Angie Wieck, Published January 26 2014
It's my job: A job filled with snow days
Darcy Byrne, director of operations for All Terrain, a lawn care and snow removal business based in Fargo, says it can be hard to schedule life when your job revolves around the weather.
He appreciates his co-workers for giving up their social lives when work calls, but he is also quick to give a shout-out to their friends and family who are expected to understand when plans suddenly change due to the weather.
What are your job duties during the winter months?
We run about 220 business and residential accounts around the city. We go out and clear snow when there is a snow event, and we try to get it done as quickly as possible. We run 21 plow trucks, three Bobcats with pushers on the front, and we have 15 snow blowers in the trucks that go out with groups to condos and residential accounts. We also have a team who just does sidewalk snow blowing at commercial accounts. It’s a big fleet to look after.
Is there a certain amount of snowfall that triggers you going to work?
The way it’s been lately, it’s the wind that’s taking over. We do have set contracts requiring ½ inch or an inch of snow, but lately even if it doesn’t snow the wind has caused parts of town to get blown in. We have guys on call during the day so if we get a call from an account, we try to get them there within the hour.
Do you mainly work nights?
No. If it’s snowing during the day, businesses like their sidewalks and lots cleaned … Also, if it’s bad enough we’ll go out during the day to open up residential driveways so people can get home. With our finished products, we usually do those anywhere from 9 at night to 5 or 6 in the morning in time for businesses to start opening up. … It really is a 24-hour operation.
How do you manage sleep?
You never get used to it. You never get to the point when you only want to sleep three hours before getting up again, but you get naps in. Naps are a big thing.
Do you work year round?
We do. Spring and summer, that’s what we really enjoy. It’s the same for anybody who owns a home. You’d rather be cutting your lawn or trimming trees than pushing snow in the cold. Snow removal is how we satisfy our customers by having a year-round product.
Do you consider this to be a tough winter?
I think it’s harder to manage this winter than it has been because it’s been such consistent snow, wind and cold. … The cold has hurt our morale. You can go out there when it’s 20 degrees with no wind and be the happiest person working, but if you’re out in blizzard conditions it’s a lot tougher on the guys.
What do you like about your job?
I do like the team aspect of it. In the summer you work at your own pace to get stuff done and looking nice, but in the winter we really have to pull together to finish the work. I enjoy that.