This post was written by Mark Ciccarelli, Vice President of Operations for Neave Group Outdoor Solutions
Now that our greatly anticipated 2011-2012 winter snow and ice season is rapidly approaching, as director of Neave Group’s Snow and Ice Management division, I can’t help but be completely emerged in the seven day, 24 hour thought process that goes into preparing for such a season.
My wife loves to wake me up at 4:00 A.M. to let me know how much she appreciates me communicating with her all my issues and thoughts. I guess I have a tendency to talk in my sleep – every night!
So, here we are, approximately T – minus 11 weeks and counting. Can you believe summer is over already? What the hell just happened? At least the kids are back in school…
There are so many different aspects of the snow and ice management business. Which is most interesting? Which is most important? To be completely honest, in this type of industry, they are all equally important!
I’ve always said the actual snow and ice event is the easy part – the preparation and anticipation of the upcoming events is the part that will make you lose your hair (for those of you who actually know me you know this to be very true). What should come first? Training? Sales? Renewals? Equipment? Staffing? Site inspections? Routing? Logistical issues? Sub-contractors? AAAAHHHHHH!
As Director of Snow and Ice operations for the 70th largest snow and ice management contractor in North America, the one question that always seems to be the most difficult to answer involves what I call “The Trigger”. With more than 150 employees during an actual event, with tens of thousands of dollars at stake, and with over 150,000 people directly affected by our service, when do you pull the trigger and “release the hounds?”
How many times have you sat around and watched the weather report only to have very little or nothing happen? Tell me that’s not the worst! All that preparation, all that anxiety; now imagine you sent out your staff and nothing happened?
The only thing worse than sending everyone out and having nothing happen is – you got it – not sending out your staff and having something, anything, happen! Talk about talking in your sleep! The, “Wow, you guys did a great job” phone calls are so much nicer than the, “Wow, where were you guys?” phone calls!
We are in a time-sensitive, service-oriented business and at Neave Snow Management our philosophy is, you can never be too prepared!
Although pulling the trigger may seem to be one of the hardest decisions to make, after years of providing excellent, dedicated service to our clients, I find it one of the easiest decisions to make – especially after sitting through a deposition because of a slip and fall accident. Try going to one of those without having the proper documentation and without having done everything in your power to properly service a property you were contracted to service.
The bottom line is that thousands of people – our customers – rely and depend on our services to provide them with the safest conditions possible that allow them to go about their daily lives. If we choose to accept responsibility for maintaining and servicing a given property, then our job is to ensure we give our clients 110% in order to gain the respect we work hard to obtain.
Although being a snow and ice director is an extremely challenging position, the outcome, if prepared for properly, is one of the most gratifying feelings in our industry. Understanding the extreme expectations placed on us really allows me to appreciate all the hard work that goes into this profession.
I’ve always heard that plowing snow is “blood money” – it sucks, it blows, and you’re up all night…yada, yada, yada! Although some of that may be true, my experience over the past ten years has taught me this: If you are prepared, if you have a solid team, if you are given the proper tools, then being a snow fighter really isn’t all that bad. In fact, I would challenge anyone in any other field to show me an instance where you can be put in a greater “pass / fail” situation.
For some people, the thought of being in this type of position is the equivalent of having a root canal performed without the anesthetic. In my opinion, the gratification of successfully servicing an event far exceeds that of most other jobs. In fact, there aren’t many jobs more gratifying than successfully servicing a monster snow and ice event and ensuring the safety of your customers and the public.
Contact our team today to learn more about our wide range of services.