Growing up, Stephen Salas could not sit still in class — he had to be doing something.
So when it came to choosing a career path, Salas knew he couldn’t pick a job that required him to sit at a desk all day. Still, he felt lost when he graduated high school: His mom wanted him to go to college, but Salas decided to work for his hometown’s parks department.
After a couple of years, in 2017, Salas was contacted to become a commercial land clearing project manager because he already knew how to operate heavy machinery. The rest, as they say, is history.
“[It’s] a variety of things,” Salas explained to In The Know. “Dirt work, excavation, demolitions — anything that you don’t want on your property, we’ll remove.”
Salas grew up in a blue-collar family in Palestine, Texas, where he said he was a “pretty rebellious kid.” But when he first joined Grimes Environmental, he was only one of two people trying to grow the business. He suddenly had a lot of responsibility.
“[I was] clearing 10 hours a day, every day, and I was doing it all by myself,” he said. “When you’re in a tough spot and you’re trying to figure something out on your own, it makes you mature … You’re not a kid anymore and you’re having to fix something and if you don’t, then there’s not going to be food on the table.”
Grimes Environmental has added a few more employees since Salas started, which has helped him mold into the 24-year-old he is today.
“Ever since I became a project manager, I’m not only just sitting there, telling them what to do, pointing a finger all the time — I like being there with them,” he said.
Salas’ focus now is getting the younger generation into the idea of working in land clearing. He said that the younger generation’s interest in technology could potentially revolutionize the job — even making it more environmentally friendly.
“We can [do the job] so much cleaner now and leave a fine product for the grass to grow,” he said.
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