When thinking of notable Jersey boys, who comes to mind? Springsteen, Lombardi, Sinatra, Gov. Chris Christie, perhaps?
Now it’s about time to add the green industry’s own Tom Canete to this illustrious list. This Jersey boy gained notoriety at 2014’s Super Bowl XLVIII as the “sultan of snow.” He headed up the ice and snow clearing contract at host site MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford where the first outdoor, cold-weather Super Bowl took place. Canete’s massive task was to clear an 80,000-seat facility requiring a workforce of up to 600 people on-site.
Read more: Sultans of Snow
Canete is owner and founder of Canete Landscape, Canete Garden Center and Canete Snow Management headquartered in Wayne, New Jersey. His company has been chosen as one of the top 25 snow management companies in the U.S. and has won the ASCA Snow Industry Leadership Award as well as several landscape achievement awards. Canete’s award-winning solutions and Super Bowl contract have made him a nationally known expert, speaking on snow removal practices and snow management philosophies. He is also president of the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association and director of the board of the Accredited Snow Contractors Association.
Canete has offered winter services for more than 38 years. His award-winning services evolved from humble beginnings. Canete said he spent winter months as a kid shoveling snow for his neighbors and newspaper route customers, working from dawn to dusk.
Just before press time, northern New Jersey was hit with one of the worst snow storms this year—up to 30 inches in many local townships (including the removal of snow and ice from MetLife Stadium where he continues with his five-year contract following the Super Bowl).
Hopping from snow plow to salt spreader to deicer during the Atlantic Coast’s worst winter storm, Canete shared some great leadership tips on how to compensate for shortcomings and why bodybuilding contributes to leadership.
How would you describe your style of leadership and why does this work for you?
I am regarded as a micromanager by my employees. I am detail-oriented and expect that same detail from my employees. I am very regimented and make a lot of lists.
How do you work at consistently becoming better at leadership?
I am a consultant junkie and go by the mantra: “Never be too proud to learn.” I know where I need support and where I am weak. I complement my weaknesses with people who are strong in the areas that I am not.
Who are your leadership role models and why?
Tony Robbins channels a lot of positive energy and knows how to motivate.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is a fellow bodybuilder encompassing the American success story. He is a hard-working, determined immigrant who came to America with nothing and went on to win many of the world’s top bodybuilding awards and then became a successful actor and governor of California.
What leadership books inspire you and why?
“Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson. It focuses on how this American information technology entrepreneur and inventor, who was co-founder, chairman and CEO of Apple Inc., was so successful due to his attention to detail. Also, I have to include the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey.
What, as a leader, have you done that gives you pride and why?
It has to be how I built a multimillion dollar company from scratch starting at age 9. Also, I am proud of how I handled the snow operations at MetLife Stadium for the 2014 Superbowl.
What leadership words or quotes inspire you most and why?
“Eighty percent of success is just showing up,” by Woody Allen. It’s because I work 24/7, whether going to the gym or running a company.
If you were to give young leaders one piece of advice, what would that be?
Surround yourself with people who have strengths where you are weak.
In a leadership capacity, where do you see yourself in five years?
I hope to delegate the day-to-day operations in order to continue developing my network and building relationships that impact the continued growth of my business, as well as providing me with more time to benefit the snow and green industries.
Read more: Entrepreneurial Spirit Unleashed