Passionate People Make Passionate Cleaners

Rowell's Sewer & Drain takes pride in finding "go-getters" to hire and train and finds new ways to reward them for a job well done.
Passionate People Make Passionate Cleaners
The team at Rowell’s Sewer & Drain includes (from left) Jeff Lacoy, Levi Wardner, Casey Rolland, Tricia Eisner, Debbie Rowell, Mandie Hagan, Ian Hagan, Michelle Lamot, Alex Dion and Keith Bryant.

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Mandie Hagan can’t say enough good things about the employees at Rowell’s Sewer & Drain — the company in Northfield, New Hampshire, founded by her late father, Dickie Rowell Jr. — which she now owns with her husband, Ian, and her mother, Debbie Rowell. 

“The people we have right now are phenomenal,” she says. “They’re all go-getters that work hard and know what we stand for. It’s not just a job for them — it’s a career, and they’re passionate about what we do.” 

But assembling a group of enthusiastic, reliable employees didn’t happen by accident. Like so many contractors nationwide, finding good employees isn’t always easy for Rowell’s. But the company increases the odds of doing so by taking specific steps, from the kind of employees it seeks, to how interviews are conducted, to the training employees receive, Hagan says. 

For starters, Hagan doesn’t always look for experienced, skilled labor workers because they often have set ways of doing things — including bad work habits. “I’m more interested in someone who will work 60 or 70 hours without complaining,” she says. “And as long as someone has the drive and desire and willingness to learn, we can train them.”

Sometimes the company hires prospective workers on a temporary basis — perhaps a week or two — for a test drive of sorts. In addition, Hagan probes a bit in interviews, focusing on what people like to do for fun. “If they say they enjoy cooking out and drinking beer, that’s not who I’m looking for,” she says. “We look for people who are passionate about something worthwhile. Sometimes they light up when they talk about their family. Other times, maybe it’s motorcycles and snowmobiles, which tells me they like to move and are energetic.” 

Then there’s job training; most employees spend three to six months learning the ropes before they’re allowed to go solo on service calls. They also receive certification training as required, as well as continuing education. The latter sometimes includes product seminars put on by equipment manufacturers that Hagan invites to the company’s headquarters in Northfield, New Hampshire. “If our employees get better, then we get better,” she notes. “And if they stay challenged and motivated, they bring in more work.” 

In addition, the company closes one day each year for a companywide team building and stress-relief outing for employees and their significant others at a local casino/resort. “We get to know them on an even more personal level and we get a chance to show how much we appreciate them,” Hagan says. “And they come back to work refreshed and motivated.”

The company also provides other perks to employees. Last year, for instance, the Hagans took employees to the American Football Conference championship game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts. The company also holds family-oriented summer cookouts and winter snow tubing outings and occasionally gives employees gifts, Hagan says.

“Their last names might not be Rowell, but all our employees are family.”

Read the complete profile on Rowell's Sewer & Drain in the March 2016 issue of Cleaner.


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