Denver group takes service to the extreme
Nate Hopkins, Account Manager
Troy Dean, District Manager
Jen Braid, Administrative Assistant
Bill Volz, Regional Manager
During the record-setting 2006-07 snow season, the Divisions, Inc. team in Denver, led by Bill Volz, faced its biggest test when back-to-back blizzards hit the city—dropping more than 3 ft. of snow, just in time for the holiday season.
At the peak of these two storms, the team—which was responsible for more than 50 pieces of equipment, more than 70 personnel and more than 10 million sq. ft. of parking area for Division’s retail clients—had to overcome numerous setbacks, including the fact that most gas stations were closed or out of fuel, and major interstates were shut down for extended periods of time.
“Any of these issues could have been used as an excuse for failing, but not a single store shut down,” President & CEO Gary Mitchell says, adding that the team’s planning resulted in equipment being hauled to sites with a police escort, and fuel and other materials being shipped in before the storm hit.
“Later that year, when I was in a contract meeting for a Fortune 200 company, the executive vice president asked, ‘Who was responsible for that blizzard clearing in Denver?’ When I said that we were, he walked over and shook my hand.
“To me, that was key in keeping our client,” adds Mitchell. “Because of the conditions, they would have ‘understood’ if we had been unable to clear the lots completely, but we didn’t even have to have that discussion. It was a non-issue.”
Today, the Denver team still relies on pre-planning and communication to weather the storms, and was recognized this spring as the 2009 District Office of the Year.
— Heather Gooch
Duo tackles safety, equipment logistics
Production Manager Clark Seefeld and Shop Manager Richard Heilmiann both share the same personal goal: to succeed in the snow industry. The adverse weather conditions in Michigan’s Washtenaw County certainly challenge their objective at Great Outdoors, a lawn and landscape design-build firm with snow management services employing eight managers and nearly 50 employees in season.
The two coordinate more than $450,000 worth of equipment, determine event start times, ensure that the service level continually exceeds customer expectations, and direct personnel to accomplish the most efficient results to finish each snow event—no easy task.
Even so, “they keep all the equipment running well, and they motivate our people to accomplish projects in extreme conditions,” says manager Jim Worster and co-worker Matt Buhr.
Seefeld joined Great Outdoors nine years ago, and Heilmiann came on board in 2005. Together, this duo’s dedication to maintain a high level of customer service in a difficult environment is the No. 1 reason they are invaluable to operations, Worster says. Great Outdoors services hospitals, and commercial and residential properties with a complete and customized property maintenance package. Safety is a priority, and Seefeld and Heilmiann have “set high standards of performance and monitoring of a safe work environment,” Buhr says.
-— Debora Babin Katz