Resilient, driven, and tough. They’re all positive adjectives—and they’re also all words you’d use to describe Tina Peters.
As the CEO and Owner of Mallard, Inc., a full-service environmental consulting firm, she knows a thing or two about facing adversity, tuning out the naysayers, and going after what you want anyway.
After successfully running her own business for the past 20 years (and still going strong!), she’s living proof that you can make a big name and an even bigger career for yourself—no matter how male-dominated the industry may seem.
We caught up with Tina to hear her story, learn from her experiences, and find out just how she does it all.
Where It All Got Started...
Born and raised in northwest Florida, Tina knew from an early age that she was destined for a life in the environmental field. She spent a great deal of her very first years with her grandfather on his farm, and she credits that experience with shaping her interest in the great outdoors and the world around her.
“At just a few months old, I was being held by him while he was on the tractor,” she remembers, “I took every step he took.”
“I learned from birth the quality of clean soil, water, and hard work,” she adds, “A farmer is the hardest thing you can be, as well as the most self-rewarding.”
From there, Tina’s interest in the environment only grew stronger. Following high school graduation, she landed a job with a local county agency, where she assisted in the development of the Public Works Department. The county ended up being in serious violation with the state regulatory agency.
Tina—being a self-driven go-getter—was handed all of the rules, regulations, and information about the violations and began communicating with the state to bring the county into compliance. From then on, she was hooked.
Eventually leaving the agency, she moved on to a career with a consulting firm that the county had been using. Tina helped them start up three separate offices and grow the business from 24 people to over 100 employees by the time she left to pursue her own business.
Tina’s nearly 13-year-old chocolate lab, Sierra Grace, is often with her in the field. She has both a hard hat and a safety vest to keep her safe on the job sites, and Tina has also outfitted her portable trailer with both heat and air conditioning. She lovingly refers to Sierra Grace as both her company mascot and her boss.
Taking a Leap of Faith
In August of 1996, Tina waved goodbye to her role with the firm in order to open her own environmental consulting firm: Mallard, Inc.
With her raw passion and pure drive, Tina found that she had everything it took to begin her own successful company—despite the fact that she didn’t have piles of money or a huge roster of existing clients to her name.
“People think that it takes a lot of money,” she explains, “But, Mallard was started with less than $10,000—which was enough to pay for the necessary insurance, rent for a few months, and some other miscellaneous expenses. I didn’t have any contracts lined up.”
Of course, this leap of faith meant that Tina was met with her fair share of doubts and criticisms—even from those who loved and supported her.
“I was told by several people that I should get a real job,” Tina shares, “Even by some family members. But 20 years later, and I’m still here—and I’ve seen many companies come and go, and people jump from job to job.”
The first year or two, I didn't know if this was the stupidest thing I had ever done, or the smartest.
Needless to say, Tina’s hard work and commitment to her business has paid off. Fresh off celebrating her 20 year anniversary in business, she’s looking forward to an even brighter future.
“The first year or two, I didn’t know if this was the stupidest thing I had ever done, or the smartest. But, I do know that Mallard was started—and continues to exist—by God’s grace and a lot of hard work.”
On stressful days, Tina can often be found taking this toy duck—which she refers to as “Quack Waddle” for a walk. It was given to her as a gift when she first started Mallard, Inc.
Making a Name in a Male-Dominated Industry
When we asked Tina how she felt about owning her own business in such a male-dominated field, she was quick to respond with, “Add ‘good ol’ boy system’ on top of male-dominated!”
And, it’s true. This industry still tends to be very heavy-handed toward the men. But, that attitude and skepticism of the things she’s capable of only makes Tina stronger.
“My experience was typically something like, ‘Honey, this is too hard for you. You need to find something easier.’ Ultimately, that’s what fueled my fire,” she explains.
Now? Tina loves the satisfaction that comes along with being the boss—even if it ends up surprising a lot of her male counterparts.
“I love overhearing men inquire if the guy that owns the company is good to work for,” she adds, “The look on the guy’s face at the end of the day when I hand him a business card, or take control of the drill rig, dozer, backhoe, or excavator is priceless. Believe me, I’ve been known to make 6’7” guys weighing over 300 pounds cry.”
Finding Pink Petro
So, needless to say—like so many women—Tina found herself in a place of needing some female comrades in an otherwise male-dominated field. And, this is exactly why she was relieved to find Pink Petro.
“I first came to know Pink Petro when I saw a post by Katie on LinkedIn,” Tina explains, “I pulled up the website and then immediately sent her a message on LinkedIn. I read enough that just by gut feeling—believing her purpose—I knew I wanted to become a part of it.”
Today, Tina remains a very active and treasured part of the Pink Petro community. She’s always eager to respond with an insightful post or thoughtful comment, and she’s excited to help grow Pink Petro in any way she can.
When it comes to advice for other women, Tina has a few works of wisdom for all of us about getting what you want. And, looking at how much she’s accomplished throughout her years so far, we’ll definitely take her advice on this.
You never know unless you try, and life's too short to regret not doing.
“If there is something that you cannot stop thinking about or feel that you have a calling, go for it! Do not allow anyone to say you can’t—just don’t listen to those that say you cannot, you should not. You will never know unless you try, and life's too short to regret not doing.”