Environmental Works, Inc. recently talked to Field Technician Damian Evans while he was on lunch break from a tank cleaning job in North Kansas City, Missouri. Among the topics discussed were travel for work, working with stellar teammates, and making YouTube streaming videos. Read the interview in its entirety below.
Position – Field Technician
Office – Kansas City
Tenure at EWI – Two years
Hobbies – Video games, working on cars
Marital status – Single
EWI: What do you like most about your job?
Damian: We get to do new and different things each day. Sometimes you might be put on a different job every day. Sometimes you might be on one for a week to a month. But you always get to move around and do something different and have a change of scenery.
EWI: What do you like least about your job?
Damian: Sometimes with the new scenery, you have a new challenge or a job that’s really difficult. But you just GSD and get it done regardless. For example, there was a job recently where we were jack hammering some media. That’s one of those jobs where you really have to swap out with people because you can’t jackhammer for eight hours straight and be good the next day.
But that’s the cool part about it – everybody really works together and provides their input and you come up with one great solution and the job ends up getting done in the end. You feel like you’re a part of a team, because you really are.”
EWI: What does a typical day at work look like for you? A typical week?
Damian: We’ll come in (to EWI’s Argentine Yard shop in Kansas City, Kansas) and load up the equipment that we think we’ll need, and then head over to the job site, talk to the client, get shown around, get instructions on what to clean.
Once you find that flow and rhythm and what works, you just show up and work at it until the job’s done.
You can have a real easy week or a real hard week. It just kind of depends on which straw you draw. If you get the short straw, you just have to tough through it. But other times it’s nice. You have those moments where you’re like, ‘Wait, am I actually working?’ But you’re getting stuff done and you’re just kind of cruising through it.
EWI: How much do you travel for work?
Damian: Probably about 40 percent of the time. Sometimes you’ll go out of town for maybe a week, maybe a month. The month-long ones don’t come up very often.
EWI: How many hours a week do you typically work?
Damian: Anywhere from 50 to 60 hours, but I’ve definitely worked a lot more than that and a lot less. Usually when I do a lot less it’s because I’ve taken off for PTO or I’m taking a vacation. I’ll fly out and go see family in Texas.
As long as you don’t put a request in to take a week off the day before, it’s approved. But typically, when I do stuff like that it’s planned. I’ll have it planned a month in advance or two months.
EWI: How do you feel about the manual work that you perform?
Damian: Generally, it’s not terrible. Right now, we have a lot of great people. We’ll swap out and everybody will work. So, if you’re feeling tired, you just have to let somebody know, like, ‘Hey, I’m gassed out right now. Can you swap out with me?’ Nobody’s afraid to do so. They’ll step in whenever they need to or somebody will hop out of an excavator to swap with you so you can get a break, cool off. On the other hand, if you’re short staffed, nobody minds you hopping out of the tank to take a break. Sometimes, I’ll get hot, so I’ll tell hole watch, ‘Hey man, I’m hot. I just want to hop out and drink some water, maybe have a cigarette.’ And then I’ll hop back in. Because I’m not ready to stop working, I just need to cool off, and it’s just hard to cool off in a tank, especially in the middle of the summer.
EWI: What companies did you work for previously to EWI?
Damian: I worked for this directional drilling company in Minnesota. We did residential and commercial landlines, so we’d drill underground and dig with shovels, excavators, skid steers, all that. It’s almost the same thing. Here you’re playing with material, but at least you’re suited up in PPE. There, I maybe had gloves, but mostly you’re playing in mud.
EWI: How do you feel about your coworkers?
Damian: My coworkers right now are great. They’re one of the reasons I don’t mind coming in to work at all. As long as you’ve got the right people, I feel like you’ll hop in any tank with them. Because you know you’ve got their back and they’ve got your back.
If you’ve got the right people, everybody’s laughing and smiling and getting the job done and working.
EWI: How do you feel about your compensation and benefits?
Damian: My pay is good right now. Overall, I think we get paid really well, especially with the hours that we work.
As far as benefits go, I really don’t use them too much, but a couple of weeks ago I pinched a nerve in my back and then thankfully through the company’s medical benefits I got to talk to a doctor and got prescribed an anti-inflammatory. And with time, it healed.
EWI: What do you like to do outside of work?
Damian: I play video games and do YouTube live streaming. Generally, I play shooter games, but I mess around with all sorts of genres. Usually, I’ll stream when I get home and I’ll do like five or six hours. And then I’ll try to make a video pretty frequently, but sometimes I’ll get so caught up with life or I’ll go out of town when I had this good video idea and get back and might have forgotten about it. Aside from that, I’m into fixing up cars.
EWI: Do you have a wife and/or kids?
Damian: I’m single, so it kind of works in my benefit, where I get to travel and do those awesome things like go to California. You definitely get to sightsee a lot and see a lot of different things.
EWI: How do you feel about your work/life balance?
Damian: I think it’s up to you, personally, how you balance it out, because you can choose to work the weekend, but if you work every single day, you won’t have enough time for yourself or do the chores you need to get done. But that’s always a choice. It’s not like you’re forced to work every weekend. And so, it’s generally up to the person.
EWI: What could be changed to improve EWI?
Damian: We always just need more help. A lot of time, there are people that come and go. But generally, the ones that stay around are very well-rounded people and good to work with.