Although he went to college for a finance degree, Mark Ciccarelli, vice president of operations for Neave Group Outdoor Solutions, says the office life never suited him. He didn’t like being inside all day when the great outdoors always beckoned him. That’s why, when the opportunity arose to partner with Scott Neave (whose father founded Neave Landscaping in 1973 — from which Neave Group grew), Ciccarelli knew it was a great fit. He and Neave had been friends since childhood and Ciccarelli says they work well together — sort of a yin and yang situation. While Neave enjoys the business management aspect, Ciccarelli is passionate about getting in the field and doing a lot of handson work. That includes overseeing snow and ice management for the Wappingers Falls, New York-based business. The company sees around 48 to 55 inches of average snowfall in their region, and Ciccarelli says it’s typically a busy operation. We recently caught up with Ciccarelli to find out what he likes to do when he’s able to get a break — which he admits isn’t often.
SNOW AND ICE MANAGEMENT IS FUNNY IN THAT IT’S NOT NECESSARILY A DIFFICULT JOB TO DO ONCE THE STORM STARTS BUT THERE IS SO MUCH BEHIND-THE-SCENES WORK THAT USUALLY POSES THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE. It’s a lot of planning. Finding the emergency exits, fire lanes, dumpsters, or even mailboxes if it’s an HOA is all a lot of work. But once you get that stuff ironed out on a site map and you run it through with the property manager, as long as you’re well-staffed and wellequipped, it runs on its own — but that’s all assuming you prepared well.
THERE’S NOTHING HEALTHY ABOUT ME DURING A SNOW STORM. I’m hitting the drive-throughs or eating fast food. I love Oreos and Gatorade. When you’re working long nights it’s hard to stay healthy. You’re usually snacking a lot.
I’M A REAL WORKER — IT’S JUST WHO I AM — SO DOWNTIME IS RARE FOR ME. When I get a break, I’m often using it to still do work — especially if it’s winter. Wintertime really doesn’t offer us much downtime. A break in winter is usually stopping for lunch or maybe grabbing a quick movie.
IF A MACHINE IS EMPTY OR SOMEONE IS TAKING A BREAK, I’M JUMPING IN IT. I’m always trying to keep things moving, especially on our big sites. That’s why there’s really not a lot of time for a break.
OUTSIDE OF THE WINTER, I’LL UNWIND BY GOLFING. Or, I usually take some type of vacation with my wife and kids. My family enjoys Puerto Rico, St. Martin and Florida. We just recently did a big trip along the California coastline, which was a lot of fun.