2017 Leadership Award Profile: Chris Senske

While his hallmarks of leadership are faith in his employees and a commitment to ethics and fair business practices, Chris Senske will always love the rush of battling the big storm.

Out of demand, comes supply. When Chris Senske’s clients requested snow service, he responded. Senske Services of Kennewick, Wash., dabbled in the snow industry in the early 1980s, but took a “hiatus” until 1990.

“The driving force was customer requests for service,” Senske says about his return to snow-and-ice management. “These were customers that we were already doing some kind of work for, particularly grounds maintenance.”

The core business for Senske Services remains lawn care and pest control, but also includes grounds maintenance, tree service, irrigation service and holiday lighting. Their typical snow season starts around the first week of December and goes through mid-February. The latest snowfall that required any action occurred in mid-to-late March.

Today, Senske does anything but dabble in the industry. The company has 77 plow trucks – all equipped with salter spreaders on the rear. They also have five CAT skid-steers with 10-foot push box snow pushers and a couple of dedicated salt trucks.

“And when it works out right we have a fleet of tanker trucks for liquid spreading, but have avoided that in the recent past because of the cost of liquid mag chloride.”

While total employment at Senske Services peaks at about 500 in summer, it dips to around 350 in winter.

Tony Fisher, Senske’s general manager, landscape maintenance, has been an employee and friend for the past 25 years. “I started my employment with Chris as a young 19-year-old just [out of] high school,” Fisher says. “I would have to say he is the best employer I have ever had the honor to work for. His leadership style is that of encouragement and support and one who is always available to listen. Always asking your opinion, your plans and your solutions. He allows you the room for success and failures and congratulates you in your successes and supports you through your failures. He has made it his mission to continue to improve, develop, strengthen and build a brand that strives to be one of today’s top industry leaders.

“His commitment and faith in his employees is second to none,” he says. “His commitment to being ethical and fair is in everything he does.”

CLICK HERE to read the rest of Christ Senske's Leadership profile
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