Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What I Do: I run Liberty Towing Service


State Journal Posted: Monday, May 10, 2010 3:48 pm


Name: Simon Birch
Age: 45
Occupation: Co-owner of Liberty Towing Service, Madison
Web: http://www.libertytowing.us/
Number of years on the job: 29


Ever since I was 12 years old in my native Coventry, England, I knew this was what I wanted to do.My friend, Harvey Wasson, owned a towing service there, and he let me ride with him. Harvey worked round-the-clock and built a large business. He taught me how to run a towing business and to provide excellent customer service. I came to Madison in 1991 to work for a towing company. In 1989, I read an article in American Towman magazine about the business and wrote a letter to the owner telling him that I’d like to work for him. He invited me to come over to look at the operation and helped me to apply for a visa.The towing business is 24/7. To be successful, you have to have a passion for towing and be prepared to work long hours. My business partner, Rod Timmerman, and I alternate manning the phones overnight to provide towing, recovery and transportation service.We opened Liberty Towing in June 2009 and contract with 70 repair shops, the Wisconsin State Patrol, Dane County Sheriff’s Office and the Fitchburg Police Department. We travel wherever a customer needs us, including Chicago, Milwaukee and northern Wisconsin. We recently won the 2009 Zip’s medium-duty truck of the year award for our Freightliner extended-cab tow truck. Rod and I designed and customized the truck, which has lighted compartments and underbody dolly storage and dual 15,000-pound winches. It was produced for us by Zip’s Truck Equipment in Iowa.I get satisfaction out of knowing that I’m helping someone in their time of need and have taken them to a place of safety. Customers are having a bad day because they’ve just been in an accident or their car died on the highway. The challenge to this job is that it’s very dangerous and has a high loss of drivers. Imagine being under a vehicle just six inches from the white line on the highway shoulder with cars zooming by. I work in all conditions, whether it’s raining, snowing, 100 degrees or 30 below. The most interesting thing that I’ve towed is a killer whale from Sea World when I lived in Florida. The 50-foot trailer had a specially made tank, which I drove across Orlando at night because of the heat, to the airport to board a cargo plane bound for Spain.


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