Aftermath employees come from all sorts of backgrounds. Many studied criminal justice, while others worked in construction or served as a member of the military. But no matter their experience, what initially draws them to the job remains the same: a desire to help people, and a commitment to doing a tough job the right way, the first time around.
In an industrial area near downtown Greensboro, NC, Aftermath Supervisor Megan Squires prepares her crew for another assignment. During the summer, the crew sees an uptake in cases of unattended death, while during the colder winter months, the majority of cases involve suicide. Megan grew up in High Point, part of North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad, an area formed by the cities of Greensboro, High Point, and Winston-Salem. To say she is a local is an understatement: three generations of her family have called this region home. Furthermore, they’ve all been part of local law enforcement or the military.
From CSI to Crime Scene Cleaner
For Megan, joining the High Point PD was like coming home. For seven years, she served on the force as a crime scene investigator. She studied communications at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and criminal investigation and evidence at several local community colleges. As part of her work with the PD, she witnessed the aftereffects of many traumatic and tragic scenes, including homicides, suicides, and even a plane crash. None of these things phased her, but early this year, when what she describes as the “seven year itch” began to take hold, she considered changing careers:
“When I was in CSI, I did not interact with the families or victims. I walked in, took photos, collected the evidence. I really didn’t know names or the details. I never got to learn their stories. I really wanted to help in a more direct and personal way.” In February, Megan finally joined Aftermath as a Supervisor. “I had an Aftermath magnet on my fridge at home for years, but I never really thought about it. But what I wanted was a job that fit me more appropriately, that would allow me to help the people I encountered. I immediately thought of Aftermath and called.”
What Makes a Technician…and a Career
In addition to her work as a CSI, Megan also worked as a retail manager, an experience she believes taught her how to better create a team and hire good employees. When looking for new crime scene cleanup technicians, Megan has very specific criteria: “On the job, you’re going to encounter families going through very tough times. You must have a heart, and a willingness to do the job. I say that I’ve got a big heart and a strong stomach – and that’s really what I look for in a new technician. Having the desire to help will motivate you through the difficult parts. You also have to be able to handle traumatic situations, but not take it home with you. In this business, you see some pretty terrible stuff.”
She also looks for technicians who are flexible, who can cope with an on-call lifestyle. For Megan, the most challenging part of the job isn’t the physical labor or the emotional intensity of the work. As anyone in the death care industry can relate, being on call can be difficult, especially after years of living with a traditional schedule. “When I was with the PD, I worked on rotation, three weeks on one shift and then switch to another. There are pros and cons to doing shift work. There was that routine, but when I was on a night shift I wouldn’t see my family for weeks. Being on call there is always that anticipation that you could be interrupted at any moment. But I’m very lucky to have a supportive partner who takes care of things while I’m away.”
The current Greensboro team consists of Megan, technicians Shawn Hoodye and James Brannock, and backup supervisor, Daniel Schembari. Daniel previously worked for another crime scene cleanup company, while one of the technicians was an EMT. “They’ve all had some experience working in traumatic environments,” Megan says.
If you think you meet Megan’s qualifications, Aftermath is always hiring. Check out our job board for career opportunities near you.
“It’s All About the Interaction”
When asked what she thought the greatest difference was between being a CSI and working for a crime scene cleanup company, Megan goes back to the reason why she joined Aftermath in the first place: “It’s all about the interaction with the family, and about building relationships with the customers. We’re not going to make their grief go away, but we can help make it better.” She recounts a recent experience: “One of the most moving moments for me was on a recent job in Oak Island – the family grew truly attached to crew. It was a hoarding and decomp situation, which can be very traumatic in and of itself. Furthermore, the family was from out of state and wanted to be there to recover family heirlooms. We worked very closely to get them what they needed while protecting them and also finishing the job quickly so they could remediate the property for sale. The family was very gracious and caring throughout that time. It was tough, hard work, but also very rewarding to see how much it helped them.”
North Carolina or Nationwide
For North Carolina crime scene cleanup, or other specialty cleaning services, whether nearby or nationwide, call Aftermath 24/7 at 877-872-4339. Technicians like Megan and her team are ready to answer your questions and provide you with the best in quality cleanup and biohazard remediation. Protect your home or business. Call us today.