Why I Do What I Do
As Told By Our Senior Environment Consultant, Steve Stockburger
I have been getting a lot of questions lately such as “Do you like what you do?” or “What made you get into mold inspecting?”. Typically, my clients are asking me this as I pull myself out of a damp, spider-ridden crawlspace, or itchy, 120-degree attic. And although I may not love spiders, tight places, super-hot temps in Tyvek suits, insulation on my forearms, sweating through all my clothes, (oh and did I mention spiders?), I do love what I am accomplishing by doing such tasks.
I started out after college working in community associations and rental property management, specifically up in the mountains of Colorado at a ski resort. I transferred to a high rise condominium building in downtown Denver in 2011. During my stay at the 23-story high-rise as an assistant manager, we had a lot of leaks, specifically the water heaters in each unit would occasionally burst sending gallons of water down 12 stories affecting dozens of units on its way down. The Manager and I developed protocols to respond to these water events as quickly as possible. Sometimes the leak would be from a fire suppression system which can dump an exuberant amount of water within a short amount of time. We all got to know the water main shutoffs and water sprinkler shutoffs very well. We also had a fleet of dry vacuums, squeegees, towels, air movers and even a few dehumidifiers. Our response times got down into the sub-minute time range. I started to realize that I enjoyed this part of my job more than the rest and I pursued a career in water mitigation/restoration/remediation.
I got a job as a mitigation tech for a local fire/flood/mold disaster mitigation company. The work was brutal, physically and mentally. Late nights, early mornings and some on-call responses sprinkled here and there. I did enjoy the work though, it was honest, hard work and I felt like I was making a difference in people’s lives, especially in these very difficult times of a water event. Unfortunately, the company I worked for valued hours over employees and the turnover rate was extreme. After only a short period of time, I found myself in a lead position. It was a good learning experience.
Finally I moved on to my current position, where I perform mold investigations and testing with Mold Inspection Sciences. We help make sense out of water events by assessing the situation, taking microbial samples, answering our clients’ questions/educating them on what’s real and what’s hype from the internet/media, writing reports and giving our clients a clear vision of what to do to get their home, apartment, condo, school or office building back into a healthy, functional environment. We are an independent entity, which is to our clients’ benefit and we are on the client’s side in a time when they need someone they can trust.
In conclusion, I do what I do to help people during a difficult time. A water event in someone’s home can be extremely stressful and daunting. I have been on multiple sides of mold. I have worked with homeowners’ associations and insurance companies to help mitigate and restore people’s homes. I have physically worked on water damaged and mold-impacted homes to get them back to normal conditions. And now I have the knowledge and background to help our clients through the difficult process of getting their homes back in order.