Michele Batye, President, Dave Griggs’ Flooring America
Strategy, execution, teamwork, and customer service. Running a small business, you never quite know where your day will take you. That challenge and diversity is what keeps me engaged.
Years lived in Columbia/Mid-Missouri:
I’m a Boone County native and have lived here my entire life, with the exception of one year.
Degree in textile and apparel merchandising from MU.
I started at Dave Griggs’ Flooring America, then Color World, 25 years ago. Over that time period, I’ve been able to participate in many different roles of the business. Being with a progressive company in a thriving industry has allowed me continued growth in this field.
Biggest lesson learned in business:
You can’t do everything yourself. Early in my career, I tried to do it all and ended up feeling very isolated and overwhelmed. Surround yourself with intelligent people, rid yourself of negativity, and give up control of every minor detail. When you open your eyes, you’ll see that there are far more qualified people to do the job and you can concentrate on connecting the dots and moving them forward.
What people should know about this profession:
A lot of knowledge and skill goes into providing interior finishes; it’s so much more than just aesthetics. In our industry, we have to demolish your real estate before we can put it back together as something both functional and beautiful. It can be a somewhat stressful time for owners, and that’s why it is so important for us to build trust with our clients so we can guide them through this process from start to finish.
A favorite recent project:
Welcome Home Inc.’s new building — we were so happy to be a part of this project. They had been our neighbor on Rangeline for many years, and when we were approached about their goal for a new facility, it was something we immediately went to work on. Being in the planning sessions and watching businesses and the community come together to make this happen is why I love our community.
A Columbia businessperson I admire and why:
Of course top on my list is Dave Griggs. For the past 25 years he has been mentor, friend, and family to me. I am so grateful for the trust and growth he has allowed me to experience. Another person I highly admire is Susan Hart. Strong female leaders in the construction industry are still rare. Susan is someone who truly inspires me. From balancing career, family, and philanthropy to problem solving and communication, she’s one smart lady. I’m looking forward to working with her on the Chamber Executive Board this year.
The next challenge facing my industry:
Retail is facing many challenges for the future — we read it in the papers every day — but it can be outweighed by the shortage of a skilled labor force in the construction industry. Our industry has tried to make changes to products to make them easier and faster to install, but that can never replace the knowledge and skill of true craftsmanship.
Favorite volunteer/community activity:
I’m very passionate about Women’s Network, which is a division of the Chamber of Commerce of which I am chair this year. Our mission is to connect, empower, and engage members through leadership development, educational opportunities, and innovative outreach. I also sit on the board of Access Arts, which is a bit of a hidden gem when it comes to providing art education in our community.
My next professional goal:
Chairing Women’s Network and purchasing the controlling stock in Dave Griggs’ Flooring America are two big goals I just marked off my list, but my next goal is to be elected to Flooring America’s Advisory Board. The advisory board is comprised of a group of owners in the co-op who help guide the decisions and direction of the membership. This is an innovative process, and I want a seat at the table.
Why I’m passionate about my company:
Dave Griggs has spent his lifetime building a company with a solid reputation for providing flooring solutions. I’m dedicated to continuing that legacy, because at the end of the day, it’s not really about floors or commerce — it’s about relationships, building trust, and strengthening your community.
Why I’m passionate about my job:
The environment you exist in really affects your mood and attitude. I love seeing our clients’ excitement when they walk into their finished project. My team members are visionaries that can help clients with the design and function that’s right for them, and I love leading that team.
How you would like to impact the Columbia community:
Since it’s my business, I would love for everyone to be walking on my floors, but when it comes to legacy as a business leader, I really simply want to be known for lifting people up and helping them see their own gifts and potential.
Strategist. I can analyze a problem and quickly break down the solution into manageable parts.
Self-promotion. It’s much easier for me to market products, ideas, or other people.
I have a wonderfully supportive husband, Jim, and we live in Ashland with our schnauzer, Fritz. We have three children and three grandchildren. I’m lucky to have a big extended family who lives close, and I grew up with relatives who taught me that family is more than a bloodline, and I truly believe that. Our entire staff and many close friends are like family to me.
Accomplishment I’m most proud of:
Our children and watching them as they become parents themselves. When I married my husband 24 years ago, it came with the bonus of three young children. I’m proud of the relationship and culture we formed as an entire family unit, proving that divorced parents and step-parents can get along for the betterment of their children. I really don’t like the stigma that “step-parent” sometimes comes with. I may not have known them from birth, but they are definitely the light of my life.
Most people don’t know that I:
I’m a pretty open book, but most people may not be aware that I love and follow the fashion industry. The trends and color lines are a natural crossover to our business. I fell in love with fashion in high school when a friend of mine who participated in pageants had me design and work with a seamstress to create her dresses. I still love being part of a creative idea that comes to life.