in business, traveling alone, customer engagement, which hotels were the safest to stay,” she says. “It was all wonderfully new and empowering.”  To broaden her working knowledge, Dee also took classes in business management, marketing, and sales.

She journeyed to attend various industry trade shows as well as to meet existing and prospective customers. “My territory covered Texas and Oklahoma,” Dee says “And I enthusiastically set about creating a network of equipment and service companies to sell our products.”

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“I continued to grow and stay true to my path.”

In 2011, she left that position to join the sales team at Atlas International Laundry and Dry Cleaning Equipment as OPL sales manager, selling the Wascomat and Electrolux professional brands of equipment.

Women in Laundry June Honoree, Dee Parmer with Atlas International President, Ulli Mandelbaum to her right. Accompanying them are two managers of the Holiday Inn Express DFW.

“My sales manager position has grown tremendously since I first started,” reflects Dee. “I continue to seek out and open up new sales channels and look for ways to expand our customer base.”

She has sold millions of dollars’ worth of laundry equipment and hundreds of machines to all facets of the laundry industry. She has also earned sales incentive trips, traveling to China, Europe, the Scandinavian countries, and Central America.

“I love what I do,” shares Dee. “I’m very grateful I honored what was right for me and my family by going back to work.”

Two pieces of advice from OPL sales manager Dee Parmer:

Learn as much as you can. Yes, the industry is largely male. But, I have learned a lot from the “boys.” Several have been mentors to me. My advice to women coming into the industry is learn everything you can, take your work seriously, and show these “boys” you can do the job.

Serve your community. I joined the American Business Women Association and we raised money and gave scholarships to deserving girls. I was a member for 13 years, held the office of President, and chaired several committees. Then I moved over to Altrusa International of Dallas where I have served for 10 years. Altrusa is an international community service organization with clubs in New Zealand, India, Puerto Rico and all across America. I am a past president and again chaired several committees. Both of these organizations gave me the opportunity reach out into the community and to make new friends.

What’s next for Dee?

Remember her baby girl? Well she’s all grown up and has given Dee two grandchildren, age 14 and 10. “I am very proud of them and I spend as much time as I can with them,” says Dee fondly. “I also look forward to continuing my work with Atlas, serving my community, and being a role model for my daughter and her children.”

Since 1980, Atlas International Laundry & Dry Cleaning Equipment Co., Inc., has been a leading provider of top quality laundry equipment for the vended laundry and institutional markets in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana.

To learn more, contact Dee Parmer at 214 350-1234 or email her dee@atlaslaundry.com.