Talkin' Trash: Industry leaders sound off at WasteExpo 2016
In case you missed it: Thoughtful, newsworthy comments from this year's WasteExpo in Las Vegas, NV.
"A deal is not science. It’s really an art."
— Waste Connections CEO Ron Mittelstaedt during a session on maximizing a company's acquisition value. Mittelstaedt, who has worked on more than 400 deals during his time in the industry, offered insights on how sustainability of a business, asset positioning, and other factors can all affect the value of the company.
"I don't think a monetary bonus for safety means a damn thing, other than money in somebody's pocket ... For the most part, the drivers are just like you. Do you want to have an accident? No ... I don't think that money makes them any more [safe]."
—Industry consultant Mike Cordesman during a session on industry insights from Hall of Fame leaders. While Cordesman doesn’t believe in incentivizing safety for drivers with money, he does believe that daily communication about safety "keeps their head in the game."
"Commodity prices have been going down since the Civil War ... This is happening because of improved means of exploration, improves means of production, substitution and no overreliance and the evolution of goods consumed."
— RRS Project Manager Mike Timpane during a session on managing the risks of recycling markets. Timpane touched on issues associated with single-stream recycling, noting that many commodities are nearing a 6-year low in price.
"We've got 250 people in our company, and we treat them as family. All of them ... If you treat them like you want to be treated, they’ll last a long time."
— Joe Garbarino, president and co-owner of Marin Sanitary Services, during a session on industry insights from Hall of Fame leaders. Garbarino explained that some workers have stayed at his company for more than 40 years because of fair treatment and fair wages — which is critical during a time when worker recruitment and retention is an industry issue.
"Disposal is always going to be cheaper. It's a game that you cannot win."
— Sierra Club Canada Foundation’s Rod Muir during a session on residential food scrap collection, as reported by Waste360. Muir explained that, while there are some obstacles with food scrap diversion, the right technologies, schedules, and forms of communication are key for a successful residential program.
"I think it's very important to be right and wrong. And you learn so much from being wrong ... I tell my kids, I tell my employees, 'Try and fail.' We will get so much farther if we try and fail instead of just sitting on ideas."
— Jeanie Dubinski, president of Big Truck Rental, during a session on women leaders in waste and recycling. Dubinski noted the importance of women having a voice in the industry, and explained to the women in the audience that they should not be afraid to express their ideas simply because of their gender.
Follow Kristin Musulin on Twitter