Diversity insulates asbestos remover

Journalist Cara Trager in Crain’s New York Business has a wonderful article about a diversified workload saving a small business — in the unlikely field of asbestos removal:

Ms. Grando would often hear her spouse-who owned a duct and pipe insulation firm in Woodside, Queens-turn down customers requesting asbestos removal. Those frequent calls persuaded her to go into the asbestos-removal field herself.

“I thought, ‘I can do this,’ ” recalled Ms. Grando, now 53, who had retired from Citibank’s credit card division in order to stay home with her children.

She wasn’t fazed by her lack of hands-on experience in the construction trades. She believed that her accounting degree from Hofstra University, her employment history and her willingness to learn the ropes would stand her in good stead. 

Ms. Grando enrolled in a training program to earn the requisite city and state licenses, and formed her company in 1987. International Asbestos Removal Inc. was housed in a 1,000-square-foot space at a building she and her husband owned, also home to his insulation business. The couple later purchased two buildings adjoining that property, creating an 8,000-square-foot site that the firms still share.

Read the whole thing here