Dina Dwyer-Owens, chairwoman and CEO of  The Dwyer Group, talks about her  undercover experience as a Mr. Rooter trainee on a recent episode of "Undercover Boss."

Dina Dwyer-Owens as Faith, her Mr. Rooter alter ego.


Dina Dwyer-Owens, chairwoman and CEO of The Dwyer Group, recently appeared on CBS’s reality show “Undercover Boss." The Dwyer Group owns franchise brands Mr. Rooter, Aire Serv, Mr. Electric, Mr. Appliance, Glass Doctor, Rainbow International and The Grounds Guys.

Dwyer-Owens accepted the opportunity to go undercover at Mr. Rooter and fulfill a long-held dream to ride in service vans out in the field.  The CEO-turned-service-professional donned company uniforms - Mr. Rooter, Mr. Electric, The Grounds Guys and Mr. Appliance - to see life as a potential trainee whose service brands represent some of the most male-dominated industries. She has championed The Dwyer Group Code of Values and its themes of respect, integrity, customer focus and having fun in the process as a foundation for the company’s success.

Dina Dwyer-Owens at The Dwyer Group's headquarters in Waco, Texas.

Plumbing & Mechanical talked to Dwyer-Owens after her episode was broadcast to find out about her experience as a plumbing trainee for the day.

PM: What was the hardest job you had to do while working at Mr. Rooter?
DDO: I did one job with Mr. Rooter which involved replacing a water heater. I was pleased with myself, managing to unload the water heater from the service van. It was almost twice as big as me. I found it a bit challenging to have to explain to the customer what we were doing when I was just learning myself. 

PM: What was the most fun or rewarding experience?
DDO: I really enjoyed proving to myself that I could handle the water heater - with the help of a dolly, of course. My trainer, Wayne, was a lot of fun to work with and very patient with me. 

PM: What was the most surprising thing you learned about plumbers?
DDO: The plumbers at Mr. Rooter love their tools! Wayne had lots of Wayne-isms and gave me some great trivia, such as, “Plumbers have saved more lives than doctors.” His stories of waterborne illnesses and the good that plumbers do to keep communities safe were fantastic.

PM: Has this experience changed how you view the plumbing industry - and plumbers in particular?
DDO: This journey gave me a whole new perspective on plumbers and the plumbing industry. Plumbers are awesome! I have always appreciated our Mr. Rooter service brand and the countless customers they serve. But being on the front line and seeing that customer service in action gave me a whole new appreciation for our front-line service professionals. And on a broader level, the average consumer has no real idea about the value they bring to our Earth.   

PM: Will you continue to encourage women to enter the plumbing industry?
DDO: Absolutely! I believe there’s a great opportunity for women in the industry - from running a large plumbing franchise like Mr. Rooter to representing us on the front lines and “fixing the customer” by providing a world-class experience. A majority of our customers are the woman of the house, and they seem very comfortable when a female service professional greets them at the door. That’s no ordinary plumber! 

If you missed the Mr. Rooter episode, you can still catch it here.