While some students his age may find themselves dreaming of various hopes and desires, junior management major Scott McGinnis dreaming of snow. McGinn, 21, said he has been looking forward to the winter, a season that brings snow, ice, sleet and slush – and with it, work.
McGinn said he has been doing snow removal for six years now and currently runs his own business, McGinn Lawn and Landscaping, under which he does landscaping jobs in the summer and snow removal in the winter. He works throughout the North and South Hills area of Pittsburgh, PA, which he calls home.
Snow removal includes shoveling, salting, and plowing, and often involves hitting the streets immediately after it snows, which often leads to long nights and early mornings—sometimes as early as 3a.m., he said.
But for McGinn, the job is so much more than just relentless work. According to McGinn, his love of snow began when he was a child and his dad was in the snow removal business. McGinn would ride in the snowplow with his father, learning the “how-to’s” of snow removal.
“When I was younger, my dad did snowplowing, so he would take me with him in the mornings and drop me off at school afterwards,” McGinn said.
Preferring to be outdoors and his love of skiing have also influenced his career choice.
“It’s fun for me,” he said. “I always tell people that you have to enjoy doing this to be able to do it.”
But is there such a thing as too much snow?
According to McGinn, there is not. He happily recalls the February 2010 blizzard, which he referred to as”Snowmaggedon.” It was during this time that Pittsburgh received about 21 to 22 inches of snow within the frame of two days.
McGinn said he remembers plowing for 24 hours non-stop, getting a few hours of sleep, and heading back to work for another 12-hour day of plowing soon afterward.
But when a warm spell of weather strikes, melting the snow, workers like McGinn use the time to further prepare themselves.
“I just make sure all of my equipment is ready for when it does finally snow,” McGinn said. “I also have a few friends who plow, so I will lend them a hand preparing, if they need it. But once everything is ready, I just kind of relax and play some Xbox and look for landscape jobs that can be done in the meantime.”
It’s not all fun and games, though, according to McGinn. He pinpoints the dangers of snowplowing and reminds drivers that they should abstain from venturing out onto the road after snowfall.
“It’s hard to get places clean with [other drivers] on the roads,” Scott said. “They don’t realize that in a truck, you don’t have as good a view from your mirrors, so you have to watch out for people walking behind you and trying to drive around you.”
But above all, Scott said that he enjoys his job and plans to continue his work in snow removal after graduating from SRU.
“I really like being able to make my own hours,” he said. “It’s nice that I can just go out on my own whenever we get snow; I don’t have a set lunch schedule or a certain time that I have to do anything. And I like being out in the middle of the night on my own when no one else is out – it’s just me, my truck and my radio. It’s peaceful in a way.”
Upon graduating from college, some students are hired in the line of work fitting for their degree. Others continue on to graduate school and beyond, or may find employment in different fields.
For McGinn, he said snow removal is the perfect line of work for his interests.
“I love what I do, and I couldn’t picture myself doing anything else,” he said.