Finding A Unique Opportunity: Q&A with Fire Rover’s Lindsey Scharg

Lindsey Scharg joined Fire Rover as a founding employee soon after earning a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University. As Vice President of Sales, Scharg helps to ensure the protection of facilities from fire hazards. Utilizing military technologies and patented equipment, Fire Rover detects and extinguishes fires before they start.

Willona Sloan, Freelance writer

May 30, 2024

5 Min Read

Lindsey Scharg joined Fire Rover as a founding employee soon after earning a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University. As Vice President of Sales, Scharg helps to ensure the protection of facilities from fire hazards. Utilizing military technologies and patented equipment, Fire Rover detects and extinguishes fires before they start.

The company serves clients across the globe, in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Australia and New Zealand. Fire Rover is in the process of testing for FM Approval, which if successful, can add an extra benefit for its clients. (FM Approvals is the independent testing arm of international insurance carrier, FM Global.)

Scharg, a 40 Under 40 award winner, spoke with Waste360 about her career at Fire Rover, where she has worked since the company’s founding, and why she finds her job gratifying.

This interview has been edited for length.

Waste360: What services does Fire Rover provide for your clients?

Lindsey Scharg: Our company is really unique. I went to school for advertising and marketing and the creation of our company is the purest form of marketing that there is, which is bringing a product that a group needs to market. That’s exactly what we did. Our company was in the monitoring business. We were monitoring for fires, but by the time a fire started and the fire department would get on scene, the business would have a loss — whether it be property or downtime. We quickly tailored and created the solution where we weren’t only just monitoring for fire but we had a means of extinguishing it quickly.

We specialize in proactive fire detection and suppression. It’s a multi-faceted detection technique. We’re using thermal imaging, flame detection and smoke detection to try to identify the early stages of fire, whether that’s flame first or smoke first, sometimes things explode, sometimes they smolder. Remotely, we have the ability to actually pinpoint, aim a nozzle, and extinguish the fire.
The really significant part, as far as the broader waste and recycling industry, is that this is a company that has been around for 10 years and it’s become a best practice for MRFs and transfer stations, which are indoor, for the most part, but we are one of the only solutions for outdoor facilities. We actually created it for scrap yards, which is kind of on the peripheral of the NWRA, but it can be used in everything from scrap yards to compost facilities to landfills to outdoor transfer operations, palette recyclers, paper recyclers, where they’re storing materials outside.
Waste360: When did you join the company?

Lindsey Scharg: I joined the company as one of the founding employees. I worked for the founder of the company before he created Fire Rover. I was an intern, coming out of Michigan State University. When the idea of Fire Rover came about, I started, basically, from the ground up, doing marketing and sales for the company.
Waste360: What kept you at the company and wanting to work your way up?

Lindsey Scharg: It was a unique and exciting opportunity. Going to school, and learning about advertising and marketing, a lot of it is just conceptual. A great product kind of speaks for itself, but you have to get it out there. It was the most exciting opportunity. Most of my friends were going to work for advertising agencies. We’re from Detroit, so obviously, it’s Motor City, with all the big car companies like Ford and General Motors. This was an opportunity to literally bring a brand new product into a market that clearly has such a need for protection.

What really kept me at Fire Rover is that saying, “the proof is in the pudding.” We would come to Waste Expo, and our customers would be thanking us up and down for saving their businesses at 2:00 in the morning, when a Fire Rover system would activate and stop the facility from burning down. That’s all you need to hear to realize that you have a purpose in what you’re doing.

Waste360: How do you continue to learn new skills and keep abreast of issues in the industry? Do you go to conferences or trainings or network or have mentors?

Lindsey Scharg: The founder of our company was one of the best mentors I ever had. He since has passed away. I still draw from some of the ideas and advice that he gave to me. I don’t think that ever changes. Having conversations, and talking to people who share similar careers or paths or passions with you is one of the most important tools. A lot of that does happen at conferences and seminars. Understanding people and talking to them, it doesn’t matter what career you have, that is the key to success.

Waste360: What do you enjoy about the work that you do?

Lindsey Scharg: Preventing facilities from burning down. That is the most gratifying part of our job. Keeping people safe, like firefighters and people who work at these facilities. They’re heroes for keeping our environment clean and they do not need to be fighting fires. Being able to help people stay safe and keeping businesses safe so that people can continue working there is definitely one of the most gratifying things. Also, as a complete people person, I love my customers, and I love dealing with them.

Waste360: What advice would you give a young professional who is just starting their career?

Lindsey Scharg: The best piece of advice that I could give any young person is, when it’s legal, to start working. Start trying new things and seeing what you like to do.

About the Author(s)

Willona Sloan

Freelance writer, Waste360

Willona Sloan is a freelance writer for Waste360 covering the collection and transfer beat.

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