From working as a United States Air Force OB-GYN, an Army field medic, a junior high school science teacher and a volunteer fireman, Mesa resident Steve Smith has done it all.
Now, he’s focusing on running Arizona’s first-ever Footprints Floors, a national company specializing in diverse flooring services.
Located at 625 W. Southern Avenue, Smith opened the franchise with the Valley’s burgeoning housing market in mind.
Footprint Floors works with master craftsmen to install floors and baseboards – including tile, vinyl, stone and hardwood, among others.
He employs contractors to restore “quality and integrity” with the intention to return floors to original states.
“The focus is not about selling floors,” said Smith. “It’s about happy customers and spending time getting to know them.”
As far as pricing goes, the franchise offers homeowner financing through Joist, a software platform for trades contractors, Smith explained.
Free estimates for individual projects can be given online through the company’s website.
Smith told the East Valley Tribune that although he had never owned his own franchise before, he believed his unique work history would prepare him for the new role.
“It’s the people thing,” said Smith. “This is about people who do floors, it isn’t a flooring thing. It’s another place for me to go out and enjoy talking to people.”
Originally from Minnesota, Smith spent 8 years of his young adult life in the military.
With prior experience as the youngest state-certified EMT in the 70s, he worked as a medic for a field artillery battalion in Minnesota before transitioning to an OB-GYN position with the air force in Illinois.
“Most of the patients were called dependent wives because it’s a training base and you get a lot of young students who are newly married,” Smith explained.
“The military is really cool, it’s like a self-sustaining city and everything you need is there.”
Smith assisted with the delivery of over 260 babies during his time there.
He later moved to Arizona in 1989 and has kept his hands full ever since.
The veteran did a 16-year-long stint with Circle K, in which he won an award for managing the highest number of stores in the shortest amount of time.
“Half of that time was spent in the stores and in field leadership and the last 7 years I was working for the franchise and was the training manager for the franchise group.”
He also did volunteer work at the Gilbert Fire Department for 2 years, in which he helped out with the community assistance branch.
Around that same time, he substitute t aught for Mesa Public Schools where he taught 7th-grade science classes.
“I have two friends who are school teachers and are a married couple and they were always complaining about how they could never find any quality substitutes, so I thought ‘why not?’” said Smith.
“Motivating kids, getting them interested in a topic and watching a light come on is the coolest thing,” he added.
An avid M&M collector, Smith went on to become a territory supervisor for a Mars Chocolate sales team, eventually progressing to regional manager.
“I’m a free spirit, that’s what my mom would say,” said Smith. “I am excited by change, there are people that are change agents –those are the people that go out there and help other people adjust to change – and I’m a change creator, the one that will make change happen.”
As for now, the adrenaline-seeker is enjoying life as a new franchise owner.
He said the transition process has been easier than expected, and he’s excited to continue to support the community.
“When things got weird with my jobs in the past, and there was realignment or things were going under, I was left wondering where I was going to be,” said Smith.
Adding, “I thought, ‘how do I get better control of my world?’ I don’t want to retire, but I would like an opportunity to pay for stuff when I’m not working so hard.”
Information: footprintsfloors.com, 480- 571-5335.