As the field manager for Ruppert Landscape‘s Laytonsville, Maryland, branch, Curtis Facemire typically focuses on office-based tasks such as hiring, training, project planning and communicating with clients.

But come winter, Facemire manages snow- and ice-removal operations at his clients’ properties and assists with snow and ice removal at other local client properties as needed. The company has approximately 50 vehicles in its snowremoval operation at the Laytonsville branch. Most of the snow trucks are Ford F-450s equipped with a Fisher plow and either a Buyers Tailgate Spreader or Snow-Ex Bulk Sander. But Facemire drives a Ford F-350 pickup, which is a little smaller and better able to access parking garages to clear off rooftops.

We recently caught up with Facemire to find out more about how he plows.

The Essentials According to Curtis Facemire

Extra clothes: It’s always good to have extra-warm layers handy, or a change of clothes in case I get wet or dirty.

Muck boots: They are waterproof and insulated to keep my feet warm and dry.

Chemical gloves: To protect skin from ice-melt chemicals, we use three different types of ice melt, based on site-specific requirements. For example, sometimes clients require that we use pet-safe ice melt, or if the property has marble floors, we might use limestone grit so visitors tracking the grit inside won’t harm the marble.

Cellphone charger: To ensure that I can stay in constant contact with my clients and crew members.

Snacks: To refuel along the way.

Music, coffee and water to help keep me alert on long nights. I generally enjoy country music, sometimes classic rock. During long nights, I might drink as many as three or four cups of coffee, but I also always drink water, even in winter. It’s important to stay hydrated.

Communication devices: Staying in touch is key during a snow event, so I use my iPhone for emailing customers with updates and sending group texts to my crew members. We also use two-way radios to coordinate our next steps.

The feeling of satisfaction: I enjoy the quiet time that snow and ice management allows, especially late at night when there aren’t many people out and about. There’s also the satisfaction of making order out of chaos and knowing that, at the end of the day, the site is safe and accessible for our clients and their customers and employees. I leave with a sense of gratification and look forward to getting home to spend time with my family.

Finishing the job: After each storm, all the equipment and trucks get a thorough cleaning, pressure washing and greasing as necessary, to maintain performance throughout the season. During a big snowstorm, our branch shops are staffed by staggering the shifts of our mechanics and shop managers for proper coverage to minimize or eliminate downtime. During smaller snow events, shop personnel are on call and available as needed.

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