Member Spotlight: Tammy Thompson-Oreskovic
Note from the Executive Director: PSAI was represented at the 5th Annual Satellite Women’s Conference in San Diego this week, where I just had the privilege of speaking about the amazing female leadership our association has benefited from. As a part of that presentation, I invited several PSAI women leaders to share their stories. This week, I’d like to stray from our usual format and highlight one of those stories. This week’s spotlight goes to PSAI Past President and longtime member, Tammy Thompson-Oreskovic, owner and operator of Arnold’s Environmental Services in southeastern Wisconsin. I hope her story speaks to the incredible PSAI women out there, whether you’re just entering the industry or are long-time professionals.
My adventure in the Portable Restroom Industry has been a crazy ride, to say the least. Our company joined the PSAI in 1999. At my first PSAI meeting, I was 6 months pregnant. I remember being particularly concerned that no one would take me seriously. My first reception was from a past president who immediately asked me questions about my role in the business and respectfully gave his opinions and guidance. I was used to the industry being very male dominated. I was not expecting it to be gracious or welcoming. We didn’t have a hundred units when I sheepishly sat at the “100 units” round table discussion. I sat there because I wanted to learn what to do next. But I felt sure everyone would realize we didn’t own that many units. It seems silly now, but it was intimidating to sit at a round table. This was the beginning of hundreds of round table conversations that led to finding answers and thinking differently about problems we all encountered. Through many conversations with owners and operators who have become like family, it became clear that this is where I needed to be. I can honestly say that this industry has saved our company many times. We have survived 30 years—which have included a recession, COVID, and now a labor shortage.
I have met so many strong businesswomen over these past 23 years. We have commiserated on many trials and tribulations as well as celebrated our success. We have remained friends throughout relationships and children and now grandchildren. We have called each other crying and laughing. We have become more than friends; we have become family.
It is easy to let work take over our lives. I remember juggling children and work to make it to conferences. Many times, I would hear comments about how much I traveled to PSAI conferences. I knew that this was the place for answers and camaraderie. It was not an option; it was a lifeline!
I am confident that if you become involved in this unique organization, you will get out of it much more than business advice. The benefits are confidence, friendship, and pushing yourself to accomplish things you didn’t realize you were capable of.
A woman’s place in this industry is wherever she feels like becoming involved. I know that women bring a different perspective to the industry. This is imperative. We need both to be whole. We are never done learning and growing. Joining a committee, becoming a board member and eventually President, were some of the best things to happen to me professionally. The value of the friendships made over the years is priceless.
I am honored to have been a part of this organization and grateful for all the women that came before me. I am excited for the future and the young women who are poised and ready to take this industry to the next level.
Let’s Go, Girls!
Tammy is shown second from left with other attendees at the Satellite Women's Conference