5 Questions with Dan, Owner of A Groess Underground
Dan is the Owner of A Groess Underground a local company that specializes in drain cleaning and inspections. In 2021, Dan is celebrating five years of being part of the Kamloops business community.
We caught up with Dan to learn about the importance of drain cleaning (whether for residential, commercial, or industrial) and how the drain game can shift to be more environmentally focused. Learn more about Dan and his adventures below.
Dan was a finalist in the Environmental Stewardship category at the 33rd Annual Business Excellence Awards presented by MNP | Photo Credit: Kim Anderson
Dan, A Groess Underground is turning 5, tell me why did you choose to get into the underground business? What has changed over the last five-years?
When I finished school, I went on to complete some post-secondary studies and quickly found out an office job was not right for me, so I went from wearing a lab coat to coveralls and joined my brother in the lower mainland working on the underground infrastructure. After a few years working in Victoria, Nanaimo, Edmonton and back to Nanaimo where I have had my hands in all aspects of the underground maintenance field, I learned so much from a few key coworkers that gave me the best education and that is when I learned I love the troubleshooting aspect of the job.
I have continued my education with the addition of pipe inspection certifications, the Environmental Operators Certification Program and other industry-related courses that have always been extremely interesting to me. I am a big believer in continued education, and I am always looking to better myself in this way.
A Groess Underground's Annual Brock Community Clean-up | Photo Credit: A. Groess Underground
You specialize in drain cleaning and inspections, why is it important for a business to get its drains cleaned? How often should they be inspected and why?
When taking over any ownership, I would recommend having an inspection done before the conditions of sale are completed. As in any sale, once the transfer is made, it is hard to go back after the fact to renegotiate. I have seen too many times where a house has been sold and only after a few days, there will be a backup. “We haven’t even made a mortgage payment yet” rings in my ears since I heard that the 1st time and I die a little inside every time. Every sale of a home or business property should have an inspection completed and if we do find a problem, we can figure out the most cost-effective way to handle it long term.
Photo Credit: A Groess Underground
Tell us a time that a business didn’t get an inspection? What was the outcome?
This is my favorite story to tell. When I moved to Edmonton, I took a second job as a cook at a local sports pub (I love sports and I love to cook), and it was a busy Super Bowl Sunday, nowhere to sit if you came late kind of day. Even before kickoff, we had a report of water (it wasn’t water) coming up out of a floor drain in the bathroom, then the floor drains in the kitchen and it would not stop backing up. Being the lowest business in the mall with 2 other restaurants upstream from us, all the drains were draining into the pub and we had to shut down. Due to the lack of knowledge, nobody maintained the sanitary sewer lines and the result was the loss of thousands of dollars in food and drink on probably the busiest days on their calendar. I would estimate the cost for maintenance before this day would cost around $350-500 and zero lost sales but because not a lot of people give sewers a second thought, it ended up costing them a “few” dollars and maybe some patrons.
Dan at the 33rd Annual Business Excellence Awards presented by MNP Finalists Announcement at the Paramount Theatre, Home of the Kamloops Film Society | Photo Credit: Kim Anderson
In 2019, you were nominated for a Business Excellence Award in the Rocky Mountaineer Environmental Stewardship Award category. Tell me what about drain cleaning can be sustainable? Why is sustainability important to you and your business?
First off, getting to be a finalist for an Environmental Award was a major honour. The environment and keeping it as pristine as we can is the #1 goal for A Groess Underground. Our message we want to get heard is that drain cleaning chemicals are terrible for the environment and these chemicals can be replaced with water. Without boring you with the details, these chemicals are not long-term solutions for blocked drains and can only be so effective due to a few factors. I would even go as far as wanting these chemicals removed permanently. We have way better nontoxic solutions that last a lot longer using water. You cannot get any more sustainable than that. Our family loves camping, fishing, hiking and just being outside (remember, no office job for this guy), we have hosted an annual Brock Community Cleanup for the past few years and have really made a strong effort to reduce our carbon footprint both as a family and a business.
Photo Credit: A Groess Underground
When you have out-of-town guests come to visit Kamloops, what recommendations do you make for people exploring the River City?
Our city is growing in such a beautiful way and I love having the roadside patios popping up. Sure, it came to this due to the pandemic, but I really hope it can stay around. We were lucky enough to have my brother and his family come here last summer and we had a blast. We took a River City Limo to golf at Eaglepoint, the kids and my wife went to the BC Wildlife Park and then we all went to The Noble Pig for amazing food and drinks. There is an endless supply of outdoor activities for all ages here and pairing them in any way that fits your lifestyle is easy. There are also not many places around where you can ski one day and go golfing the next. After moving around a lot and even living on the island for a few years, Kamloops has so many options and I can only see bigger and better coming to this city and I would love to be a part of that.
Learn more about Dan and A Groess Underground.