Bayville sits near the Seaside Heights suburb of New Jersey, the notorious location of the Jersey Shore television show. Route 9 is the central thoroughfare, characterized by plenty of shopping and surrounded by residential neighborhoods. Situated in a garage off this main street, right behind a diner, is the Aftermath New Jersey office.
A Career in Cleanup?
New Jersey Supervisor Randy Thompson is a military veteran with over 6 years in the Marines. He served on active duty and deployed to Iraq with a unit out of Chattanooga, TN from 2008 until 2009. His remaining years of service were spent in reserves, until he retired in 2012. Not long after, he joined Aftermath Services.
Randy has been with the company for nearly four years now. But when he began looking for a new career, he was a bit skeptical – partly because he’d never heard of crime scene cleanup before and he wasn’t sure it was even a real thing. Despite his early trepidations, he became backup supervisor after just 3 months on the job. Then, shortly after his one year anniversary, Randy was promoted to New Jersey supervisor, a position he has occupied since.
Building a Team
In the past few years, Randy has worked with numerous crew members. Crazy schedules make it difficult for many new employees. Finding a good fit for the team can be a challenge. “Fluctuating hours are not in line with the 21st century mentality. The most desirous jobs are those with flexible hours. It’s not like that for a technician – we have to be ready whenever a call comes in, day or night.
“I look for someone whose life is well balanced. Those who have experience with working on call or are used to long days, are best suited to this kind of work, Overall though, it’s about their willingness to manage their life so that they’re available when they’re needed. You have to know what you’re getting into with this business. You already know you’re going to be dealing with some messed up situations.”
On this philosophy, Randy has finally built a strong staff. At its core, the New Jersey team is characterized by high energy and determination. Backup Supervisor Justin Raspantini just celebrated his one year anniversary with the company. His background is in retail and small business. “I can always depend on Justin,” Randy reports. “He answers his phone no matter when a call comes in. He’s a go getter, with a lot of energy.” Lead tech Crystal Gladney has been on board for about 6 months. Randy says her background in nursing and health care helped prepare her for some of the most difficult aspects of the job. Finally, rounding out the team, is the youngest and newest crew member, Jenna Methvan. “She has a really strong work ethic,” Randy says. “She’s done a little of everything, so she’s always ready to take on a new challenge.”
In addition to the state of New Jersey, the office also covers parts of New York and Pennsylvania. Occasionally they are asked to assist with cases in other parts of the east coast, including Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia. The kinds of jobs vary by the season. Randy states that the office gets more decomposition cases in the summertime, while suicides are typical over the holidays and winter months. From time to time, the New Jersey crew is tasked with hoarding cleanup. Because of the area, some jobs are high profile, meaning the team is experienced at being both discreet and efficient.
As a new father, Randy still finds the hours challenging. “The reward comes from knowing that in 24 hours, I can change someone else’s life. Being able to help people providing them with direct assistance in just a day’s time…that’s a big deal. The main thing I tell new technicians is this: you need to look within yourself to find a reason to do this job. If you’re not passionate about helping people, it’s not the job for you. It can be highly emotional – if you can get something done in 24 hours to move people toward healing, that’s amazing. The entire job is a sacrifice, though. But the rewards are there, morally, professionally, and personally, if you can handle it.”
Who We Are
When asked if he has any memorable stories or experience to share, Randy demurs. “I stay focused on the work when I am there, but when I finish a job, I don’t want to think about it. My hope is that the families that I help are able to move on as well. The thought that I can change a life in a short time is what makes this job worthwhile. The day I don’t feel like I am helping people is the day I look for a new career. That aspect of the work is what keeps me going. It’s a big part of who I am.”
It’s also a big part of who we are as Aftermath Services. Since 1996, we’ve been in the business of helping families who have experienced some of the most tragic circumstances imaginable. While we hope you never have to call, if you do, know that caring, dedicated technicians like Randy and his team are able and ready to help regardless of the time, day or night. For nationwide suicide cleanup, crime scene cleaning, or any other biohazard situation, call Aftermath at 877-872-4339.