When Carolyn Owen Purvis was little, she dreamed of becoming a nurse. Her father wanted her to become a businesswoman instead, however, and wouldn’t pay for a nursing education. Through a series of unplanned circumstances, Ms. Purvis met her future husband, Robert, when she was 14, and they married two days after graduating high school. She spent the following years as a homemaker, military wife and the mother of two daughters; a role she loved playing. Eventually, however, Ms. Purvis’ daughters went to school, and she found she had way too much time on her hands. She applied to nursing school, but was still on the waiting list when her husband retired from the U.S. Army, so she decided to work in the purchasing department at a local manufacturing plant. Within a year, Ms. Purvis was moved to the quality department, and in 1989, she was made coordinator for the ISO Quality Management System.
After a number of years in that position, Ms. Purvis felt that it was becoming too stressful, and with the support and encouragement of her husband, she quit in 2004. This led her to create her own consultancy in the industry, where she currently utilizes her expertise in building quality management systems to help companies increase their competitive strength by implementing these systems and leading certification to national and international standards. Ms. Purvis also complies with and provides ISO 9001, ISO 14000, and TS 16949 internal audits. Since she started her own company more than a decade ago, the requests for her services have been constant. Ms. Purvis attributes her success to her ability to organize chaos, and her extensive and broad industry knowledge.
Although Ms. Purvis has won a variety of awards and recognition for her achievements, including the Pinnacle Award for Top Executives in 2014, she feels that her greatest achievement was when she became a certified lead auditor. The designation required five days of training with a four-hour test afterward. She then had to complete a number of audits with a certified auditor to receive the certification as a lead auditor. Other highlights of Ms. Purvis’ career include the time she got her first manufacturing facility certified and registered through the Registration Accreditation Board in the U.S, and the first year she made more than $50,000. She remembers her husband being so proud of her. While Ms. Purvis’ life didn’t end up as she once dreamed it would, she is quite content with the alternate path she followed.
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