Q & A with Mitch Caron, Director of Operations at WINMAR Durham
How long have you been in the restoration industry, and what landed you here?
Officially, I’ve been in the industry since about the age of 12-13 but with my father being a carpenter, I have been around construction forever.
In July 2004, almost a year after my parents first opened their WINMAR franchise, Peterborough, Ontario experienced a catastrophe. I remember my mother asking my father if he thought it was a good idea that I start learning the industry in a CAT situation. They agreed and asked me – my answer was sure why not (…wait what did I get myself into?)
After my first week working over 60 hours, I was one of the richest 13-year-olds around.
What roles have you held at WINMAR Durham, and what is your current role?
I’ve had multiple roles in the business: labourer, technician, supervisor, carpenter, drywall helper, painter, project manager – I’ve spent a bit of time now as Director of Operations. When we get busy, or if a specialty job requires it, I still like to jump in and do a little bit of technician work. That’s the real fun stuff!
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
I see myself owning and being President/CEO of the family business. My goal is to push this sooner, but I can be a little over-ambitious at times. Both of my parents still act as great mentors to me and I will be keeping them around for a bit (hopefully they’re not reading this).
In your opinion, what is the high point or best part of this industry?
- As cheesy as it may sound, I really enjoy restoring people’s homes and businesses and, for some, lives. Experiences a flood, fire or other peril can be very devastating for some people and families. Responding promptly, making the customer feel at ease, and putting a great amount of effort to close the project.
- Field technician work! I know moving out massive amounts of content in a crawl space and working in a Tyvek suit in 90 degrees can be very tough, but for the most part it can be pretty enjoyable.
What are some areas in the industry that could use changes and improvements?
I feel like there is still a lot of change and improvement needed at the technician level. The restoration and water technician positions are the most important positions in a restoration company. No matter what technology you use, or how strong of a management team you have, if you don’t have well-trained technicians you are likely not running as profitable as you could.
For years I think more restoration firms have sent their technicians to IICRC courses and plastered their certificates with WRT, FSRT, etc. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if they don’t understand “why” they are doing something – they need good field training! By either sending them to a hands-on training course or having well-trained technicians to pass the baton, this should be an area of focus.
What do you hope to see out of the next generation of restorers?
I hope the next generation of restorers keeps adding value to the services that our industry provides. Harnessing new technology, improving existing technology and refining the techniques we apply in our services. The property restoration industry is still pretty young and I think there are still things we have yet to discover. With being a service-based industry, I think there is still a lot of potential to keep improving the technology we use.
Who knows, maybe one day we’ll be able to take photographs of a loss and a system will use the photographs to scope the emergency, determine the amount of equipment required, dispatch a crew, monitor drying, and write the repair estimate – all before getting back to the office. Wouldn’t that be nice!