Mobile Concepts CEO was an inspiration to inspiration to female entrepreneurs
Anne Degre took a family business known for making travel trailers and guided it to a global reputation for excellence in mobile command centers.
“She had to adapt and adjust into how to lead a company, being a female in a man's world, being young and right out of school,” said her longtime friend Candy Nelson.
Mrs. Degre joined Serro Scotty in 1990, when it was still based in Irwin, and eventually became the CEO, helping it come back from a devastating fire in 1997.
“She could walk into a room and would own it. You could feel her presence,” Nelson said.
Anne D. Degre of Unity died Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017. She was 54.
Born in Pittsburgh on Feb. 16, 1963, she was the daughter of Florence Pirschl and the late Joseph Pirschl. Shortly after graduating from West Virginia University, she joined the family business, which was founded by her grandfather, John Serro, in 1956 when her father was CEO.
The company made the transition to mobile fire safety houses under her leadership, until the Irwin plant was destroyed by fire in 1997.
The company reincorporated as Mobile Concepts by Scotty in 2001 and relocated to Mt. Pleasant. Mrs. Degre became CEO and took the company in a new direction after 9/11.
“Anything that could be put on wheels, we built — tactical operation centers, mobile medical clinics, mobile command centers,” said her husband, Henri Degre.
Mrs. Degre met her husband in 1995 while attending a trade show in Kiamesha Lake, N.Y. They got married in 1996, and he moved to Westmoreland County and eventually joined the company.
“She was spunky, mischievous. ... She was very quick on her feet,” her husband said.
After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the company got away from making fire safety houses and started making mobile units for police departments, fire departments, the military and government agencies, he said.
“We were building so many fire safety houses that we didn't have time for anything else,” said Mr. Degre, who is now CEO.
In 2014, the company, renamed Mobile Concepts Specialty Vehicles, renovated a bus that had been used by the New York City Office of Emergency Management as a command center during 9/11.
Nelson said Mrs. Degre, a longtime member of the Women Presidents' Organization, was an inspiration to female entrepreneurs throughout Western Pennsylvania.
She is survived by her husband of 21 years, Henri Degre; three sons, Brayden Scott and twins, Samuel Joseph and Nicolas Serro, all of Unity; her mother, Florence (Serro) Pirschl, of Unity; and her siblings, Gary J. Pirschl, of Champion, and Susan Skundrich, of North Huntington.
Friends may call from 3 to 5 and 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Leo M. Bacha Funeral Home, 516 Stanton St., Greensburg.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at the funeral home. Entombment will follow in Westmoreland County Memorial Park Mausoleum.
Memorial donations may be made to Animal Friends of Westmoreland, 216 Depot St., Youngwood, PA 15697.
Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-1280.