Enterprise Flasher Company
WILMINGTON – Anne Bilderback-Vattilana didn’t plan on becoming the president of a highway safety equipment company, but when Enterprise Flasher Company founder Paul Jeffrey Roehm unexpectedly passed away, she couldn’t let his legacy end there.
“Jeff really changed the industry for the better,” Bilderback-Vattilana said. “I’m the president, but I always consider myself an acting president.”
Roehm had operated the company from 1975 to 2015, selling and renting a variety of equipment used by state transportation authorities and private contractors. He served as the national president of the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) and co-founded the ATSSA Foundation, while also serving local trade organizations like the Delaware Contractors Association.
After his passing, his family debated selling the business, but worried that most interested buyers just wanted the equipment, not the staff or client responsibilities and connections that Roehm had worked so hard to grow. So Bilderback-Vattilana, Roehm’s first wife who continued to be a friend, joined forces with their daughter, Courtney Roehm, to take up the Enterprise Flasher helm.
“My first thought was, ‘Let’s see what we can do here,’” Bilderback-Vattilana recalled. “We had offers, but we cared more about the employees. It just felt like we had to make the effort.”
They made the effort, and customers kept coming back asking for additional contracts. Though an unplanned venture, the mother-daughter duo worked together to make sure equipment is updated and repaired as needed, and that all customers new and old are taken care of.
Together, they’ve helped Enterprise Flasher continue to thrive under new leadership while also prioritizing the needs of the business’s modest staff by offering opportunities for safety certifications. They also continue Roehm’s spirit of giving back to the community by continuing to participate in local fundraisers, including a golf tournament for a scholarship fund named after University of Delaware graduate Fred Mueller.
With fewer than a dozen employees, family and employees operate together as the “backbone” of the company, the duo said. And they aren’t going to give up on that family any time soon.
“You can’t work in a small company and not care about your people,” Bilderback-Vattilana said. “The goal is always for the right business to come along and take the ball and move it forward.”