Carrie Riddle, snow plow driver

Posted on April 24, 2013

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As this year’s unusually cold and snowy winter extended into spring, at least one Madisonian didn’t mind. Carrie Riddle, 48, drives a plow for the city’s streets department and is as cheerful as can be about the recent snow flurries.

“I need the snow and this overtime to survive the year,” she says. “Because [otherwise] I will be out with the homeless that I help every night.”

Riddle, who grew up in Madison, has been a city snowplow driver for 14 years. She got her start by enrolling in a program through Madison Area Technical College that aimed to get women into jobs traditionally reserved for men.

“I don’t make nearly as much as I would in the private sector,” she says. But, she adds, “The fact that I wouldn’t get laid off was key for me because of my children. Plus, I get to work outside.”

Riddle says that no two days are the same when she’s out on the streets. “The tricky part in this town is the way people park,” she says. “It really is.”

Her strangest workplace stories include sliding backwards down a hill onto East Washington Avenue during rush hour and being attacked by someone with a snow blower after plowing the person’s driveway.

“It gets pretty interesting,” she says with a laugh.

— Ryan Hill